When it comes to classic arcade games, Capcom is one of a handful of developers that truly stands out so here is their latest compilation.
Capcom Arcade Stadium currently contains a whopping 32 games once you purchase all of the available packs. For starters, let's discuss the miscellaneous gems such as Pirate Ship Higemaru which is a grid-based action game where you roll barrels to defeat pirates. I love it and feel as if it's a precursor to Bomberman. I also enjoy the frantic action of Commando and its sequel Senjo no Okami II (AKA Mercs). Ghosts 'n Goblins and its sequel Ghouls 'n Ghosts are included, too, which are top-notch and super-challenging Halloween-themed platformers. On a more obscure note, Tatakai no Banka (AKA Trojan) is a quirky fast-paced action game and Mega Twins is a wonderful co-op platformer that's still great fun. There's also Bionic Commando which is quite tricky to play with its finicky gameplay and Strider which is one of the few classic ninja games that'll actually make you feel like a ninja. Well, we're off to a good start; that's for sure!
List of games in Capcom Arcade Stadium
- Pirate Ship Higemaru
- Ghosts 'n Goblins
- Section Z
- Tatakai no Banka
- Legendary Wings
- Bionic Commando
- 1943: The Battle of Midway
- Forgotten Worlds
- Ghouls 'n Ghosts
- Dynasty Wars
- Final Fight
- 1941: Counter Attack
- Senjo no Okami II
- Mega Twins
- Carrier Air Wing
- Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
- Captain Commando
- Varth: Operation Thunderstorm
- Warriors of Fate
- Street Fighter II' Turbo: Hyper Fighting
- Super Street Fighter II Turbo
- Powered Gear: Strategic Variant Armor Equipment
- Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness
- 19XX: The War Against Destiny
- Battle Circuit
- Giga Wing
- 1944: The Loop Master
Whether it's a beat 'em up or a 1-on-1 fighting game, Capcom Arcade Stadium has quite a lot of fighters. First, if you already own Capcom Beat 'em Up Bundle then you may be disappointed that Final Fight, Captain Commando, Warriors of Fate, Powered Gear: Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (AKA Armored Warriors), and Battle Circuit are featured here, too, even if they are all solid brawlers in their own unique ways. However, Dynasty Wars is included which is an underrated Three Kingdoms period beat 'em up where you ride a horse. Anyway, although I'm sure you've played them a million times, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, Street Fighter II' Turbo: Hyper Fighting, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo are all included as well and it's interesting to see how Street Fighter has changed through these 3 iterations. Interestingly, I actually had more fun with the intricate mech fighter Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness.
Shoot 'em ups
Here's my favourite category! Capcom made some of the best arcade shmups back in the day and Capcom Arcade Stadium features 13 of them which is fantastic. For their classic titles, we have Vulgus which is a simple and enjoyable shooter that plays a lot like Xevious. 1942 is also here along with its classic sequels 1943: The Battle of Midway and 1941: Counter Attack. Each one of those has held up extremely well and any shoot 'em fan will be happy to play through them again. There's also the innovative Section Z which lets you change shooting direction and its spiritual successor Forgotten Worlds which allows you to actually rotate your character as you fly through stages as well as play cooperatively with a friend. The hybrid shooter / platformer Legendary Wings is here, too, which is an absolute blast.
In addition to these retro classics, we're also treated to more modern shmups such as Carrier Air Wing with its high-octane jet fighter dogfights that still look gorgeous. Meanwhile, Varth: Operation Thunderstorm is a clever take on the 1942 formula as it features a nifty weapon pod system that adds a layer of strategy to the action. Speaking of which, 19XX: The War Against Destiny boasts a cool charge attack and a variety of weapon power-ups and the Eighting-developed 1944: The Loop Master offers a ton of fun even though it has quite a wide play area. Next, Giga Wing is a solid shmup that I still own on Dreamcast but it's not everyone's cup of tea. Finally, I first heard of Progear when I covered the Capcom DLC Pack for Dariusburst and now that I've played the original arcade version, I must say that I'm impressed. It was developed by Cave so you can definitely expect high quality and it surely delivers; a great inclusion for sure.Quiz: Capcom Shoot 'em Ups Trivia
Bells and whistles
The first thing you'll notice upon booting Capcom Arcade Stadium up is just how awesome its menus and presentation are. It's as if you're in an actual arcade and are trying out these games in real life. The display options match this aesthetic as you can play with arcade machine borders and filters for authenticity's sake or merely play with these features disabled which is what I personally prefer. Oh, and you can rotate the display if you want to play in tate mode. Another cool implementation is the leaderboard system which allows you to climb online rankings for each game via Timed Challenge, Score Challenge, and Special Challenge modes. You'll also earn achievements (known as Triumphs) and CASPO as you play which is a weird overarching point system that has its own leaderboard.
On the downside, Capcom Arcade Stadium doesn't really feature much museum-style content which retro arcade nerds such as myself love to see. There is a lovely little Credit Movie with old Capcom footage and artwork on display which I enjoyed but that's about it. You can also browse manuals for each game which contain helpful information but I would have loved to see soundtracks, interviews, art scans, and much more. Last but not least, Capcom Arcade Stadium is by no means a complete collection of the company's arcade library. I still own and play the 2 Capcom Classics Collection games on PS2 and those featured games such as SonSon, Gun.Smoke, Eco Fighters, Side Arms Hyper Dyne, and Three Wonders which are all awesome games that aren't here at all. There was even a Capcom-themed trivia game adaptation of Quiz & Dragons which was a brilliant addition for fans. Why couldn't that be included here, too?
Before I forget, the vast majority of the games can be played via either their English or Japanese ROM version which sometimes has surprising differences such as Mega Twins featuring a bikini-clad young lady that you can rescue in the Japanese version.
Capcom Arcade Stadium is simply one of the best arcade compilations out there for its vast assortment of excellent games alone. Throw in a gorgeous presentation and comprehensive leaderboards and you're left with one must-have collection.
- + Includes 32 mostly awesome arcade treasures that are great fun even nowadays
- + Wealth of nifty display options
- + Excellent leaderboard implementation
- - It's by no means a complete collection
- - Missing museum-style content