REVIEW: SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1

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Being a huge fan of emulation, it’s always exciting when a company decides to release a true compilation. From the start of the Neo Geo back in 1990 up until now, the console has been home to many genres, though fighting games are definitely in the majority. Ancient, by the standard of how fast technology changes, this console had a life-time more than 3x it’s rivals and still costs a ton to buy from places like Ebay. You can argue that the Neo Geo isn’t a true console because it’s an arcade machine, but really, it survived longer than pretty much everything else that came out at the time, plus another generation or two. Can the PS2 handle 16 classic Neo Geo games? Of course!

Since these games are old and have been reviewed many times over, yet another review of each game would be redundant. I will state that all the games on this compilation seem emulated very well, comparable to MAME or FBA-XXX. Graphics, sounds, controls – all feel as they should, which is great. It’s never cool to buy a set of emulated games to find that they are altered or have ‘arranged’ portions, while the original material is absent. Thankfully, SNK-Playmore did things right – they simply emulated the old code and put everything together quite well. The ‘Trophy’ system is a ‘new’ feature added to these old games. Think Achievements/Trophies and you’re on the right track. Most of the tasks boil down to beating a game on each difficulty level, getting a certain amount of points, not continuing/dying, and so on. At any rate, they are nice to see and a fun addition as you can unlock various art, move-lists, music, and videos related to the games on the disc. Oddly enough, World Heroes is the only game you can unlock. Strange, but true.

I can say with a pretty good conscience that all the games are emulated properly. Truly, my only complaints are as follow:

  • The menu screen does not fit properly on the screen, noticeable on the right side. Keep in mind, this is only the menu screen – such as during game selection or when you pause – it’s like the overlay screen just doesn’t line up properly with the background screen. I consider this very minor, though slightly sloppy. It probably wasn’t worth the time to clean up, prior to release.
  • The selection of games is a bit random. Baseball Stars 2, but not part 1? Super Sidekicks 3, but not part 1? Every other game on here is the first in it’s respective series, so it’s kind of odd. Perhaps other collections would do better if they stuck to genres – Racing Game Collection or Sports Game Collection. I know all about the World Heroes Collection, but wonder why that was made. It’s not like World Heroes was the most popular series on the Neo Geo, with so many different series to pick from – King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, etc. are all superior fighting games. I’m sure those series will have their own compilations, in time.

Other than those gripes, I see SNKACv1 as a solid title that will definitely get your emulation interests up, if they aren’t already. It’s great to see companies are still giving these older games respect by releasing them for each generation, as there are many great, well-emulated games in this collection. For a collection of mostly good games, $19.99 makes this a definite bargain for your PS2. Let’s hope for a Samurai Shodown 1-5 + RPG Collection!

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