It now has been over eight years since Capcom Arcade Cabinet released on consoles. With those machines mostly in the past, the timing is right for another re-release of Capcom’s finest. Capcom Arcade Stadium bundles together some of the finest arcade releases, dating from 1984 to 2001. Yes, we know what to expect here, but how does it play and is this package worth its new asking price? Let’s find out.
Outside of mild moments in Street Fighter and Ghosts and Goblins, or a small intermission from time to time, you won’t find a lot of narrative here. Beat things up, blast them, repeat, and now and then see an “ending” that was created to give the player a reward. These were quarter munchers years ago, and while the quality of every game within is rather decent, don’t hop in here and expect to see some stunning tale unfold before your eyes.
What Capcom Arcade Stadium does well is service as a platform for some fantastic titles on consoles. For instance, 1941, 1943, and so on are a lot of fun to play, and while short, offer a lot of incentive to hot in and shoot some ships. Other offerings such as Final Fight will be instantly recognizable, with other niche international releases like Powered Gear round out the collection to make it feel complete. Emulation was done almost perfect from my experience with each one of these titles, and minor additions such as being able to rewind gameplay do a lot to make these titles more accessible to current players, so it was good to see the attention placed there.
I typically would not spend time listing the games within as this is the review, but I think it is very important for this piece to understand the titles within, for good reason.
- PIRATE SHIP HIGEMARU
- SECTION Z
- Tatakai no Banka
- LEGENDARY WINGS
- BIONIC COMMANDO
- FORGOTTEN WORLDS
- Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
- DYNASTY WARS
- FINAL FIGHT
- 1941 – Counter Attack –
- Senjo no OkamiⅡ
- MEGA TWINS
- CARRIER AIR WING
- STREET FIGHTER II – The World Warrior –
- CAPTAIN COMMANDO
- VARTH – Operation Thunderstorm –
- WARRIORS OF FATE
- STREET FIGHTER II’ – Hyper Fighting –
- SUPER STREET FIGHTER II TURBO
- Powered Gear – Strategic Variant Armor Equipment –
- CYBERBOTS – FULLMETAL MADNESS –
- 19XX – The War Against Destiny –
- Battle Circuit
- Giga Wing
- 1944 – The Loop Master –
As you see, there are 32 titles within Arcade Stadium. The main issue is that these games can be purchased in installment, and the actual content is a bit questionable if you happen to be a seasoned Capcom fan. While I love the Street Fighter II love on display and played a ton of Capcom’s beat-em ups, I will say that seeing them stapled in here for the sake of content despite being released in other compilations fairly recently kind of put me off a bit. Sure, there are new backgrounds to add and a slightly different aesthetic, but everyone I know who would buy this bought the other titles the day they came out, myself included. While filler content is forgivable, I think it was fairly brave of Capcom to dive in with so many titles they have re-released in other collections.
Does that ruin the collection? No, not at all. There is value here even if you own those titles, as you get a great number of high-quality ports in one refined package. That said, it’s a good idea to peer over the list before purchasing to ensure what this compilation has for you. There is a lot of love and history bundled in the special features, so even if you are not in the mood to play, watching that tribute video or flipping through manuals will be sure to crack a smile to any nostalgic player’s face.
Visually, there is a lot going on here. Some games such as Battle Circuit and Street Fighter II are brightly lit and very colorful, while others such as any of the 1940’s games keep duller tones to focus on their core mechanics. It’s a mix, but the art styles are all on full display and look fantastic for the most part. Players can customize their backdrops on cabinets, and even manually enter quarters into the machines to keep playing. Display ratios were my only issue here, as I didn’t like the camera view of the cabinet themselves and would always change it when playing a game to a more fitting filter. Instead of remembering my choice, Arcade Stadium doesn’t have an option to do so it seems, and players must reset their screen format preference upon entering each game. It doesn’t take but a second to change, but definitely a mild annoyance.
The music here is legendary. I mean, just scroll up and look at the list of titles involved. There is something special about the soundtracks within this selection, and that may be a good trigger for fans to dive in to this compilation. All voices, sounds, and so on play as they should, with little issue of distortion or static (as some ports seem to have from other companies).
Capcom Arcade Stadium is a fantastic compilation that is sure to please any fan of the brand. That said, if you have already purchased the beat-em up or Street Fighter collections, you may want to ensure this pack is for you before taking the plunge. I personally love bundles like this and just getting to play 1941 again (which doesn’t get enough credit) gave me a lot of joy. Arcade Stadium is perfect for jump in and out gameplay sessions, offering players quick entry into their own past at a fairly decent price.