Neo Geo Heroes Ultimate Shooting, the new fighting game/bullet hell mash up, has just hit the PSP as a downloadable title and it's a pretty fun little game. Players can choose one of ten SNK characters from several different SNK franchises like King of Fighters, Metal Slug and Samurai Showdown to play as. Each character has a spammable bullet attack and inexplicable flying ability this time around though. The characters who have been assembled by a Doc Brown (and yes, he even looks like THAT Doc Brown) are tasked with defeating an organization known as Demudo who threaten the world.
So the story is nothing we haven't already heard, but how does the game stack up? Here's a balanced breakdown of what gamers can expect from neo geo Heroes:
Pick up and playability (plus options): Neo Geo Heroes doesn't bog you down with having to learn what a ton of buttons do. The game doesn't force you to learn difficult combinations, exhaustive rules or anything un-necessary that would make an otherwise fun game -- well, not fun. What NG Heroes does is give players a bunch of familiar characters (and a few obscure ones too for good measure), send them down a straight path and tell them to keep slamming the Circle button to eviscerate everything in your path! It's a real refreshing game that lets you turn off your brain (not all the way off as you have to dodge bullets being fired at you) and just enjoy some senseless, but very enjoyable shooting action. Anyone can pick up NG Heroes, get the hang of things pretty quickly and start racking up the body count.
Bombs, provoking and chargeable moves: To help you rack up the body count, players have access to a screen clearing bomb. In neo geo Heroes, every character has a different bomb-type maneuver, usually a reference to the characters move set. For example, Kyo Kusanagi can use a version of his famous Orochi Nagi (QCB, HCF + P) to lay waste to everything in his way. Another example: Metal Slug's Marco Rossi while call in his Slug to run over everything in his path before detonating it to wipe out everything in range.
Players can also use chargeable moves, something pretty common in most bullet hell shooting games and very useful in NG Heroes. There are three levels of chargeable moves to use, with the characters level one move being the only available charge up move that the player has access to and can spam with the push of a button; the more enemies that a player kills, the more their special meter's capacity raises, enabling greater charge up moves. All of the moves from L1 to L3 but also a new taunting ability that halts the flow of any and all oncoming bullets and/or danger at the expense of pissing off the enemy greatly and causing them to redouble their efforts until the taunt ends. Don't worry though, you can still move and fight while taunting.
Great soundtrack and a nice gallery mode: SNK games ALWAYS have great soundtracks and Neo Geo Heroes isn't any different. There plenty of great remixes of classic KOF songs like "Esaka," "Psycho Soldier," and "Rhythmic Hallucination." I especially like the Psycho Soldier Remix. There's also a gallery mode that lets you listen to the tracks that you like best, without having to look theme up as video files on YouTube. If you want to listen to the songs, you're better off using the gallery, as I've tried to find the entire OST on YouTube and failed. So far all I could find was the aforementioned Psycho Soldier remix
Accessibility: Players can play neo geo Heroes with the screen positioning either horizontally or vertically, using the D-Pad and Analog stick to control their characters. I prefer using the PSP in the traditional horizontal manner, as holding the PSP vertical feels awkward, but the fact that SNK Playmore added this in means they really thought of everything!
This game is a very short game: While the game boasts 15 possible stages on a branching path, neo geo Heroes is actually very short. I fired Neo Geo Heroes up at around 8AM and had all stages cleared two hours later. I feel like neo geo Heroes could've been longer, but this is a negligible complaint. The game is still fun any way you slice it. Besides my next complaint represents the only real problem I can find with this otherwise enjoyable shooter.
There is no incentive to not get hit: The game gives you infinite continues, so once Omega Rugal is done tearing you a new one, go ahead and just press start, he's waiting for you! If you're feeling even lazier, there's Infinity Mode that lets you shrug off hits at the expense of not recording your high score when you're done with the game. Either way, there is little to no penalty for dying. While this might make the game more accessible to others, it may end up disappointing more hardcore gamers. Sure you can always ramp the difficulty up and impose limits on yourself, but a super hard mode or a finite amount of continues would've made things a lot more challenging.
Why can they fly?!: Maybe I missed something, but it's not explained why Kyo Kusanagi and Terry Bogard can sail through the air. Maybe they watched a lot of Dragon Ball Z lately? Strangely an explanation for Marco being able to fly is provided (he's wearing a jetpack), but I'd like to know why the KOF characters can fly seemingly unaided.
No Ralf and/or Clark?!: That character roster looks a lot less pretty without everyoneâ€™s favorite Ikari Warriors.
Neo Geo Heroes Ultimate Shooting is a fun, easy to play game that is perfect for gaming on the go. Whether you're on a flight, or on a break, neo geo Heroes makes breaks a lot more enjoyable. The soundtrack will have you rocking out (bring ear buds so you don't get stared at too hard) and the super moves will have you raking in high scores. Some experienced gamers might not like how easy the game is, but everyone will appreciate how much fun Neo Geo Heroes is.
Thumbs up, recommended for bullet hell specialists and KOF fans! Out of TOV 5 stars, Neo Geo Heroes gets a 3.