SNK 40th Anniversary Collection PS4 Review – From the Arcade to the TV

    Title: SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
    Developer: Digital Eclipse
    Release Date: March 19, 2019
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: NISA
    Genre: Retro

I’m no stranger when it comes to old-school SNK games. Having reviewed SNK 40th Anniversary Collection for the Nintendo Switch and calling it a “great collection for a new generation”, let’s just say that I know a thing or two about SNK’s games from way back in the day. With SNK 40th Anniversary Collection on PlayStation 4, it brings everything that was great in the Switch version and includes the 11 previously released DLC games — making it a rad, nostalgia package of fun for PS4 players to enjoy.

Similar to my last SNK 40th Anniversary Collection review, instead of sharing my thoughts on each game individually, I’ll just be sharing my thoughts on some of the games in the collection — focusing primarily on the previously released DLC games — and going over the overall content and presentation of the collection as a whole.

In Digital Eclipse’s SNK collection for PS4, there’s a whopping total of 25 retro games included. For the Switch version, there were 14 titles at launch and then 11 additional titles released as free DLC, so it’s nice that PS4 version has all the games in one package. I, unfortunately, didn’t have a chance to play any of the DLC titles on Switch, but thankfully, I played them all in the PS4 version. For those that aren’t sure what those titles are, here they are: Beast Busters, Bermuda Triangle, Chopper I, Fantasy, Munch Mobile, Ozma Wars, Paddle Mania, Sasuke vs. Commander, SAR: Search and Rescue, Time Soldiers, and World Wars. Just like the original 14 titles at launch, the additional titles have, if possible, both an arcade and home console version, and also the Japanese and US versions.

Out of all the added titles, I really enjoyed playing Beast Busters and Paddle Mania — my favorite out of these two would have to be Beast Busters. Munch Mobile, while the game itself is unique, is my least favorite given that it’s just straight up weird to get a hang of.

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Beast Busters, though, is a blast from the past, even if it’s nothing too special since it’s a first-person zombie shooter. The reason it stands out, however, is that in arcades, it was a light gun game, and surprisingly, it still holds up and works well today when played on PS4. The game supports up to three players, features a number of power-ups, and has plenty of strange bosses that just make it a ton of fun to play. I know for sure that if I played it when it was in the arcade, I’d be spending way too many quarters on it, so having not to worry about that with the game in the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a beautiful thing.

Paddle Mania, on the other hand, is nothing like Beast Busters, which should be obvious based on its name alone (not trying to be Captain Obvious here, don’t worry). The game is simply an arcade tennis game, but what makes it unique (to me, at least) is how players have to swing their racket. Rather than just pressing a button, players need to completely rotate the right joystick so the racket does a full-on spin — it’s completely crazy yet awesome, to say the least. What’s also crazy yet awesome is how the game can be played up to four players and that players can play against athletes from different sports. To be honest, I miss playing tennis games (yes, I’m aware of Mario Tennis Aces) and so I enjoyed playing a few matches in Paddle Mania.

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Many players will enjoy the various features that are in SNK 40th Anniversary Collection for PS4, which were also in the Switch version. Thankfully, players don’t have to worry about losing all their progress as they did back in the olden days with arcades since, in the collection, all of the games have game saves, along with a neat rewind feature that lets players rewind back to any part of their playthrough. In addition, there’s a “Watch” feature that basically lets players watch a “Let’s Play” of one of the games in the collection. Most of the games don’t take that long to finish, but regardless, being able to go back to certain parts and see how to best play one the games is definitely much appreciated, especially since several of the games aren’t so easy to get through.

One feature I loved in the Switch version, the Museum mode, is back in the PS4 version, but this time around, it’s bigger and better than before. The PS4 version of the mode includes new games, along with screenshots, promotional material like advertisements, and fun facts within the mode’s SNK Complete Works timeline that gives players an in-depth dive into SNK’s early days. For retro game history buffs, or even just new gamers that want to learn more about SNK’s olden days, the Museum mode in SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is completely worth checking out.

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When comparing the PS4 version and the Switch version, it’s clear to tell that the PS4 version is more jam-packed since it comes with all the original and additional games and updates. However, what I think is better about the Switch version is that players can play the collection in all of its glory on-the-go thanks to handheld mode. Sure, there’s PS4 remote play, but really, it’s just not as great as playing a game in handheld mode on the Switch. Visually and audio-wise, though, both versions are the same, so no worries there.

As I mentioned before in my previous review, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a well-crafted and in-depth nostalgic package that Digital Eclipse should be proud of. For long-time SNK fans and newcomers alike, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection on PS4 is absolutely worth picking up. With a slew of fun titles and incredible throwback content to explore, simply owning SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is like owning a massive, interactive art and history book that everyone needs to experience.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Brad Crespo

Editor-in-Chief - On a quest to play as many new games as possible while trying to finish an endless backlog.