Summer of SNK: Part 1

When I was a kid, (well, early teen I guess), game maker SNK came out with a console called the NEO GEO.  The games on it were arcade perfect, which was amazing, but not really when you consider the cartridges were the same being used in the NEO GEO arcade machines that let you choose which games to play.  The only downside was the home console was EXPENSIVE!  The console itself cost more than 700 bucks, and each game was over 100 dollars!  I didn’t know ANYONE back then who owned a NEO GEO!  That’s why when I see a NEO GEO collection now for cheap, I feel compelled to buy it.  It’s like retribution.  Take that, SNK!  I can afford your stuff now!  So the fad in the past few years is to make mini game consoles with games already included on them.  They’ve done it with the NES, SNES, SEGA Genesis, TG-16, and more.  And now they’re doing it with the NEO GEO!  But this one is different!  Instead of being shaped like a tiny NEO GEO, it’s made to look like a little arcade machine!  You can even play the games on a small screen, so it’s portable, too!  But you can also hook it up to a big TV!  I got one at a reasonable price, so let’s take a look at it!

Here’s the box it came in.  I got the US version.  There were different versions you could get, with different colored cases and some exclusive games on each.  The US version was the cheapest and there wasn’t any exclusive games on the other versions I cared about, so I was happy just to get this one.  I doubt any of the other versions had Neo Mr. Do!, Twinkle Star Sprites, or Waku Waku 7 anyway.

Here is the back of the box.  It shows all the games included.  There are so many that we’ll have to split this blog up into two parts to go over them all!

Here is the console out of the box.   I guess it’s colored red, white, and blue since it’s the US version.  You had to put stickers on the marquee area and joystick, though!  Like some of the other mini consoles, it doesn’t come with a power plug, but if you have a phone charger plug, you can just use that.  If you put batteries in it, you can play it on a small screen, too!  I don’t know how long the batteries would last because I don’t ever plan to play it in portable mode.   The in-game menu and features are similar to other mini consoles as well.

My version came with two controllers, so here’s a picture of the black one.  There’s also a white one, but since it’s just the same thing, but white, I didn’t take a picture of that.  I don’t remember if this is what the NEO GEO controllers originally looked like.  I seem to remember them being big square things like the NES Advantage, but it’s been a long time ago.  One neat thing is that if you only had one controller, you can still play two players if it’s hooked to the TV because the second player can just use the joystick on the arcade machine!  It’s not exactly the best way to do it, but that’s kind of interesting.

So there are so many games on this system that we’ll go through them in two parts.  In the first part, we’ll go over the games on here that are in a series, since most of them play the same.  Then next week we’ll do the rest.  One thing I like about these games is they have that ‘arcade sheen’ to them.  It’s hard to describe, but I think it’s cool.  OK, let’s get started!

Metal Slug 1, 2, X, 3, 4, 5

When you think of run and gun games, titles like Contra and Mega Man come to mind.  But you should also really think of Metal Slug as well, because they’re as popular as ever and even come out with new games fairly recently.  Granted, most of these new games are for mobile and are endless clickers and tactics games, but still!  The great thing about the Metal Slug games are the graphics and animations, which have a lot of personality.  I love how if you eat too many food items, you can get fat.  In later games you can also get turned into a mummy or zombie, but can still play!  Little disappointed they didn’t have 6 on here, but I’m not sure if that used NEO GEO hardware or not.  I know 7 and 8 didn’t since they were on PSP.  Did you know that in some of the later Metal Slug games, you could play as Ralf, Clark, and Leona from the Ikari Warriors?

The King of Fighters 95, 97, 98, 2000, 2002

SNK’s most popular fighting game series still has games being released periodically even today!  There’s even one coming out next year!  These fighters take characters from other popular SNK brawlers and pits them all together in teams, as well as some new faces as well.  Some games represented here include Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Psycho Soldier, and even Ikari Warriors!  My favorite KOF characters include Leona, Vanessa, Shermie, Blue Mary, Ralf, and Clark!  Who are your favorites?

Fatal Fury Special, Real Bout Fatal Fury, Garou: Mark of the Wolves

When Street Fighter 2 was super popular in arcades, one of the first copycats I remember was SNK’s Fatal Fury.  Characters like Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui, Joe Higashi, and Blue Mary come from this series.  Even though Garou: Mark of the Wolves doesn’t have Fatal Fury in the title, I still consider it part of the series since Terry Bogard’s still in it, even if he’s a lot different and all the other characters in that game are new.

Samurai Shodown 2, 4, V Special

This is another popular SNK fighter series, this time with a feudal Japan setting.  My favorite characters include Poppy, Galford’s dog, as well as Iroha and Mina Majikina.  Too bad 6 isn’t on here.  That one is the best. They even let you play as Poppy and Nakoruru’s bird by themselves!  It’s a little silly, but I don’t care.

King of the Monsters 1 and 2

This game lets you control giant kaiju monsters like a Godzilla, King Kong, or Ultraman ripoffs.  But instead of a brawler, the first game is actually a wrestling game where you use special moves and pin down your opponent to win!  The settings are tiny cities you can destroy as well.  I’m not a big wrestling fan, but if you want to get me to play a wrestling game, this is the way to do it!  The second game is a slight departure as it’s more like a side scrolling beat ‘em up.  But you still use wrestling moves on the bosses.  You just don’t have to pin them down to defeat them, just whittle at their life bar until it’s gone.  Both games are still fun and I remember playing them a lot in arcades.  SNK must’ve had a strong presence in Dallas, TX, because I remember playing a lot of their games here.

Shock Troopers 1 and 2

These games are overhead shooters like Ikari Warriors, but with more varied settings like urban areas.  You can pick from different characters who use various weapons.  The first game lets you pick eight characters, but the second one only has four.  But that doesn’t make it any less fun.  I like to play as either Milky or Marie Bee in the first game and Angel in the second.  Both games let you roll to dodge bullets, which is handy.  The second game has better graphics and sound, and you can even roll into some vehicles and drive them around.

And that’s all for now!  Next week we’ll go over the rest of the games on the NEO GEO Mini!  Later!  –Cary

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