Neo Geo Station Reviews: Metal Slug 2, Shock Troopers, and King of Fighters ’96
SNK Playmore has done fans of their innovative old-school franchises a service by releasing the Neo Geo Station on the PSN. Even better, they have stream lined the games together so they share options and settings, which is dependant on which games you own in their library. You can get these great games for the price of $8.99, or $6.99 for the PSP.
Each title shares a similar interface which gives the feeling of playing a network of games under one banner, hence the name Neo Geo Station. The Neo Geo Station has networking options where you can create or search for a match for online co-op or competitive play, and you can check the online status of accessible rooms for each SNK title released.
The Sound Player allows you to play the music from those titles, which I have to say can be very surprising catchy after a while.
The Neo Geo Station also has replay options so you watch gameplay over again, for when you want to relive how you beat Metal Slug 2 on the hardest setting without losing a life.
If you were wondering how these classic titles will look on your HDTV, in my opinion they look great. The settings also allow you to change the display mode with scanline and smoothing options if the game is hard on your eyes.
I really like the idea of having these games released on the PSN, but unfortunately the Station doesn’t act like a portal to the games because you have to exit every game completely to play the next one. I think SNK should have released the station allowing you to pick which game you want to play from a list instead of the former.
Let’s review some of the titles so far, shall we?
Metal Slug 2
Metal Slug heroes Marco and Tarma are back, and this time they have two new female recruits to join in the battle, Eri and Fio.
This is one of my favorite games back in the day and was ahead of its time as an action side-scroller. In each level you take on hordes of unique bad guys and vehicles, and had you and a buddy recapturing hostages as they leave behind items and weapons. If you are lucky, one of these hostages (real name) will lend a hand as he follows you around shoot homing Ryu-style fireballs (Hadouken!) at your enemies. Finishing Metal Slug 2 will be a challenging feat in itself, but the gameplay is so refined that it will keep you coming back for more.
You can tell that Metal Slug 2 must have been a lot of fun to develop. The game has a great sense of humor which doesn’t take itself too seriously. The attention to detail, artwork, and animation of the characters running around the screen is something that will take you back to when a gaming experience was only a quarter.
Should you spend your money on Metal Slug 2?
Most definitely. I highly recommend Metal Slug 2 to fans of retro action titles.
The evil terrorist organization “Bloody Scorpions” has kidnapped eighteen-year-old Cecilia Diamond and her grandfather Professor George Diamond who is being forced to work on a new drug called a-301, a new serum which can turn ordinary people into superhuman soldiers. It is up to an eight commando squad called the Vulcan Team to save them and beat the Bloody Scorpions.
Shock Troopers was originally released in 1997, and honestly I never played it until now. However, I am glad that Shock Troopers and I are having fun making up for lost time.
The gameplay starts you off by picking between two styles; Lonely Wolf is played with one character and Team Battle allows you to pick 3 characters out of the 8 to form a squad. After that is done you have to pick between three paths that will lead you to Bloody Scorpion’s door step.
Instead of being dispatched by a one shoot kill your character has a health meter, and if you picked Team Battle you can pick between the 3 other commandos anytime during combat. Each character has their own style of play, their own unique special attack, and can perform a combat roll to avoid a tight spot.
I was very impressed with Shock Troopers, and I think you will be too. The gameplay modes alone are enough to set it apart from other arcade shooters from the past and the present. The game even has something that resembles a story. How cool is that?
King of Fighters ’96
The King of Fighters is a franchise I wish I would have had more time with growing up. Most of my friends were Street Fighter players, and we all know how boring it is to play a fighter by yourself. Capcom vs. SNK 2 was the best of both worlds to me when it originally released, and KOF 12 allowed me to be reintroduced to KOF as a whole. I can at least say that I owned KOF ’95 for the Playstation One, so playing KOF 96 on the PSN fondly takes me back to those days.
King of Fighters ’96 is considered the game that made the franchise what is it today. KOF ’95 was full of projectile and dodge attacks, and ’96 changed game played considerably by adding new characters, rolling to evade attacks, and the ability to do small jumps or “hops”. The graphics were also improved and characters move sets also underwent overhauls.
The cast of characters is large and just like any KOF title allows 3 versus 3 team battles either against another player or through the story mode.
King of Fighters ’96 also transforms the tournament itself from an obscure event to an international spectacle. The 96 tournament was created by Chizuru Kagura, heir to the Yata Clan. She wanted to recruit Kyo Kusanagi, the winner of the previous tournament held by the evil Rugal Bernstein, and his rival Iori Yagami to help her seal the Orochi demon. King of Fighters ’96 is also the second part of the Orochi Saga.
The gameplay is very smooth and responsive, with a speed that still rivals modern fighters. Unfortunately I can’t make any comments about the netcode because I can’t find an online match.
Should you spend your money on King of Fighters 96?
I would recommend buying KOF ’96 if you are a die-hard fan of the series and want it on your PS3 HDD. However, I highly doubt you will be able to find a match online, and KOF 13 might currently have you attention. If you are new to the King of Fighters series and haven’t played KOF 12 or 13, I would suggest playing KOF ’96 to get use to the basic mechanics of the game before moving forward in the franchise.
We all know that KOF 12 was really just an appetizer to 13, so no harm is passing it all together.
Check out our World Heroes review too!