From ‘Live A Live’ to ‘Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium’, a beautiful retro video game summer – Les Inrocks

Square Enix’s role-playing game, which hasn’t been released outside of Japan since 1994, is getting a superb remake as publisher Street Fighter releases a new collection of arcade games.

It’s not every day that a JRPG allows us to throw feces at an enemy or choke him with our own gas. If we add that the same RPG invites us to defend a village in the Far West from a group of criminals, infiltrate a Japanese fortress as a ninja, and explore a spaceship in disarray, we realize that Live A Live is not a game like the others. It’s also a miracle because since its inception in 1994 it has never been published outside of Japan until it appears today in an excellent HD remake using the technology used in Triangle Strategy.

Cinema influence

For the Japanese RPG, the era in which Live A Live was born is the golden age of the great Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest in 2D, as well as an increasingly strong trend towards narrative experiments that will give titles such as Romancing SaGa 3, Earthbound or Chrono Trigger. Released six months before last and signed by the same director, Takashi Tokita, Live and Live is different in that the principle of omnibus films is transferred to video games with its seven independent stories set in different periods, from prehistoric times to the future. ., and which will then be completed by the eighth, before the last part finally becomes a link between the previous ones.

Cinema also appears to have been a big influence on Live Live, and not just because its chapters are about the length of a feature film, its western episode (where we notably meet Clint as Eastwood, and Wayne as John) to his fantasy variations that evoke Akira for one and the 2001/Alien mix with R2D2 as a bonus for the other. But in general, their audacity is impressive. Because everything is allowed here: emotionality, and obscenity, and congestion, and purity, and highlighting fights (borrowing from the tactical RPG subgenre), and their virtual erasure. However, in this romantic and peaceful game, it doesn’t feel like it’s testing the limits of the genre so much as showing off everything it’s capable of without breaking. To hell with academicism, prudence, conventions. Back in 1994, the amazing program Live A Live showed the way to complete relaxation.

Time travel

Variety is also on the menu for the second installment of Capcom Arcade Stadium, which offers 32 games with release dates ranging from 1984 (for the cool Son Son) to 2003 (for Hyper Street Fighter II). Owners of the publisher’s other compilations may regret some dubs from the recent Fighting Collection or Beat ‘Em Up Bundle, but in its brighter-than-life reproduction of arcade rooms, we’re happy to find the gems of Three Wonders, Black Tiger, or 1943, as well as lesser-known games like the sharp Savage Bees (also known as Exed Exes), the crazy Side Arms, the puzzle game Pnickies, or even the blockbuster Block Block. Nostalgic trip? More like a time travel machine to eventually get rid of it. Because the real gift that these games give us is an eternal gift.

Live A Live (Square Enix/Nintendo) on Switch about 50 euros; Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium (Capcom), on Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Windows, approximately €40 for a 32-game bundle (also available individually)

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