NEO GEO GAMES PORTS
The King of Fighters 96' - Saturn - SNK, 1997
Here's an adaptation that is really worth to be seen! The Saturn is known for its excellent 2d performances, and the machine provides here a copy of the Neo Geo version! Let's say it's even better, because of its re-orchestrated musics, "CD" quality that sound even better than the original! Only vocals and sounds effects feel a little below, but it's probably because of the difference of sampling quality. The animation is still the same, smooth and fast, the graphics are identical, pixel for pixel. Assisted with a 1 Mb Ram cartridge, the Saturn version of King of Fighters 96 looks downright fabulous. Apart for loading times, there's really nothing to complain with this port.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 92%
Fatal Fury 3 - Saturn - SNK, 1995
After a very successful adaptation of The King of Fighters 96, here is a completely messed up Fatal Fury 3 port, still on Sega Saturn! Indeed, unlike its counterpart, this was planned to run without additional ram cartridge ... and the result is simply awful! The game features an hyper slow and jerky animation, which have lost many steps since the original version, huge, annoying loading times - and many... In short, apart from the CD quality resampled music, which pay the luxury of sounding less good than the original, and admittedly, almost arcade-perfect graphics, it's better to forget quickly that very bad conversion Fatal Fury 3 on the Saturn, but have players remember that it's not piece of cake to run a Neo Geo game, even for a 32-bit system.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 64%
Well, that's all for 32-bit ports! I thought it would be better to save you from Saturn's Samurai Shodown III and its crappy truncated animation, or even the Playstation's KOF 95 packing both this animation problem and indecent loading times. Let's note the Playstation version of Viewpoint, beautifully re-drawn with high-resolution graphics, slightly superior to the original (but some might regret the original themes...) or the superb adaptation of Twinkle Star Sprites for the Saturn.
3. 128-BIT SYSTEMS PORTS
With the amazing power 128-bit consoles, we finally saw arcade-perfect adaptations of Neo Geo games, but later even came compilations of games (Art of Fighting Anthology for example, combining the three AOF on a DVD-ROM) or downright downloadable games and online multiplayer versions of legendary games like Garou or The King of Fighters (Wii Virtual console, Xbox Live). Some of these ports were simple emulations of the original and have not been reworked. Shame! When running on HD flat screens, those old games doesn't look as good as when running on a good old CRT, and it cames to be even worse when an ugly graphic filter is applied on some games (Fatal Fury Special, Xbox live... ). The 128-bit systems being "spread out" on two generations of machines, let's review a representative sample of the Neo Geo ports, starting with the Dreamcast and its Last Blade 2 and Garou: Mark of the Wolves adaptations, then Metal Slug 3 on Xbox, and finally approach a normal game and a compilation of titles on PS2, with Samurai Shodown V and SNK Arcade Classics. On the Nintendo Wii, let's see what packs Ironclad Brikinger on Virtual Console and the famous Metal Slug Anthology.
The Last Blade 2 - Dreamcast - SNK, 2000
The Dreamcast was a great machine, the first to offer its players groundbreaking next-gen gaming (Power Stone, Shenmue, Jet Set Radio) and also superb arcade adaptations (Street Fighter III, Kof, Guilty Gear ...). And Last Blade 2: Final Romance is part of this category: it's a perfect port of the Neo Geo version, with beautifully re-orchestrated original themes... Loading time are almost non-existent, and the only detail that could be noticed is the zoom, slightly less accurate than on Neo Geo: but it's a trifle and does not affect the success of this remarkable port.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 95%
Garou: Mark of the Wolves - Dreamcast - SNK, 2001
Another port that will not make me lie on the powerful 2-d capabilities of the beautiful Dreamcast. Its version of Garou: Mark of the wolves is in all points of view identical to the original version. Some criticize precisely SNK of not having done more... but after all, all we ask an adaptation is to be the more faithful as possible to its model, right? This is the case for Dreamcast's Garou, which features as a bonus CD quality sound.
TECHNICAL FIDELITY: 99%