Tag Archives: SNK

Atari A to Z: Vanguard

This one was a new one on me until quite recently. I present to you Vanguard, an unusual shoot ’em up originally released by SNK in the arcades.

Vanguard is unusual because it’s not just being one thing, unlike a lot of shoot ’em ups at the time. Instead, it shifts between horizontal, vertical and diagonal scrolling at various points in the levels, and even has some rudimentary boss fights. It’s also quite unusual to find a game of this era with a proper “continue” system, particularly in its home incarnations.

While its visuals may not look like much these days, it’s a great shoot ’em up that is still worth revisiting today — and there’s an Atari 2600 version too, for those who prefer to console it up.

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The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Weirdest Character

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!

This award was suggested by Krystallina.

It’s a disappointingly frequent stereotype to brand Japan as “weird” simply because many of the things in its society and media don’t conform to what we’ve come to think of as Western norms.

That said, sometimes our friends in the East do come up with characters that are clearly designed to be outlandishly strange, surreal and weird — and when they accomplish that successfully (preferably without crossing that fine line into Sharon from Accounts-style “Woo! Look, I’ve put cheese up my nose and a turkey leg down my pants, I’m so random! Teeheehee!”) it’s worth celebrating. Because those characters can end up being very memorable.

There were plenty of possible choices for this one, but in the end, there’s one I just had to give it to. If you’ll pardon the expression.

And the winner is…

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SNK Heroines: Fighting is Fun

I’ve tried numerous times to “get into” fighting games over the years with varying amounts of success.

Back in the SNES era, I had a good time with the original Street Fighter II and managed to beat it with most of the characters — but my skills have gotten severely rusty since then. Beyond that, my main contact with the genre has primarily been the Dead or Alive series, which I enjoyed for a combination of its cast of beautiful people and its enjoyably fluid, reasonably accessible action.

But I’d always find myself hitting a wall. I’d never be able to pull off impressive combos, I’d struggle to reliably trigger special moves and I’d have difficulty understanding the underlying strategy that is fundamental to the fighting game experience as a whole. Oh, what to do, what to do?

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Neo Geo Essentials: Shock Troopers

“The eight soldiers get to attack the wicked terrorists!!”

So ran the promotional blurb on the arcade flyer for SNK’s Shock Troopers, a well-regarded installment in the Neo Geo library developed by Saurus and originally released in 1997 to both home- and arcade-based Neo Geo systems.

This is not by any means a unique setup for a video game, particularly an arcade title from the era, but what makes Shock Troopers truly special is its execution. And its presentation. And, well, everything.

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Neo Geo Essentials: Neo Turf Masters

It’s honestly kind of surprising how many times the sport of golf has been adapted to the arcade format.

On the surface, you wouldn’t think the two things are particularly compatible; golf is a terribly sedate, polite sort of sport that takes all day to play, whereas arcade games are typically noisy, spectacular and, in many cases, over and done with in five minutes or less.

And yet that hasn’t stopped a number of developers trying their best to adapt it to a quarter-munching format, with one of the very best examples being Nazca’s Neo Turf Masters for Neo Geo, a game which has had a bit of a resurgence recently thanks to numerous ports to PC and console.

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