The NEOGEO is generally characterized by, with only a few notable exceptions, fighting games and Metal Slug. Within a couple of years of its launch, the vast majority of the output on the console seemed to be mining (quite successfully) a few particular types of games. To be fair, such was the state of arcades by the mid-1990s. If you weren’t making a combating sport, a licensed beat-em-up, a shoot-em-up, or a puzzle sport, you had been rowing towards the present.
That makes the existence of Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy ($3.99) a little bit of a rarity. Developed internally at SNK by ex-IREM staffers, the sport arrived in the summertime of 1994 alongside The King of Fighters ’94. One of these video games turned near-legendary, carving its legacy into the very platform in an indelible method. The opposite was Top Hunter. A unusual little platformer/beat-em-up hybrid for one or two gamers, one may generously say that it paved the way in which for Steel Slug in some small method.
Whereas there isn’t a vital shared employees between Top Hunter and Steel Slug, there are some frequent components. The visible model has that very same form of silly-but-gritty really feel to it, and there are many amusing enemy animations. You could find autos to experience on, and also you’ll typically get your fingers on a gun. Platforming is essentially perfunctory, with leaping principally getting used to keep away from assaults reasonably than navigating harrowing platforms. Levels are capped off with a boss battle, normally towards some type of giant opponent. That’s about the entire shared elements.
There are two key mechanics to Top Hunter. The primary is your stretchy arms, which let you seize quite a lot of objects and both smash them or toss them. You can even use them to work numerous machines, switches, and so forth. You’ll typically defeat foes by smacking them or throwing one thing at them, however you may make use of some traps and a few particular strikes for slightly selection. The opposite gimmick is that each stage has two planes, and you’ll hop between them as wanted or desired. Generally traps or power-ups have to be accessed from the other aircraft, encouraging you to swap usually.
I’ll be frank: there have been just a few platformers on this period that attempted this type of factor, and I don’t really feel like every of them had been considerably higher for it. Most likely the very best of the bunch was Wario Land for the Digital Boy, and there’s a cause for that. The 3D impact of the console helped clear up an issue that appears to be inherent to this type of design. Specifically, it may be tough at instances to inform which aircraft a given object is on. On this sport, it could make it exhausting to line up throws and even sometimes end in taking a success you didn’t suppose was going to hit you. The artwork model right here makes issues a bit worse as little is completed to tell apart the planes visually.
Effectively, it’s not an enormous deal. An even bigger downside with Top Hunter is that it too steadily lacks stress. This is an unusually simple sport for an arcade platformer, and when you’ve received the dangle of issues you’ll be able to go ridiculously far on every credit score. The enemies simply don’t pose a lot of a risk to your extraordinarily versatile and highly effective character. There additionally aren’t sufficient enemy sorts, so that you’ll begin seeing the identical faces time and again. It’s amusing to fiddle with every thing and take a look at defeating enemies in numerous methods, however finally Top Hunter is slightly boring.
This boredom may be alleviated considerably by bringing a pal alongside for some good old school co-op mayhem, however that is after all an ACA NEOGEO launch for cell. Which means you’ll solely be capable to play multiplayer if in case you have some exterior controllers and don’t thoughts huddling round your cell gadget of selection. I’d think about for most individuals, that’s not going to be the standard play expertise with this sport. You’re almost certainly going to be taking part in solo, and that’s the much less enjoyable approach to go about experiencing Top Hunter.
It does nonetheless profit from the truth that we don’t get too many high-quality, premium video games of this type on cell. I’d say it takes to the touch controls even higher than the Steel Slug video games do because you don’t have to fret about exact aiming as a lot. I suppose as a solo expertise, it takes to cell higher than some NEOGEO video games do. And I do wish to stress that the sport isn’t a half-effort by any means. It’s fairly beautiful in that method NEOGEO video games tended to be, and every of the 4 worlds have a definite look to them. You get three ranges in every world, plus a reasonably climactic remaining stage. When you play the included Japanese model, there are even some secret endings to seek out. It might not be thrills each minute, but it surely definitely brings the worth.
As that is a part of the ACA NEOGEO line, the anticipated extras and choices are all right here. You possibly can play with an exterior controller, you get each regional variations of the sport, there are further modes with their very own on-line leaderboards, and also you’ve received extra choices than you’ll be able to shake a stick at. The emulation high quality is sweet, and my solely gripes about Hamster’s half in all of this are my traditional ones about not having on-line multiplayer or the MVS model as an possibility. It’s an important package deal, and it’s a bit luxurious that I’m just about used to this stage of high quality in such a low-cost launch.
I’m not the most important fan of Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy, but it surely’s an honest sufficient romp that clearly had quite a lot of care put into it. Somewhat too simple and repetitive at instances, and I’m unsure its dual-plane system works in addition to it ought to, however for a couple of dollars you’ll get your enjoyable out of it. Add within the traditional suite of options that comes with Hamster’s ACA NEOGEO line, and you’ve got a pleasing distraction for a lazy weekend afternoon.