SNK Arcade Shooter Classics: Chopper 1 & The Next Space (PS Minis)

SNK Playmore is bringing two more of its arcade classics for play on the PS3 and PSP as PS Minis. This time it’s a couple of 2-D vertically scrolling shooters: Chopper 1 and The Next Space.

Even though Chopper 1 was released a year before The Next Space (1988), it actually has better graphics. Pilot your helicopter as you avoid and shoot enemy choppers, tanks, and other beefed up military vehicles. You have a standard shot and a limited supply of screen killing bombs. Only problem with Chopper 1 is that it’s one of those shooters where, if you die, you have to start over at a previous checkpoint instead of right where you left off. That makes things a lot more difficult, and less fun.

Even though The Next Space has less impressive graphics and a cheesy name, it’s actually a better shooter than Chopper 1. It’s a typical space blaster with lots of bullets and craft to avoid, not to mention giant bosses. But it’s the wide selection of power-ups that make this game fun. It’s very similar to Star Soldier in that way. You use two buttons: one for regular shots and one for powered up shots, but each is unlimited so it seems kind of unnecessary to have both. Best of all, you start off right where you left off when you die, but you still have to gather up your powers again. Even though The Next Space could’ve used more backgrounds other than a starry void, it’s still a decent arcade shooter.

Just like the other SNK arcade classics that have been ported to be PS Minis, one problem all those games share is that there are no two player modes, even though the emulated arcade screens say otherwise. They probably did this so it could be played easier on the PSP, but it’s too bad they had to take that important feature out. But other than that, I have fun experiencing these obscure arcade classics, and if you’re anything like me, you will, too.

Kid Factor:

Both Chopper 1 and The Next Space are rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence. Helicopters and spaceships explode when shot, but that’s about as violent as it gets. Reading skill isn’t required as these types of arcade classics are made to be easy to figure out. But younger gamers might still get frustrated with the quarter munching difficulty. It’s not so bad in The Next Space, but even with unlimited continues, starting off at a checkpoint in Chopper 1 is annoying.

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