If the first Capcom Arcade Stadium represented a greatest hits of Capcom in the arcades over the years, then what is the need for the sequel? Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium is the difficult second compilation – it’s another decent collection of titles, but does come with more than a few caveats.
Once again, this compilation is technically free-to-play, and does come with one title: Sonson. Unlike the previous compilation, titles are available in one big bundle or individually. There isn’t an option to purchase a pack of ten based on the years they released this time around. And I think you can read into that; previously it was a celebration of Capcom’s history as one of the best arcade developers out there. This time around, it is more a case of filling in the blanks with some leftfield choices. But some of those blanks have already been filled.
Just the month previous to the Arcade 2nd Stadium release, Capcom pushed out the Capcom Fighting Collection, giving chance for Western players to play many of the more obscure fighting titles that never made it to our shores originally, and with full online multiplayer to boot. A whopping six of those released in that collection make a reappearance here – Darkstalkers, Night Warriors, Vampire Savior, Hyper Street Fighter II, Super Gem Fighter Minimix and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo – this time without any online multiplayer. Perhaps more annoying is the offer of Three Wonders being a freebie for this compilation if you purchase the Capcom Fighting Collection beforehand.
Not only that, but there are seven Street Fighter games included that have all been available recently. Sure, not all of them are strictly fighting games, and it is still of course a major franchise for Capcom, but this seems a bit excessive. It doesn’t look like any of these have been previously released before however in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, but with the amount of variations of Street Fighter II it is almost impossible to tell.
Fighting fans that haven’t purchased previous collections will definitely be pleased with the games on offer here. The original is in place, along with a trilogy of Street Fighter Alpha titles. These four alone are not as readily accessible as others here despite being from such an iconic franchise, so more modern Street Fighter fans still have something here.
However, not to demerit the rest of the compilation as surplus, there is a healthy smattering across a variety of genres. It feels slightly skewed towards side-scrolling beat em ups, with the likes of Tiger Road, Black Tiger, Magic Sword and The King of Dragons to name just four, but this isn’t exactly an issue. Instead, it presents a window into that era of gaming when you line up all titles in this collection chronologically.
They do vary in quality however: Knights of the Round has a gimmick involving the legend of King Arthur which really works well as a fun plot. Conversely there is Hissatsu Buraiken, a top-down brawler that looks ugly even for its time and plays about as well.
Sonson – the earliest game within this collection – is also along the same lines. Based on the classic Chinese tale of Journey to the West, this is the game that comes free with Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium. And to be fair, it is quite good too.
There is also an abundance of shoot ‘em ups, again a sign of the times. Each one offers something unique though, rather than just being generic shooters. Savage Bees is perhaps the most generic, but does have you shooting oversized bees at least. Gun.Smoke is a Wild West themed one, Last Duel and The Speed Rumbler both feature cars as well, Eco Fighters and Hyper Dyne Side Arms both require you to shoot all around you rather than just forward, and then of course there is 1943.
Some of the more ‘modern’ games – as in, released after 1995 – represent some of the leftfield choices. Block Block is a traditional brick-breaker but what compilation isn’t improved with one of those in their roster? Then we have Three Wonders which is a collection of three games in one; a compilation within a compilation! And let’s not forget Saturday Night Slam Masters, a basic but fun wrestling game, and unlike anything else on offer here.
Special shout out though to Rally 2011 LED Storm, my favourite game in this collection. It is a racing game – already an unusual addition for this collection – played from a top-down perspective. It is Outrun-esque in that you need to drive around traffic, but you also need to keep an eye on your petrol gauge and pick-up the collectibles when you can. It is a must play for fans of Outrun.
That’s most of the games covered, but what else is included? Well, in that respect this 2nd Stadium offering is almost identical to the first Arcade Stadium. The UI and presentation looks the same, and it once again features CASPO as a measurement of your skill across all the titles. Short for Capcom Arcade Stadium Points, each play in any of the standard plays or challenge modes will award points and it is a cumulative total.
On the subject of the challenges, these are designed for you to compare and contrast your best on the online leaderboards. However, to reach these leaderboards, you will need to reach a very high threshold before your score is registered. As such, these leaderboards are reserved for the elite players, and as such, are pretty quiet in terms of actual numbers.
You can also customise your arcade thanks to some free DLC or through unlocking CASPO ranks. Each arcade cabinet can be individually customised to give your virtual arcade a really unique look
There is definitely a more varied overall list of games in the Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium compilation than the first one, but there are also more repeated titles. You can pick and choose what to buy though, so maybe those that already own the Capcom Fighting Collection can happily skip them this time around. For everyone else, it is pretty much guaranteed that there will be something here for you. Whether it is an old arcade favourite you haven’t been able to play for years, or discovering something for the first time, there is a healthy mix of arcade classics to choose from.
No spare change required for the Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium