Shock Troopers is one of many different SNK arcade titles that are receiving a port to PSN. Porting older titles to both PSN and XBLA is hardly a new endeavor as the practice has been happening for a few years now on both platforms. With Shock Troopers and the other games the question remains how well does an older title with some new features hold up in today’s industry? Shock Troopers actually benefits quite well from updated visuals and incorporates other aspects such as a multiplayer component. While these additions certainly help the title and allow for it to be slightly above average, it is nonetheless hampered by simply being an arcade game and lacking any real depth in an industry that has moved far past arcades as a whole.
NEW ADDITION MAKE A SOLID PART
Snazzy Visuals - The first aspect that will be the most notable about this port are the enhanced in-game graphics. Not only are the playable character models vibrant on screen, so are the enemies and various background objects such as fuel cans that can explode. The colorful visuals allow the player to maintain track of his or her character while dodging enemy fire. The gunfire itself manages to stick out because of these visuals. They aid the gameplay because they allow the player to track the action on-screen, which can become quite hectic with multiple enemies trying to kill you at the same time.
Local Co-Op and Fun - The gameplay formula for this title is kept relatively simple. It is a side-scrolling shoot’em up. There are eight characters from which you can choose. Each character is slightly different which creates some amount of depth in an otherwise simplistic arcade title. Some characters will have different guns than others, while other characters will have a different special attack that is used by pressing the triangle button. The default shooting button is square, and there is even a dodge roll button (X), that aids in the game’s harder difficulty settings. Being a shoot’em up title, the player progresses from screen to screen by killing enemies and destroying vehicles like tanks. This premise is simple enough, but does grow stale.
Multiplayer Component - The staleness of Shock Trooper’s gameplay is lessened by the inclusion of local co-op. Another player can join the action and select another one of the characters. There is a certain appeal to laying waste to 2D sprites with the help of a friend. Such an inclusion goes a long way towards creating appeal for the title. While I was unable to find an online match, it appeared that it was competitive somehow. Any player could become the host and create a room while you do a quick search for a match. With a game that does not hold all that much replay value, it is nice to see the inclusion of this new feature.
STILL ONLY AN ARCADE TITLE
Overly Simplistic Gameplay - Arcades have almost become a relic of the past. Perhaps this is the root of the problem with Shock Troopers. Once you have beaten it once, there is little to no incentive to replay the game a second time. With simply dodging and shooting being the primary objectives, there isn’t very much that will hold your attention for a prolonged period of time. Despite having local cooperative play that adds a certain amount of fun to the title, the staleness still exists with a friend, and with more lasting co-op experiences out there, it is hard to recommend playing it multiple times based on the co-op experience.
Lack of Difficulty - Another large problem that plagues the game is the real lack of difficulty throughout. Even on the harder difficulty settings, I find myself having little to no problems. Furthermore, with infinite continues available at your disposal, there is no real threat to dying. The game lacks that sense of immediate danger that heavily characterized arcade games in the past. A difficult challenge only adds to the replay value of any title, and being easy does not aid the simplistic formula in the slightest.
Shock Troopers is slightly above average. However, it never transcends above this level. While there are new features like local co-op and improved graphics, the game is nevertheless hampered by being based on an arcade title. As such, there is no real depth to it and no substantive amount of replay value. The positives do outweigh negatives, but that does not necessarily mean you should purchase the title. Unless you’re looking to numb your mind for a couple hours or have time to kill with friends, there are other titles on PSN that are more worthy of your time and money.