TUCSON, Ariz. — Rounding up 32 games from the 1980s and 90s, "Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium" is bursting at the seams with treasures from yesteryear.
A worthy follow-up to the 2021 "Capcom Arcade Stadium" and a companion to the recently-released "Capcom Fighting Collection," the anthology is packed with hours of gameplay and ample quality-of-life improvements.
Phil Villarreal: I loved exploring quirkier arcade versions of games I was already familiar with. "Mercs," 'Ghosts 'n Goblins," "Commando," and "1942" are some of my favorites that I poured dozens of hours into throughout my childhood, and I had only ever dabbled in them when I found them in the arcades back in the day.
The arcade versions are uniformly tougher, but the modern enhancements make them much more manageable. The ability to pop in an infinite amount of coins to keep your game going is a godsend, as are save states. I especially appreciated the rewind feature, which allows you to undo an ill-advised mistake and correct your course without hardly a hiccup.
Which games stood out to you, Sean?
Sean Newgent: Of course, I went straight for the fighting games because nothing makes me happier than a quick skirmish in "Street Fighter" — even if I am the polar opposite of an EVO participant and can't pull off a Hadouken if my life depended on it. But nothing is more nostalgic to me than an arcade cabinet smackdown with Ken and Guile, and I enjoyed getting to recreate those memories, no matter how artificial. The game offers the chance to play on a fight stick, but my days of overnight booze-fueled "Street Fighter" beatdowns are long past, so I had to let a controller suffice.
I also found myself dabbling in the "Megaman" offerings, a pair of bizarre and honestly not-so-great fighters that are essentially a boss-rush version of the NES games. Getting to play as Bass is pretty cool; for a "Megaman" fan, these are not essential but cute little distractions.
Then there was "Capcom Sports Club," which had me playing tennis for a couple of hours.
Some of these games are a lot more accessible and fun than others. Still, as you said, Phil, the bevy of options allows gamers of any experience to drop in without feeling the stress of running out of quarters or making one small mistake that erases so much progress.
How did you like the presentation, Phil?
Phil Villarreal: I could have done without the faux-arcade borders, but I appreciated all the customization options. The ability to choose between the U.S. and Japanese ROMs is fascinating. It's near as fun to mess around with the settings and check out the different versions as playing the games themselves.
That said, there is a definite feel of a money grab going on. There may be a ton of games included, but several seem to be from the previous release or straight-up DLC. It got to the point where I winced every time I spotted a game I wanted to try. My heart could only take so much rejection when a non-included game prompted me to open the Microsoft store.
Having somehow missed the original "Capcom Arcade Stadium Game," I now strongly urge you to buy that one so I can have an even larger backlog of unplayed classics to neglect.
I wholeheartedly recommend getting "2nd Stadium," but nostalgic gamers, buyer beware — as great as it is, it's also very much a commercial for all the classic Capcom titles you don't have.
Final thoughts, Sean?
Sean Newgent: The summer of the re-release continues, Phil, and with so few new titles on the radar, with maybe the exception of "Xenoblade 3" at this point, there's something to be said about taking the time to get acquainted or reacquainted with the classics.
This collection is another homerun for Capcom as far as packaging goes, offering enough customization of the user interface and options to keep gamers as I stated after another frustrating defeat in a game meant to eat your allowance.
The selection is great and has enough classics mixed in with oddities that there will be 10 or so games that make the price of entry well-worth it, no matter the gamer.
This is another must-buy for those building their classic game collections while awaiting the next big-budget adventure.
The publisher provided review codes. Phil played the game on Xbox Series X. Sean played on PS4.
Past game reviews by Sean and Phil:
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Diablo II Resurrected
NEO: The World Ends with You
Rainbow Six: Extraction
King of Fighters XV
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
Capcom Fighting Collection