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The Capcom Beat ’Em Up Bundle is a treasure trove of game design know-how

The package’s gallery mode is packed with dozens of design documents

The new Capcom Beat ’Em Up Bundle collects several classics from the company’s glory days, while bringing home two games — Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit — for the first time. Those two games, as well as the other titles — Final Fight, Captain Commando, The King of Dragons, Knights of the Round and Warriors of Fate — all feature local and online multiplayer to help modernize the bundle.

While getting all these classics in a single collection is a hefty offering on its own, one feature really stood out to me as the main attraction: the gallery. Tucked into the main menu, the gallery gives me the option to browse several images from each of the games’ production history. Everything from key art to rough sketches and arcade cabinet designs is gathered for each title. It’s a great bonus feature, especially since some of these games weren’t in my local arcade growing up.

While I appreciated everything Capcom managed to squeeze into the gallery, my favorite inclusion was all of the original game design documents scanned into the collection.

Each game has its own set of several high-quality scans of their original level design, character design and even user interface concepts. It’s rare that these kinds of documents are part of a game’s special features, let alone for games this old.

The majority of the design documents are done all in pencil, which really lends to old school feel of this collection. All of the games in the bundle were created in the late ’80s or early ’90s, so it’s interesting to see how much traditional art was used to design these early video games. There’s an impressive amount of finely detailed illustrations created for each title, and all of that hard work had to eventually be stripped down to make low-resolution pixel art. The amount of effort poured into these design documents has given me newfound respect for how much work they put into these games back in the day.

As players, what we typically see is the end result — a flashy game cabinet in the arcade. Rarely do we get to see what went into making these masterpieces. The gallery is a wonderful reminder that these remain some of the best arcade games of their era, for the reasons we may not always consider.

The Capcom Beat ’Em Up Bundle is available now for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One with the Windows PC version coming soon.

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