A classic compilation for the hardcore.
It seems lately that the folks at SNK have come to the conclusion that compilations are the way to go. Just take a look at their last few releases and you will notice a pattern. Love them or hate them collections are an increasingly popular way for developers to make money, and for gamers to experience older titles that may have come out before they were into the hobby.
They are kind of like casual games for the more serious gamer and personally I am a sucker for a good collection of old-school love. SNK Arcade Classics: Volume One is another solid assortment of sprite-induced glory that is hard not to recommend to fans of SNK. Sixteen full-fledged titles are on the disc including some of the company’s most revered franchises, and all for around two dollars a game.
First let’s run the gamut here. The highlights of the collection include Baseball Stars 2, King of the Monsters, Metal Slug, Samurai Showdown, King of Fighters 94, World Heroes and Art of Fighting. Outside of these are some more obscure titles such as Magician Lord, Last Resort and Burning Fight. Overall the compilation is solid and with the inclusion of two-player on almost all of these titles you will sometimes transport back in time where the smell of skeeball tickets and sweaty teenagers who had yet to discover deodorant permeate. The main menu is littered with retro paraphernalia including release dates of each game and lists them in a simple alphabetical order.
Anyone who is a fan of SNK will no doubt be aware that this collection has already popped up on both the PS2 and PSP. The Wii iteration is certainly the strongest version of the three however, if you have already purchased one of the aforementioned titles there is little here to warrant a re-purchase. That being said the strengths of the Wii outing make this the definitive one to own.
For starters you have the option to play using a variety of control configurations. You can opt to play with just the Wii remote, a combination of remote and nunchuk or even the Gamecube or Classic Controller. Honestly the best possible scenario (per usual) is the Cube or Classic Controller as they have the best range of motion and a proper set of buttons designed for arcade titles. Using the Wii remote on its own is more of a chore than anything thanks to its lack of buttons.
Probably one of the most intriguing features packed into this collection are the goals system. Think of it as a generic form of Achievements that are used to unlock new features and you get the idea. Each game has a set of goals that range from things such as beating the game without continues to more established things such as beating it on a tougher difficulty. Much like Achievements, these goals will unlock new items and even in game content for other titles on the disc.
While these goals certainly add replay value they also force you to play every game on the disc. For example there are certain items locked in one particular game; in order to unlock those it may force you to play an entirely different game. Sure it seems strange, but it also makes you experience every title on the disc. While not a necessity it is nice to see developers continuing to look for more ways to hook their players in and giving them rewards for continued play.
The biggest hurdle to enjoying SNK Classics is your personal taste in classic games. For example SNK has specialized in certain genres and this disc is generally packed with those types of games. Fighting games, shoot ’em ups and classic side scrollers are the main course, and if you enjoy those, SNK certainly has a special knack for creating some classics. However if you were bred on the more traditional Nintendo or Sega titles, some of these games may come across a bit stale.
Overall the SNK titles sometimes felt like cheaper versions of the bigger games, but in all actuality they focused more on complexity than flashiness, which is why most of their games are beloved mostly by the hardcore crowd. However, if you enjoy those genres than you will no doubt find plenty of satisfaction in SNK Classics Vol. 1.
This collection of SNK classics is certainly worth the price of admission of you are a fan of the company’s work. The sheer number of games on the disc combined with the cheap price tag makes it a steal to both classic gamers and newcomers. Considering if you purchased all of these titles on the Virtual Console it would run you a considerable amount more than having them all on one disc, Arcade Classics is certainly worth the money. There are certainly no signs of this trend of arcade compilations slowing down, but if they continue with this level of quality and selection I certainly won’t complain.