Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium Review

Richard Walker

With 2021's Capcom Arcade Stadium, the house renowned for arcade greats like Mega Man, Street Fighter, and, perhaps to a slightly lesser extent, Darkstalkers, managed to bring to life the amusement arcades of the '80s and '90s – replete with rendered cabinets squashed together in an endless row. It let you loose with an infinite virtual bag of change, and, for someone who constantly relives a video game past through nostalgic treats such as this, Capcom Arcade Stadium not only offered the opportunity to return to a halcyon time, but was stuffed to the gills with brilliant curios I was previously unaware of. Suffice it to say, more of the same is certainly welcome.

This is one of the main reasons to buy 2nd Stadium.

And so it is with Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium that we're presented with another selection of classic arcade titles from the 1980s and 1990s, albeit a fair few you may have seen before in other collections. Hot on the heels of the Capcom Fighting Collection, the presence of three Darkstalkers titles, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Super Gem Fighter -Mini Mix-, and Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition, also included in that compendium, feels slightly redundant. And if you own 2018's Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, there's further deja vu in the presence of the original Street Fighter (still rubbish), as well as Street Fighter Alpha 1, 2, and 3. Still, if you own neither of these other collections, the overlap clearly won't be an issue. If you’re here purely for Street Fighter, then you may want to consider those other compilations instead.

In celebrating Capcom's arcade heritage with another rather generous bundle, you could argue that it makes perfect sense to have the Street Fighter series duly represented, and, if nothing else, it's always nice to have an excuse to revisit them. While you know what you're getting with the Darkstalkers and Street Fighter games included here, the real draw of 2nd Stadium is to be found in discovering the obscure. On that front, the selection of English and Japanese ROMs on offer is fairly astounding, covering a wide variety of shmups, side-scrolling fantasy games, esoteric platformers, a hugely enjoyable arcade wrestling game, in Saturday Night Slam Masters, as well as a fairly woeful top-down brawler, called Hissatsu Buraiken. Arthurian scrolling beat 'em up Knights of the Round also returns from the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle – again, more overlap.

You might be fearful that Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium is simply an exercise in barrel-scraping, but in reality, it's another fantastic way to relive that singular thrill of walking into an arcade, looking around at which cabinets are most deserving of your coin. The difference here, of course, is that you've infinite credits to splash on the flashy games all vying for your attention, and, as such, it's immensely gratifying to while away the hours aimlessly scrolling from one game to the next. One minute, you'll drop in for a bout of intense shoot 'em up action with the likes of Eco Fighter, 1943 Kai -Midnight Kaisen-, Savage Bees, Hyper Dyne Side Arms, or Last Duel, then dabble with offbeat match-three puzzler Pnickies, Breakout-alike Block Block, or Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo.

Invest the time in exploring what Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium has to offer, and you're likely to find an interesting little oddity or rare Japanese ROM you were previously unaware of. The first Capcom Arcade Stadium offered that same, almost endlessly compulsive voyage of discovery, and 2nd Stadium is no different in that regard. But for every fun discovery you make, like side-scrolling fantasy brawler The King of Dragons; or Mad Max-inspired top-down vehicle combat game The Speed Rumbler, which pits you against hordes of rival vehicles in the desert; there's a throwaway experience like SonSon, or the rock-hard Black Tiger, which makes Ghosts 'n' Goblins seem like a cakewalk. I won't be going back to that one in a hurry. Or Tiger Road, for that matter, which is also ludicrously tough. This should come as no surprise, given these are games that were designed with the express purpose of gobbling up your cash.

Golden Axe, eat your heart out.

There are a couple of duff inclusions here, like Rally 2011 LED Storm, a weird, top-down racer that you'll maybe play once or twice, before consigning it to history, where it belongs; or Gun.Smoke (aka Gan Sumoku), another top-down game, this one being a wild west cowboy shooter, in which you blast bandits, while dodging projectiles and sticks of dynamite - incidentally, it’s also a precursor to what would eventually become Red Dead Revolver. The likes of Three Wonders and Capcom Sports Club are good value, each comprising three games apiece, the former including a puzzler called Don't Pull, serviceable shmup Chariot, and platformer Midnight Warriors. The latter includes Smash Stars (tennis), Dunk Stars (basketball), and Kick Stars (soccer), all of which are surprisingly decent little sports games, especially for two players. Mega Man is also represented, with two instalments in the blue bomber's fighting series: Power Fighters and Power Battle – and pretty good they are, too.

Like the first Arcade Stadium, features like online leaderboards, adjustable game speed, and a rewind feature are all present and correct, while you can also change arcade cabinet designs, frames, and display settings (the scan lines filter is essential for replicating that retro look), to tailor your own arcade experience. Serving up another trip into the annals of video game history with 32 more arcade classics, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium could have been a journey to the bottom of the barrel, but succeeds in being another slice of retro paradise, if not quite as essential as the first Arcade Stadium.

Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium

While many of the Street Fighter and Darkstalkers games included here are already available in previous collections, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium still includes a plethora of arcade classics, and you're bound to discover, or indeed, rediscover, something well worth playing.

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Never underestimate the power of a looping retro ditty. And those 8-bit and 16-bit sound effects are still superb, while the menu music is suitably exuberant.


This is a tough one to call, since there are 32 games to judge on their own merits. Overall, there's no denying the quality of Capcom's arcade artistry, and there's something to like about almost every game included here. Filters, frames, and cabinets offer some nice customisation options, too.


On the whole, there's a lot to like here, whether it's the Street Fighter Alpha games, Knights of the Round, Eco Fighters, Saturday Night Slam Masters, Mega Man -The Power Battle-, Super Gem Fighter -Mini Mix-, or the three Darkstalkers titles, there's something you'll love.


Had the Capcom Fighting Collection not only just come out, then this would feel like a far more robust library of games. As it is, so many are already included in that bundle that this one feels somewhat lacking. There are plenty of other Capcom games (the Final Fight sequels spring to mind) that could have been included here instead.


The exact same list as before. Earn loads of 'CASPO', play for up to 100 hours(!), reach level 20, clear a game, use all the features like rewind etc. Bit lazy, Capcom.

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