Title: Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium
Release Date: July 15, 2022
Reviewed On: Switch
For a company putting out so many different collections, it’s hard to fault Capcom, as none of them feel like cash grabs. Do some of these collections share the same titles? Sure, but the way they are packaged and presented means these classic titles are celebrated and experienced in completely different ways.
We may have just seen Darkstalkers in the recent Capcom Fighting Collection with rollback netcode and all, but the latest Capcom Arcade Stadium collection presents these same titles, and more, in a different light. In other words, the type of collection you want depends on what you’re after, but if you’re a hardcore fan, then chances are you’re not going to mind double dipping.
Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium, much like the first volume, brings together Capcom’s arcade output in a lavish digital arcade presentation. It captures the noise and bustle of walking into an amusement center in Akihabara, and while none of the 32 titles featured here support online multiplayer, there is a strong online element with all of the leaderboards and challenges. This collection is all about chasing scores and munching coins, and so it has a completely different emphasis compared to the rollback netcode features of Capcom Fighting Collection.
Despite some overlap in titles featured, there is far more variety in 2nd Stadium than just fighting games, and certain arcade rarities receive a more accessible home release. Here you have the usual Capcom arcade genres, being fighting, shooters, and beat ’em up (or belt action as it is known), but there’s so much more variety, as now you have a choice of puzzle battle games and even racing games. Granted, a couple of these titles are interesting curiosities at best (Hissatsu Buraiken sticks out like a sore thumb), but a vast majority of the selection is timeless classics you can still enjoy today.
Let’s take a look at Three Wonders as an example. It has long been one of Capcom’s most obscure titles, having only seen a home conversion on SEGA Saturn in Japan, and even that version is incredibly rare and expensive. To have a title like that present here along with other rarities makes this collection worth celebrating. Sure, we can complain about having the same old Street Fighter games, but if a few familiar titles are thrown alongside games like Three Wonders, then more power to Capcom for preserving their back catalog.
There are a few other holy grails here, and it’s so awesome to see Saturday Night Slam Masters in all of its arcade perfection. This is no doubt one of the best pro wrestling video games ever made, starring Mayor Haggar from Final Fight himself, as he battles for the heavyweight championship. It certainly leans more toward being a fighting game, but it has all the nuances and sensibilities of a solid pro wrestling experience, with an effective grapple system and all the big signature moves.
What’s also great about 2nd Stadium is how customizable it is, with no shortage of display filters and orientations to make each of the titles appear exactly as you’d like them to. For the most part, you probably want a higher resolution display, especially when the side-banner artwork looks so cool, but for some games, like 1943 Kai, you want the arcade cabinet experience. Point is, these games have never looked or sounded better than they do here.
Beyond the display, options are various settings and modes to get the most out of these classics, and while it may lack galleries of other Capcom collections, there are detailed instruction manuals for each of the titles. There’s no shortage of attention to detail here, and the various challenges and score-chasing incentives will make this a digital arcade you’ll want to revisit over and over.
As a release, there is some degree of flexibility in how you want to purchase the collection. The base game itself can be downloaded free of charge, and while there is value to pay for all 32 titles upfront, you can actually go after specific titles if you want. In short, this doesn’t feel like a cash grab in the slightest, and the pricing model is reasonable given the quality of titles featured here and the numerous ways in which you can experience them.
Between Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium and its predecessor, you’ve got nearly all of Capcom’s most celebrated titles across two epic volumes, both featuring plenty of long-lost rarities too. Sure, a lot of these titles are present in other collections, and you’re basically going to be playing local couch multiplayer, but if you’re after some of the best gaming experiences from the ’90s, then you simply cannot go wrong here. Besides, even the full price of admission is far less than what you would pay for a SEGA Saturn copy of Three Wonders.
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