NEO GEO GAMES PORTS
World Heroes - Super Famicom - Sunsoft, 1993
For World Heroes adaptation it's Sunsoft who does the job. And frankly speaking, it's a really great port. Ok, the original game running on Neo Geo wasn't a "thunderbolf of war", but it was still a damn good fighting game for the time, with its 82 Mb, let's say it was part of the heavyweights! The game suffers some losses of course, as for example smaller sprites, animation slightly less smooth, simplified musics and sound effects... but anyway, the essence is there. The spirit of the game is still present, and you feel like playing a mini version of the Neo Geo game. It's a real pleasure to discover this port, and let's say we're facing here a beautiful version of World Heroes, which, it is true, was easier to adapt than Fatal Fury Special for example.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 75%
Art of Fighting - Super CDRom² - Hudson, 1994
Equipped with Super CDRom² and arcade card, the PC Engine proves capable of achieving a real prowess with this Art of Fighting port. Here we have one of the best Neo Geo adaptations on a 16 bits system. The console will confirm these impressive performances with its version of Street Fighter II' released next, coming real close to arcade game. The Art of Fighting we have here is closer to the Neo Geo soft than any other adaptation at the time, both for the size of the sprites, as for graphics and animations and even the soundtrack, which are coming real close to the original. An impressive performance.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 78%
2. 32-BIT SYSTEMS PORTS
With the advent of 32-bit consoles, Neo Geo adaptations have finally came much closer to the original than everything we've seen before. 3DO, Saturn, Playstation... those systems even managed to run virtually identical versions, despite sometimes significant loading times due to the CD Rom support, used by all of these consoles. In the following lines, you will find the analysis of the following games: Fatal Fury 3 and The King of Fighters 96 for Sega Saturn, Metal Slug X and Real Bout Special running on the Playstation; but let's start with Samurai Shodown on the very first 32-bit system, the 3DO!
Samurai Shodown - 3DO - Crystal Dynamics, 1995
Just by seeing the 3DO version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, we guess that the machine is able to run splendid 2-d games! And this is true, as this adaptation of Samurai Shodown is extremely close to the original. Aside from loadings, some missing sounds and rare slowdowns when two large sprites are facing each other in certain stages (like Earthquake or Wan-Fu), here is a near-perfect port made by Crystal Dynamics.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 87%
Real Bout Special Dominated Mind - PSX - SNK, 1998
Twenty-one characters + a new boss, this sounds pretty sexy... even more combos than in Neo Geo's RBS is good news too... and a cartoon of several minutes as an intro, is the icing on the cake! Loading times are quite short, and to make this possible, the programmers at SNK have significantly lightened stage introduction and vocals. The graphics are a little less fine than the original version, but on the other hand some backgrounds have been reworked and are now a little more alive! By cons, sets can't be broken as before, probably to shorten loadings here again. The animation looks a bit steeper and finally the game is slightly more straight forward, but it's not so unpleasant either. We're granted new, nice re-orchestrated themes, with sound effects a bit less powerful, but overall, this is a remarkable adaptation. Unfortunately for european and american players, only released in Japan!
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 89%
Metal Slug X - PSX - SNK, 2000
Here is a port that might look excellent if we would only look the screenshots! In fact, the gameplay is as good as the original, graphics are the same, the soundtrack is fairly accurate... But what makes Metal Slug so special, is the amount and quality of detail distilled all along the game. The Playstation version, to run properly without too many slowdowns and acceptable loading times, overcomes a lot of these details: animation comes to be least decomposed, explosions have been re-scaled in low definition, gunfire and sprites are now fewer during the action,, with destruction and battle far less intense than on the Neo Geo. Even the bonus to collect have been on a diet! Besides, the programmers included a beautiful Art Gallery, a Combat School mode... but it still lacks that touch of madness that makes Metal Slug what it is. The most shocking thing is the animation of the characters, much less fluid than on Neo Geo. Come on, let's not be rude, as the European version is even worse than this japanese one, with its atrocious gray band at the top of the screen.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 79%