Worthplaying | PC Review - 'Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium'

2022-07-30 07:51:38 By :

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A little over a year ago, Capcom Arcade Stadium was released with over 30 titles available if you grabbed all of the packs, making it the largest compilation the company has released to date. There was a good amount of variety thanks to the different genres represented, and while it lacked extras or online play, the quality of the games, including a few that have never seen a home release, made up for those shortcomings and still made it a title that retro fans can get excited about. At the time, the next logical step seemed to be a release of the rest of the company's arcade library on this compilation as DLC. Capcom thought differently, giving us Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium instead.

The compilation matches the first one by having 32 games that span from 1984 to 2003. Compared to the first compilation, 2nd Stadium features more breadth in the represented genres. Racing gets some love with Rally 2001 LED Storm, a game that makes its home debut here. Puzzle fans have the fan favorite Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, along with the home debut of Pnickles, a game that feels like the prototype to Super Puzzle Fighter since you're making unconventional matches with colored blobs that need to be broken with two stars of the same color.

Capcom has had a small number of sports games in the arcades, and that's well represented with Capcom Sports Club, which has basketball, soccer and tennis. Unconventional fighting games also get some love with the wrestling game Saturday Night Slam Masters and the duo of Mega Man: The Power Battles and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, which pit you in one-on-one fights against the bosses from the blue bomber's series of games. Then there's Three Wonders, which is its own compilation and contains a block-pushing puzzle game, a side-scrolling shooter, and a run-and-gun title that are essentially abridged versions of what you'd normally expect from a stand-alone machine.

There's still no shortage of the more traditional genres that Capcom has had success in, and some of them stand out more. Hissatsu Buraiken, also called Avengers, is a standard beat-'em-up except for the fact that it's done from a top-down viewpoint. Block Block is an Arkanoid clone but with two-player co-op thrown in. You've got plenty of shooters from the top-down and side-scrolling varieties, beat-'em-ups with a few RPG elements, and loads of fighting games to choose from. Like the first title, this one is filled with enough hits that you'll have no trouble finding a new favorite that makes the pack worthwhile.

Go beyond the game selection, and very little has changed between the first and second iterations of Capcom Arcade Stadium. Almost every game has a challenge mode and score attack mode to give more experienced players some extra challenge. The CASPO system makes a return, so playing games and achieving certain things yields more bezels for your arcade machines. You can mess with various options for each game, like overall difficulty level, and you can also mess with time by slowing down and speeding up the game speed. You can create save states and rewind, as expected from any emulator, and you can change the screen orientation and have the controls match, so it won't feel strange to make vertical shooters into horizontal ones.

As with the first compilation, one of the main complaints people will have with 2nd Stadium comes down to game repetition, as there is a good chance that the target audience already has some of these titles thanks to prior packages released on Steam. The King of Dragons and Knights of the Round were previously made available from Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle. Street Fighter and the trio of Street Fighter Alpha games were also in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. Even the recently released Capcom Fighting Collection is pilfered, as this has Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Darkstalkers' Revenge, Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition, Night Warriors, Super Gem Fighter, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire.

Having 12 repeats is difficult to swallow, and while one can argue that most of the titles that haven't been released yet face some sort of licensing challenge, throwing in something Buster Bros., Mars Matrix or even the outdated Quiz and Dragons would have gone a long way toward not cannibalizing older releases to make the package feel more complete. One thing that the compilation does differently from its predecessor is that you can purchase individual titles if you don't want to buy the all-in-one package. This was added pretty late to the first Capcom Arcade Stadium, so it is nice to see the company not repeat the same mistake this time around.

Another complaint carried over from the first game is the fact that this features no online play whatsoever. You still have online leaderboards for individual games and challenges and even an overall CASPO score, so there is some form of worldwide competition to partake in. Even though Steam Remote Play is a good band-aid for the lack of built-in online multiplayer, its absence remains disappointing. It does mean that older themed compilations still can retain some value due to their own online abilities.

With the only real changes being the different bezels and selection of games in the complete package, it makes one wish that this was all DLC instead. The idea of combining everything into one comprehensive package is certainly more appealing than having to switch back and forth between the two titles when selecting the next game to play. The only consolation is that the base game remains free, and the cost of buying all of the titles at once remains cheaper than buying everything individually.

Like the first title, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium lives off of the strength of the titles presented here. Even if it does repeat titles from the company's other, more focused compilations, the quality and variety of each one shows why the company has been respected in the arcade space for so long. Just about every title remains fun to play today, with no stinkers in the lot. It really would have been nice to see some improvements over the first collection as far as extras and online play goes, but it remains a solid pick-up for retro fans. Should the company go for a third compilation, we have to hope that it'll reach the polygonal era of games now that the sprite era has been all but exhausted.