SNK Playmore has recently released their Neo Geo Station classics on the PlayStation Network as individual purchases at $6.99 USD each. This is an alternative to the SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 package that is also available on PlayStation network for $19.99. So now instead of purchasing a whole package to get a game or two that you enjoy, you can make a single purchase for a lower cost.
Back in the late 80's to early 90's, SNK had a highly popular arcade unit known as the Neo Geo Multi Video System. This arcade cabinet would hold up to six games to play. The premise was that this would save arcade owners precious floor space to install additional cabinets, and have a higher number of games available to their patrons.
SNK had later released a console version known as the Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System that was popular among hotels and restaurants. These consoles provided the same level of graphics and game play that were only available in cabinet style arcade machines at the time. Later, the Neo Geo was released to the public at a $650 price point. This prohibitive retail price ultimately led to the demise of the console, as it would not be able to compete with the lower cost Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo, even though in many ways the Neo Geo was far more superior technologically.
While the Neo Geo was not popular in the home, the high quality games available on the Neo Geo developed quite a following. These highly popular games are now available on the PlayStation Network.
While all of the Neo Geo games are great in their own right, I'm going to cover some of my most favorite games.
Alpha Mission II – This vertical scrolling shooter was released in 1991. Shoot your way through levels filled fighters, cannons and boss size ships that fill the entire screen. Armor power ups give you the ability to pack some extra punch and provide additional protection from the never ending hordes of enemies. Action is intense and non-stop in this shooter.
Art of Fighting – The first in a series of fighting games released in 1992. You play as Ryu and Robert. Ryu's sister has been kidnapped by Mr. Big and you set out to rescue her. The early 90's were a time when the fighting genre was highly popular, and this is just one of the many fighting games available in the Neo Geo Station releases. While the story was full of camp, it was always a favorite between my friends and me.
Metal Slug – A side scrolling shooter that launched in 1996. You play a commando that's out to rescue Prisoners of War. Gunning through six different levels of increasing difficulty, this Contra-like game is full of action. Different weapons help you on your way, such as the heavy machine gun, rocket launcher, flame thrower, and the occasional Metal Slug mini tank. This game never gets old for me. I've probably logged ten hours on my PSP with this one in the last week alone.
Fatal Fury – Quite possibly the greatest fighting game that was released for the Neo Geo; this 1991 title directly competed against Street Fighter II in the arcade fighting genre. This game hasn't lost any of its charm for me. Unfortunately, my skills in this game (or a lack thereof) haven't changed in twenty years. But it is still a top favorite.
Porting To the PSP
Graphically and musically, these games remain true to their cabinet counterparts. They play and feel just as they did back in their heyday. My only complaint is that the original Neo Geo controller buttons were labeled A, B, C, and D, and the on-screen instructions still reflect this instead of being updated to reflect the PSP and PS3 control scheme. So there's a little bit of guesswork involved in getting up to speed with the control scheme. However, other than that, there are no complaints.
To Buy, Or Not To Buy?
Releasing the games individually when you already have a package deal seems to be a little odd to me. But I guess I can understand the concept. If there's only a game or two out of the collection that you want to purchase, then the ala carte option is best for you. However, if there are more than two games that you wish to purchase, then the package deal with SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 is a much more cost effective option.
In either case, whether you grew up in the 80's, 90's, or 00's, I highly encourage you to check out these old-time favorites.
[SNK] – $6.99 Each