While SNK has been teasing us with Metal Slug, Art of Fighting and World Warriors collections for the last few years, the one we wanted was a one-disc SNK history, and now it’s here. SNK fans will be in heaven.
SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 follows in the retro footsteps of the Genesis/Mega Drive Collection and the Capcom Collections in bringing a bunch of classic titles from yesteryear back on this PSP UMD. For your money, you get 16 games, many of which you’ll never have heard of unless you’re a diehard SNK fan. The best of the bunch are some of SNK’s top brands and include sword fighter Samurai Showdown, shooter Metal Slug and 2D scrapper King of Fighters 94. But the joy of this collection is delving deeper into SNK’s past. When you stumble across a playable game, even after all these years, it feels massively rewarding and will have you hooked.
We’d like to give special mention to Shock Troopers, a two-player co-op shooter that plays like a top-down version of Metal Slug; complete with gory cartoon animations that see your little enemies squish into red goo as you drill them with a barrage of gun fire.
Likewise, R-Type clone Last Resort is a fun and neat little shooter with a visual style all of its own and the sports games on offer, including golf ‘sim’ Neo Turf Masters, footy game Super Sidekicks 3 and baseball game Baseball Stars 2 all cease to be mere curiosities and actually become engaging arcade fun. The full list of games that make up this collection is: Art of Fighting, Baseball Stars 2, Burning Fight, Fatal Fury, King Of Fighters ‘94, King Of The Monsters, Last Resort, Magician Lord, Metal Slug, Neo Turf Masters, Samurai Shodown, Sengoku, Shock Troopers, Super Sidekicks 3, Top Hunter and World Heroes.
Sure, all of these games are basic by today’s standards and even against their retro rivals there’s a palpable sense of desperation. These are the loud salesmen of retro games, all showy intros, gimmicky controls and one-note gameplay. But when they’re good, they’re tremendous fun. They may be old – often sloppy – but occasionally these games are totally brilliant. The wait has been worthwhile, just about. A big fan of SNK arcade games? You’ll love it.
Nov 3, 2008