SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 PS2 Review

Founded all the way back in 1978, thanks to games like King of Fighters, Metal Slug and Samurai Shodown, SNK have gained a strong passionate fan base. The company has been through some troublesome times and actually collapsed back in 2001. Founder: Eikichi Kawasaki anticipated this and quickly bought back his former companies properties, rehired many of his former employees and founded SNK Playmore. SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 is a celebration of this beloved company.

So the games then:

Neo Turf Masters

Neo Turf Masters is a fast arcade style golf game that may not have the depth of today’s top golfing series’, Everybody’s Golf and Tiger Woods, but it sure has the playability that can rival, if not quite match, the two games. 7/10

Burning Fight

Burning Fight is a scrolling Fighting game in the vein of SEGA’s Streets of Rage and Capcom’s Final Fight, in terms of quality it’s not half as good as either, and is simply an average example of a once thriving genre. 5

King of The Monsters

King of The Monsters is a moderately enjoyable fighting and wrestling game hybrid, which sees you take charge of a gargantuan monster (taken from the school of giant monster archetypes) and take on other similarly sized beasts in good old one-on-one competition. Teeth, claws and tails are the order of the day here, whilst less conventional monster moves such as wrestling style Irish whips are also an option. For two lumbering monsters, bouts also end in an unexpected fashion, with a wrestling style three count pin required for a fight to be decided, which is mildly amusing, a bit like the game as a whole really . 6

Fatal Fury

As I said in my recent Fatal Fury: Battle Archives review, the original Fatal Fury whilst solid enough, with all the fundamentals of the series in place, has just three playable characters (though there’s many more to fight in the games arcade mode) which makes for an all too limited game. It’s hardly the highlight of the series but is worth a play for those curious about the beginning of a beloved series. 6

World Heroes

As I covered in another recent review: World Heroes Anthology. The original World Heroes has a sluggish speed of play and is further let down by an uncharismatic and clichéd cast of characters. It’s one of the worse 2D fighting games and is also one of the worst games in this collection. 4


Sengoku is a scrolling fighting game, but it’s not the usual gang cleaning up affair. Enemies here are undead warlords from the Sengoku period, whilst the setting is both of the typical and heavens variety. Vanquished enemies occasionally leave behind orbs and picking these up grants you weapons. But Sengoku’s most unique point proves to be its transforming system, which allows you to invoke the spirits of heroes, transforming you into different forms and granting you new abilities for a limited time, which allows for a good deal of variety throughout the game. It’s still not enough for Sengoku to be as good as SEGA’s and Capcom’s more famous offerings though. 7

Metal Slug

The start of one of the best 2D shooters around, or lets make that the start of one of the best shooters full stop. The cartoon visual style still retains much of its detail and appeal and this, as well as the sense of humour, is what gives Metal Slug its unique charm. The shooting on the other hand is some of the most explosive and satisfying around, whilst there are some meaty bosses for you to take care of. 8

Art of Fighting

Art of Fighting planted the seeds for SNK’s own more successful crossover series, King of Fighters. To this day some of its features remain unique, such as the rage gauge, which decreases when you fire off your special attacks, weakening any following ones and encouraging you to not just build your strategy around fireballs and such. Ryo, Robert and Yuri of KOF fame all made their debut here. It’s a good game, which paved the way for even better games. 7

Super Sidekicks 3: The Next Glory

A fairly enjoyable football game, which doesn’t reach the lofty quality of today’s football games, but still offers an enjoyable enough kick around. There’s 64 international teams included, whilst the on pitch gameplay is adequate, but lacks the depth that people these days crave form such games and is also a little too sluggish. Wins an extra point for the chance to knock the referee over with the ball though. 6

Magician Lord

Similarly to Sengoku, Magician Lord allows you to transform into other forms, but is more of a side scrolling platformer and shooter. It’s pretty standard stuff and very hard, but still very pleasurable to play. 8

Top Hunter: Roddy and Cathy

Very enjoyable cartoon esque shooter, with a fairly unique multiple plane system and the chance to choose what order to tackle each world in. The cartoon graphics have much in the way of personality. Whilst the game itself sees you either taking charge of Roddy or Cathy and using their retractable arms to pull levers and defeat enemies. 8

King of Fighters ‘94

The start of SNK’s most beloved fighting series is still decent today. It’s a team based three-on-three fighter, with a collection of characters hailing from some of SNK’s most successful games. Today it’s a bit rough around the edges, but is still perfectly playable. 7

Shock Troopers

Top-down shooter, with big explosions and the choice to go through the game with either a single character or a team. It’s all good fun, but Metal Slug, which is also crammed on this disc, is easily better. 7

Samurai Shodown

Samurai Shodown is a weapons based fighter, with twelve playable characters. Somewhat unique is the POW meter, which begins to fill when you take damage and once it’s full your attacks will deal more damage, whilst similarly to Soul Blade, weapons can be lost. Traditionally for an SNK fighting game, the AI in Samurai Shodown is tricky on even the easier difficulties and will punish you for repetition of moves, encouraging you to alter your strategy accordingly. It still plays well these days. 8

Last Resort

Very dated ship based shooter, that is typical fare, consisting of shooting enemies and picking up power ups. There’s little more that can be said for one of the worst, most crusty looking games in this collection. 4

Baseball Stars 2

Well presented and fun baseball game, with a pleasant and comical cartoon visual style and a choice of twelve teams and two leagues.8

As a collective whole, SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 is a mix of good, bad and average. The achievement style goals system adds value to this already well priced package, whilst it’s packed with extras that aren’t particularly interesting but are certainly better than nothing.