Like most people who grew up in the 90s and early millennium, the dream of having an arcade at home isn’t an uncommon one. While modern consoles, smartphones, and practically anything with a screen can be used to play video games, there was always something special about the thought of owning an arcade system of some sort of my own. I'll be the first to admit that I’ve spent some time researching exactly how to get a Time Crisis II cabinet in my house, and while the idea seems great … the upkeep, nightmarish electric bill, and space required always killed any dream of having my own in home arcade. While some companies have attempted to bring the arcade experience home with smaller cabinets you need to build yourself, or a micro version to have on your desk, none of them have ever really managed to get the emulation, presentation, and arcade feel right.
When we were offered a review unit of RepliCade’s Street Fighter II machine, I was curious if this small cabinet (with included replica tokens that I lost immediately) would be anything more than another cool desk piece that collects dust between the occasional play session. But after a few days of use at home and work, I found myself neglecting my phone so I could play a quick match or two on the cabinet instead. So what makes this worth its price?
Round 1 - Form Factor
What made Replicade Amusements Street Fighter II Cabinet so appealing wasn’t just its manageable desk friendly size, but its extreme attention to detail and overall presentation. The system has a premium feeling to it in its sturdy build, comfortable clickity-clack buttons, and surprisingly sharp screen.
If you’re like me and spend a majority of your day at a desk, the non intrusive form factor here really plays well to every minimalist out there. There are no cumbersome wires, awkward switches, or unsightly logos anywhere. The unit looks exactly as it did in an arcade back in the 90s down to the original instructions and lore that were printed on the monitor's bezels without feeling too busy or intrusive.
Everything about the cabinets design from the softly lit marquee above the screen to the light up coin slots (you need to press them to start playing) to the backlit storage door on the back of the unit feels like it was built with an almost Apple-like quality and attention to user experience and functionality.
The system itself is solidly built and stands at 1 foot tall and the buttons/joystick feel surprisingly comfortable. My biggest gripe with most replica arcade cabinets is that their buttons never really feel that great and on smaller desk sized systems they’re virtually impossible to play for an extended period of time because of this. The fight pad’s joystick feels great as it clicks with each movement, and I never once felt like I was damaging the small buttons while viciously playing Street Fighter II.
The extra mini fight pad felt less comfortable in the long run simply due to its small size and not really being able to place it anywhere comfortable while using it. If the smaller buttons are just not usable for you, there’s always the option to plug in a Xbox One or PS4 controller via USB and play with that.
The biggest downfall on its form factor and design for me is the lack of HDMI out. While I understand this is a more niche product that's meant to be experienced on the small arcade cabinet screen, it would have been nice to be able to plug this into my desk monitor and play on a larger screen. It’s a small discrepancy but definitely something I would have loved to see included.
Round 2 - Hows it play?
If you’ve played with other retro arcade cabinets you’ll know that the emulation is always hit or miss. While some cabinets can look cool on your desk or in your garage, if the video games themselves don’t play as they should, then what’s the point? The Street Fighter II edition cabinet includes both Street Fighter II: Championship Edition and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Both games play exceptionally well and I never encountered any frame drops or irregular issues with sound and latency.
The games sound and played as they should and I never once felt like the smaller joystick and buttons were holding me back, even when playing the game in two player mode with the included game pad. While there isn't too much else to say about these editions of Street Fighter II, it is worth nothing that this cabinet features an “Arcade Operator’s Menu” so you can adjust the difficulty on Street Fighter II: Championship Edition. The emulation here is superb and I never felt any input latency or slowdown whatsoever. If you’re a fan of the series the selection of Street Fighter II: Championship Edition and Super Street Fighter II Turbo is excellent.
Round 3 - Is it Worth Buying
Yes and no. While I think this is an awesome desktop cabinet and the gameplay, quality, and overall presentation definitely warrant its price, the smaller form factor might not scratch that itch of wanting to bring the arcade experience home. On the other hand, if you’re like me and spend a majority of your day at a desk, then this is totally something worth looking into. The smaller form factor means you can put it on display without taking up too much real estate and it's definitely a conversation starter. If you’re a collector, huge fan of one of Capcom's greatest games, or just looking for something unique and and fun to have on your desk, then the Street Fighter II: Champion Edition X RepliCade cabinet is definitely worth looking into.
You can buy one or any of the other games offered here
Techraptor was given a Street Fighter II: Champion Edition X Replicade cabinet for review by the systems manufacture, New Wave Toys.
What do you think about this Arcade cabinet? Is it something you can see on your desk? Would this make for a good gift? If you could have any arcade machine ever what would it be? Let us know in the comments below!