SNK Arcade Classics: Volume 1

Review

posted 10/20/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
Last Resort
Despite the fact that this is a compilation of arcade games, Last Resort is the only traditional 2D shoot-em-up found on the disc. While not as good as Gradius, U.N. Squadron, R-Type and a dozen other shooters from that era, Last Resort does do a lot of things right. It's also good looking ... even now that the game is separated by a dozen years or so. Like all similar shooters, Last Resort is a scheme to make you part with as many quarters as you can in as short of time as possible. The good news is that you won't need to put quarters in your Wii, but that doesn't make the game any less frustrating. This isn't a bad effort, but with so many better shooters on the market (and on the Virtual Console) it's hard to get excited about this throwaway Neo Geo game.

Magician Lord
What used to be the single best game at the Neo Geo's launch is now nothing more than a standard platformer with above average graphics. But don't let my negativity persuade you, because Magician Lord is still worth playing through. The gameplay is about as simple as it gets (you jump and shoot), but at least you can change into different characters along the way (including a wizard and a dragon). The game's not perfect, but it's easily one of the best games available in this Wii compilation. It's a shame SNK didn't turn this game into a full-blown franchise, there's a lot of potential in this magical action game.

Metal Slug
By now everybody knows what Meta Slug is, but if you've somehow been living in a cave for the past fifteen years then here's the skinny: It's Control with more character and better graphics. That's right, this is basically just a run and gun shooter, the type you've seen dozens of times before. What sets Metal Slug apart from the rest is that all of the hand drawn graphics pop off the screen. Well, they do in Metal Slug's various sequels. Oddly enough the graphics aren't nearly as interesting in this first game. Also, why is this game even packaged with this compilation? It has its own compilation disc called the Metal Slug Anthology I even reviewed it. If all you're looking for is one Metal Slug game then wait for Metal Slug 3 to hit the Virtual Console, but fans of the series should just go ahead and pick up the Metal Slug Anthology instead.

Neo Turf Masters

Say what you want about this SNK Arcade Classics compilation, the one thing you can't say is that it's not diverse. When you think about all of the classic Neo Geo games you probably think of nothing but fighting games, but SNK proves yet again that they had a handful of other games worth playing. Neo Turf Masters is one of those games. While not a great game of golf, it does make for some nice variety after all of these action games. The character models are strong and the courses look good. The problem is that there isn't enough variation to keep you busy for long. However, if you're just looking for a fun game of golf then you're going to have a great time with Neo Turf Masters.

Samurai Shodown
As much as I love Samurai Shodown, this is not the version you should be seeking out. With the money you could spend on this you should go and download Samurai Shodown II for the Virtual Console, it's the only game in the series you need to own. However, if you really must have more than one Samurai Shodown game then why not just wait a couple of months and pick up the upcoming Samurai Shodown collection? It features all of the Samurai Shodown, including the best and the worst of the franchise. This isn't a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, it's just difficult to go back to this first installment after putting so much time into the vastly superior sequel.

Sengoku
Sengoku is the other 2D brawler on this disc. While not a phenomenal game, it's slightly better than Burning Fight. The good news is that this game's locations and characters are a bit more interesting, which means that you may actually enjoy what you're doing as you plow through the story mode. The multiplayer stuff is fun as well; however Sengoku never rises to the level of Final Fight or Streets of Rage. Thankfully the controls are solid, which is not something I can say about every game in this SNK compilation. If anything this game proves that SNK was unable to fully grasp all of the popular arcade games of the 1980s and 90s, which is disappointing. Either way, you'll have some fun with Sengoku, even if it's not especially original.
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