SNK Playmore USA Corporation has been doing their best to get some old school gaming to the new generation who never owned a Nintendo or Sega Genesis or never got to spend tons of quarters in a video arcade where the controllers were a joystick and two or three buttons. They know their audience well enough to know that since these are “retro-arcade emulations” that they should be portable, affordable and since they are less graphically detailed than a lot of todays games, playable on smaller screens. So their main platforms have been smart phones and my personal favorite the PS Minis. PS Minis are compatible with your PSP or your PS3 and are incredibly small files. They pack whole classic games into five minute or less downloads and the controls work superb with PSP. They have several titles out now but I sincerely hope that the numbers of PS Minis grow in the future because their prices are right ($2.99) and the nostalgia is priceless. The PSP screen is the perfect size for these games as well. To find the games below and other retro titles check the “NEOGEO” section and follow them at http://www.facebook.com/NeoGeoStation.
Today this name would make someone think maybe a first person shooter set in South Central L.A. or a sandbox game set in Prohibition. Well this is more like a take on the Warriors movie from the 80’s. You play Mike and have to fight your way through New York past the Jaguar, a gang that has been terrorizing the city and kidnapped your girlfriend. Mike looks a little bit more like a rodeo clown than a vigilante in his yellow shirt, blue jeans, red gloves and brown cowboy boots but he kicks plenty of butt. It is a standard scrolling fighting game that harkens back to the days of Double Dragon, actually it is very much like Double Dragon.
If you like the wailing around, button mashing attacks from that game then Gang Wars is for you! There is a kinda strange aspect of the sound just as a warning that when you miss a bunch of hits or kicks it laughs at you, like a canned studio audience. You get used to it quick or you can play your own music because this game now, much like it was then, is all about the arcade fighting.
This game is another fighter but of a different style very popular back then, particularly on consoles. It is a prime example of a vertical shooter where you fight your way up an ever scrolling screen. These all had their own style or edge to keep them from all feeling the same which at their core game they are. The edge on this one is you are a time soldier fighting your way through bad guys as you trip through time. Now there is quite a bit of suspension of disbelief necessary with this concept because when you go back in time the dinosaurs shoot stuff at you, maybe it is supposed to be spines but they look just like the laser bullets and they drop rocket weapons.
Actually all the time zones do but that doesn’t change the novelty of fighting dinosaurs, knights and militia all in the same game. The times skipping is one of the coolest aspects of this game because you don’t find yourself fighting the same guy in a different colored outfit which happened a lot back then, each time you jump time you wind up with an entirely new enemy to fight.
There was something I remembered when I played this game again that I had totally forgotten… this game is HARD, like suicide mission hard. Luckily though both the PSP minis have the ability to “insert coins,” you actually hit a button to put as many credits into the game as you want to keep playing. You hear the “clink” of your change going into the game and you keep fighting!
These games are small in download but have all the scope they did back when they were the bomb and arcades blasted “Tom Sawyer” over the speakers. It even has the same “insert coin” intro screen it had back then! SNK has brought back lots of games on different platforms but I think this is probably my favorite since the PSP in a lot of ways can be played just like the old school arcade games which does that much more to transport a person back to the game’s hay day. Games like these make me feel more comfortable about the fact that my Nintendo is gathering dust since they are letting me relive the experience on the go.