As someone who grew up in the 90s, spending weekend afternoons at the arcade informed many of my gaming memories and habits today. Whether it was Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Rampage, Time Crisis or Marvel vs. Capcom, an infinite amount of coins were purchased to support my arcade gaming addiction. It is why my interest was instantly piqued by Capcom Arcade Stadium, which bundles together some notable arcade titles from the Japanese developer and delivers them on a modern console.
In our case, it was the PlayStation 5, although the version of Capcom Arcade Stadium you can buy for the Sony ecosystem is designed with the PS4 in mind.
Having spent a solid week with offering and explored all the titles available, here’s why this piece of retro-inspired gaming software will appeal to those who want to hop into a time machine and rekindle those childhood memories.
Once you’ve downloaded the title, in our case it included Packs 1, 2 and 3, you are hit with multiple walls of text as Capcom unpacks what is on offer here.
This can prove a little jarring, as the only thing you want to do is start exploring the different titles that are on offer. While there is a lot to take note of, the most important elements to remember are that each game requires you to use a virtual coin to start it, which is a novel mechanic at first but that feeling very quickly wears off.
Players can also participate in offline and online play, with the latter featuring leaderboards you can use to compete with others also enjoying Capcom Arcade Stadium. Lastly there is the in-game CASPO currency you can earn based on your performance, but again, there does not seem to be any particular incentive to pursue this route over just playing by yourself or against others online.
All the packs
In terms of the titles available, the fact that our review code featured access to all three packs gave us 30 different titles to choose from.
This also presents us with an opportunity to explain how all of the works, with the base Capcom Arcade Stadium free to download on PS4 or PS5. The actual packs, however, are what cost money and access to the aforementioned games. Packs 1, 2 and 3 each contain 10 games a piece and bundled together serve up 30.
This specific option currently costs R719, whereas individual packs are listed at R269 at the time of writing. Doing some quick napkin maths, purchased individually the packs would add up to R807, so there is a saving to be made, but given how varied the titles are between packs, it may be best to see what’s on offer before you choose between the individual and bundled route.
That’s not something we had to worry about, and in the end, it proved to be a good option, as we could rehash memories playing familiar titles like Final Fight and Warriors of Fate, but also try out games that we never got to experience like Captain Commando and Dynasty Wars.
Setting the scene
Once you’ve chosen what you want to play, as we’ve mentioned, Capcom tries to recreate that arcade experience. This includes the ability to play with an arcade style controller, provided its compatible and the aforementioned “Insert Coin” mechanic.
Added to this is the way games are presented. They do not take up the entire screen, but are instead angled, as arcade machines were back in the day, along with a portion of another arcade machine flanking either side of the main game screen.
Of course this will never match up to the real thing, but does at least show that Capcom has thought long and hard about how to tap into that same nostalgia.
They have also gone to great lengths to provide as much additional info for a title as possible. The three Street Fighter games for example feature combos moves for all of the playable characters, which is something you could only learn over time while playing the game back in the 90s.
Speaking of controls, they are fairly intuitive to pick up given that the mechanics back then were far more simple than they are today. On the DualSense controller, for some games you can use either the directional buttons or analogue stick to move around, although we found the former to truer to the original experience.
One thing that is not like back in the day is the ability to rewind gameplay (pressing the R2 trigger for PlayStation). For particularly challenging platformers this may prove useful, but we must admit that we felt a little guilty using it for these retro titles and quickly abandoned it after testing it out a few times. It’s a nice addition, but feels a little bit like cheating in our books.
Capcom Arcade Stadium feels like that perfect nostalgic gaming experience. In fact, it is a lot like the PlayStation Classic console released a few years ago that features some of the popular exclusive titles that were on the original Sony gaming console. Here, Capcom has tapped into the same nostalgia and rediscovering games on console that we spent countless hours playing in our youth at the arcade brought more than a few smiles to our face.
Is it going to prove challenging or something you dedicate several dozen hours to a month in order to complete, no, not by a long shot, but being able to dive back into titles you loved growing up is always welcome.
The bundle is a bit on the expensive side if we’re honest, but seeing as how modern titles these days are now in excess of R1 200, it seems like par for the course.
If you, like us, are someone who grew up going to arcades on the regular, then Capcom Arcade Stadium will certainly dredge up those nostalgic feelings and therefore comes recommended. Just weigh up the different packs and see what you want to play first before taking the plunge.
Capcom Arcade Stadium
Pulling on that nostalgia hard, Capcom Arcade Stadium brought a smile on our face on more than one occasion. If you are a child of the 90s, it's something you definitely want to explore further to relive those childhood memories.