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SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

By Roger Reichardt

In their golden age, arcades were all the rage.  The sounds, the lights, and the cool kids with jean jackets created an atmosphere that attracted any kid like a moth to the flame (ok maybe not the jean jackets). Parents would groan when they were hit up for a pocket full of quarters, being cool was costly.  Walking through those isles of games was like walking through a hall of fame of some of the greatest hits. And as a kid, having the ability to play those games at home would have sent you over the moon! But a collection like that would have cost a fortune.

Forty years later, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection provides you with some of the classic arcade hits in one game.  But do these games hold their age well, or belong in a museum?

The Tip and The Top

This is a huge collection of games, fourteen games are available to you when the game launches and another eleven games that are going to be available on December 11th, for free.

The list includes the following:

·         Alpha Mission

·         Athena

·         Crystalis

·         Guerrilla War

·         Ikari Warriors

·         Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road

·         Ikari III: The Rescue

·         Iron Tank

·         P.O.W.

·         Prehistoric Isle

·         Psycho Soldier

·         Street Smart

·         TNKIII

·         Vanguard

The additional titles being added on December 11th are:

·         Chopper

·         Fantasy

·         Munch Mobile

·         Sasuke vs Commander

·         Time Soldiers

·         Bermuda Triangle

·         Paddle Mania

·         Ozma Wars

·         Beast Busters

·         Search & Rescue

·         World Wars

 

A good handful of those games include both the console version and the arcade version, which means you are getting more than fourteen games.  For many of the games, the console versions were very different from their arcade counterparts. This allows you not only the ability to play both versions, but also sheds some light on how difficult it must have been to bring some of these arcade hits to the consoles.  For instance, the P.O.W. arcade version plays so differently from the console version. One can appreciate the work that went into the console game, but also have an appreciation of why arcades were such a hit.

Some of the games were arcade only, so they never had a console version – it’s a shame that some of these games were never ported to SNES, but it’s great to have them in one collection now.  A few games in particular that stand out are Street Smarts and Prehistoric Isle.

Street Smarts was SNK’s first fighting game.  In this game, you fight your way through a tournament of different fighters.  Each fighter and background is created with such attention to detail and plays so well on the Switch.

Another game that stands out is Prehistoric Isle.  This is a side scrolling shooter, where you are investigating a prehistoric island full of dinosaurs that are set out to destroy your bi-plane.  Playing through this game was so much fun and the ending was a shocker.

The collection offers something for everyone.  If you like action RPGs, the game offers Cystalis.  If you’re a fan of platformers, the game includes both Pyscho Soldier and Athena.  This collection offers so many different games that you’ll easily find something that you’ll like and also will provide you with some new experiences too.

Anyone that played the original games on the console or arcade will love the fact that this collection offers save files for each game.  Sure, there are some bragging rights for those of you that can say that they beat the original game without any save files, but in the modern gaming world, save files are expected.

Another great touch in these games is the rewind functionality. With this feature, players can rewind back and try a different approach (instead of the one where you died).  The game also offers a “Watch Mode” where you can watch a tutorial and jump in at any time.

A day one patch will add an optional single stick mode for the twin stick games like Ikari Warriors or TNK III.  This will allow the use of one stick to control both the movements and the aiming. Adding this feature will allow for co-op mode in these games as well.

And for you history buffs out there, the game offers a museum mode that allows you to see SNK’s complete collection of games from 1978-1990.  You can also access the soundtracks of each game in the museum mode, something that was a norm for console games but has disappeared in recent years.  Under the bonus features, you can view the arcade guidebooks and concept artwork to some of the games as well. Most of this is in Japanese, but paging through these screens is interesting and offers a glimpse into gaming history even if you’re not familiar with the language.

The Flip and The Flop

Admittedly, a few of the games haven’t aged as well as others.  However, there is a reason for each game and why it was added to the collection; each game was a “breakthrough” moment in history.  We’ve come a long way and this is why some games haven’t aged as well as others, but understanding the history behind some of these games is important to appreciate our current state of games.

Final Thoughts

This is a definitive collection of arcade and console classics that feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch for a price that won’t break the bank.  For anyone that grew up with these games, either the console or the arcade versions of the games, this will bring back fond memories. Anyone that is interested in history of gaming will appreciate what is all included in this game.  The added features of save states and rewind bring these games into the modern gaming sphere. Ah nostalgia…

Review copy provided by NIS America