One of the oldest game developer houses that is still around today is the folks over at SNK or Shin Nihon Kikaku Corporation. These developers have been around since the arcade days and 2018 just happened to be their 40th anniversary. To celebrate that huge milestone they partnered up with NIS America and Digital Eclipse to release the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection last year on the Nintendo Switch which bundled together 20+ SNK classic titles. Now the collection has made its way over to the PlayStation 4 where I got to play it for this review and while I haven’t played many of these titles in the past I was more then happy to try them here for the first time.
In terms of number games included in this collection you get 25 different titles and 32 if you count the fact that some of the titles offer the arcade version and the console version. I will go ahead and list them all here for you along with which ones offer the choice of version to play.
- Alpha Mission (Arcade & Console)
- Athena (Arcade & Console)
- Beast Busters
- Bermuda Triangle
- Guerrilla War (Arcade & Console)
- Ikari Warriors (Arcade & Console)
- Ikari Warriors II Victory Road (Arcade & Console)
- Ikari III The Rescue (Arcade & Console)
- Iron Tank: The Invasion of Normandy
- Munch Mobile
- ZMA Wars
- Paddle Mania
- P.O.W. (Arcade & Console)
- Prehistoric Isle
- Psycho Soldier
- SAR Search and Rescue
- Sasuke Vs Commander
- Street Smart
- Time Soldiers
- TNK III
- World Wars
Every single game included was released between 1979 and 1990 so if you were hoping for anything from SNK that came after that you won’t find it here. That means if you want The King of Fighters or Metal Slug this isn’t the collection for you. I feel like many people today know SNK from their work on the Neo Geo but these are all titles that pre-date that. One of the really nice things about this collection is just how well done the presentation is. You scroll through the games vertically with each one telling you the date of release and displaying some nice art work. If you hover over any of the games it will shift the art work to short video game play clips. Then there are all the various customization options that the various games offer. Some games offer the option to change the region so that you can play the Japanese versions. Then there are the game options that let you modify things like difficulty, number of lives, continues, level select, as well as visual options. Look these are really old games and it’s well known that old games can be punishingly difficult. Having these options can make for a more enjoyable experience with many of the games in this collection.
How much someone enjoys this collection will likely vary especially if you are familiar with these titles. Some of the games I was familiar with include Crystalis which is an action RPG and somewhat similar to The Legend of Zelda titles. Ikari Warriors 1-3 are run and gun titles and some of my other favorites from my past. Other games I wasn’t familiar with like Vanguard which is a scrolling shooter that I’m sure most people have played at least some game similar to it. Beast Busters was another one I was pleasantly surprised by as it’s a rail shooter with a great soundtrack and fun power-ups. Sure not all of the games here are winners but with 25 in total I was happy with more than half of them.
In addition to the games, this collection offers a pretty great Museum mode as well. Here you can listen to soundtracks for around half of the games in this collection, view design documents, promo material and scans of the manuals for the games. It really does a good job of showing you how SNK kind of progressed over these 11 years that these various games released. Between this and all the options to customize your gameplay in the various games you can tell that Digital Eclipse really put a lot of love and care into this package. One of the disappointing things about the PlayStation 4 version I’ll say though is in relation to the trophy list for the game. It doesn’t have a Platinum trophy and only has 14 trophies in total. It is kind of puzzling to me that some more thought wasn’t put into this as with only 14 some games don’t even have a trophy tied to them. Sure most people probably don’t care about this but as someone who does care about trophies/achievements this list is very disappointing and this isn’t the first time that Digital Eclipse put out a poor list in a fighting game collection.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection I feel like is worth checking out to anyone who is a fan of retro games or those who want to learn more about SNK’s history. Digital Eclipse put a lot of heart into this with the informative Museum mode, the various gameplay customization features and the visual options. Not every game here is worth playing (looking at you Munch Mobile) but I feel like there are enough quality titles here to make this one collection worth picking up.
*SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is out now on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.