Though it came out in 2019, we’re only just getting around to reviewing this thing.

First things first – what is the Capcom Home Arcade? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s a compilation of sixteen classic Capcom arcade games that you can plug and play directly into a TV or monitor via HDMI. The device is itself a twin arcade stick, in the shape of the famous Japanese company’s logo. It’s a bit strange looking, but seeing it in pictures doesn’t actually do it justice – in person it’s actually nowhere near as clunky as it looks.

The joysticks and buttons are very high quality and feel like they’ll take a lot of punishment, which is fortunate because the games featured are generally on the challenging side. The top of the device has an Insert Coin and Player 1 button on the left above the blue joystick and the same on the right above the yellow stick (albeit for Player 2). None of the buttons are labelled, but that’s ok because they function differently for each game (though Insert Coin and Player 1&2 only ever have the one function – they could have been labelled, but I suppose it’d ruin the effect of the logo design).

It feels incredibly solid and the rubberised base – despite their being no suction cups below it – keeps it nicely in place on a flat surface. At 74cm wide, it’s nowhere near as imposing as its huge box makes it look, thankfully.

When it comes to switching it on, the menus are clean and easy to navigate, though it’s a disappointment that there are so few options to visual filters (just the three – and the CRT filter doesn’t seem to apply scanlines in a very convincing way either). Likewise for the screen sizing, which seems lacking in options too. Very frustrating given the price of the device (RRP is £199.99 – for such a small selection of games, you’d expect a lot more in terms of visual customisation and functionality).

There’s individual menus for each game and with the latest firmware update there’s plenty of settings you can fiddle with to adjust difficulty and so on, which was sorely lacking at launch. Each game has three save state slots too, though these have proven frustratingly buggy to use on occasion – I’ve lost save states a few times thanks to an issue that made the stick crash when trying to save. However, it’s been much more stable since I did a factory reset and ensured I was fully updated to the latest version of the firmware.

The emulation is great, however – I haven’t noticed any issues with audio, visuals or performance in general – and the sixteen games are a nicely varied mix of familiar titles and more obscure gems.

The star of the show is Alien vs Predator in my humble opinion – the 1994 beat ’em up is a classic from an era where Capcom were churning out classic scrolling beat ’em ups regularly. It’s a superb use of the license and though short lived in terms of the game’s length – it’s not that hard, though you’ll have to use a few extra continues to beat it at least if you’re playing in two player mode – but it’s incredibly addictive and you’ll likely keep coming back for more. Another reason this is such a great inclusion is that it’s the only legal way to play Alien vs Predator at home, currently – it’s a glaring omission from console compilation Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Collection and, likely due to the licensing cost, doesn’t appear on either of the Capcom Arcade Stadium compilations that are currently available on consoles.

There’s a good mix of shoot ’em ups, fighting games, platformers and beat ’em ups, with the other game I’ve found difficult to put down being the lone puzzle game in the collection: Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo.

The other games are as follows: vertical shooter 1944: The Loop Master, unusual mech-based beat ’em up Armored Warriors, triple-sport compilation Capcom Sports Club, comedic beat ’em up Captain Commando, fighting game Cyberbots, monster-based fighter Darkstalkers, shoot ’em up Eco Fighters, iconic beat ’em up Final Fight, super tough platformer Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, shoot ’em up Giga Wing, colourful fighting game Mega Man: The Power Battle, bullet hell shooter Progear, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting (needs no introduction!) and lastly, platform hack and slash action in Strider.

It’s a really good mix of games, but the price tag really doesn’t feel justified with the number of them that come installed. There’s a USB port and the device does have Wi-Fi – used for firmware updates and online leaderboards – but three years on from release, it’s a shame that no further games have been added.

It IS possible to hack it and add as many ROMs as you want – but this isn’t something I’ve done, not wanting to take the chance that I’d ruin the device if anything went wrong.

So as it is, the Capcom Home Arcade is a solidly built device that really does bring the feel of true arcade gaming home if you have the space and setup to accommodate it. Though not worth the price of admission alone, having Alien vs Predator on here does give it a lot of value to arcade obsessives, but usually players who are that interested in retro gaming tend to have already got solutions in place for emulation, perhaps even in arcade stick style devices just like this one (which will also have thousands of games already built in, including the sixteen on offer here!).

While it’s a great device that’s likely to last a long time, the paltry selection of games does let it down even though they’re generally very good indeed. The lack of functionality and audiovisual options is a disappointment too, especially given the high RRP. I’m glad I have mine, but it’s difficult to give an unequivocal recommendation to the Capcom Home Arcade, which I feel just stops short of being an essential device for retro gamers to add to their collection.

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