Capcom Classics Mini Mix «

“So, a street brawler, a ninja from an alternate totalitarian future, and a soldier with a bionic arm walk into a bar…”

Yeah, bad joke, we know, and a fairly awful opening for a game review. But that’s pretty much what gamers will get from Capcom Mini Mix, a cart-sized compilation of three NES titles, including 1988’s Bionic Commando, 1989’s Strider, and 1993’s Mighty Final Fight. While it’s hard to dispute Bionic Commando‘s presence, Strider for NES was a fair (at best) port of a solid arcade title, and Mighty Final Fight is questionable as well. It’s the idea of paying $19.99 for one solid game and two NES adaptations of superior 16-bit titles that ruffles the feathers a bit.

Still, when one considers the price that Nintendo charged for one GBA port of a first-party classic (Super Mario Bros. and the Zeldas, we’re looking at you), suddenly, $19.99 doesn’t seem exorbitantly high for one of the hardest, but best titles to ever grace the Nintendo Entertainment System. Also, there’s a certain feeling that if I went back in time and told my elementary-school age self that some seventeen years later, he’d be playing Bionic Commando at 11:30 pm in his boxers on a machine with two screens, his head would explode. Probably from the TMI about the playing in his underwear. Really, the decision to pick up this compilation comes down to one question: “how much do you like Bionic Commando?” That title is effectively the focal point of this cart’s experience.

Inarguably the best reason to pick this comp up.

All versions of all games run faithfully, with the original music intact and the games feeling very authentic to their original NES renditions. In the case of Strider, that includes what we used to call “slowdown” during the 8-bit days, but what we now call a variety of names, including “choking framerate.” Still, though, if nothing else, it’s a testament to how raw and faithful the ports are to the source material, adaptation to the GBA’s widescreen display notwithstanding.

Unfortunately, however, certain elements, such as a save system, have not been incorporated in the way that they have with other retro ports for handheld. It means that the tough-as-nails Bionic Commando is just as hard as it was on NES, thanks to the lack of save progress. Look forward to long sessions with the game. Mighty Final Fight also suffers from the same issue. Strider, fortunately, had a password system on the NES, which still works here, but one can’t help but to think of the 16-bit Genesis version while playing this NES port.

All in all, it’s rather difficult to make an emphatic recommendation for Capcom Classic Mini Mix. While the inclusion of Bionic Commando should perk up the ears of even the most jaded gaming veterans, the inclusion of two games that haven’t aged so well isn’t enough of a deal to make the game worth dropping 20 bills. As one plays Strider and Mighty Final Fight, it’s tough not to think of their better 16-bit versions, as well as other GBA ports, like River City Ransom EX, which manages to work a bit better. Again, Bionic Commando is the piece de resistance here; if it and two just-okay NES games is worth your time and cash, then check this out. Otherwise, handheld gamers should cross fingers and toes for a bigger (and better) Capcom NES retro compilation on the DS.


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