Retro Review – Shock Troopers
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
The Bloody Scorpions have kidnapped a scientist’s daughter to ransom her for Alpha-401, a powerful drug that could turn their leader’s normal human soldiers into a superhuman army with which to take over the world. It’s up to the Shock Troopers, a multi-national group of soldiers, to rescue the scientist’s daughter and take down BSG’s leader before that happens!
Shock Troopers is one of SNK’s latest additions to the NEO GEO Station lineup of classic games. Developed by the now defunct Saurus, this 2D top-down shooter had some pretty decent features for its time. Originally released in 1997, Shock Troopers sported the ability to fire in 8 different directions and the ability to dodge attacks and destructible environment items such as pillars, temples, boulders, fruit carts and more. The premise is simple: fight your way through six levels of increasing difficulty and defeat BSG’s leader. However, this being a classic coin-op style game, it may not be as easy as it seems!
When you get into the game menu, you’re first given the option of selecting the level of difficulty you wish to play at, ranging from Easy to the abysmally difficult MVS (which is the insane level of difficulty you played in the coin-op). You then select if you’re playing as a Lone Wolf (the same character for all three lives given) or as a team (selecting three different characters; one for each life). Each one of the eight Shock Troopers members has a special attack, each equally destructive in their own fashion, ranging from your standard frag grenade to napalm, exploding crossbows and more.
The game is a good reminder of how difficult coin-ops of the past were. The action is fast paced with fire incoming from all directions – sometimes all at once, it seems. Even the most flawless players with lightning-fast skills will find it difficult to walk away from Shock Troopers unscathed. However, that is what makes it so enjoyable. It’s not about beating the game; it’s about how much damage you can do and how many points you can tally getting there.
Graphically, Shock Troopers was a game that was suffering from the old age of the NEO GEO. At this point in the life of videogames, the PlayStation was ruling supreme and breaking boundaries in three-dimensional graphics, using rendered polygonal graphics as opposed to 2D sprites. This quickly rendered games such as Shock Troopers obsolete. However, as one of the last great coin-ops of the ‘90s, it was a classic and remains so today. Only a couple of technical flaws mar this game from greatness: Primarily, if you move the control stick too quickly in a circular fashion to fire shots in all directions, it will often not register the angle shots, so you wind up only firing in four. Also, the onscreen control tutorial in the game is once again reflective of the original NEO GEO MVS Arcade system and not of the PlayStation/PSP controls. Of course this is offset by the ability to go into the Options menu and view the controller mapping from there and make changes if you so desire.
The addition of the Network Mode as with all of the NEO GEO Station games is a great feature to have, however at three weeks since launch of this title, finding another player to join the fight with has been difficult to say the least.
If you’re an arcade aficionado, Shock Troopers is an excellent addition to the library. Newer (read: younger) gamers may be turned off to the older arcade-style games and outdated graphics, but, if you’re looking for a good challenge, you might want to take a look.
Shock Troopers receives a 4.5/5.0.
About This Post