SNK 40th Anniversary Collection – Nintendo Switch

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Title:  SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
Developer:  Digital Eclipse
Publisher:  NIS America
Website: https://snk40th.com/
Genre:  Arcade, Action, Adventure
Platform:  Nintendo Switch
Audience:  Teen – Mild Blood, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes
Release Date:  1/11/2018
Price:  $39.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this game.

What the Developers say

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of legendary studio SNK! To celebrate this extraordinary milestone, a variety of classic arcade games from SNK’s golden age are coming back together in one anthology on Nintendo Switch™. SNK 40th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION is packed full of retro games and a treasure trove of features!

Introduction

Offering 14 titles from the gaming world of yesteryear, the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a hommage to the successes of the SNK! Studio in their hayday. From ‘Beat-em-ups’ to platformers and a plethora of shooters in between, Digital Eclipse have offered the best of SNK during the pivotal 1980s. As with all true ‘retro’ titles, the age-old question remains – should these games remain a distant memory or are they the timeless classics many developers hope to create? This question becomes increasingly more difficult to answer when you weren’t alive for the titles release the first time round! Read on for a Rapid Review of this interactive gaming museum!

Looks and Sounds

As expected, both the audio and visual representations of the games included in this package have remained from their original release. The soundtrack for each of the fourteen games are just as you would expect them to be: upbeat, punchy and full of personality. I enjoyed listening to each individual games’ audio offering and found myself reflecting on how the games I played in the late 90’s had been influenced by these SNK! creations. 

I was more appreciative , however, when playing each of these games for the first time, of the graphical content. Witnessing how these early ideas from SNK had been brought to life was outstanding, and I felt privileged to be encountering them for the first time. I could visualise how these gaming experiences have evolved over time, with the subtle changes from ‘Street Smart’ to ‘Streets of Rage’, through to ‘Guerilla War’ becoming ‘Call of Duty.’

What’s more, the way this collection has been developed only further supports this. Some of the games have ‘Arcade’ origins, and as such, are presented to you in the same manner. Others are provided from the console era, and Digital Eclipse have afforded gamers the option to play in either ‘Arcade’ or ‘Console’ mode for many of these titles. This alone makes each individual game different, and only serves as another opportunity to appreciate how far gaming has come, and in particular, the journey SNK! had with their games. 

Gameplay and Replayability

Renowned for their arcade prowess, particularly in the late 80s, SNK were making remarkable strides in the quality of games on offer. One of the more notable of this time was Ikari Warriors, which, after a very successful arcade release, made its way to onto a large number of different consoles from the Atari 7800, to the NES, and the ZX Spectrum. It is games such as this which make the bulk of the 40th Anniversary Collection, and rightly so. 

In its own right, every game in this collection formed a part of the history of SNK and each can in some way be attributed to both the success of the company at that time, as well as any subsequent successes, of which there are many. Grouped by genre, the collection consists of:

  • Brawlers such as ‘P.O.W’ and ‘Street Smart.’;
  • Platformers including ‘Athena’ and ‘Psycho Soldier’; 
  • Run and Gun games entitled ‘Ikari Warriors’, ‘Ikari II – Victory Road’, ‘Ikari III’, ‘Guerilla War’ and ‘T.N.K III’;
  • Scrolling Shooters such as ‘Alpha Mission’, ‘Prehistoric Isle’ and ‘Vanguard’
  • One solitary Action-RPG known as ‘Crystalis!’ 

With a number of genres covered, it is clear there is something for everyone. I am pleased to report that all games run as expected, with these carefully crafted ports making for a smooth gaming experience with little slowdown and quick, efficient operation of the menus. This extends to the saving, which is done by pausing and selecting save at any point in game making them very accessible for a quick gaming session.

On the subject of accessibility, there is a very unique feature that I wish to highlight here as a true touch of class from the developers. When selecting a game, you are then presented with the following options: New Game, Watch, and Continue. ‘Watch’ provides you with a video of the game being played from start to finish. At any time during said video, you can pause it and choose to join the game from this point onwards. I was thoroughly impressed by this inclusion and provides that additional touch which highlights the beauty of this incredible collection. 

As mentioned earlier in this review, I was not born during the time these games were released. My earliest memories of gaming are the SEGA Megadrive, even though I subsequently went on to own a Master System and Commodore 64 – what a way to do it! I began to wonder how meaningful this collection is to me and others with similar gaming experiences. Certainly, my initial thoughts when receiving the review code were that it wouldn’t have the same impact on me as someone whose childhood was based on this arcade classics. In some respects, this is correct. However, this SNK collection has served as the perfect reminder of what gaming has offered and continues to offer people across the globe. I may not be emotionally invested in the games SNK created, but my appreciation for them has increased tenfold. 

Conclusion

There is nothing bad to say about this SNK Collection, and that is a credit to Digital Eclipse now and a credit to SNK! way back when. The enjoyment I have gotten out of playing these games for the first time, 40 years after their first conception, is the true testament to the beauty of gaming. For any game development company hoping to produce a collection of their best titles, I recommend they look no further than this one for any and all inspiration. 

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

5 out of 5 

You can purchase SNK! 40th Anniversary Collection on the Nintendo eShop on November 16th at the following address:
https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/snk-40th-anniversary-collection-switch

Alternatively, purchase a physical copy for your collection here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/40th-Anniversary-Collection-Nintendo-Switch/dp/B07CL2T7DZ

About Shaun Hughes

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