Capcom Puzzle World
When I was little my Dad would take me to Spain. We had a villa over there (we weren't affluent, only fortunate). Next to this villa was a Toscamar - what this means or stands for I'm unsure, inside was a swimming pool, bar, restaurant and arcade. All dismissible apart from the arcade - Pac-Man, Bomerraid, Galaxians, even Pong. It was a glorious place walled in wooden panels, tiled floor and kids in swimming trunks, dripping, draped in towels, fists stuck fast to joysticks.
Most popular among my peers was Pang (or Buster Bros as it's officially known). A simple platformer that saw you armed with a harpoon gun, firing arrows upward to 'pop' bouncy balls as they fell. Soft as they seemed, these balls were no childhood plaything: these were 'deadly killer' balls. Your quest was to avoid and destroy balls and the subsequent debris from the initial pop. Obviously should you be brushed, or indeed directly collide with the balls, you died - instant death. Harsh and bewildering as it may seem, we wasted hours and a bucket full of pesetas trying to beat it (we did it once as well).
Capcom Puzzle World, despite the rather misleading title, is essentially Super Puzzle Fighter Turbo 2. There's no 'world' of puzzles here, just a UMD disc with a few different games on it. So, Puzzle Fighter Turbo II - a decent game worthy of the price on it's own. You can bother with the 'bonus' material (including Pang) but it's this Street Fighter franchised puzzler where the quality lies. Few will dismiss it out right as a Tetris clone, but it's worthy of more consideration, a depth that is difficult to put into words, something that is felt as you play. The crux, though, is that you build up blocks of emeralds at the bottom of the screen and you drop 'breakers' onto them. The bigger the blocks the more damage it does to your opponent. The niche angle is that your chosen fighter appears next to your playing area and performs moves depending on the size of the block you've just broken. It's addictive as any decent puzzler should be, and a treat to look at. Watching Ryu haduken Ken because you smashed some blocks rather than hit at quarter circle is satisfying, if a little odd.
Like a child's obstacle course containing venomous snakes and metal spikes, Capcom Puzzle World is perilously difficult to enjoy when considering what Capcom has already provided. The Capcom Classic Collection blows out any candle that Puzzle Fighter fanboys (if there are any - I'm sure there are) my hold aloft in praise of this compilation.
Beyond the aforementioned, the rest is simply inadequate and not worthy of your time or money. Some who hold nostalgia up among the most important elements of a retro re-release might get something from this, but there is better already and nothing can really save this, tad obscure, Capcom release from a 4.99 clearance in Tesco in a month or two.
It's all well and good banging on about games that defined childhood gaming experiences, but essentially what does an 80s kid from North London know when he's horribly sunburnt and tipsy from a few sips of Sangria? That was then, and sadly for Capcom Puzzle World, this is now.
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