by Casey Loe (BradyGames)
By Mike Delano
The video game world has no shortage of iconic characters: Mario, Link, Lara Croft, Kratos, Master Chief, Solid Snake, Ryu Hayabusa. But rarely do many of those familiar faces originate from the same company, except when it comes to Capcom. Other than Nintendo, no other game maker can claim such an incredible cast of characters, spanning multiple systems, genres and decades. Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia collects more than 200 of those characters, and taken all at once it offers a staggering reminder of the sustained brilliance that Capcom has brought to the gaming world since its inception. The book focuses on the breadth of the company’s characters rather than diving deep into any one, so each gets his or her or its own page with expectedly bright and colorful artwork and a short bio. Written by the great Casey Loe (formerly of GameFan and the sadly MIA WARNING! A Huge Podcast), the background on the characters is crafted with love and knowledge, and includes all manner of hilariously random tidbits (Roy from Rival Schools weights 187 pounds? Alex from Street Fighter III is unemployed??). With very few exceptions (surely Ibuki from SFIII could have replaced one of the lame dudes from Shadow of Rome), all of Capcom’s impeccably designed characters are represented here, up to and including standout recent entries like Asura from Asura’s Wrath and Nilin from Remember Me. Along with great gameplay, characters are integral in establishing the bond with the player that makes for a memorable gaming experience, and this collection is vibrant, hardcover proof that Capcom’s creations have made an indelible impression on gaming history.