A densely-packed compilation that helps fill the void left behind by the death of retro arcades.
At the beginning of 2021, Capcom released the Capcom Arcade Stadium, which contained a total of 32 titles. You could purchase the entire package as a whole, as three separate bundles with about 10 titles in each, or even picking and choosing individual games. With the 2nd Stadium, another 32 retro arcade titles are making their way to Switch, but this time you can only buy either the entire set or whichever singular titles you prefer. Maybe those smaller bundles weren’t selling, but it’s hard not to see the value proposition of what’s on offer with the 2nd Stadium. From 1984’s SonSon (which is actually free to download and play off the bat) to 2003’s Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition, there’s a decent variety of genres represented within that two-decade period. A bevy of display and play options, in addition to online leaderboards, all make for a winning combination.
It’s worth noting that a number of games in Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium have been included in other collections. For instance, the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle (which I reviewed here) features The King of Dragons and Knights of the Round. The same goes for the recently released Capcom Fighting Collection, which contains Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge, Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire, the aforementioned Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, and Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. That’s eight games that you may already own just on Switch, let alone previous ports and releases on other consoles. Many other games from 2nd Stadium were part of either Capcom Classics Collection Volume 1 or 2, which came to PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
However, taken on its own, 2nd Stadium still offers a robust experience, and even more so to those who haven’t been gobbling up Capcom retro re-releases. To my knowledge, 1994’s Pnickies, a puzzle game in the style of Puyo Puyo and Puzzle Fighter, has never released a console port of any kind. Rally 2011: LED STORM hasn’t been on another platform since the Commodore 64 in 1989. A cross between a wrestling game and a fighting game, Saturday Night Slam Masters hasn’t been on a console since ports to the Super Nintendo and Genesis.
Even if you’re not in it for the historical value, 2nd Stadium’s numerous features and modes more than make up for the fact that it’s yet another opportunity to once again put out a package of old video games. Every single title has a score challenge, time challenge, and set of special challenges that all have their own online leaderboards. The special challenges generally pump the difficulty or speed to the maximum for an added challenge. Anyone interested in high score chasing and speedrunning is going to be well served by the bevy of ways to show off your arcade prowess. It’s also possible to adjust individual game settings such as difficulty level, game speed, and even invincibility.
In addition to the various methods of competition, there are multiple ways of customizing the visual experience as well. You can set the screen size and viewpoint, such as having the left, right, and bottom borders appear like an arcade cabinet. You can go full screen mode or zoom in just slightly, which leaves borders on the sides that you can choose to leave black or adorn with dozens of more decorative options. As you play, you earn points that open up new ranks and award further cosmetics to gussy up the display. Of course, you can just go purist and keep everything clean and tidy like I do, but it's nice to be able to adjust the view to suit your preference.
Some of the more interesting offerings from 2nd Stadium are singular titles that actually contain three separate and distinct games within. These include Three Wonders–itself a package of a side-scrolling action game (think Metal Slug), a horizontal shoot-’em-up, and an action puzzle game–and Capcom Sports Club, which offers basketball, soccer, and tennis. Only one of the 32 games is single-player exclusively (Rally 2011: LED STORM), making the multiplayer aspect of 2nd Stadium another feather in its cap. As I hadn’t played them before myself, I found that the two Mega Man games, The Power Battle and The Power Fighters, put a fun new twist on the Blue Bomber’s signature formula.
Even if you're staunchly against the practice of companies continually re-packing and reselling old games, you can't deny that taken as a bundle, the 32 titles in Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium represent a solid per-game bargain. Save states, a rewind feature, and the game setting adjustments mentioned earlier make it so that players of all skill levels can easily experience new genres and get through games without having to dump a bucket of quarters into an aging cabinet. Thirty in-game achievements offer non-score chasers some replay value as well. Even if you choose to pick up some of these titles separately, the various leaderboards and options make 2nd Stadium one of the best contemporary vehicles for your retro road trip down memory lane.
Here’s the full list of Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium games:
- Savage Bees
- The Speed Rumbler
- Hyper Dyne Side Arms
- Hissatsu Buraiken
- Black Tiger
- Street Fighter
- Tiger Road
- 1943 Kai
- Last Duel
- Rally 2011: LED STORM
- Magic Sword
- Three Wonders
- The King of Dragons
- Block Block
- Knights of the Round
- Saturday Night Slam Masters
- Eco Fighters
- Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
- Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge
- Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams
- Mega Man: The Power Battle
- Street Fighter Alpha 2
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
- Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters
- Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire
- Capcom Sports Club
- Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition