Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium, by all means, could have been DLC for Capcom Arcade Stadium. It has another 32 Capcom arcade games, but features the exact same UI, menus, and machine models. Granted, the first release is good, even if it wasn’t as user-friendly as it should have been. A semi-sequel would have been a good opportunity for significant improvements. Instead, it’s another round of games with the same interface. Granted, this time invincibility is available by default, and you don’t have to pay for it. Still, there are a ton of fantastic games on display, and this is one of the best ways to play them in one place.
Much like the previous release, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium does have a fair amount of retreads. Specifically, it’s got about 11 of them. Therefore, if you’ve picked up Capcom’s other arcade bundles, you’ll already have a third of these games. The last Stadium collection had five of the seven games included with the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle, three of the dozen games from Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and one of the games that would be released in this year’s Capcom Fighting Collection. This release also has games that are in all three of these.
The two beat ’em ups not included in the last Stadium are here, as are four more of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection games. Astoundingly, six of the games from Capcom Fighting Collection are included. Obviously, that came out less than a month ago, meaning that anyone who already bought that will have gotten a comparatively poor value for their money. Granted, every game in that collection has online play, which isn’t available in 2nd Stadium. But the online for the latter is mostly already dead, so Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium is definitely the collection to buy if you’re okay with missing a title or two.
Don’t eat your own
It’s strange to see Capcom cannibalize its own game collections, but you obviously don’t have to buy the bundle. But buying all the other games individually at retail price will cost just as much as the bundle itself, so that’s not exactly a win. Simply put, if you already have any of those collections, then Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium is going to look a lot less attractive. However, if you don’t have them, this is an even more affordable way to get some of those games.
With that out of the way, let’s pretend there aren’t any other collections, as I need to discuss 2nd Stadium on its own merits. There are a ton of great games here. The initial freebie this time around is SonSon, an auto-scrolling horizontal shmup from 1984. It’s one of the weakest games here, which is why it’s the freebie. While we’re at it, let’s dive into the other weakest games here before I tear into the good stuff. Adding this Stadium to the last, there are over 60 games available — it’s natural there would be a few stinkers.
Then there’s Hissatsu Buraiken, known as Avenger in the states. It’s a rather clunky top-down beat ’em up that definitely isn’t as much fun as other Capcom entries in the genre. Similarly, there’s the dull Tiger Road, which is a side-scroller about getting cheaply grabbed and losing most of, if not all, of your health. We also have Black Tiger, a game that feels archaic and pointless next to its sequel, which I’ll get to in a bit. Also, the original Street Fighter is here. Hooray. Other than those five, however, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium is mostly made up of compelling, enduring arcade games from a variety of genres.
Play ’em again
The Capcom Fighting Collection was a strong release, and six of those games are here. Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium includes one of the best versions of Street Fighter II, the colorful and excellent Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, and the three Darkstalkers games. On top of that, all three Street Fighter Alpha games are present, meaning that 2nd Stadium has nearly as much Street Fighter goodness as the collection itself. The only thing the Stadium collections are really missing at this point are the versions of Street Fighter III.
Fantasy-themed beat ’em ups Knights of the Round and King of Dragons, which were in the beat ’em up collection, return here. The former is the only true beat ’em up in this collection and it’s a good one. Black Tiger‘s sequel Magic Sword is here in all its glory too. It’s all about collecting keys, moving up a series of towers, and fighting fantasy monsters alongside rescuable sidekicks that act like options in a shmup. Wonderfully, both Mega Man arcade games are in the collection. I’ve enjoyed those for a lot of years, and it’s nice to have an official way to play them on PC.
Wrestling classic Saturday Night Slam Masters is here too, with all of its rope-bouncing and submission holds. Of course, there are a lot of shmups. My favorite is probably the excellent Eco Fighters, which gives you a series of rotatable weapons that are all a blast to use. As the last collection featured five of the series games, only 1943 Kai is available. The regular version of 1943 was the freebie in the last collection, and this one has more content. Awesome horizontal shmup Hyper Dyne Side Arms, which is reminiscent of the R-Type games, is also featured.
Up in smoke
Another personal favorite of mine, the tough Western vertical shmup, Gun.Smoke has made it to the collection. I’ve loved that game for years, so I’m happy it was included. You’ve also got The Last Duel rounding out most of the shmups, plus Exed Exes, here known by its Japanese name. One of the best games in the collection is undoubtedly The Three Wonders, which unfortunately isn’t part of the bundle and has to be purchased as DLC. Although, you’ll get it free if you bought the Capcom Fighting Collection. It’s three games in one, including a horizontal shmup, run ‘n gun, and fun block-pushing puzzle game. All of them are a treat.
And, of course, there are some odds and ends. Block Block is a solid brick-breaking game that doesn’t quite stand up to the greats due to a lack of power-ups, but it’s still fun in its own right. There are a couple of top-down driving games as well. Plus, two puzzle games, including Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, which was unnecessarily included in the fighting bundle. The other one is a Puyo Puyo-esque game called Pnickies, which is about dropping colored stars on slime to erase them. It’s pretty okay. Finally, there’s Capcom Sports Club, which features a trio of games including tennis, basketball, and soccer.
A coin-op buffet
For anyone who’s been buying all of Capcom’s arcade bundles, a lot of these games aren’t going to exactly beg for a purchase. But there are undoubtedly many great titles here. Plus, you can still set which cabinets you want, quick save and load, rewind, change various game settings, and add games to your favorites list. Unfortunately, you still can’t select a game from a simple menu and have to manually switch between cabinets, which is even more bizarre and unfortunate since this would have been an insanely easy thing to improve from the last version.
And there you have it. Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium has a ton of highly playable games that you may or may not already have. With this, Capcom has released nearly every game included with both volumes of the mid ’00s Capcom Classics Collection, plus 20 more.