The banner on the back proudly proclaims ’16 Classics On One Disc!’. On closer inspection, this is quickly discovered to be a lie, unless, of course, anyone out there is really claiming little-known Last Resort or side scrolling actionner Top Hunter to be classics.
So, 16 arcade ‘classics’ these are not. They are bloody good fun, though.
SNK Playmore are most famous for beat-em-ups like Fatal Fury, Art Of Fighting (both included here) and for developing the Neo-Geo home arcade system and this collection of 16 of their titles showcases their talents very well. Clearly educated in the school of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ several of the titles are variations on a well worn theme. Art Of Fighting, Fatal Fury, King Of The Fighters ’94, King Of The Monsters, Samurai Showdown and World Heroes are all 2D head-to-head fighters. Burning Fight and Senoku are both Final Fight-style scrolling beat-em-ups and Neo Turf Masters, Baseball Stars 2 and Super Sidekicks 3: The Final Glory represent the sporting side of the video gamer’s armoury. The rest are a combination of arcade action scrollers and shoot-em-ups.
While the formats might be familiar, it doesn’t make them any less enjoyable and the graphics and gameplay come straight out of an era when the arcade machine was king. This was a time when holidays in Blackpool were a family treat, when a few pounds would buy you a few hours’ gaming time, assuming you were any good. I remember spending many evenings mastering the button bashing joys of Final Fight and Gauntlet and I can genuinely say that they were some of the happiest moments of my life – sad, perhaps, but no less true. Revisiting some of these classics again brought smiles, giggles and a renewed sense of joy for gaming that I felt I’d lost a while back, partly down to the lacklustre selection of new titles released for the Wii console.
The actual mechanics of gameplay take no advantage of the Wii’s motion sensor controls, but then I wouldn’t have expected it to – the sports games aside, I can’t see how it would have worked. Holding the Wii remote to one side, you control gameplay via a combination of the A, 1 and 2 buttons, plus the traditional D-pad to move. I ditched the Wii remote in favour of a classic GameCube controller, though, and it worked much better, so I’d recommend getting hold of either that or a classic controller to play the games here.
What we have here is a collection of games that don’t rely on complicated plots or take up a significant proportion of your life to complete. They are simple, unbridled bundles of pick-up-and-play joy and you can’t say fairer than that.
SNK Arcade Classics is available now.