SNK 40th Anniversary Collection – Nintendo Switch – Review

Game: SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer: SNK and Digital Eclipse
Publisher: NISA
Price: € 39,99| $39.99 | £35.99
Age rating: Europe12+|America Teen

Review game kindly provided by NISA

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a software package of thirteen games. Included are Alpha Mission, Athena, Crystalis, Guerrilla War, Ikari Warriors I, II and III, Iron Tank, P.O.W., Prehistoric Isle, Street Smart, TNK III and Vanguard.

This is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the game company SNK. Well known for their Neo Geo hardware and series such as Metal Slug and The King of Fighters.

The Collection

As it is an anniversary package it focuses more on the history of SNK rather than packing their most popular gaming titles in. Some games have multiple versions of them such as both the arcade and console or different region.

A few of the games have a watch mode, which is a recording of an entire play through of the game. This is very handy for some of the games such as Crystalis which requires you to do things in a certain order. It is also more useful than a written walk through and you can skip through it to get to your point in the game.

The Museum

Part of the collection is a virtual museum.  It contains a list of the complete works of SNK from 1978 to 1990. These have a few pages written on what the game was and features, with advertisement and game play pictures. The Bonus features section has more advertising, some concept art, a couple of newsletters and arcade guide books. Also included are the entire soundtracks for all the games in the collection.

The Museum is definitely a nice part of the collection, and very good for any SNK or retro gaming fans.

Alpha Mission and Athena

As these games are all from before 1990, most are quite short. That is, if you’re a retro gamer. As many of these are arcade games, and from the “good-old days” they are challenging for people who aren’t used to these games, which adds to the time. One thing you’ll definitely want to do is hit the minus button and check the controls out for each game. A lot of them also have options for different levels of difficulties and starting lives. Like many modern collections of retro games it contains an rewind option so you can avoid failure almost entirely if you want to.

First up is Alpha Mission, a vertical shoot em up game. The difference between arcade and console versions is immediately apparent even in this version. The arcade has clearly better graphics, more enemies with a far higher speed. You can collect eight power ups and store them for future use. As with many older shmups you can only take one hit though you do get a few lives. Two player turn taking is an option.

Next is Athena, which is an action platformer game. With the usual elements of a time limit and lives. This however has a life bar so you can take a few hits, although enemies can hit or shoot you repeatedly if you keep walking into it. Killing enemies makes them drop their weapons (if they had them) which you can then use. As with many of these older platform games it is about learning the stages as you play through and you’ll get further each time. One thing I really like about this game is the destructible blocks to create different ways to get around. As well as collecting armor.

Again, the arcade version runs a lot faster and can have a few more enemies making it more difficult. Athena also contains areas you can miss, and warping adding to the replay value. The game also has two player turn taking.

Crystalis and Guerilla War

Crystalis is a console only single player action RPG set in a post apocalyptic world. It was the game I was most interested in from this collection, and is the longest game. I’m not much of a 2D gamer but I like action rpgs. I had to get used to the right angle to attack, and usually just stuck with the charge attack. It’s definitely one of those games where you have to talk to all the NPCs (something I normally do anyway) but there is the watch option in case you get stuck. You can also always grind yourself up a tiny bit, as well as remembering to equip yourself.

Guerilla War is a run and gun game in an overhead fashion, making it feel like a shmup. It has two player co-op. You shoot through enemies and can collect hostages to save for bonus points, if you shoot them you lose points. You can shoot, launch grenades and use tanks as well as collect weapons. The Arcade version once again looks a lot better and makes it easier to tell what is going on. Whereas the console port has unlimited continues and new levels. The Japanese title of the game is Guevara after Che Guevara, which is actually the name of the playable character in the original version.

Ikari Warriors I, II and III

Ikari Warriors is a sequel to TNK III, and like like the later release, Guerilla War is an overhead action game. It has local two play co-op with friendly fire. According to the museum section the decision to add co-op was actually made due to opening hour restrictions on game centers. The console version actually has more content than the original. All the Ikari Warriors games have two player co-op. They are also among the shortest games in the collection.

Ikari Warriors II takes place after the first game. I like the setting of this one the best out of the three as you have to fight aliens. There are also some voice clips, some of which made it to the console version. The home version has cut scenes and money to purchase items. There are no vehicles in this but there is armor.

Ikari Warriors III has less weapons. Instead the combat is focused on punching and kicking, as well as throwing. This makes it quite different but I like it. The console version feels a lot different from the arcade, as it has a further away view.

Iron Tank and P. O. W.

Iron Tank: The Invasion of Normandy is an NES remake of TNK III. It’s another overhead action game where you are in a tank the whole time. Due to that, running people over is an option I choose to employ frequently. A main feature are the branching paths, allowing a different experience on multiple playthroughs. It is single player only.

Prisoners of War is a side scroller beat em up game. Although it features weapon pickups, including guns. The arcade version has two player co-op while the console does not. That said like many SNK home console ports, more levels and weapons were added to the game.

Prehistoric Isle and Psycho Soldier

Prehistoric Isle is a horizontal shmup set on a mysterious island filled with dinosaurs. It has local two player co-op, something I’m not aware of a lot of shmups having. There is an options button that allows for different weapons that can be switched between.

Psycho Soldier is a sequel to Athena. It features four lanes to travel between, making it a good way to avoid enemies when need be. Like it’s predecessor it has destructible environments hiding different things inside. It is an arcade only game and has a voiced soundtrack. It has two player co-op. Psycho Solider is one of the games I liked best in this collection.

Street Smart, TNK III and Vanguard

Street Smart is SNK’s first fighting game. A lot of people might know SNK more for their fighting games so for this to be the only one on is a bit disappointing. It again like many games in the collection has co-op play. This is quite unique for a fighting game, but after competing through together you have to fight each other in the end.

TNK III, is nothing special at this point on the list as the remake has already been shown off. However it was the first to have the rotary feature allowing you to move and fire in different directions. For the SNK collection these rotary games had to be adapted to use the two joysticks making them twin stick shooters. TNK III has two player turn taking.

Vanguard is the oldest game on the collection. It is a shmup that goes from horizontal, vertical and diagonal. Certainly something quite different and especially interesting considering its age. I was quite interested in the ability to shoot out from all ends. It has an energy pick up that reminds me of the super star as you can crash into enemies to kill them, although you can’t shoot during this. You can also only take one hit. The game loops after the boss fight, increasing the difficulty. Vanguard is single player only.

Overall + More Content Coming Soon!

This is a well presented package of the history of SNK. It is definitely a must have for fans of old school shooters, otherwise you may find it a bit lacking although Crystalis adds value for time. The museum is a really nice touch not often seen in collections like these. Plenty of the games in here have local co-op making it a good option for people who like to play together. Most of these games weren’t something I’d normally consider my thing but after giving them a few tries I found a few I really liked.

Free DLC is coming out very soon on December 11th, which will have eleven more games! These are Munch Mobile, Fantasy, Sasuke Commander, Chopper, Time Soliders, Bermuda Triangle, Paddle Mania, Ozma Wars, SAR: Search and Rescue and World Wars.

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