E3 2018 IMPRESSIONS: SNK 40th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION

Friday, June 29th, 2018

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SNK 40th Anniversary | Logo

40-years of arcade greatness in one package

SNK 40th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION is a collection of SNK’s titles from over the years. What I find interesting about this is that while I certainly know of SNK, I never played any of their games. So, for me, this collection is an interesting way for me become more acquainted with them. However, before we delve into the game itself we should talk a bit about SNK in case you’re also not as familiar with the company.

SNK or Shin Nihon Kikaku’s history is quite interesting. As the name of this collection suggests the company has been around for 40 years. Yes, that means they’ve been around since 1978 and they were a big part of when the gaming industry was just starting out. While many people these days know of SNK from The King of Fighter’s series, they have done many arcade titles over the years. Much like Capcom, who started out the same way. However, where they differ is around the fourth generation of video game consoles, or the SNES & Genesis era.

SNK 40th Anniversary | Athena (NES)

While home console ports of many of SNK’s games exist (and some, like Athena here, are in this collection) SNK really wanted to bring the arcade experience home, thus the Neo Geo was born.

It was around this time where SNK really wanted to showcase how advanced their arcade technology was and so they released the Neo Geo. A system that could perfectly replicate arcade games at home in console form. However, the system was also very expensive which is why unless you were an arcade collector you probably didn’t have one. However, this wasn’t SNK’s last attempt at hardware. Another good example is the Neo Geo pocket which was a portable system designed by them. Sadly, outside of Japan, it didn’t catch on. However, that doesn’t mean that SNK hasn’t been important to the industry, far from it. In fact, the advancements they made were quite impressive. Something quite apparent through many of the games in this collection.

So far, 13 games have been announced for the SNK 40th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION with more to come. However, there’s no way I could play that many in the time I had allotted, so I stuck to two classics I knew a little about: Athena and Guerrilla War. Let’s start with Athena.

SNK 40th Anniversary | Athena (Arcade) 01

Athena’s arcade title screen

Athena is one of the few SNK games I have heard of. In fact, what I know about it is mainly its legendary difficulty. And difficult this one is. You play as the titular Athena who went looking for adventure in all the wrong places. I’m not even kidding here. In what is very much a game from the 80’s the plot is that Athena was tired of being sheltered and runs away from home. In the process, she opens a forbidden door and ends up falling from heaven to the lands below. Now, she needs to defeat Emperor Dante to get back home. And to do that, she’s going to need some armor and some weapons. Speaking of which, let’s talk about said weapons.

What makes this game rather unique is the weapon system. Different weapons have different ranges, attack powers, and can even break different blocks. Mastering these weapons is absolutely key since everything, and I mean everything is trying to kill you. This game will test your arcade skills, but thankfully there’s a neat feature the developers added to this collection: the ability to rewind time.

SNK 40th Anniversary | Athena (Arcade)

The arcade version of Athena. While I certainly enjoyed trying this out, what I was most impressed by was the ability to rewind gameplay. A neat feature of this collection.

We all know what a save state is. You can save a game at any point and then just load that state. It’s how many people practice difficult games. However, what if instead you could just rewind the game at any point? That’s basically this system and it is much appreciated. I loved this feature as it allowed me quickly undo a mistake by pressing and holding a button. It’s really a feature I’d love to see more arcade classics use so that people could practice a section. That said, it’s not going to solve all your problems. Sometimes you’ll just end up in a position where no matter what you do, you’re doomed unless you rewind quite a way back. So, you’ll need to decide where just losing a life is more appropriate. Still, I enjoyed Athena and after a few deaths booted up Guerrilla War to give it a try.

SNK 40th Anniversary | Guerilla War (Arcade) (2)

The arcade version of Guerrilla War.

Guerrilla War is a game I was only familiar with from seeing a playthrough on Frankomatic’s Obscure Game Theater. So, going into this, I knew this would be a hard game to try. However, that doesn’t make it any less fun. The goal here is to defeat the opposing army and rescue as many civilians as you can. The game functions like a twin-stick shooter. Use one stick to move and another to aim. It feels quite good and you’ll need to master moving and shooting to clear this title. I couldn’t make it out of the first stage, but with some practice, I’m sure I’d get the hang of it. All-in-all, it was a fun time. So, where does that leave my thoughts on this epic collection?

SNK 40th Anniversary | Crystalis (Home) 03

Crystalis is a title even I’ve heard of and one that I’ve always wanted to try. Thankfully, this collection does include the game.

I think if you’re a fan of either SNK or Arcade titles you’ll want to pick this up. The game features not only the original arcade version of games but also their console ports. In addition, there are some non-arcade games as well, such as Crystalis which was SNK’s answer to Final Fantasy and is often considered an NES gem. All-in-all I think you can find a lot of value for your money here.

SNK 40th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION will be arriving on the Nintendo Switch this fall.

SNK 40th Anniversay | Limited Edition

The SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Limited Edition

About Benny Carrillo

A gamer since the days of the NES, this professional otaku adores Mega Man, Super Robot Wars, Yuri, Visual Novels, the Slice of Life anime genre, and of course Hyperdimension Neptunia. His mission on oprainfall is to help deliver the news straight to you.