In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Shin Nihon Kikaku Corporation (SNK) a new collection of their titles ranging from 1979 to 1990 is now out on PS4. Find out if this is a retro gamer’s dream in our SNK 40th Anniversary Collection review!
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Trailer
As you start, you’re presented with a vertical menu on the right containing the title logo of the games available in this collection. To the left is the main image of the game, that is then replaced with a short clip of the gameplay when you stay idle for a couple of seconds. If you haven’t played some (or all!) of those games before, it’s a nice thing to be able to get a glimpse of what to expect. You can also see the game’s release year under the image and the region where it was released, something you can switch for some of these to play games that offer content that is a bit different here and there.
The other thing you can do in this menu, along with actually booting up the games, is to access some options where you can toggle things like the difficulty, the number of points required for extra lives, or your starting number of lives. After all of this is checked and done, you can go ahead and start gaming! Some games will give you the option between playing the arcade or the console release of the game, and these console ports are definitely offering a different look and feel, so you end up getting two games in one release!
With so many games to choose from you can expect a wide variety of genres, based on what was available and popular back in the day. There are a couple of vertical and horizontal shoot ’em ups, which were pretty popular back in the days. The other style that’s represented by a lot of games in this collection is what they call “run and gun,” where you’re given a top-down perspective and fight hordes of enemies. Other than those two main genres, you can find a few platformers, an action RPG, an on-rails shooter, and even a sports game!
Considering those games are all decades old, you obviously can’t expect some incredible graphics, but I was honestly surprised at how good they were looking! It’s far from being some monochrome experience, most of those games were colorful and with some fast-paced action that was well adapted for our modern TVs with no sign of being some sluggish emulator experience.
And apart from the games, a really nice thing you can find on the menu is the museum. There are quite a few slideshows available in there, detailing the highlights of the first years of the company. These ranged from the release of their Micon Block in 1979, which was a cartridge system for arcade cabinets, all the way to their 1990 releases. The museum also contains some ads that were made for the games way back in the day, and some soundtrack samples for a couple of them, including tracks that were not used in the game!
Most of the games were fun although a bit difficult, even with the difficulty setting set to easy. But as a whole package, there are a few that stood out for me as a bit more fun than the others. The first one is the only rails shooter in the collection, Beast Busters. Although it was a bit difficult to control the aim with the analog stick that was way too sensitive, this game is a real blast! Zombies, dogs and other types of monsters just keep appearing out of everywhere, and all you have to do is move your aim around, shooting at them for some pure frenzy.
And then, there is Crystalis, an action RPG released in 1990 that probably draws its inspirations from The Legend of Zelda series. The game has a nice story with an interesting setup that mixed fantasy with sci-fi, it reminded me of the Phantasy Star series on that aspect, but with a more action-oriented gameplay. As you progress in the game, you end up with a huge variety in terms of weapons and armors, and all this together makes for a really fun game.
The last spot on my podium would be for Prehistoric Isle. A scrolling shoot ’em up that’s about some pilots investigating an island where planes that went near have disappeared, only to find it full of dinosaurs, cavemen and other monsters you have to shoot at! There are a lot of games in that genre in the collection, but that one stood out for me because of the theme (think Jurassic Park but in a plane) and the colorful stages.
As for the trophies, I was sad to see that with such a wide selection of games, they didn’t manage to pull a Platinum trophy in, which does feel a bit weird considering the game also has a retail release. There are a total of 14 trophies to get, which specific requirements for 14 of the games in this fun collection. Some of them might prove to be a challenge, but there is always the possibility of periodically saving your game to make sure you can go back a bit earlier if you have a hard time.
In the end, this collection might please some people who’ve played those games when they were released, but you do need to be aware of the type of games you’ll be getting since these are from before SNK hit it big with the NEO GEO and their big arcade games – fighting games included. But if you’re a fan of retro gaming, then this collection offers a lot of bang for your buck.
PSN Price: $39.99
This SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by NIS America