Probably the biggest culprit in these proceedings was SNK. SNK were the makers of arcade games but were also the people behind the much talked about Neo-Geo home console. The Neo-Geo was just essentially an arcade machine in a box as it shared almost identical hardware to it's arcade counterparts. The downside to this was that the system and games were horribly expensive, with cartridges costing upward of £150 which even now one would think twice about for just one game. The Neo-Geo was almost the exclusive domain of rich kids and snidey school goblins with no real worth or friends of their own bar maybe an overprotective mother or murdered pet that lives buried in the back garden.
In the 80's SNK were a fairly respectable company not doing anything too different from anyone else. Solid titles like Ikari Warriors and Street Smart were respectable coin guzzlers but this was back when arcade machines were still rather 8-bit and the real money makers hadn’t appeared just yet, but that all changed in the 90's. A trend that started not long after Final Fight is that SNK would see what Capcom had done and then start mass producing clone after clone for the arcade and Neo-Geo.
SNK upped their game in 1992 with the very playable World Heroes, again another one on one fighting game. Although still very much a rip off the game had much more character variety and was great fun to play. It didn't top anything graphics or sound wise and it suffered from SNK shadow flicker (why?) but a thoroughly enjoyable smackathon (though not the Glasgow kind you understand! :P). The game spawned many sequels which were equally as good although not too different but the series was a definite step in the right direction.
1993 saw what is probably the Jewel in the SNK crown. Samurai Showdown (or Samurai Spirits in Japan) was released to much acclaim. A one on one fighting game it may be but it was different enough from Street Fighter II and it's ilk to very much deserve it's own praise. The introduction of weapons, some slight gore and a period setting game the game a beautiful edge and combine it with the sprite scaling of Art Of Fighting, amazing graphics and sound and some really memorable characters and the game couldn’t really be anything else but a winner. This game again made way for many sequels featuring various improvements in play and design but the original will always be fondly remembered for breaking the mold.
SNK released a zillion other titles in that era, most of which this reviewer hasn't played yet or not enough to form a solid opinion but back then you could tell at a glance what was an SNK game in the arcade as the feeling of deja-vu would be almost overpowering........but still a hell of a lot of fun! :)
Striding forth from his lair at Castle Stareskull one morning, Prototron decided to not reign down terror on the villagers, but instead go back inside, crack open a beer and load up Streets Of Rage 2. One hundred years later, he's still there. A avid music maker (of TERROR!) and retro gamer, he can be found whooping any and all heroes at all manner of SNK-based challenges.