I was born in the late 80s and had the joy of being a gamer through the 90s, but I spent very little time in the arcade. When I did, I was playing games like X-Men and Mortal Kombat. By the time arcades started to disappear, I had taken up console gaming and never looked back, until now. Thanks to the addition of the Neo Geo Station to PSN, gamers now have the opportunity to play some of those overlooked classics, like Shock Troopers.
Shock Troopers is a run and gun arcade shooter originally released by Saurus for the Neo Geo in 1997. The story is simple. A terrorist group known as the Bloody Scorpions has kidnapped a scientist and his granddaughter in order to obtain Alpha-301, a drug that will turn ordinary humans into superhuman soldiers. Players get to control one of eight, heavily armed soldiers as they fight through various stages in an attempt to stop the Bloody Scorpions leader from achieving his goal.
Shock Troopers on PSN does exactly what it set out to do: bring a classic arcade game back to life for console gamers to enjoy; and it does it quite well. Shock Troopers feels like an old arcade game in every aspect. Players are greeted at the menu screen by a retro-rock soundtrack that has been ripped straight from the 90s. From the menu, you are given the choice to play through the game as one character (Lone Wolf) or as three (Team Battle), which you can change at will. Each character has different qualities and some form of explosive special weapon.
Perhaps you want to enjoy the game as it was meant to be enjoyed in the arcade: with a friend. Shock Troopers gives you that option, featuring not only couch co-op but also the ability to connect with players online in Network Play. Other features like the ability to save and load games have been added with the re-release through the Neo Geo Station.
Many re-releases are getting the HD makeover these days, but Shock Troopers keeps its original look and feel, which holds up well to today’s standards. The three different routes that players can choose to fight through (mountain, jungle and valley) all look good and are varied enough to keep stages from getting too repetitive. Shock Troopers also boasts a high level of challenge, which serves to keep even the best players engaged in the action for some time.
My only major gripe is with the controls. Players control their character and the direction their character fires using either the d-pad or the left analog stick. This made it difficult to fire at a target without moving towards it, and trying to fire at one target and switch to another was slow and cumbersome, making me wish it was set up as a twin stick shooter rather than having one dedicated control for movement and aiming. My only other issue with Shock Troopers is the limited continues that it gives players. I understand that it increases the level of challenge, but I prefer to be able to play through the entire game, no matter how many times I die.
If nostalgia is making you wish for those childhood days at the arcade, then this is the game for you. The entertaining retro game play and co-op, both online and offline, make Shock Troopers worth the $8.99 you’ll spend on it. Consider it a bargain; you would have spent way more quarters in the 90s.
Review copy provided by publisher.