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Review #029: SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Mar 22, 2020

Reviewed by: Frank W.

Developed By: Digital Eclipse

Published By: NIS America

Category: Arcade, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 11.13.2018

Download SNK 40th Anniversary Collection from the Nintendo eShop here.

Purchase SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Regular) physically here.

Purchase SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Limited) physically here.

So Many Games…

SNK was some of the biggest trailblazers of the neon-lit arcade age of the 80’s. With genre-defining games and some of the most classic arcade experiences that exist, SNK has QUITE the backlog of amazing games! Some of these titles haven't seen the light of day beyond just a very mediocre console port; so, if you wanted to play some of these, you would have to either settle for emulation, or shell out some dough for a legit arcade cabinet.

But now, SNK is bringing us a MASSIVE celebration of their history with the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection! With 13 games to start—and most of them have the arcade classic version as well as the console port—there is a TON of content here for your retro fans right out of the gate! This is the first time these games have been officially released together for you to enjoy in one place; and after I found myself losing hours to this game, I could not be happier, that is for sure!

And, to top it off, SNK will be supporting this game with FREE DLC in the form of even more games! Slated to begin dropping in December, SNK is going to keep adding even more content for you to enjoy, from some of their lesser-known games, to even more blockbuster quarter-eating titles you know and love!

Old School Meets New School

The games have had nice touch-ups for the modern age as well. The top-down shooters have optional twin-stick shooter controls that REALLY do help the games feel a lot more manageable, but it may not constitute the true classic experience. Thankfully, included is the ability to turn this feature off and do it the old-fashioned way, where you fire the way you face—just like back in the day! I really love that this release feels like the developers really wanted to breathe some new life into the games, and they did so in tiny ways to games from an era where game design was a little bit more liquid, and a little bit more experimental. They also include an auto-fire option for the twin-stick shooter style games so you don't wear out your joy-con or pro controller!

Another nice little addition is the rewind button! Did you make a less than stellar choice? A left when you should have made a right? Stray bullet ended your huge winning streak? Pop back about 5 seconds with the left shoulder button and right that wrong!

What’s in the Box???

Now for the real meat, the GAMES! Now, these games have been reviewed to death over the past 20+ years, so I am not going to touch on every single game individually. However, I did want to make sure I let you guys know what you are getting with this game, as well as the planned free DLC! I will be letting you know which ones come with just the arcade version, just the console version, and the ones that let you play both! I love that, because they often had to make some creative changes in order to be able to port an arcade game to say, an NES, that could lead to a much different experience! I will have a few things I want to say about some of the games that REALLY held up to the test of time after this list as well!

Standard Games

Alpha Mission - Console and Arcade Versions

Athena - Console and Arcade Versions

Crystalis - Console Version

Ikari Warriors - Console and Arcade Versions

Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road - Console and Arcade Versions

Ikari III: The Rescue - Console and Arcade Versions

Guerrilla War - Console & Arcade Versions

P.O.W. - Console and Arcade Versions

Prehistoric Isle - Arcade Version

Psycho Soldier - Arcade Version

Street Smart - Arcade Version

TNK III - Console and Arcade Versions

Vanguard - Arcade Version

Free DLC Pack I

Chopper - Arcade Version

Fantasy - Arcade Version

Munch Mobile - Arcade Version

Sasuke VS Commander - Arcade Version

Time Soldiers - Arcade Version

Free DLC Pack II

Bermuda Triangle - Arcade Version

Beast Busters - Arcade Version

Ozma Wars - Arcade Version

Paddle Mania - Arcade Version

World Wars - Arcade Version

A Review Within A Review…

They give you a good mix of arcade-style shooting games, a few shoot 'em up games, and a couple of platformers. The twin-stick shooter-style games do dominate the list, but they all have a lot of unique aspects that help set them apart from one another. I really really enjoyed Alpha Mission. I love schmups, and this game features a power-up mechanic where you basically summon add-ons for your ship, which really gives a great feel to the gameplay.

Another game that I’ve never even played before—and I can’t believe I haven’t heard of in the past—is Athena. Athena is an action platformer game with huge game worlds and TONS of options. It is pretty tough, and occasionally its age is felt through some of its gameplay choices, but I found myself coming back over and over again to this game. Planning a good route through the level to get all the power-ups you want feels great, and every attack feels awesome to pull off. You can even take enemies’ weapons to give your attacks different properties.

It's fun to watch how the Ikari Warriors games evolved. The second one drops you into prehistoric times, swinging swords, while the first one had you storming jungle bases with guns—and yes, there are story reasons for this! It finishes off with the third entry, which adopts almost beat-em-up-like tendencies, while still keeping the omni-directional themes of the series.

Crystalis is a fantastic game—think The Legend of Zelda with stronger RPG elements and, frankly, a better story. Your adventure to get the swords of elements and save the world has tight controls and bright, well-animated graphics. I really enjoyed it, and it's on my list of games you should absolutely give an honest try. There's a reason it's the only console-only game on this list—it really was a big deal!

Psycho Soldier is fun. It has a unique feeling, and has good ole digitized voices that I have a weak spot for. The overall aesthetic of it is just great!

Wrapping Up

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a great collection of games that were fundamental in the formation of the Arcade Scene where gaming grew up. Whether you were there for those long, neon-lit, soda-fueled nights, or you are just looking to try some of the classic games of the past, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a great addition to anyone's library! I would say it is a super solid, 8/10! Check this title out, you will find yourself returning to it over and over again.

Final Score: 8/10

Download SNK 40th Anniversary Collection from the Nintendo eShop here.

Purchase SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Regular) physically here.

Purchase SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Limited) physically here.

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*Review Code Provided by NIS America

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