Last month Capcom Mobile announced an interesting new freemium type of game called Capcom Arcade [Free]. The game would serve as a shell of sorts that offered a selection of Capcom's classic arcade ports that have been enhanced for the touch screen. Each game could be played with tokens, with a few free tokens given to you each day, or the option to purchase a pack of tokens as IAP. Also you would have the ability to purchase any of the arcade games outright for a flat fee, meaning they would be playable forever without the use of any tokens. I had a chance to go hands-on with Capcom Arcade last month, and my impressions from the brief time I played each of the games was pretty positive.

The emulation of each of the titles is fairly good, but definitely not perfect, and the controls are about the best that they can be given the touch screen interface. All four games have the option of positioning the virtual buttons where you please, as well as a number of preset positions. Also, every game comes with two flavors of difficulty to play. The default is a toned down iPhone specific difficulty, but you can choose the original arcade difficulty from the options too. As most of these games were incredibly hard back in the arcade days, this is a welcome addition.

The inaugural selection of titles in Capcom Arcade is pretty solid. The highlight is of course the original Street Fighter II. With so many versions of this game being made over the years, this original version feels a little bare bones compared to some of the later iterations, but is still a fun game even two decades later. The next title in the lineup is Ghouls 'n Ghosts, which seemed to me to perform the best out of all the available games. It runs smoothly and the virtual buttons actually work much better than I thought they would for this type of game. It's still one of the hardest games of all time though, even on the easier iPhone difficulty. Both of these games run in landscape mode and offer an original screen aspect ratio as well as a full screen option.

Then there are the games Commando and 1942, which both run in portrait mode and offer only one screen size. Commando performs pretty well, but it can be difficult to aim your shots at oncoming enemies using the virtual joystick. Also the grenade button isn't as responsive as it should be, resulting in me dying on more than one occasion when trying to toss one at some bad guys. 1942 on the other hand is kind of the opposite. The performance leaves a lot to be desired, with the game constantly stuttering when lots of action is onscreen. The controls work well though, with automatic firing and sliding your finger along the bottom of the screen controlling your plane. With so many shooters available on the App Store, it's surprising how much fun 1942 still is after 25 years.

Just like in the arcades, an initial play or continue of each game  in Capcom Arcade will cost you one token. You start each day with 3 free tokens and can buy a maximum of 10 tokens at a time for 99¢. If you want to purchase the game outright, each one can be bought for $2.99. Also, a number of IAP “cheats” can be purchased for each game. These can be things like the ability to cause or absorb more damage, additional starting lives, better equipment, and more. Each of these special items will run 99¢ and only need to be purchased one time, and can then be toggled on or off from the options menu of each game.

Overall I like Capcom Arcade and I'm especially fond of Capcom's pay model for this title. In an era where freemium gaming is the route that many developers are choosing to take, Capcom Arcade offers gamers the best set of options. Right off the bat you can download the title and try out the games a few times each day for free. Or you can buy 10 tokens to spend on each game however you wish, and if enjoy a particular game a great deal then you can just choose to buy it outright and play to your heart's content. The emulation of each game isn't completely spot-on, but they're all really playable and the assortment of control options is a nice touch. There's really no reason not to give Capcom Arcade a try since it's free, and I'm eager to see what new titles will be added in the future as the game evolves.

TouchArcade Rating

  • swarmster

    Definitely a neat little package. I don't intend on ever buying 'tokens' nor (probably) any of the games, but what a lot of these arcade ports/remakes lack is the added intensity that comes from having a limited number of quarters in your pocket. Knowing you only get a few plays a day should add back some sense of value to your lives.

  • Hackmodford

    Capcom said that the games weren't emulated...

  • Hackmodford

    Capcom said that the games weren't emulated...

  • Hackmodford

    Capcom said that the games weren't emulated...

    • Robotron2084

      They are emulated. And somewhat poorly (i.e. gamma is too low in GnG). The TS controls don't do these games any favors either.

  • Acidbottle

    im a bit disappointed in this. i quite like gouls n ghosts and SF2 but the other 2 games are poorly set out. commando requires pin point acuracy in order to survive and the controls make the device awkward to hold and control. to compound the misery both 1942 and commando have opted for autofire, not happy. at least give us a choice damnit!

    for a world class and historic company like capcom id have expected nice presentation. its not, it feels quite cheap with horrible blue menu systems within each title. on top of that there are adverts plastered over the screen. great job.

    however, its a great idea and this kind of freemium mode works, although que a mass of 'moan whine whinge .. games should be 59p, get angry birds instead' reviews on appstore.

    my personal choice of capcom game to appear is knights of the round. spent many a coin on that!

  • Lafrance Patrick

    I can't wait for Black Tiger or Magic Sword to be available....

    • Neatocheeto

      My thoughts exactly 😉

  • Adam

    I definitely won't be supporting a token pay as you go pricing for iphone apps. I would want to buy it out right.

    • nizy

      If you read the article, it says you can buy any of them outright for $2.99.

      • Anonymous

        ... which Adam will be doing and not supporting the token pay as you go pricing model.

  • Silentcorp

    I'll never want to play any of these more than once a day anyhow, so for me this is the best "freemium" pay scale around!

    • EastsideStompers

      I thought that too, but then realised that 'one go' at Ghouls 'n Ghost's lasts me seconds, lol. So I decided to just buy the game. Yay! It's mine now....ALL MINE....Mwahahahaha!

  • Johnny

    I'm getting Darkstalkers and Knights of the Round the day they come out.

  • Ahh

    Sucks.... Jailbreak... Intall free imame4all... Play with wiimote or wiiclassic... Tvout... iPad also... No way..

    • Acidbottle

      im desprate for a mame app to 'accidently slip through' the approval process as per idos and nes emulators 😉

    • E_Domina

      imame4all sucks too. true you do get animated virtual controls and some other perks but at the cost that only certain games can be emulated and in a time consuming installation fashion. with the normal mame4iphone it's much more universal and better to use.

      • Ahh

        Imame4all and mame4iphone are based in the same romset man... 😉 they support the same roms... Far better imame4all

  • br1an

    iPad, please.

    • Asd

      Where is the iPad version?

  • Phil Baxter

    Can't say I agree with this review at all. Personally I thought the emulation performance was extremely weak, particularly with Street Fighter 2. There is horrible control lag too.

    Add to that an extremely crude and ugly UI, and you have something that even for free isn't worth bothering with.

    • Robotron2084

      I agree. I tried it, and deleted it. Terrible emulation, and this platform is all wrong for these games anyway.

  • Kevin99

    Capcom Arcade is great! The app is a little rough around the edges, but with a few updates and some new games added, Capcom Arcade is going to be the best app on the iPhone.

    • Robotron2084

      "the best app on the iPhone"

      Capcom employee?

      There are endless original iOS games that are better that this. This will never be the best app. It will be very lucky to ever become a good app.

  • x999x

    why does this feel/look like the snes SF2??! >:|

    • Xurkey

      Um, this is an exact port of the CP System version found in arcades, not the SNES port. Learn your Street Fighter, thanks.

      • x999x

        Lol, I have, even wrote a couple strategy guides you may have bought. I'll autograph them for you, thanks.

      • BulkSlash

        It's not using the standard SNES system fonts for all the character names and on-screen messages, plus the oil barrel smashing bonus level wasn't in the SNES version so it's definitely not based on that.

        That said, I'm not sure exactly what it is. I'm almost certain it's not emulated due to there being a very prominent loading screen after every fight and the timing/AI feels wrong. Perhaps it's been ported from Capcom Generations or the Street Fighter 2 Anniversary Collection? It would make sense as they would probably have the source code for that lying around, and those games were CD/DVD based so they would need loading screens...

        My main worry about them not actually emulating games is that possibly limits the games they will release in the future. I really want Final Fight and Alien Vs Predator but neither had an arcade perfect port released for home systems (the recent Final Fight on 360/PS3 was emulated). So without CPS1/CPS2 emulation, they're potentially restricted to stuff they've recently ported. 🙁

      • Xurkey

        Prove to me that you wrote a strategy guide for Street Fighter II. Otherwise, learn to play. x999x is trolling.

    • Xurkey

      Um, this is an exact port of the CP System version found in arcades, not the SNES port. Learn your Street Fighter, thanks.

  • Harejordan

    I put this little tip in the thread, but if you change the day on your device, you can get 3 more credits immediately!

    • EastsideStompers

      Doesn't work for me: (

  • E_Domina

    this looks pretty good. getting it now

  • Noman

    I got no lag on any of the games on my ipod touch 4g, and I like the freemium pricing. I think some of the appeal of these games is the fact that you can't play them all you want and are really motivated not to make a mistake.

  • Vulture3

    I just tried that social-pirate-Capcom game. I just deleted it. Capcom is doing all of us a favor by reminding us why social games are gutter trash.

    • Xurkey

      "You have no dignity!"

    • Xurkey

      "You have no dignity!"

  • Anonymous

    This is one of the biggest rip off apps i ever seen...

  • DJCubs

    Yeah this is truly awful, I find it very hard to believe anyone really enjoys playing these rock hard classics with dire touch controls. I'm really surprised by the positive tone if this review and some if the comments on here. This is a poor show from Capcom, hopefully Dead Rising will be a lot better.

  • TheFamousEccles

    My only complaint is that the games don't work well at all on a 2nd gen touch. I'm not sure how I can run SFIV but not SFII. If they worked, I'd love to buy each machine.

  • Ryanthedog

    The games work great on my 3GS, I think it's a great app and I can't wait for more games to come to Capcom Arcade. I'm looking forward to Captain Commando and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo.

  • kissmamuthaf*ckinassb*tch

    I didn't think it was that bad

  • BillyBobBuntin

    Can anyone tell me exactly how to buy an arcade please

  • Psj3809

    I do like Capcom Arcade, Commando/1942/Ghost n Goblins - superb stuff. The controls could be better but i'm still loving the fact i have these classics in the palm of my hand. But where are the new games promised every month ? Seem very slow.

    Its not Capcom but i WISH someone would do Bomb Jack. I havent got a jailbreak device so cant use MAME but there seems to be a huge market for arcade games and theres a fair few around (R-Type etc) but i'm surprised theres not more. Think theres a big opening for a company to release a fair few arcade games.

CAPCOM ARCADE Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 3