Shock Troopers is a 2D run and gun shooter in a similar vein to that of the Metal Slug series. Published originally in 1997 by SNK for the arcade market, it has found it’s way to home consoles since being re-released many times for multiple systems. This review being for the 2016 Steam release with the port having been handled by DotEmu who you may be familiar with for having done many of SNK’s other Steam ports.
DotEmu has done an alright job at porting this game to Steam as it does have some issues. You will find that the frame rate tends to stutter and won’t stay at a stable 60fps. The sound has issues as well since it doesn’t sound like the original and appears to be a mistake on DotEmu’s part as well as the issues with trying to change the resolution and aspect ratio, 1920x1080p just isn’t happening.
The game’s story revolves around a team of eight soldiers comprised of different nationalities. Your job is to take on a terrorist organisation known as ‘The Bloody Scorpions’ who have kidnapped a scientist and his granddaughter in an attempt to create a a powerful drug which turns normal humans into super soldiers. You’ll need to fight through the game to defeat the organisation and save the scientist and his granddaughter, in typical wacky 90’s Japanese fashion.
When you first start the game you’ll be given two options to choose from, Lonely Wolf or ‘Lonly Wolf’ as the games excellent translation states, and Team Battle. You’ll experience the game somewhat differently based on which mode you choose. Lonely Wolf is where you’ll choose one character to play the through the game with which gives you the bonus of starting with more life and Team Battle lets you choose three characters to switch between during gameplay, allowing for a broader variety of special weapons.
You’re given a choice of where to start the game from once you’ve chosen your mode and character(s). This showcases the games diverse array of environments as well as it’s branching paths mechanic. You can choose to start from the jungle, mountain or valley to fight your way through and upon reaching halfway you’ll be able to take a different path or stay the original course. You’ll find boss battles dispersed throughout each level in classic arcade fashion, some of which may surprise you as one boss I encountered was a weaponised forklift truck.
Gameplay wise the controls are very simple, easy to get to grips with, and is very fun to play. I played this with an Xbox 360 Controller and it only requires one analog stick and three buttons to use or four if you’re playing Team Battle. You can fire your weapon in 8 directions and can maintain fire in the direction if you keep the fire button held in, allowing you to be more tactical in how you engage the enemy. You have use of grenades and the ability to jump/roll which functions as a bullet dodge which you’ll need to master if you want to tackle this game on the higher difficulties.
If you’re a fan of these types of arcade games then you’ll appreciate the 16 bit graphics of the era and the animations that go along with them. It also features a faux 3D effect which you’ll see often in the game on certain enemy types. Although dated in comparison to today’s standards, they have a very nostalgic appeal to them and were surely good looking for their time.
Overall Shock Troopers is a very enjoyable shooter with lots of weapons and a nice roster of characters with varying abilities to choose from. It features local and online co op which is always a bonus, I’d always recommend playing locally with a friend for the best experience. I rate this game a 6/10, while it is a very fun game it does have some underlying issues with it’s port job. I would’ve given it 10/10 purely for the Australian character and his exploding boomerangs.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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