|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb.6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: E||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
All of the next-gen consoles have been released, but the nostalgia keeps pulling us back to the first generations of gaming. All of us who were born near the beginnings of video game history will always be strongly attached to the memories of our first steps as gamers. The industry knows that, and that's why we're surrounded by old-school games as well as new.
When you hear the name Capcom Puzzle World you would think that this title was loaded with Capcom's greatest puzzle hits, but it only carries three of them. However, I can't complain a bit because they're great games and offer countless options that provide us with the best experience.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Block Block, Buster Bros. (a.k.a. Pang), Super Buster Bros., and Buster Buddies are the titles that you will find within the Capcom Puzzle World disc. The latter ones are three different installments of the same game, Buster Bros., which I knew in my childhood years as Pang. This is what really made me want this game so badly.
Block Block is the weakest element of Capcom Puzzle World. It's a port of Capcom's arcade version of Arkanoid. You move a paddle horizontally at the bottom of the screen in order to hit a ball that dances around, breaking bricks along the way. Power ups will fall and if you pick them up, you can make the bar longer, shorter, magnetic, etc. The game wasn't retrofitted into the PSP's display and appears vertically in the middle of the screen. Therefore, it looks small and you would know just by looking at it that it's a very old game. The controls are not very smooth either. That's a problem you will frequently encounter in ports of Arkanoid created for portable devices. The ball moves so fast that you will feel helpless trying to pick it up.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo is probably the shining star of this game for many. It's a perfect port of the successful game released for the Game Boy Advance, PlayStation One, Arcade, and Sega Saturn many years ago. It looks basically like Tetris or Columns but, of course, plays differently. You can play against the computer or against your friend. The Vs. mode doesn't go as far as allowing you to play online against other players which is a drawback, but playing alone is fun enough.
Pairs of colored gems drop from above and you need to place them either vertically or horizontally on top of the other gems, trying to match the colors. When you group two or more of the same color, you will need an explosive gem of that color in order to clear the group. The more gems you clear from your screen, the more you'll send to the opponent. Your enemy won't receive those "counter-gems" in the standard form. Instead, they have numbers in them and won't become a regular gem until they're hit with other pieces a certain number of times. But beware! The same will happen to you if you're not fast enough!
The game looks sharp and fits the PSP's wide screen perfectly. There are always two characters in the middle that represent each one of the players. Every time one of you clears gems, a little character will throw an attack to the other, as if they were in the middle of a fight. They are cute caricatures of the popular Street Fighter and Darkstalkers characters. This and the frantic Japanese comments give the game a nice, funny touch.
The Buster Bros. games are also near-perfect ports of the classics, although the music sounds a little different than in the arcade original. In Buster Bros., you move a character along the screen while shooting at bubbles that fall from above and bounce on every surface that is on their way. Each time you shoot a bubble, it will split into two smaller ones, which you will then have to keep shooting at until they're in their smallest form. That last shot will make them disappear. The game is very challenging because you don't start off with just one huge bubble; there will be two or more. Power ups will drop and give you different weapons, such as an upgrade from the standard harpoon gun turned into a double-shooting harpoon gun, a handgun, a clock that will stop everything for a few seconds (except you), or dynamite, which will automatically split all the bubbles into many small ones (this can be dangerous!).
The graphics look sharp and fresh. You wouldn't know they're old games, really. It seems like they had to stretch the background a little bit to make it fit perfectly on the PSP's display, but the game doesn't look bad at all and it doesn't make the gameplay any different than in the original arcade game. Super Buster Bros. is an even more challenging continuation of the first one, and Buster Buddies is a slightly different version with special, cartoonish-looking characters. The panic mode, which you could also call "survival," consists of just staying "alive" for as much time as possible while bubbles keep coming at you.
Capcom Puzzle World also helps you deal with the nostalgia with bonuses like screenshots and artwork from the classic titles and a function that allows you to pause the game at any time and obtain a screenshot. It will save in your Memory Stick as a .jpg, so you can use it as wallpaper or even transfer it to your PC if you want a collection of pictures. There is a wide range of options offered for each game, like the number of "continues," lives, level of difficulty, power of your attacks, and much more!
I consider this title a must-have for all nostalgic people that love puzzle games and like to take them on-the-go. Just don't buy it for Block Block. Buster Bros. and Super Puzzle Fighter II are what make this game great. If you used to like these games, you probably won't regret the purchase.
CCC Co-Site Director