Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium Review – The charm of old cabin cruisers

The retro charm of Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium returns to our new consoles with the second compilation of great classics from the long-lived Japanese publisher. For those unfamiliar with Capcom ‘s retro game series, the Arcade Stadium is a collection of titles that were in the great arcades of the past, places that are unfortunately disappearing nowadays. Arcades resist more than anything else in Japan, despite the closure of some that have become real landmarks

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In the Eighties, however, the arcades were the place where you could touch the innovation in the field of video games with your own hands – and with a few pennies. There was something for everyone: fighting games, platformers, or driving simulators. Many titles that have made the history of the old cabinets – just think of Street Fighter by Capcom – also landed on the home consoles that at the time appeared on the market.

However, also considering the cost of the hardware, the solution of the cabinets was perhaps the best and certainly the most powerful: the arcades were therefore a real place of worship for enthusiasts, a place of social gathering for the youngest and for the managers themselves, who organized competitions and tournaments, keeping the attention of consumers and the spirit of competition alive.

 

In Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium it is possible to find several titles of the time such as the historic Street Fighter Alpha 2 or Megaman – The Power Battle – as well as other titles almost unknown to the Western public. We put them to the test in our high nostalgia review.

A trip down memory lane

The playable titles in this new compilation only affirm the company’s market hegemony in the pre- Resident Evil era. Just like its predecessor, Capcom Arcade 2nd Statium gives the gamer the chance to live a tout court experience in the arcade, not simply emulating the top titles on the roster – as many as 30 divided by years of publication, with the possibility also to choose the English or Japanese from.

Specifically, we talk about:

  • Savage Bees
  • Gan Sumoku
  • Hyper Dyne Side Arms
  • Hissatsu Bracken
  • Black Tiger
  • Street Fighter
  • Tiger Road
  • 1943 Kai – Midway Kaisen –
  • Last Duel
  • Rally 2011 Led Storm
  • AKA Magic Sword
  • Three Wonders
  • AKA The King of Dragons
  • AKA Block Block
  • AKA Knights of the Round
  • Saturday Night Slam Masters
  • Eco Fighters
  • Policies
  • Darkstalkers – The Night Warriors –
  • Night Warriors – Darkstalkers’ Revenge –
  • Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior’s Dreams
  • Megaman: The Power Battle
  • Street Fighter Alpha 2
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
  • Megaman 2: The Power Fighters
  • AKA Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire
  • Capcom Sports Club
  • Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3.

Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition

The initial screen welcomes us to a real deserted arcade (and therefore, all to ourselves, without having to give our turn to others!) Where it is possible to customize the various cabinets with liveries and colors. Moreover, and this is a small gem, it is also possible to move the various levers and simulate the insertion of the coin in the appropriate slot – perhaps the most exciting moment of the old cabinets.

The cabinet is therefore not only an aesthetic presence, but it is there “in flesh and blood” even during the game phases, precisely to recreate that feeling that brings us back into the room, with a narrow screen and old scanlines cathode ray tube television.

In short, those who lived in those years can agree with the fact that Capcom has managed to bring to modern consoles a real videogame experience of about forty years ago, including its captivating and never forgotten charm.

The 80s are much more than a decade … Surely the goal of these collections is to tease the palates of old school gamers, but also to intrigue new gamers who can experience – albeit in a virtual way – the charm of arcades.

The attempt by Capcom is certainly commendable, as thanks to the gimmick of the arcade it has managed to implement many different videogame genres in a single Collection, despite nostalgia. Unlike other companies, which have reintroduced their flagship titles in standalone mode on modern consoles, Capcom Arcade Stadium certainly offers several titles ready to be (re) discovered.

However, as is often asked in these cases, retro game emulation in the internet age has become a constant, especially by nostalgic gamers. Is there a need for a collection? Emulations and abandonware travel on a so-called middle line, a borderline zone between legality and illegality as emulators – for example – should reproduce bios and image files extracted from products physically in our possession ( here a detailed focus on the topic by Gioele Maria Pignati for our sister site Tom’s Hardware ).

To overcome this “annoying” gray area, many companies including both Sony and Microsoft – thanks to their subscription services – in recent years have focused a lot on remasters, physical and collector’s editions of old glories (Square Enix, for example, is recovering some historical titles from its vast catalog ) and digital ports. This is necessary for the historical preservation of video games that are at times very lacking: titles released digitally and no longer available or physical video games now available at dizzying prices on eBay.

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