And before you ask, no, there was never an SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 2. There was, however, an SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 0 – yes, really – which consisted of SNK arcade games that predate the venerable Neo-Geo System. Unfortunately, Vol. 0 wasn’t released in the States, so any Psycho Soldier or Street Smart or Touch down Fever for us. But we’re here to discuss that which actually exists:
This compilation, released on the PS2 and PSP as well as the Wii. It’s your one-disc shop if you have even a tangential interest in Five seconds Art of Fighting, Baseball Stars 2, Burning Fight, Fatal Fury, King of the Monsters, Last Resort, Magician Lord, Metal Slug, Neo Turf Masters, Samurai Showdown, Sengoku, Shock Troopers, Super Sidekicks3, King of Fighters ’94, Top Hunter, and World Heroes. Man. After that Final Fantasy XIVlitany that was NOTHING.
Just looking at that list, you see a vast array of genres, from baseball, soccer, and golf, to your requisite fighting games, to more action-platform side-strollers, to top-down shooters, to Metal Slug. Because Metal Slug. These play out with direct arcade emulation, including that delightful Neo-Geo boot sound that set the bar for boot sounds, matched only by the GameCube.
Of course, these being SNK arcade games; they actively plot your death and have associates hanging around behind every corner attempting to relieve you of every quarter on your person, only this is a console version, so you’ve got all the credits you could ever need. But while the PS2 and PSP versions suffer from the occasional spoof slowdown, the Wiki version can actually pump out all these games at their original speed without batting an eye.
The downside is well, the Wii remote. Sure, it’s fine for simple, run-and-jump titles, but you try playing Samurai Showdown on that thing. I thought so. Fortunately, you also have support for the Nun chuck, Wii Classic controller, or a GameCube controller. Still not perfectly optimal for some of the more complex titles, but it’s a significant step forward. But, since they’re not content leaving well enough alone, SNK had to go and add several “medal” achievements, which – being that none of these versions really have any way to show them to anyone – are there for your own personal enjoyment, as you attempt to slalom through games on a minimum number of credits or kill a certain number of enemies with a certain weapon.
Some compilations have just a few games, or games that are available anywhere trust me when I say that the cumulative value of these titles – not to mention the hardware to actually play them – would be astronomical. But that’s because these kinds of games were seriously bleeding-edge – from the music to the visuals to the game play – back in its day, and that kind of equipment costs fat stacks. Almost as fast as the stack of cartridges that you’re emulating by the use of one Wii disc. Can I hear that boot-up sound one last time as we hit the end titles? Thanks.