Time to practice those hadoukens and even get some monster hunting done – as we check out the best Capcom games of all time!
We recently put the call out on Twitter to find out what everyone’s favourite Capcom game was. Unsurprisingly – considering Capcom’s long history of excellent games – there was quite an eclectic mix of responses.
Though we couldn’t include them all here, we’ve taken a look at the most interesting answers – not all in any particular order – with the top of the list featuring the games that were most commonly mentioned.
So without any further ado, let’s check out what our readers thought were the best Capcom games of all time!
12. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004)
Though not thought of as a Capcom franchise, they – via their subsidiary company Flagship – have had a hand in numerous Zelda titles. Flagship’s relationship with Nintendo’s Zelda series started with The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages on the Game Boy Color in 2001.
Despite the strength of the two interconnected ‘Oracle’ games, The Minish Cap is arguably the best game to come from the collaboration – with innovative, shrinking and growth-based mechanics to many of the puzzles.
The Minish Cap also used the cartoony visual style brought to the series by The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker – the colourful, bright and simpler aesthetics being a perfect match for the Game Boy Advance.
Check out the rest of the Zelda games in our exhaustive Legend of Zelda games in order article!
11. The Speed Rumbler (1986)
Capcom’s arcade heritage is incredibly impressive, with the company dominating the coin-op scene for many years – and, arguably, doing more to keep it going than any other developer/manufacturer; Street Fighter II alone is often credited for reviving a flagging industry and bringing audiences flocking back to test their skills against one another.
Their history goes much further back than Street Fighter II however, with this 1986 offering being a little known but excellent top-down driving/combat action game.
Heavily influenced by Mad Max, The Speed Rumbler is an unusual and addictive arcade game that’s pretty challenging, as befits the coin-guzzling style of the era.
It’s recently been re-released as part of Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium for Switch, PS4, PC and Xbox One, so it’s arguably never been easier to take The Speed Rumbler for a spin!
10. Project Justice: Rival Schools 2 (2000)
Capcom’s fighting game expertise is near peerless – with incredible examples of the genre in both 2D and 3D form across countless series, way beyond the most familiar titles.
Rival Schools is a short lived, mostly forgotten series – but the second game received an impassioned vote when we asked Twitter users for their favourite Capcom games.
Though eclipsed by the long-running Street Fighter series and the mega-crossovers of the late 90s and early 00s, Project Justice: Rival Schools 2 was a 3D fighting game in which students and teachers from various schools compete in teams of three fighters to beat the living daylights out of each other.
Innovative, accessible and unique in its setting, Project Justice definitely deserves a second look.
9. Bionic Commando (1988)
Based on the arcade game of the same name, the NES version of Bionic Commando is actually a much stronger experience. Though the arcade game was a visual feast that the NES couldn’t compete with, the reworked console version’s gameplay was much more satisfying – and is actually one of the very best NES games, period.
A platforming run-and-gunner, Bionic Commando is unique for a few reasons: for one thing, you can’t jump. That may seem weird, but there’s a good reason for it – your bionic arm allows you to swing across gaps and to reach higher platforms.
The swinging is perfectly tuned; though challenging, it’s an addictive and original mechanic – making you feel like Spider-Man years before Marvel’s webslinger got any comparable mechanics right in a video game.
An excellent Game Boy version of Bionic Commando – just different enough to be considered a new game – a 2.5D remake in 2008 (Bionic Commando Rearmed) and even a full on 3D sequel in 2009 (confusingly just titled Bionic Commando) all followed, but arguably the best game in the series overall is the superb NES version of the slightly underwhelming arcade title.
8. God Hand (2006)
Though it didn’t garner much attention upon release, Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami’s God Hand has since become a cult classic.
A beat ‘em up with unique gameplay elements and more than a hundred moves that players can choose from in order to build a unique set of attacks, God Hand has an irreverent, slapstick comedic tone that perhaps took critics aback.
When games were getting darker, edgier and striving to be more mature, God Hand threw a humorous curveball that no one was expecting, particularly with Makami at the helm. The result is an off-kilter, weirdly hilarious masterpiece that still feels incredibly unique to this day.
There was never anything like God Hand before it came out – and there’s not likely to be another game like it ever again.
7. Marvel vs Capcom 2 (2000)
Before Marvel dominated the box office with their MCU movies, Capcom brought a bewildering array of the company’s heroes and villains to their fighting games.
This fourth game (following X-Men vs Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter and the first Marvel vs Capcom) was arguably the peak of the series, with stunning, timeless pixel art and animation, jaw-dropping attacks and visual effects and an incredible roster of characters. Three-on-three fights came to the series for the first time too.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 is widely regarded as one of the best fighting games of all time. With Capcom being responsible for so many of the most critically and commercially successful games in the genre, that’s high praise indeed.
6. Mega Man X (1993)
Though a few of the Mega Man X titles were mentioned in the response to our question on the best Capcom games, we couldn’t include them all – so we’ve chosen to include the first title in the spin-off series.
Going from the NES Mega Man games to Mega Man X demonstrated an incredible leap in audiovisual capabilities and gameplay; this was made more apparent given that the final NES Mega Man game, Mega Man 6, was developed and released alongside Mega Man X on the SNES.
Though Mega Man 6 was a solid and enjoyable title – that was a great experience on the 8-bit console – you’d never guess that it came out at the same time as Mega Man X if you see them in action alongside each other!
Mega Man X really does look and play beautifully too; like many other SNES games of the same era, it’s aged really well and – despite a level of challenge that’s higher than many modern games – it’s a joy to play to this day. You won’t be surprised to find Mega Man X on our best SNES games list either!
5. Dead Rising (2006)
Taking more than a few cues from George A. Romero’s 70s zombie classic Dawn of the Dead, Capcom’s Dead Rising sees main character, photojournalist Frank West, trapped in a shopping mall that’s overrun with hordes of zombies.
Bosses come in the form of various human Psychopaths – who must be defeated in order to access new areas or for Frank to rescue other survivors. Interestingly – and, controversially upon release – every playthrough of the game takes place in a fixed 72-hour period, during which certain events will always occur at specific times.
This means that Frank doesn’t have time to rescue everyone or deal with every single event or Psychopath in one single playthrough; missing or failing an event is permanent until Frank dies or the end of the game is reached. A single save file was all that was available too, meaning that players really did have certain events closed off as time passed in their game – at least until they restarted.
Despite the complaints from players on this aspect of the game, it added both a huge amount of replayability and some agonising choices to be made over the course of the game, making every choice and consequence feel important. Despite the drama this implies, the game itself is hugely playful – with crazy weapons and costumes available to the player, along with a massive selection of items in the mall’s shops to throw at or otherwise torment the zombie hordes with.
4. Final Fight (1989)
Two years before Capcom reinvigorated the arcade scene with Street Fighter II, they released one of the most iconic and influential beat ‘em ups of all time.
Up to two players can play simultaneously to take on the Mad Gear gang and try to rescue Mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter from the clutches of the evil Mad Gear gang. Players can choose from Cody, Guy or Haggar and make their way through six varied, urban levels that take players through the crime-ridden Metro City.
The game’s sprites were huge and numerous, making the combat feel weighty and relentless. The game itself was a visual delight, with brilliantly designed characters and incredibly detailed scenery that still looks great today.
Though it was ported to many systems, none of them quite captured the same magic or scale of the arcade version (though the Sega CD version came the closest – check it out on our best Sega CD games list). It’s no wonder that Final Fight was a huge success, with its influence still felt in scrolling beat ‘em ups to this day.
3. Monster Hunter: World (2018)
Though the responses to our Twitter question on the best Capcom games saw several people mention the Monster Hunter series, with so many other games to cover we could only pick one.
And our choice goes to Monster Hunter: World, which was not only hailed as the best game in the series upon release, but was also a serious contender for Game of the Year overall in 2018.
It features everything familiar to fans of the series, with big, frequent battles with a huge variety of (sometimes enormous) monsters, with the potential reward of rare equipment always drawing players in for more creature hunting fun.
That core gameplay loop is what’s always made Monster Hunter so compelling – and with numerous quality of life improvements, the series has rarely been as friendly to newcomers as it is in Monster Hunter: World. Playing alongside friends or strangers to take down giant beasts and prepare for your next hunt is a winning formula that just never seems to get old.
2. Street Fighter 2 (1991)
Reaching the top of our best 90s arcade games list, Street Fighter 2 is another of Capcom’s games that seems absolutely timeless.
Bringing real spectacle back to arcades – with crowds forming around skilful players being commonplace back in the early 90s – Street Fighter 2 not only played a huge part in rescuing a dwindling coin-op industry, but also created the fighting game tournament scene that’s still going strong today.
Though superseded in gameplay, roster and technical terms by other games in the series, no other Street Fighter game is as iconic, recognisable or accessible as Street Fighter 2 in our humble opinion. A very worthy contender for the top of the best Capcom games list – but the responses on our Twitter question pointed to a different game entirely, as you’re about to find out…
1. Resident Evil 7 (2017)
A surprising number of responses on our poll specifically mentioned Resident Evil 7 VR; given the fact that it’s a scary enough game without the immersion and sensory overload of virtual reality, clearly you lot are made of sterner stuff than us here at Retro Dodo!
Resident Evil 7 is a game which rescued the series from its middle trilogy doldrums; having descended into non-scary, action-oriented territory, the series returned to form here – throwing the horror straight back in our faces.
And it really was straight in our faces, given the change to a first person viewpoint! There’s a reason that Resident Evil 7 made it onto our best PS4 horror games list – it’s a genuinely terrifying experience.
The Resident Evil games brought real horror to an unsuspecting audience back in the late 90s – and it’s great to see Capcom getting back to doing what it does best with the series: scaring the living daylights out of us.
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.