Game Review: SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Switch)

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While home consoles were definitely a thing when I was growing up (at the end of the 8 bit era and beginning of the 16 bit era), arcades were still in full swing: not only did the consoles lack the amazing graphics within those beautiful cabinets, but the actual arcades (the places where the machines were located) were buzzing with activity. Bragging rights definitely went to whoever could top-score Terminator 2 (even though the machine electrocuted us all the time), and the King of Fighters ´98 was, and still is, one of the all-time greatest fighting games ever made. So, fast-forward a few decades, and SNK, one of the most established arcade developers in the world, has released the 40th Anniversary Collection on the Switch. Is it worth picking up? Or are we looking to the past through rose-tinted glasses? We’ll leave the online casino reviews to people who know what they’re doing, and let me do my thing. Onwards!

Well, the answer is already a bit tricky to even begin to answer: you see, the 40th Anniversary Collection only includes games released within the first half of those two illustrious decades. That means we´re missing on half of SNK´s great back catalog. We´re also getting the more primitive games in the roster.

But let´s not dispair, because these games were, and still are, classics for a reason.

Sure, ¨Crystalis¨ is basically a ¨Legend of Zelda¨ arcade clone. But it works! The pacing is fantastic and the art and music are not any less so. On the other hand, did we really need three Ikari Warriors games? I think they could have just put the third and best of the lot in the collection, and leave some more room for other, more varied titles.

That said, the A.I. in ¨Ikari III¨ is absolutely amazing, not only for its age but amazing, full stop. You get a real sense of tactics going on behind the scenes, and you´ll find yourself flanked more than once. Better have someone tagging along as P2!

Speaking of which: 2-player coop is fantastic on most of these games, as it´s expected. The addition of the release-week patch that enables single joy-con play makes it possible to play with your significant other or friend with just the base Switch system and its two controllers. This is a must-have for games that focus on local multiplayer, and I´m still baffled when a new game comes out that does not support this feature.

Some of the games from the list. Yes, I think it’s a bit Ikari-heavy, too.

¨Iron Tank¨ and ¨Tnk III¨ are another two flowers taken from the same plant that, in my opinion, did not need to be together. The thing is, the games aren´t even all that great. At least ¨Ikari¨ has great gameplay going for it. ¨Iron Tank¨ has simply not aged well, specially in its clunky controls, and its threequel does little to remedy the issues present in the original.

Without going in depth about every game, rest assured there´ll be something here, if not for everyone, at least for most hardcore and/or old-school gamers. And the best part is, the new features make it so that the games are more enjoyable than ever.

As previously mentioned, you´ve got single joy-con support, and obviously you don´t need coins to continue when you die (which is both a plus, and a bit of a detriment to the experience). But there´s also a time-machine feature very similar to the one seen in ¨Braid¨, which basically allows you to go back in time to the split second just before you died by that one bullet, and change the course of history. It makes the absolutely brutally punishing gameplay a bit more casual, and all the more enjoyable for it.

Other features include: the possibility of choosing whether to play the arcade or home console version of games that were released on those platforms (though why you´d choose the inferior home console port over the arcade one is beyond me), a great gallery with tons of behind the scenes stuff, like the complete SNK catalog, with liner notes, cabinet art, the lot. There´s also the soundtracks for all the games included in the collection. There´s even little manga books from the era promoting the games! See if you can find the one where they make the female protagonist just a little too sexy (hint: It´s ¨Athena¨).

So, overall, there´s plenty of content here, though whether it´s worth the asking price or not will highly depend on a variety of factors, the biggest of which is, I believe, the nostalgia you might have of having played these games growing up.

As it stands, there could be more variety in the selection (though I´m hoping for another release… the 90´s, maybe?) and some of the games have not aged well at all. At its core, though, the modern features like single joy-con support and rewind function make otherwise unforgiving games accessible and approachable for a new generation. I like it a lot.

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