Capcom are prolific for creating countless top notch video games franchises, with new entries in two of their biggest hitters (Resident Evil and Monster Hunter) releasing in the last couple of months alone. However, there are plenty of titles in their storied history that have fallen out of the limelight over the years, though gamers who spent hours in the arcade may remember then fondly. Yep, Capcom have a wealth of coin-op arcade classics under their belt, with a large selection of them seeing a revival of sorts in Capcom Arcade Stadium.
After a successful launch on the Nintendo Switch last year, it has now made its way to the PlayStation 4. Are the classic titles worth your attention now though, or do they belong in the past? Well, whilst there are a few duds in this selection of over thirty games, the vast majority showcase Capcom’s talent of creating addictive and enjoyable gaming escapades.
Whilst gamers can grab Capcom Arcade Stadium for free, they’ll need to purchase the games in individual bundles: Pack 1: Dawn of the Arcade (‘84 – ‘88), Pack 2: Arcade Revolution (‘89 – ‘92), and Pack 3: Arcade Evolution (‘92 – ‘01). Each pack contains ten different titles released within the time frame noted in the title, with some recognisable favourites joined by others that I had never heard of in my life.
Oh, and those hoping for a small taste of what Capcom Arcade Stadium has to offer will be glad to see that 1943: The Battle of Midway is included as a freebie. I’m actually really fond of the vertical-shooting series, so it’s nice that players get to try it out.
Dawn of the Arcade (’84 – ‘88)
Dawn of the Arcade contains Vulgus, Pirate Ship Higemaru, 1942, Commando, Section Z, Tatakai no Banka (Trojan), Legendary Wings, Bionic Commando, Forgotten Worlds, and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. This is actually a pretty decent selection, with titles like 1942, Commando, and Legendary Wings showing off some of the slick shooting action seen on the arcade scene in the eighties. Of course, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is an iconic classic too, even if it is still as TOUGH as ever. Trojan is a title that I never even heard of, but the sword-and-shield gameplay in a futuristic setting certainly caught my eye – I had fun playing through it.
There are no real bad games in the pack, though I didn’t enjoy Bionic Commando all that much. It felt a little too unforgiving, especially since the gameplay itself hasn’t really aged all that well. I couldn’t really click with Pirate Ship Higemaru’s barrel-throwing gameplay either, with the simplicity of the gameplay putting me off after about ten-minutes of play.
Arcade Revolution (‘89 – ‘92)
Next we have Arcade Revolution, which includes Strider, Dynasty Wars, Final Fight, 1941: Counter Attack, Senjo no Okami II (Commando II), Mega Twins, Carrier Air Wing, Street Fighter II, Captain Commando, and Varth: Operation Thunderstorm. The most notable name in that bunch is the brilliant Street Fighter II, whilst titles like Captain Commando and Final Fight show off some slick beat ‘em up action (though they were already included in the previously released Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle so they felt less special here). Beat ‘em up fans might be interested in Dynasty Wars though, which offers an intriguing take on the genre thanks to its horseback fighting. It’s a little bit bland in design in places, but I’d never played it before and enjoyed my playthrough.
Then you’ve got titles such as Strider which is a LOT of fun, Mega Twins which offers cutesy co-op platforming action, and 1941: Counter Attack to give a vertical shooting fix, ensuring that Arcade Revolution is the most varied of the three bundles. It’s probably my pick of the bunch, with none of the ten titles feeling bad in any way.
Arcade Evolution (’92 – ’01)
Finally, there’s Arcade Evolution, which includes Warriors of Fate, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Powered Gear, Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness, 19XX: The War Against Destiny, Battle Circuit, Giga Wing, 1944: The Loop Master, and Progear. Besides the two obvious titles, this was the bundle which has the least recognisable names for me – that isn’t a bad thing though, especially since some of those unfamiliar titles were some of my favourites across the entire collection.
The two Street Fighter II titles featured in this bundle might feel like a bit of a copout to some gamers, though I understand their inclusion. Each offers different styles of play after all, so it’s not like you’re getting exactly the same game (even if I do think just having Super Street Fighter II Turbo would have been fine). With plenty of other fighters under Capcom’s belt though, it might have been nice to have replaced one of the Street Fighter II titles with something more unique.
Those who do want a unique fighter will be pleased to see Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness though, especially since it has never seen a release outside of Japan on console. It’s a fighting game all about robots that ISN’T Rise of the Robots (thank god)… what more could you want? It also takes place in the same universe as another title in this collection, Armored Warriors, so there’s some consistency there. Admittedly, it’s not the best fighter you’re going to play, but it’s still a neat inclusion.
Speaking of Armored Warriors, it’s one of three beat ‘em ups included in this bundle. Whilst a fun game, it was also included in the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Collection, making its inclusion here a little less significant. You can add Warriors of Fate and Battle Circuit onto that list too, with Arcade Evolution certainly the weakest bundle for anyone who owns the aforementioned collection. If you don’t own it, though? There are three enjoyable beat ‘em ups to play.
The other titles in the bundle are all shooters, with Giga Wing and Progear standing out the most. Both feature frantic screen-filling shooting action and also look great too, with Progear in particular offering some stunning environments in its horizontal-shooting adventure. I’d never played either of these games before seeing them in this bundle, so it makes it even more impressive that they were two of my favourites across the entire collection.
“You can rewind the game if you make a mistake and save you progress for example, whilst there’s even the option to add extra lives if you want to give yourself more chances at success.”
So it’s clear that there’s a cracking selection of games to play in Capcom Arcade Stadium, with each bundle coming in at £11.99 each or £29.99 for the full collection (which also includes Ghosts ‘n Goblins as a bonus). Whilst I think this price is more than fair, it would have been nice to have had the option to purchase some games individually. It could be argued that Arcade Revolution and Arcade Evolution offer more substantial titles too, with some of those included in Dawn of the Arcade showing their age and feeling a little basic in design – especially when compared to the likes of Street Fighter II, Progear, or Strider.
As with similar collections, Capcom Arcade Stadium brings with it some extras to make life easier for players. You can rewind the game if you make a mistake and save you progress for example, whilst there’s even the option to add extra lives if you want to give yourself more chances at success. It might feel cheap, but believe me, some of the games included here are REALLY hard and might prove frustrating if you don’t have a little help. There are leaderboards on offer too if you want to see how you compare to other players around the world, so there’s a competitive element in place for those who fondly remember being the bee’s knees at some of these classics.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll see some additional bundles hit in the future that’ll strengthen Capcom Arcade Stadium’s catalogue even further?”
Another neat inclusion comes with the way each game is presented, with it possible to play them on a virtual arcade cabinet or in full screen. Full screen is the easiest way to play the games, but there’s something about the arcade cabinet-style that just felt charming. In fairness, the presentation is top notch across the board, with the layout of the menus even managing to capture the classic arcade vibe.
There really is a lot to enjoy in Capcom Arcade Stadium and there’s a lot of potential as far as expansion is concerned. There are some titles included in the bundles that didn’t hit the mark after all, whilst Capcom have some fantastic releases that were omitted. Who knows, maybe we’ll see some additional bundles hit in the future that’ll strengthen Capcom Arcade Stadium’s catalogue even further?
Capcom Arcade Stadium offers a neat way to re-live some genuinely great arcade classics, whilst it was a treat discovering titles I’d never heard of before. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few that fall short of the mark and it is a bit of a shame you can’t purchase them individually, especially since not every title in a bundle will appeal to everyone. Thankfully, the relatively cheap price of each bundle means you won’t be breaking the bank too much to get an awesome selection of games – even IF you might not touch some of them again after trying them once.
There’s no doubting that Capcom Arcade Stadium won’t be for everyone, but those who want a trip down memory lane or the opportunity to discover an arcade classic they never played before are in for a treat. Not every title delivers an exciting experience, but those that have stood the test of time still feel great to play decades on from their initial release.
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
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