SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Review

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

Not all retro game collections are made equal.

Some, like the recent Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection have great emulation but little in the way of additional content or features, while others like SEGA Mega Drive Classics have loads of games but they just feel a bit… off. And SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, now available on Xbox One as well as PS4 and Switch, is another kettle of fish altogether.

Unless you spent your youth in well-equipped arcades, you’re unlikely to have played many of the games included in the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection. Its appeal is pretty niche. Though the fact that SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a solid package is indisputable. Featuring all 25 of the games found in the PS4 and Switch version (a full list of the games included can be found here), this new Xbox One port also includes Baseball Stars!, and each and every one of them is wonderfully emulated.

Released between 1979 and 1990, some of the games included in SNK 40th Anniversary Collection undoubtedly hold up better than others. Some aren’t much fun anymore, and others are simply an eyesore, but there are many still capable of grabbing your attention the moment you insert a virtual coin. It’s a case of giving every one of them a go to find out what clicks with you. And considering a vast majority of those games have never been available outside of arcades, you might discover a gem that you’d previously missed out on.

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What’s really impressive about SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, though, is the choice it gives you. Many games allow you select between multiple regional releases, and if console ports did occur, you can chose to play those, too. Switching between the arcade and console versions of games like Ikari Warriors III: The Rescue and Guerilla War really displays the gulf of power between arcade machines and home consoles at the time. Where both the arcade and console version of a game are available, they’re essentially two separate games.

And there are more options available to keep you going back to SNK 40th Anniversary Collection. Most games have difficulty settings and allow you select your number of starting lives and at what points thresholds you get additional lives. It’s always worth delving into the options menu of each game before playing it to see what’s available. There are multiple screen size options and customisable controls, too, as well as a handy rewind feature that enables you correct mistakes so you can keep playing longer. As far as retro collections go, few are as feature-packed as SNK 40th Anniversary Collection.

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Outside of allowing you play a whole host of games, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection also includes an extensive museum which is sure to delight fans. There’s timeline of SNK’s complete works between 1978-1990, a range of game soundtracks to listen to, and bonus features that include behind-the-scenes art, advertisements and guide books. There’s certainly a lot of interesting info to be gleamed from from it.

Needless to say, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is well worth a look for retro fans. Like any collection of games from yesteryear, those who have fond memories of playing the titles included will get the most out of it, but it’s such a comprehensive package that it’s sure to attract some new fans too. This is a collection that has had a lot of care and thought put into its construction. It has all the features that you’d expect and more, and while it’s not quite the budget release that other retro compilations tend to be, you do get what you pay for.

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is available on PS4, Xbox One and Switch. We reviewed the Xbox One version.