Capcom Arcade Stadium (PS4) Review

Capcom brings the retro nostalgia to console with a digital arcade system. But is it worth your quarters?

Capcom has a long, storied career in the gaming industry, pushing out some of gaming’s greatest titles that are still known today. But, as with many publishers, they have just as many titles that have been forgotten outside of the retro gaming community, and sometimes even there too. Retro compilations, such as Capcom Arcade Stadium, help to fill in those gaps while providing you with a way to play some of your favourite titles without hassle.

Whether you have fond memories of playing some of these games in the arcades, or perhaps at home, if you were lucky enough to have a console as a kid, there’s no denying both the artistry and business acumen that went into making these games. Yes, they were meant to entertain and enjoy, but they were also meant to separate a child from his parent’s money. And they were very, very successful at it too.

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Now, with Capcom Arcade Stadium you can relive those fond moments again from the comfort of your home and without the need to spend, spend and spend some more on tokens just to finish one game. Instead, you’ll just have to spend on buying the games themselves as Arcade Stadium itself is a free download, the ROMs themselves, not so much.

Running on Capcom’s RE Engine, Arcade Stadium has thirty-two of Capcom’s Arcade classics for you to enjoy. The gamut of titles runs roughly from 1984 to 2001 and Capcom have packaged them into three packs with ten games to a pack. Capcom’s classic Ghosts ‘n Goblins is a standalone paid-for download, though it was originally free on release for a limited time.

The titles you’re looking at right now are: Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Section Z, Tatakai no Banka, Legendary Wings, Bionic Commando, 1943, Forgotten Worlds, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Strider, Dynasty Wars, Final Fight, 1941 – Counter Attack, Senjo no Okami II, Mega Twins, Carrier Air Wing, Street Fighter II, Captain Commando, Varth, Warriors of Fate, Street Fighter II – Hyper Fighting, Street Fighter Turbo, Powered Gear, Cyber Bots, 19XX, Battle Circuit, Giga Wing, 1944, Progear, Vulgus, Pirate Ship Higemaru, 1942 and Commando.

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There’s definitely a larger selection of beat-‘em ups and shmups in the line-up, though the releases more than likely will give you an insight into what was popular back in the arcades during each of those generations.

What’s important to note though is just how well these games run, and how playable many of them still are. Whether you’re looking for some quick action to pass the time or to hone your fighting skills to perfection, there’s something here for you. Ghosts ‘n Goblins will still test your platforming patience while Street Fighter II (which I now seem to suck at) will remind you just how fantastic 2D sprite animation is, along with how much harder 2D fighters are. Strider is still a hard, action-platformer while the 1940’s series is still addictive twitch shooting action. And now you can finish them thanks to infinite credits too.

As with any compilation of games, your mileage will vary on what’s in the collection. So with all the retro compilations that have come out, what is it that makes Capcom Arcade Stadium stand out from the rest?

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The answer to that comes down to two things. One, that Arcade Stadium is a dedicated platform to host Capcom’s arcade titles with substantial possibility for future growth, and two, the wealth of options built into the platform for you to tailor the gaming experience to suit you.

With the RE Engine powering it and games treated as DLC, Capcom can bring even more of their titles to the platform in the future if it’s worth their while. So here’s hoping for some more of their classic titles, such as Knights of The Round, and more “recent” fair such as Powerstone, Cannon Spike, and my favourite Spawn game, Spawn: In The Demons Hand.

Arcade Stadiums presentation is top-notch and Capcom have gone out of their way to ensure that you can have a modern, respect-your-time playing experience, or to make it as hardcore as you could want. Beyond changing the game’s difficulty, amount of lives you begin with, etc. you can also save your game at any time and reload whenever you choose to. Game speed can also be sped up or slowed down to suit you to the point where it feels like a Zack Snyder slow-mo shot. If you happen to mess up a section there’s also a handy rewind feature to take you back to just before your bungle and put it right. Of course, you can also play the games as they were meant to be played at their default setting and hope your controller can withstand the manhandling sure to follow. A nice feature is that most of the games, bar those that either didn’t get English translations or releases, have both their original Japanese roms and English versions included, switchable on the main menu screen.

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Before you load up a ROM, which is instantaneous, you can change a whole bunch of options along with viewing a digital manual for the game. Viewing options run the gamut from different backgrounds and wallpapers to a whole bunch of filters you can apply. My favourite backgrounds are the 3D tilted arcade cabinets which emulate the viewing experience you would have had in an actual arcade. It does make the game screen smaller but it’s absolutely classy. When you combine this with the various visual filters such as pixel smoothing, a CRT filter for that authentic look along with different screen types, such as oval, to further emulate screen shapes back in the day, you have yourself just about the perfect visual customisation service.

Speaking of that menu screen, it really is gorgeous. Showcasing a digital line of arcade cabinets, each one home to a game as you scroll through the list. On the menu, games are broken up into various filters, such as action, fighting, etc. The only option missing is a list by alphabet tab which hopefully Capcom can include at a later date.

While Capcom Arcade Stadium doesn’t include all the games you may want, when thinking of the gaming giant’s roster, it is a fantastic platform that can be further built upon. With a great presentation system, perfect emulation of the games on display, Capcom Arcade Stadium is the best retro platforming system I’ve seen and used from any of the collections released thus far.

8/10
Total Score
  • Visuals
    8/10 Very Good
  • Audio
    8/10 Very Good
  • Length
    8/10 Very Good
  • Gameplay
    8/10 Very Good

The Good

  • Fantastic presentation
  • Wealth of options
  • CRT filters are the way
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Street Fighter II, need I say more?

The Bad

  • Can only purchase games in packs and not singularly at the moment
Total
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