The latest in a long line of classic game remakes from QUByte Interactive, Breakers Collection is a combination of two fighting games from the 1990s – Breakers and Breakers Revenge, apparently released in the arcades and on NeoGeo. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of them, as neither had I until I picked up this collection.
The question we need to address then is whether or not a couple of fighting games from the ‘90s, that aren’t Street Fighter, can still hold our interest today? Well, get your Gi on…
The first paragraph of my reviews usually touch on the story, and why we are trying to have a massive fight in the first place. What is our motivation? Well, it appears that narrative in the ‘90s wasn’t something that had any relevance to what we were trying to achieve – we are there, some other people are there, we all have a massive fight. Think of it like being in a Wetherspoons on a Saturday night…
What is much more relevant is the presentation. And here, the news is much better. In fact, apart from the fact that the floor in my living room hasn’t been made sticky with unidentified substances, Breakers Collection took me right back to the smoky arcades I frequented as a younger man. What this rambling introduction is leading to is the fact that this game looks exactly like an arcade game from that time period, except nowadays we have to have filler panels in the side to make up for the difference in aspect ratio.
The character sprites are big and bold, well designed as well, whilst the flashy super moves and super duper moves are all suitably shiny. The backdrops are typical of the era too; largely static with some moving parts. Again, think Street Fighter II and you’re not a million miles away.
The same can be said for the soundtrack, right down to Tia from the Breakers Collection sounding suspiciously Chun Li-like. The music is nice, the various characters all call out their moves the way that you would expect, and all in all the presentation of both the games included here is like settling into a bubble bath scented with the 1990s.
So, what about the fighting action? Well, first I have to address the elephant in the room – there is not a single original character included. Every single one of the ten or so playable characters is either a direct copy of a Street Fighter II character (we’ll highlight Tia again), pays homage to a Street Fighter II character (Rila, who is basically Blanka) or comes about by rolling a few of them into one (again, Tia is pretty much a full-on combination of Chun Li, Ryu or M. Bison).
Even the button inputs are the same, so if you can do a fireball with Ken, you can do all of the special moves for these characters. If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, Street Fighter II must be blushing furiously somewhere.
But this is 2023 and the remaster of these games has seen the addition of a few nice extras to the original games. There are a whole host of modes to have a crack at, for a start – straight up arcade, where you take your chosen character through the story and defeat the final boss; a variety of team battle modes, either 2v2 or 3v3 where you pit your chosen team against the AI or online players; a practice mode where you can get to grips with all the different brawlers and their moves; and a versus mode as well, either for fighting against the AI or against a couch adversary. In addition to the many offline modes, there are online modes as well, allowing you to take part in either ranked or unranked bouts over the internet. You’re not short of options in these two games, let’s put it that way.
The actual combat – both online and offline – is pretty fluid. The netcode seems pretty robust, and I haven’t had any difficulty in finding other fighters to do battle with online. Fighting offline is also pretty good, but I have report that I had difficulty in pulling off the Super moves, which usually involve a double fireball motion and then pressing two punches or kicks together; this is almost impossible to pull off with the left stick on the controller, and difficult even with the D-pad. When something is as fast paced as this is, it leads me to think that a fight stick – something like the Nacon Daija Arcade Stick, perhaps – would go a long way to making Breakers Collection more playable.
Oh, and playing through Arcade mode, the final boss? He makes M. Bison look like he plays by the Queensbury rules. I have never been obliterated so fast by such a cheesy series of moves since, well, ever! The difficulty level is certainly bang on for the 90s, back when games didn’t take prisoners. You can adjust the difficulty, but even on easy, this is anything but.
All in all, Breakers Collection brings a franchise I wasn’t aware of bang up to date. It is challenging, the online modes work well and are thriving, whilst there is plenty to go at offline. Breakers Collection is one of the better QUByte Interactive remasters and so if you have a hankering for the past, and games with an almost psychic AI, this is for you.
Breakers Collection is on the Xbox Store