Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior Retro Review


Real Talk By: The Wizard

Ah yes, The Art of Fighting. One of the games that brings back childhood memories of hanging out at Putt-Putt Golf n’ Games on Super Saturday.  Blowing most of my 100 tokens in the Neo Geo machine. Unfortunately, back then The Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior wasn’t out yet. But the trusty old Art of Fighting 1 was. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, The Art of Fighting, or AOF for short was one of SNK’s retaliation’s to Street Fighter. SNK said: “You made Street Fighter, now see what we can do” They delivered. For the most part. It was a good game. It looked better than SF, Sounded better, and in general just had a cooler vibe. But AOF was not without its faults. It suffered from a horrible two player mode. That was the main complaint, which made this little gem forgettable to diehard Capcom fans. Then part 2 came out. It improved the game in every way, but for some reason it just wasn’t as good as AOF 1. Not to mention it was incredibly hard. Finally in 1996 SNK released AOF 3 in hopes of turning the series around and showing all the fans that SNK was where it was at. Unfortunately, by this time SNK was near doomed with its expensive Neo Geo AES system. So, many people didn’t even know this game existed. The console wars were in full swing, (Neo Geo in last) and people were playing Street Fighter II at home. All the while the Barone Family was digging SNK USA into an early grave with their poor management strategies. So don’t feel bad if you have never heard of this one. Most casual gamer’s have not. So how good is AOF 3, and more importantly, does it stand the test of time?

You have to see this game in motion.

The first two games revolved mainly around Ryo Sakazaki, or Ryu as some people like to jokingly call him. But AOF 3 switched things up a bit and went with Robert Garcia as the main focus. The story basically involves Robert disappearing in search of his friend Freia Lawrence whom he finds in Mexico. Freia’s is wanted by the main antagonist Wyler to create an elixir that was created by his, and Freia’s fathers. The elixir is said to give whomever uses it super human strength. I know it’s really mind-blowing. But at least it is original.

One of the first things you will notice in the Art of Fighting 3 is the music. It is a mix of Jazz and electronic. And I can faithfully say, having played every single Neo Geo title that the music is among the best on the system. Maybe even the best. It really is that good!

AOF 3 has a good atmosphere. It takes place mainly in Mexico which I thought was a really cool move. The battlefield has a nice South American feel with lots of cool stages. If you have ever read any of my reviews before then you know I am a huge background fan. I love playing and discovering new stuff in the various environments. AOF 3 has you covered in that department.

This game looks superb! Though it is not as large as some of the later Neo titles, it still holds its own. For the era, this game had the best animation seen in any fighting game. There are 2-D fighters today on PS3 and 360, that can’t touch AOF 3.

Robert Garcia is still the best-dressed fighter in gaming.

I do admit gameplay does feel a bit awkward and mechanical at first, but it works really well. SNK was going for a more realistic fighter here and I think they did a damn good job. The characters have lots of unique moves that are fun to use. It is also worth mentioning that there is a new Ultimate K.O. System. With this method, you can pull off a special move that will end the entire fight. So basically you only need 1 win instead of 2 to win a matchup. Cool if you are in one player mode, but bad if you are popping quarters in an arcade cabinet and some 13-year-old embarrasses you. There are a few things holding the game back though. They did clear up the difficulty issue. The difficulty is just right. There still remains however the lack of a good 2 player game. Yes you can play 2 player, but the selection of characters is still minimal. Better but minimal. Most of the characters are also not very appealing. This is something that just destroys the game. If not for the lack of a solid 2 player game this would be on the top 5 of Neo Geo fighters. Unfortunately this is inexcusable and will cost AOF 3 a point.


Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior is not without its flaws. If you are alone and looking to play a good fighter AOF 3 is easily a mandatory pick up. Just be aware that this is not a game you will probably have a lot of fun with in 2 player mode due to a lack of characters. If you want a more 2 player friendly fighters I would suggest picking up first, either of The Last Blade games, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, King of Fighters 96, 97, or 98, Waku Waku 7, Ninja Masters, A Real Bout game, or Fatal Fury 3. However, if you don’t care about 2 player then you will be treated to one of the best and original fighting games on the Neo Geo. Art of Fighting 3 is one of the best fighting games on the system. You simply can not be a Neo Geo fan and not own this one.

The Art of Fighting 3 Gets


4 out of Five

What’s Legit?

+Music is great

+Animations are the best of the era

+More realistic fighting

What’s Perpetrating?

-Not enough characters leads to a lacking 2 player game (this is where a point will be deducted).

-Ultimate K.O. could be good or bad depending on your style.

#ArtofFighting @PlayLegit

Why Valkyria Chronicles Rocked


Real Talk By: The Wizard
Valkyria Chronicles is one of the best games on the PS3 for many reasons. First is the graphical style of the game. The game looks to have been made by fans of Hayao Miyuzaki, who is to Japan what Walt Disney is to America. The game looks like it is done in watercolor and looks beautiful. Second is that the game not only has good music, but it also has very good American voice acting.

The most important reason is the gameplay. I am a firm believer in that a game should introduce something that has never been done before. Valkyria Chronicles delivers. It laid the template that all other SRPG developers need to follow.  It took the traditional SRPG with its square and hexagonal chess-like playing board, and turned it into a completely 3-D experience! Instead of moving on a square grid you select your unit and are thrown into the 3-D watercolor world in third person, and can walk around and explore the battlefield. The system has you selecting your unit, and heading towards your destination. Dodging bullets, tank fire, and finding cover is part of the journey. But the really interesting part is that when you go to fire, the action is paused. So you can aim, and characters statistics for accuracy are taken into account. This allows for perfect head shots.


Valkyria Chronicles also eliminated the pointless grinding of one character because one of your characters is over-powered. There is no running through the game with one Terminator like unit and then replaying levels over with all your weenies to level up. Everyone is leveled outside the battlefield on the training field. Which in my opinion is a huge improvement. The last reason is the story. It’s not your typical JRPG story geared toward 16 year olds, but it’s not completely serious either. It finds a good middle ground to attract all ages of gamers. I also must add that some of the boss and tank battles are fantastic. The game was developed by Sega, and if you know Sega, you know you can probably count the number of bad developed games on one hand.

Valkyria Chronicles is just one of those titles that can pull people who never played the genre in and make them fans. I highly recommend it. This is one you need to pick up now while it can still be easily found at your local used game store, because this will easily be one of the most sought after PS3 games a few years down the road.

#ValkyriaChronicles @PlayLegit

10 Gems you should play Before Xbox One & PS4 Launch day


Real Talk By: The Wizard & KJ

As the release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 nears, this is the perfect time to pick up some of those games, that may have went under the radar. So today myself and KJ are going to fill you in. We both picked five games. Here are my choices below:

Death Smiles (X360)


If you missed out when this game was initially released then October/November is the best time to enjoy this bullet hell Halloween themed SHMUP from Cave. This is probably the best SHMUP in the states on the 360, and arguably one of the best released in any region. So if you like Shoot em’ups do youself a favor and pick up this gem.

Ico/Shadow of the Colossus HD Double Pack (PS3)


OK so maybe you missed Ico and Shadow of the Colossus on PS2 back in the day. Well, they were released as a combo package on the PS3 re-done in HD. Both games simply put are amazing and not to be missed. If you enjoy a good action RPG then you owe it to yourself to try these games! Zelda fans will feel right at home. In Ico you are trapped in a castle and must escape with a girl. The castle is like a giant puzzle and you run around holding the girl’s hand while progressing through the maze and defending her against attacks from shadow figures that try to capture her.

In Shadow of the Colossus you are thrown in a huge Zelda style world to hunt 16 giant colossi with promise if all are defeated your love will be brought back to life. The cool thing about Shadow of the Colossus is that there are no enemies other than these colossi, and when you do find them they are so huge you approach them like a puzzle. You have to figure out how to climb them, and how to attack them. There is absolutely no reason if you consider yourself a gamer that you need to miss these games for 2 generations of game consoles! Get out there and get this game while you can.

Child of Eden: (PS3, X360)


I admit this game has some weird stuff going on in the introduction, but it is one of the best games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 you probably never heard of. Created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who created the epic masterpiece Rez which appeared on the Dreamcast and PS2. This game can best be described as a psychedelic on-rails rhythm based shooter. It’s actually kind of hard to explain this game, and the youtube videos do not do it justice. You need to be playing this game on a big HD T.V. hooked up to surround sound to understand how great this game is. It can still be had for under $20.00, there is no reason not to give this game a try.

Dark Souls: (PS3, X360)


Widely considered by many people the best game ever created this is an instant classic you must at least give a chance. It has great Co-op and PVP, epic bosses, and excellent customization of your characters. Not to mention the most solid 3rd person combat system I have had the pleasure to enjoy. Dark Souls may not be for everyone. It is pretty hard till you get the hang of it. Those who stick around will be treated to quite possibly, the greatest dark fantasy action RPG of all time.

Demon’s Souls: (PS3)


Before Dark Souls, there was Demon’s Souls. This was the first game I played in a very long time that really took hold of me. Most people probably like Dark Souls better, and I can see why. But for me it’s Demon’s Souls all the way! I like the level design better, and the PVP and Co-op have fewer restrictions. The servers were about to shut down before irate fans petitioned and get them back up! Now the game is on the Playstation Network with extended servers hopefully running for a very long time. Just writing about this game has me staring at my PS3 now with my thumbs itching to invade and conquer some novice player, and make his life miserable! Now it’s time for KJ’s five.

Fight Night Champion: (PS3, X360)


Thanks Wizard, I’m up in here. EA Sports delivered an epic boxing simulation In Fight Night Champion. This is the first EA sports game to receive a mature rating. Champion featured a full-out story mode following fictional boxer Andre bishop. The story had a ‘Rocky’ feel to it, featuring a grueling final boss fight. You were left fully satisfied upon landing the KO, because the challenge was so major.

The roster was jam-packed with legends and newer fighters. Without question, this is one of the best looking games of this generation. Players will appreciate the detail in character movements, sweat, bruising, and cuts. It rewarded gamers who had good boxing IQ. DLC featured Bare Knuckle prison fighting. As you can imagine this is particularly brutal. Absolutely one of my favorite sports games ever.

The Club (PS3, X360)


It’s a tournament, where the world’s best killers are in competition to earn the big cash prize. The main missions see your character plowing through stages fast as possible. The trick is to do it with style. It’s a shooter that demands precision but also speed. Get headshots, move fast, hit hidden targets, race to the end. Do what you can to keep up your combo meter. It’s a frantic game, and a great controller passing experience. That’s not to say you can’t go online. The network mode is a more standard affair of Team Deathmatch and so on, but local play is where it’s at. At times the game feels like a racing game and not a shooter. When you get into your groove The Club becomes rather addictive, and this is why you should give it a spin.

Rocket Riot (X360)


This was a Riot that may have been successful on other devices, but I found it really fun on Xbox Live. Using the sticks to aim and shoot, while steering my rocketman was all in the fun. This isn’t a deep game by any stretch, but one that’s simple fun. There’s even a campaign mode which takes you through 80 different levels, complete with unique goals. Online play can get really chaotic. Seriously this is modern arcade magic at its finest. Invite some friends over, and make it happen for cheap.

Hotline Miami (PC,PS3, PSVita)


Set in the 80’s, this title channels the criminal underworld. Taking cues from Miami Vice, and Scarface, Hotline Miami is indeed gritty. The enemy A.I is unforgiving, forcing players to really think about every step taken. It does a great job of telling the story, even though the graphics are primarily 8-Bit. It’s rather impressive when you think about it, considering the age of gaming we’re in. Another bonus is the outstanding soundtrack, which will pull any gamer right into the experience. A stylish, violent classic.

Vanquish (PS3, X360)


Platinum Games’ cool third person shooter somehow fell under the radar. I truly have no idea why. Another game that has absolutely standout visuals. Not to mention, the gameplay was incredibly smooth. Players would zip and slide in and out of cover with finesse. Sliding was actually one of the most fun aspects. Your combat suit zipped you across an area while allowing you to shoot simultaneously. This opened the game up for quick escapes, and memorable moments. At the end of the day, maybe it’s the lack of multiplayer that hurt it from being a commercial hit. What ever the case may be, don’t let it pass you by again. Now that it’s in the bargain bin, get it out of there!

What gems do you recommend?

@PlayLegit #Undertheradar


Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn Review


Real Talk By: The Wizard

In 2010 Square Enix released a plague of explosive diarrhea death upon the world in the format of video game. This game came to be known as Final Fantasy XIV Online. After FFXIV’s original release gamer’s protested, demanded their money back, and made threats to quit purchasing Square Enix products altogether. To call FFXIV a game is a bit of an over-statement. The game was considered by many, including myself to be broken, incomplete, boring, and undeniably wretched all around. The developers even lacked the ability to create a working map. With that being said i’m not going to even get into everything that was wrong with the game. I could write a novel on how awful FFXIV was. Square Enix owned up to how bad FFXIV was and in turn completely dropped the subscription fee to play, apologized numerous times, and vowed to completely change their development direction of the game in attempt to turn FFIV into an enjoyable game. Fast forward to the end of August 2013, and finally Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is here!

Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn (FFARR) is basically a complete re-work of the original Final Fantasy XIV for PC. FFARR for the most part is very similar to the original, but with lots of differences. Also, the game is now available for Playstation 3 with cross-platform play. So PS3 and PC users can be on the same servers and play together. Which is always a good thing in my opinion. There is a subscription fee after the first month, but it is said this may be extended. Most people out there reading this are probably curious if this game is worth the purchase, because if you purchased the original FFXIV you have probably already downloaded the game for free. So I am going to review this game as an all new game. I will not be comparing it to the previous FFXIV.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to the graphics in FFARR. From one perspective I feel the game as a whole, and especially the world look great; and on another token I feel like the character models, and a good amount of the enemies look very unappealing. There is also a great lack of tools to create a unique looking character. I personally feel like all the males in a specific race look the same, as do the females. The only way to really stand out is your armor choices, but even in the armor department you will not find many options to make your character stand out. One of the races are these giant looking guys that are this pale lime green color. They remind me of rotted the bags of chicken gizzards I use to throw away in my younger days when I worked at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken. My main character looks to put it as simply as possible, dorky. All the human models look like typical JRPG characters. They either look like cutesy little characters, or beautiful young males complete with spiky hair or flowing locks. But I suppose the game is a JRPG so this is to be expected, so I will overlook it. One huge issue I do have though is that some of the cut scenes look like there is a background and the characters are pasted in. This is really annoying and unacceptable. I feel a lot of people will not mind these things, and to be fair, for the most part have nothing to do with how fun the game is.


As for the music Square Enix never really disappoints in that department. If you’ve ever heard a Final Fantasy soundtrack you have a good idea what to expect. I must say though that even though the soundtrack is good, it is not amazing. I don’t feel the soundtrack has really made that much of an impression on me yet. To this day I still have fond memories of the FFXI soundtrack, most notably the track in the Play Online viewer options where there was a portrait of a moogle. I loved that track. The music in FFARR is neither memorable, or terrible. It is simply there, never really sticking with me through the day, or annoying me while I play.

I have been playing on the PC using a mouse and keyboard, but mostly using a XBOX 360 controller. And I must say that the XBOX controller works really well. You assign actions to the A,B,X, and Y buttons, and also the D-Pad directions. You can assign a total of 16 actions because in order to use the actions you simply hold L or R and press the corresponding button or direction. You can easily switch between action bars using the bumper button. So you can switch to a totally new set of 16 actions really fast. The only downside is of course typing. You really need a keyboard to type well. As for the Keyboard and mouse controls they are as you would expect. They work much better, but if you are sitting on your couch a keyboard and mouse is uncomfortable and annoying.

FFARR has traditional MMO gameplay. You will spend your days questing, and running around grinding your way through levels. And there will be a serious amount grinding once you hit the late 20’s. Thankfully, there are ways to help level up faster. There is a duty finder which will automatically match you up with other players for raids. There are also hunting logs which award you extra experience for killing a certain amount of an enemy type in a specific region. Another way to level is a system called FATE. If you have played Guild Wars 2 this is basically the same thing. You run up and are automatically enlisted with all the other players in that location to fight a huge boss, or large wave of enemies. Finding the best FATE locations and hopping between them will be what you will be doing most to level quickly. Finally, there are also Leve Quests, which are quests you can take from a receptionist to level any of your classes, like your main combat character, or crafting, or job class. These are helpful but you are only allowed a few per day, but they can be saved. So you could save up 99 of them and do 99 quests in one day. Or you could do a few a day, everyday. I personally only use these for leveling crafting, and jobs. They are great for that when you run out of crafting quests.


As for the combat it is easily one of the games strong points. it’s quite different from some of the older MMO games where you just stand still and take turns trading blows. You can actually run around and avoid enemy attacks which are represented by red lines. It reminds me a lot of Quest64 on Nintendo 64 if you have ever played that. Other than that though it is almost identical to every other MMO style combat.

Thankfully the crafting in FFARR is pretty good. The crafting system is basically the same as every other MMO. Find some items, combine them, make something new, gain experience. Repeat 10,000 times. except instead of just hitting a button and either making the item or blowing the items up, you play a mini game that involves a small amount of skill. You can choose to try to complete your item, or make it a higher quality. It is all based on a magic point system called Craft Points (CP), and when those run out you can no longer perform special actions to make a higher quality item. If you can make a high quality item it will sell for more, but you can also fail and lose your items.

The thing about the crafting though is that it all relies on job classes. Like mining, fishing, botany etc to get the items you need. So if you want to be a armorsmith you probably want to pick up mining as well to get the items you need for free to craft with, or sink thousands and thousands of gill into the market. I kind of like this system, but it can be annoying at times. The main reason is that you can not equip your heavy armor to go out mining, and you can’t craft in it either. So you will need 3 sets of gear every 5-10 levels for all 3 classes. This is incredibly expensive. Then it is not till later in the game that you get the option to save gear sets. So you will have to equip all your gear every time you want to go out mining or crafting, until you unlock the ability to save gear sets. As far as gathering and crafting goes it is better than any other MMO I have played, but that doesn’t make it exciting, it’s just not quite as boring.

I’m not going to give the story away. I will just tell you it’s boring. I don’t care who lives or dies. I find myself trying to not nod off during cut scenes, and try really hard to not skip it if it ever gets good. Square Enix obviously has the skills to tell a great story. Where are the people who wrote the scripts for the previous Final Fantasy games? Vacation for the past 4 years?

I have mixed thoughts when deciding whether I would recommend this game to people. I feel that if what I said here does not bother you, and you are a MMO fan looking for a change, then you might really like FFARR. Just be warned that the game is not really similar to FFXI if you were a fan of that. For example this game is much easier. The thing that made FFXI a great game (even for me who does not like MMO’s, but for some reason plays them all), is that it was more adult oriented. It didn’t hold your hand, and you really had to work hard to get anywhere. This is not the case in FFARR. You will literally be breezing through the game compared to FFXI.


If you are looking for something different in the MMO department because like me you are bored with the same old grindfest then FFARR is not for you. There is nothing new or creative here to see. It is the same old tried and true system. I managed to make it to level 38 before I started to feel the dementia and alzheimer’s setting in from lack of flexing a brain muscles. You will be better off holding out hoping Elder Scrolls Online has something new to offer, or sticking with FFXI. In the mean time I always recommend Eve Online for its depth and originality. It is by far the most complex game I have ever played, with excellent PVP, a rock solid and stable market, and awesome social aspects.

I personally feel FFARR is a decent MMO if you like the genre, but it is still barely making par. Furthermore the game doesn’t even feel like Final Fantasy except for a few very minute details. I really wish I could lead a development on these games and just tell these people what to do. I really don’t feel like i’m in a world that pertains to Final Fantasy, and I feel like the title is misleading. What would have been awesome is if the game actually took place in a Final Fantasy world. What if you could start in Midgar, or Mysidia? Or maybe if I could start as an Onion Kid and pick my path from there? With classes like Time Mage, Geomancer, Gambler, Ninja, Blue Mage, Paladin, Sage, Mime, Dark Knight, and Onion Knight? It would have been cool to have a story I actually cared about involving the crystals instead of some pirates that I care nothing about. I would have liked to fight Kefka, Sephiroth, Chaos, or the Magus Sisters. A raid in the Cave of Mist, Mount Ordeals, or the Shinra building would have been fun. Anything to make the game feel like Final Fantasy. Those are just my opinions though, maybe people prefer all new content that is not reminiscent of anything Final Fantasy.

The game plays pretty well, but lack of customization, boring story, and massive grindfest hold it back. The crafting although different and more exciting, is still boring and hard for every profession to make money. This seems to be the problem in most MMO’s. Give people the ability to make products they can sell, and let the people fuel the economy! Eve Online can do this why can’t Square Enix? The lack of innovation shows that the genre needs to move forward. Japan can’t expect to keep churning out the same old games until the end of time and keep their fan base. It’s time to move forward and turn the wheel a little bit and do something different! For those reasons the game receives an average score. The only thing keeping it from a lower score is the combat, and graphics.

Final Fantasy XIV Online Gets


Out of Five

What’s Legit?



What’s Perpetrating?

-Boring Story

-Customization Lacks Depth

@PlayLegit #ARealmReborn


Play Legit All-Stars Presents: The Games we can’t get enough of (Part 1)


Whether it’s a particular genre in gaming , or a title individually, there’s certain mechanics which bring gamers close. Something that can’t keep us away. What is it? Exciting characters? Hype? Graphics? All the above? The staff at Play Legit got together, to bring you the games we simply cannot get enough of.

Cmack: Since I do try to make my way around a number of different types of games, let me talk about my favorite genre instead, the fighter. Fighting games have always captured my imagination ever since I was a mere 8-bit sprite, but as I’ve grown, I’ve actually come to love fighting games even more. In real life, I love martial arts, and like many athletes who like to play video game versions of their sport,  I enjoy some of the similarities that fighting games have with actual sparring, such as needing impeccable timing, precision, control, a knowledge of your moves, but added to that comparison, I really love how in no two fights, in any well designed fighting game, will be the exact same. Sometimes crazy, unexpected things can happen, like very technical exchanges, moves working that you didn’t expect, or a last-minute, low health comeback. I love many different genres, but fighting games will always be the belt holder for me.

Ms. Throwback: Since I’ve done the Animal Crossing review my world has expanded to new heights. The game always keeps me coming back for more and that fact becomes overwhelmingly addictive. There is a point at which the game realizes that you have collected enough gyroids, which are musical decorations in the game.  Once this happens the only way to get more is to buy them from other people or convince them to give you theirs which isn’t an easy thing to do.  Not just in your town but also in the online world there are only so many gyroids period so you have to be very diligent.  I have also become and artist of sorts by designing my own clothes and having other people who visit me wear my clothes around in their town and then they can thusly spread them to other people.  It’s possible to become a real life fashionista as even though the clothing switches from one town to another it always carries your name and becomes a brand name in the world.  I just cannot get enough of this game and seeing as how the game changes with each season I think it’s going to be a long time before I put it down.


The Wizard: Out of all the next-gen games of the last few years there are two games I find myself coming back to over and over again. Since they are the same game we will just count Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls by From Software as one entity. Demon’s Souls had quite the cult following on PS3, and after Dark Souls was released the game was pushed more to the main stream. That being said you still may have never heard of these two punishing gems of games. They could best be described as online third-person tactical sandbox action RPG’s. The games take place in a dark fantasy world where you kill Demon’s for their souls and use the souls as a sort of currency to level up, upgrade weapons and armor, and buy items like weapons, armor, spells, buffs, etc. There are a few factors to consider why I always come back to the Souls games. The first is the difficulty. They are kind of difficult in the sense that bosses and even regular enemies can be cheap, but the real reason they are hard is because they punish in impatient. Instead of running into a fight you need to take your time, look for enemies, size them up, and make an educated guess based on past experiences. Can I go in swinging? Do I run and come back later? Should I look for a snipe spot and go ranged? Should I equip armor of a specific defense type? Should I go defenseless so I can evade faster? Should I lure one out at a time? Should I wait and try to get a co-op partner? These are the types of questions you will be forced to ask yourself over and over again.

You can’t expect to just go in swinging and make it through the games. They are not button mashers where you can man handle a group of enemies and walk away unscathed. You have to play tactfully by rolling, dodging, parrying, defending, and striking at the correct time. You can’t return to a place you defeated at level 20 when you’re level 90 and take on an entire angry mob because you can still die quite easily. That is the first reason I return to these games and replay them over and over. They present a challenge every time. Second is that the games are pretty open-ended. At any point in the game you make your own decisions where you want to go next. Sure some areas are locked, but you have lots of options up until the very end on the order you want to play the games. The Souls games are not games that hold your hand, and tell you exactly what to do and where to go. They throw you in, immerse you in the world, and let you figure things out. For people who have been playing games a good majority of their life this is a breath of fresh air. I get tired of sitting through an hour of tutorial every game and constantly being stopped and told where to go. I’m a big boy and I can do it myself! And I think a lot of people feel the same way. Third is the PVP and Co-op system. For the most part you will be forced into PVP and Co-op in your play-through. Love it or hate it, it will happen. You will be put in a position where you really want help with a boss, and in positions where people invade you unexpected and try to kill you. Some people play Dark Souls purely for the PVP and Co-op. They either like invading people and making their lives miserable, or helping them. Some people even PVP by waiting for people to invade them and catching them off guard with a solid PVP build.


People even host tournaments, and there are ranked PVP arenas. If you love an intricate battle system and PVP then you will most likely love the Souls games. The online alone is a good reason after completing the game to make a dedicated PVP or Co-op build and keep playing. Finally the last reason the games are great is that you have a lot of flexibility with your characters. Just because you are a spell casting class doesn’t mean you can’t wield a 2-handed axe and heavy armor. And just because you are a melee based class doesn’t mean you can’t cast some powerful spells. You build your characters from the ground up and tweek them the way you want. You can create a powerful melee character, or a spellcaster, or a dexterity build with powerful pyromancy spells, or a jack of all trades. It’s totally up to you the way you mold your character. Growing up in 1980’s playing games like Ghost’s ‘n Goblins, and Ninja Gaiden really got my blood pumping. Those were some tough games! To this day there is rarely a time I visit my parents and they don’t laugh at me for having blood-red ears during my goblin and ninja killing sessions after school. I guess that is where the Souls games really hooked me. They take me back to a time when games were incredibly hard, even to the point of ridiculous, I wanna break my controller in half and throw my NES through my television hard.

Although I have evolved over the years (my ears no longer get red with rage), I still am presented with challenges once in a great while. The Souls games give me that challenge I thirst for and totally immerse me in an interesting, strange, and unexplained world. For anyone out there who enjoys a tough game and some action I highly recommend the Souls games. They can be incredibly difficult at times but when you beat that boss or PVP invader you get a sense of accomplishment. When you beat Asylum Demon, or PVP invader NoobSlayer3777 and yell at the screen “screw you!”, you will totally understand where I am coming from. Since the first moment I played Demon’s Souls I already knew it was an instant classic. I feel like they are the types of games years down the road people will want to have because they will still hold up to the test of time. As I write this I am starting my 5th play through of Demon’s Souls after just beating Dark Souls for the second time. Dark Souls 2 comes out early next year so play through the first two games and maybe I will see you in Dark Souls 2!

@PlayLegit #Favoritegames


Neo Geo AES and MVS Collecting Guide for Beginners

1. Main Picture
My current MVS collection. Notice how most are in Big Bear Shockboxes and a few are complete MVS kits. Also there are a few loose cartridges there like Metal Slug 3 that I need to get inserts for. You can decide from this picture what is most appealing to you. Obviously the loose games are the cheapest because you need nothing but the game. The games in Shock Boxes will cost you about $5.00-$8.00 extra for the box then you have to pay Southtown Homebrew to print the inserts for you or download the inserts and print at Kinko’s if they will let you. Southtown Homebrew is amazing and I highly recommend just buying the printing service directly from them and paying extra for them to cut them. Otherwise you have to go to Kinko’s anyway and cut them and run the risk of screwing them up.

Real Talk By: “The Wizard” Jeremy Forest

If you are interested in collecting Neo Geo you are probably one of those people like myself who played Neo Geo in the arcades growing up and could never afford the home console. Or maybe you are a collector looking to expand your library of growing games. Unfortunately thing’s haven’t changed much since the 90’s and collecting Neo Geo home consoles and cartridges is still a very expensive hobby. Before you start collecting Neo Geo you need to ask yourself two questions.

1. Do you have an unlimited supply of money you are willing to spend on video games? If so then you can collect Neo Geo AES if you don’t mind spending a ridiculous amount of money on a single game almost every time.

2. Are you a average working class person, who maybe has a little extra money here and there to splurge on a game. If you answered yes to this question you are a Neo Geo MVS guy! You should look into getting a Neo Geo MVS setup to play arcade boards at home.

Fun Fact:

11. Games in Shockboxes
Garou: Mark of the Wolves in a Shockbox. Notice how the game fits nice and snug. Perfect for protecting from dropping on the floor, dust, and water or beer!

The Neo Geo MVS was the longest officially supported console of all time! Released in 1990 with a small library of games the final game Samurai Shodown V Special was released in 2004! And as the years went on the games got bigger, more polished, and better! There is a huge difference in quality between Fatal Fury and The Last Blade I and II. Just check out YouTube videos and see. Early games were of very small meg count. One of the first generation games Magician Lord clocked in at a measly 46 megs. Jump to 2003 and The King of Fighters 2003 clocked in at a whopping 716 megs or (89.5 MB)! To compare the largest Nintendo 64 game Resident Evil 2 had only only 512 megs or (64 MB)! That’s like comparing apples to oranges since the N64 had an amazing 3-D engine for the time, but to this day the Neo Geo is still a 2-D powerhouse capable of some 3-D games as seen in the impressive Viewpoint!

What does AES and MVS stand for?

2. Adaptor Pic
This is a picture of my MVS Board hooked up. See the Blue adaptor? My cabinet is wired for MVS but the Neo Geo board is actually a later JAMMA comaptible board. You can see how the adaptor hooks on to the board then the JAMMA cable (all the wires on the other end of the adaptor) hook into the adaptor. That’s how simple it is to hook one of these up. Normally you would need no adaptor but I have a older model cabinet that was originally a 1 slot wired for MVS and not JAMMA. Ususally the JAMMA cable just hooks right on the Neo Geo or other game motherboard.

So what is Neo Geo AES and Neo Geo MVS? We will start with AES. Neo Geo AES stands for Neo Geo Advanced Entertainmnet System. This is commonly called “Home cart” or “AES” for short. If you buy a Neo Geo home console you are collecting AES or Home Cartridge games when browsing online shops, or message boards where people sell Neo Geo stuff. Simply put, it is just the home retail version of the system that was released in the 90’s.

Neo Geo MVS stands for Neo Geo Multi Video System.. If you are collecting arcade cartridges that plug into an arcade board you are collecting “Neo Geo MVS” carts, or just “MVS” for short. Occasionally these will be labeled by people who sell lots of arcade supplies as Neo Geo PCB’s. The cool thing about Neo Geo in the arcades was that the system it used called the Multi Video System allowed you install up to 6 games on one machine! Hence the name the Multi Video System. There is a arcade board, commonly referred to as a “JAMMA Board” or “PCB” located inside the arcade cabinet that you just plug the cartridges into. Some of these boards even have controller sockets, headphone jacks, and memory card slots! This was revolutionary arcade technology at the time that allowed coin op arcade owners to have more games in one cabinet, thus raking in more cash with less space. It is also theorized that the MVS boards could have possibly been used as a home console, had the Neo sold more units, and that SNK was working on such a home console.

It is also worth mentioning there is a Neo Geo CD home console called Neo Geo CD or Neo Geo CDZ. CDZ is just a second revision of the original console with faster loading times. We will not really get into Neo Geo CD because personally I just don’t feel like Neo Geo CD is an authentic experience. I suggest sticking with AES or MVS. The CD system is pretty cool, and even had a few exclusive games, but the loading times are just so brutal you will literally spend more time loading than actually playing some of the games. We are talking minutes in some instances of loading and watching a screen. Also the CD controllers are hard to find and wear out quickly. The D-Pads fill up with all this dust from the plastic rubbing together. The D-Pads are amazing until they wear out, but they wear out fast. The controllers are also compatible with some of the Neo Geo MVS arcade boards, and all of the home consoles.

Advantages and disadvantages of collecting AES vs. MVS

3. Inside cabinet
Picture of the inside of my cabinet. It isn’t pretty! But it is clean and functions. You can tell I have a 4 slot motherbard because there are 4 MVS games inserted. One of these days I will take the metal part off and sand it down and put a nice glossy paint job on it. Some people even custom paint these with awesome art they drew themselves!

There are a few disadvantages to collecting Neo Geo AES. The first is that AES collecting is just so damn expensive! I am talking literally thousands for some games, there are even people out there willing to pay over $50,000 for a single game! And yes games have sold for that much even recently. After collecting for a while you will collect all the cheap good games, but then you will have a list of games you want, and will become frustrated that every game you want costs over $350.00! For someone who is not rich AES collecting is just not even an option. You will want games like Garou Mark of the Wolves, and Metal Slug, and for the average working class person it just isn’t realistic to be able to obtain these games. The third disadvantage is that not every Neo Geo game was released on the home console. So if you want to play something like Gururin, or Super Dodge Ball you are going to have to pay money for an expensive conversion made from an arcade game, or for a expensive adaptor to play MVS games on a home console. People also make conversions of rare games and try and pass them off as authentic copies! So AES collecting can be scary if you are shelling out $3000 for a English copy of The King of Fighters 2000 on Ebay that might be a fake. There are some shady characters in the AES business you have to be very careful.

There are some advantages to collecting AES though. The main thing that draws AES to collectors is that the games have boxes and manuals and look slick! Some of the later titles with the snaplock cases are really nice. The games can easily be put on a bookshelf and look neat and organized. The second thing is that even though games are really expensive the initial cost of obtaining a home console is fairly cheap. There are a good amount of games in the $35.00 to $60.00 range to keep you busy for quite a while. AES collecting can be a good stepping stone to save up for a good MVS setup. Most Neo Geo collectors just dump their AES stuff on ebay, or the forums when they have enough to purchase an arcade setup after selling them. Neo Geo products hold their value really well, so you can just buy an AES console and games as a way to save up for an arcade setup. I collected AES for about 2 years before selling my setup and scoring an Arcade Cabinet on Craig’s List. Best move I ever made!

As for the MVS the main disadvantage is that you will most likely spend more on the initial setup as opposed to AES. However, if you shop around you can score one for less, or only slightly more depending on the route you go. There are many different routes which we will cover shortly. The other disadvantage is that the games do not look as good as the AES counterparts. Normally all you get is a loose cartridge with a barely legible label, sometimes written in Japanese or Korean, English if you’re lucky. Sometimes the labels are missing completely, and replaced with obvious fake labels. It is also worth noting that every officially released game in cartridge format is available for MVS. So if you want to own every game for Neo Geo then you are set with the MVS route. Do note that there are a select few games released recently exclusively for AES. These are third party releases that generally companies make because they know Neo Geo collectors will pay anything for them. So don’t worry too much about those games unless you want to pay $800.00 for a unofficially released game.

You can also run into fake Neo Geo MVS cartridges as well just like with the AES games. These are commonly called “bootlegs” and sold on eBay so you have to learn how to spot them. Signing up on the neo-geo forums and asking the community is always a good option until you learn to spot them on your own. The best defense is to just buy from trusted sellers with high feedback on the Neo Geo forums, and trusted sellers on ebay. Again just ask on the forums who the good ebay sellers are. Yaton use to be a really good one. Bootleg cartridges are normally not marketed to make a profit, and are a lot of the time unknown even to the seller. Back in the day games would break, and the chips inside would be replaced to fix the game. A lot of the time these work great, but sometimes they can be glitchy. You can generally pick up these “boots” a lot cheaper so being in the know can save you money and frustration. If a game has a fake label that is a good indication it could be a fake but is not a determining factor. A lot of times the labels simply get wore out and replaced. To really know for sure you need to open the cart and make sure the game has authentic SNK and or Toshiba EEPROMS. So after buying on ebay this needs to be the first thing you do. If you open a cart and the EEPROMS have a small hole in them, or have holes covered with electrical tape then you have a boot for sure.

The main advantages of MVS collecting is that the games are much cheaper and readily available in most cases. MVS collecting is often referred to as “The Dark Side of Neo Geo collecting” because it is mostly games in gamer condition that are cheap and affordable. Very rarely does a loose MVS cartridge command a higher price than it’s AES counterpart. After you get the cash to afford a decent MVS setup you are pretty much set. The MVS setup will pay for its self when you decide to pick up Metal Slug on MVS for $45.00, as opposed to spending $2000.00 on the home cart version.

Choosing a setup:

4. Under Control Panel
This is the underside of my cabinets control panel. It just folds out for easy access. See all the pink clips? These are called quick connects and every cabinet should have these! Changing a button is as simple as removing the quick connect with your hands or sometimes pliers, unscrewing the button with your hand, and sliding a new one in from the top of the control panel. You could change all these buttons in a matter of minutes. See how I label all the wires “A,B,C,D, etc…”, that makes changing them faster because you know what goes where.

First it is important to know that all Neo Geo games whether Japanese or English, or European are ALL compatible with with any Neo Geo system. So don’t think you need a English system to play English games, or that a Japanese game will not work on a English home system because they all will. The same goes for Arcade Cabinets. There is no region lock or modification needed whatsoever! No Exceptions! However, Home cartridge games will NOT work in a arcade cabinet and vise versa. The only exception is that you can get Arcade games to work on a home system with a special converter. Sadly there is no converter to play home cartridge games on a arcade.

If you decided on the Neo Geo AES setup above just get online, purchase a console, and a game or two and you’re done. AES collecting is easy but expensive. If you can find a console with a universe bios chip installed which we will cover later then go for it. These are on ebay on a daily basis and are a nice thing to have. Also most people prefer the old style arcade controllers. There are newer controllers commonly referred to as “kidney bean controllers” because they look like a kidney bean. I would suggest purchasing a console with 2 original style controllers.

Going MVS can be a bit trickier though. If you have room the ideal setup would be to get on craigs list and look for an arcade cabinet with at least 4 buttons. If you can score a Neo Geo arcade cabinet that would be ideal, and they are easy to find. Arcade cabinets are easy to work on as long as the monitor and wiring is good. So don’t be scared because a button or joystick is broken, that kind of stuff is a fast fix. You will most likely gain interested in other non Neo Geo related games in the future, as Neo Geo collecting is a gateway drug to Arcade JAMMA board collecting. So getting an arcade cabinet that is JAMMA wired can play almost any game ever made after the Pac Man era. If you live within driving distance of a major city just check the craig’s list postings daily, a Neo Geo cabinet will pop up. After you get an arcade cabinet if it does not have a Neo Geo motherboard you will need to locate one. These can be found easily online on eBay or forums. Generally the ideal motherboard will be 4 slots with a socketed bios chip. Slots are just a easy way of saying cartridge slot. The Neo Geo motherboards come in 1,2,4, and 6 slot versions. I suggest going to and reading about the motherboards to see what works best for you. I however highly suggest a 4 slot, or a 1 slot, with a socketed bios chip. Never buy a 6 slot board! They are too large and break easily. One final thing to mention is you need to make sure when buying a Neo Geo motherboard that it has the feet to support the board. You don’t want a board sitting on the ground. If not get online and pick up some PCB feet. I like to shop at they are a very good seller. Also a lot of cabinets may need a little TLC on the control panel. Installing new joysticks, and buttons is very easy. The main seller in the USA is They make the best American joysticks and buttons. I suggest convex buttons, as opposed to concave buttons. Convex buttons are rounded and concave are indented. There are two more options you have if you have no interest in owning a big arcade cabinet in your home.

The first is a handy little console called a “Super Gun”. These nice little devices allow you to play arcade JAMMA boards in the comfort of your home on a standard television. These are normally made by respectable, and sometimes not so respectable people online. So do some investigation work and if searching online forums ask for some references before purchasing. You can attempt to build one of these on your own there are quite a few guides online. Additionally there are also some retail sellers that sell SuperGun systems. One of the retail systems is called the Mas Supernova Arcade System. This company also made awesome arcade stick controllers for lots of different consoles. Sadly they shut down but you can still find their stuff popping up on eBay and video gaming forums. Here is a link explaining more what exactly a supergun is and some of the previous models manufactured in the past.

There is also another option if you want to play Neo Geo MVS carts. This is called a Consolodized MVS. A consolodized MVS is a Neo Geo MVS board from a arcade cabinet that is modified with usually S-Video or RGB output to play MVS games directly on a home television. I personally think a supergun is a better option, but if you want a Neo Geo exclusive console then the Consolodized MVS is a great option. Some of these are really well made with custom art and look amazing. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they make Componet or HDMI Super Guns and Consolodized MVS systems now.

Finally the last option is a hybrid option consisting of being able to play AES and MVS games. This is a really good option that lets you collect both versions of games but is rather expensive. You could probably just buy an arcade cabinet for the price you’re going to pay for this setup. You simply play home cartridge based games on your system as normal but to play MVS games on your console you buy a MVS adaptor. The adaptor simply plugs into you cartridge slot and you plug the MVS cart into it. Buyer beware though when it comes to these cartridges. There are a lot of these on the market and only a handful are of any quality. I will save you the time and point you to this thread for the Daedalus converter which as far as I know is the only converter with 100% compatibility. That is unheard of until this came out recently! I doubt these will be around forever so you may want to snag one sooner than later.

Making your MVS games look presentable

5. Above Control Panel
The top of my control panel. This thing looked awful when I bought it! The art on it was grass or something awful. I peeled all that off and scraped the rest off with a razor blade. Then I applied this new MVS control panel overlay being careful to keep bubbles out. After scraping for hours it took maybe 20 minutes to get the new overlay on. I also purchased all new buttons and joysticks from and installed all those in about 30 minutes. It was very simple even for me who can manage to screw anything up!

If you are a neat freak and can’t stand to have a bunch of dirty MVS games lying around your house, or if you are worried about your games getting dusty or damaged, then you’re in luck!

If MVS appeals to you, but you like having complete games, you can collect MVS kits which can be almost as expensive as AES collecting. Most of the later releases have matching serial numbers on the cartridge and cardboard kit box, and come with a mini marquee, and sometimes move stickers, random art papers, bubble wrap sack for the cartridge, and dip switch flyers. These are good for protecting the cartridges, and keeping things neat and orderly. This option mainly appeals to collectors with lots of money that could most likely afford AES collecting but are into the arcade scene. I personally just look for the loose cartridges with the mini marquee art to place on my arcade cabinet.

Another option is to purchase Big Bear Shockboxes. Big Bear Shockboxes are custom Vinyl cases designed by a member of the Neo-Geo forums called Big Bear. Shockboxes were designed to protect MVS game cartridges, and also to make them look like the AES games. People print out custom art inserts on high quality paper and place them in the Shockboxes to get an authentic looking AES feel, with a cheap MVS pricetag. These are out of production but can be found online with a little persistence. Most games have authentic inserts scanned from the original AES inserts, in high resolution PDF format online. I use the Shockboxes and I love them!

The Universe Bios Chip

6. Pulstar Fake Label
This a genuine copy of one of my favorite games on the system Pulstar. To the trained eye it has a fake label but the game is so hard to find I bought it because I saw it in person and knew it was authentic. You can see where the label is peeling and the old one is underneath. If buying online this would be a risky purchase unless it is specifically stated the game is real or a bootleg.

The Universe bios chip is why I mentioned earlier to buy a motherboard with a socketed bios chip. With a socketed bios you can install your Universe Bios with only a flat head screwdriver. This is a really nifty chip that when plugged into your Neo Geo home System or MVS motherboard lets you do some amazing things. It was designed by another member of the neo-geo forums called Razoola. With the universe bios chip you can unlock the full potential of your games. Neo Geo MVS and AES cartridges have the exact content inside them, but depending on the region, or whether it is AES or MVS, content is locked out. The game content in say for example English Homecart Last Blade 2 is exactly the same as Japan Arcade Last Blade 2. But in English Last Blade 2 there would be no blood, but you would have a survival mode. In Japan Arcade Last Blade 2 you would have blood but no survival mode. So installing a universe bios will let you pick any region, and Home or Arcade format for that region, so you can have every version of the game released. It will even unlock boss characters in some games never even meant to be used, and game genie type stuff like extra lives, life, continues etc.. The Universe bios is a really handy tool that I highly recommend to get the most out of your Neo Geo collection.

7. Universe Bios Picture
Just one of the many screens of the Universe Bios software that can be installed on any Neo Geo system. Just remember to get a socket-ed BIOS chip so you can just install it with a non-magnetic Flathead screwdriver. Just pry up the old BIOS, plug the new one in and your ready to go!


This is the one stop spot for buying, selling, trading, and just talking about Neo Geo games. If you want a consolodized MVS, AES System, MVS Board, Arcade Cabinet, Neo Geo game, or Supergun system then this is the place to look. If you have a question about Neo Geo it will most like be answered here. The forums are also popular for just being active, and a lot of fun. If ever in doubt just ask in the forums and you will get an answer. Also a good place to ask if a game is a bootleg. The people here are experts at looking at ebay auctions and spotting fakes. They are also really good at defending members against scammers and will go above and beyond to take legal action against unruly members, and ebay auctioneers. I can not recommend the Neo forums enough. It is mandatory for a Neo Geo collector to join the forums.

Great website to read up on different revisions of Neo Geo arcade cabinets and motherboards. If you are interested in the Universe Bios chip by Razoola then there is a nifty chart that shows all the boards that have socketed bios chips so you can install your bios without soldering.

This is the official page where you can buy the universe bios. If you have an EEPROM burner you can get it for free.

Here you can download high resolution PDF insert scans for use in Big Bear Shockboxes. Also you can just purchase inserts here and avoid going to kinkos and dealing with the clerks there because sometimes they will refuse to print them. The ones directly purchased from here are of exceptional quality and I highly recommend just buying directly. If you want the actual shockboxes you can look here, or search ebay auctions and the neo-geo forums as they are out of print. When looking for inserts on the website always print the ones that are Southtown certified. They fit the shockboxes perfectly. Other inserts will be a little too tall.

If you want a supergun system this is a good place to start. The buttons on these are higher quality than the English HAPP controls. I have only played on one of these a handful of times but they seem to be the highest quality manufactured supergun ever made. Alternatively you can search ebay or the Neo-Geo forums for users who may be selling a supergun, or this actual supergun. It may be better to google search then translate the page instead of using the link since it’s all in japanese.

Buy american joysticks and push buttons here.

Great place to buy anything arcade part related except for buttons and joysticks. Also have a good selection of converters to make classic PCB games JAMMA compatible. You wanna play Pac-Man, Galaga, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, or Donkey Kong on your new JAMMA arcade cabinet? Then Bob Roberts has you covered. They also sell Neo Geo MVS to JAMMA converters. Note that only a handful of Neo Geo PCB’s are NOT Jamma compatable. You need to chack Hard MVS and see because they may work on a JAMMA arcade cabinet but are a ticking time bomb. Go to click PCB guide on the left and the harness type will say JAMMA or MVS. If MVS you will probably need a converter unless you have a dedicated Neo Geo cabinet of the exact model the board was designed to be used in. If unsure this is a question to ask in the forums.

Another great forum that caters to shooter fans. Not first person shooters but spaceship shooters. They have a very good buying and selling forum.

This is another great forum for buying and selling video game related items. You can find some very rare stuff here that even doesn’t pop up on ebay often.


That about wraps it up for my in depth guide to Neo Geo collecting. I spent a lot of time working on this but I am sure I missed something. I am always available to answer questions. Even better the more knowledgeable fellas at the Neo forums are always around as well. So if you are looking to get into Neo Geo I hope this was a good article to get you headed in the right direction. I am by no means an expert on Neo Geo but I do know more than enough to help people out. I highly recommend when getting into Neo Geo to be smart about it. Do your research. Learn to spot shady sellers. And don’t be scared off by talk of JAMMA boards and PCB’s. Just remember a JAMMA board is basically a very large game like a Super Nintendo game without any plastic casing. And JAMMA is just one of the many systems. Before JAMMA every game had its own system. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga, and such were all arcade games but could not be changed from cabinet to cabiniet without re-wiring the whole cabinet. Then games moved forward to CPS1 (Capcom Play System), and games like Street Fighter II, Willow, and Ghosts ‘n Goblins were all of the CPS1 library and could be changed between other CPS1 cabinets. Then the wonderful world of JAMMA was introduced to do away with having to have a seperate cabinet for every game and is still the industry standard. All of your later systems use these pinouts CPS2, Taito F-3, Sega Naomi and Neo Geo, and hundreds more. A JAMMA arcade cabinet or supergun is a great thing to own because it opens up a library of thousands and thousands of games. As I depart I will leave you with a quick definition of JAMMA…

JAMMA – Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers’ Association

A trade association based in Japan; it also the namesake of a trade show hosted in Japan; additionally, JAMMA is a wiring standard for arcade machines that allows for interchangability of video game PCBs without having to re-wire the arcade machine.

Thank God for those guys! May the Schwartz be with you all!!!

8. Matrimelee Kit

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The Punisher Arcade Retro Review

the-punisher-akartsky-Wallpaper1Real Talk By: The Wizard

One of my best memories growing up is staying at my aunt and cousins house every weekend with my mother. We would wake up every Saturday and they would drop me and my cousin off at Putt Golf and Games. They had a deal where you paid $5.00 and would get 100 tokens to play in the arcade. This was back in the early to mid 90’s when the American arcades were in full swing and always full of people. This was where I was turned onto Arcade gaming, and why I am still to this day keeping up with what arcade games are being released overseas. The first time I ever played Street Fighter, Final Fight, and Neo Geo was in the arcades. Those memories are also why I bought my own Neo Geo arcade cabinet and own a small collection of arcade JAMMA boards. So when the big boss KJ asked me to review Punisher on any console I choose, there was no thinking involved. The arcade version was the only option! Sadly enough I missed Punisher growing up, however, one of my close friends owned Punisher about a year ago and we played it on his candy cabinet. I am happy I got the chance to finally enjoy this game, write about it now, and share my thoughts with everyone out there curious if this title is worth your quarters. The Punisher was released in the arcades on Capcom’s CPS1 hardware. CPS1 stands for Capcom Play System and many titles were developed using this hardware including Street Fighter, Willow, and numerous other titles. CPS1 is a JAMMA board which means it will play in almost any arcade cabinet ever made past the early 90’s.


The Punisher is a side scroll beat em up game very similar to Final Fight. You control a character, in this case The Punisher, or classic Nick Fury complete with stogie, and traverse the city streets kicking and blasting thugs until your heart’s content. The game controls very simple. There are only 2 buttons, jump and attack. With those 2 buttons though you can do a lot. You have a few different combos, and throws, and you can even roll which is a very nice addition. You also have specials by pressing 2 buttons at once, jump kicks, sliding kicks, and a plethora of weapons you can grab and use. Most notable are guns which have a cool little comic book BLAM! text effect when fired. The controls are easy to learn with only a few problems. The first being to throw a grenade you have to jump and press jump and attack at the same time, and the second I am not sure if is technically a problem. It seem like you can only draw and fire your gun when other enemies have guns. Which was annoying. But I could have done it wrong. Other than those two little complaints everything seems pretty solid.

Punisher looks really good. The sprites are large and animated when standing still. You can see Punisher breathing, and Nick Fury’s cigar smoke. The boss characters also have their own animations which make them feel more alive. The breakable objects in-game also look good and about the same as in Final Fight. For the most part the animation seems pretty fluid and I can’t really complain. The backgrounds and landscape in the game I feel just look ok. I’m a big fan of detail in backgrounds and Punisher doesn’t have a ton of detail in the backgrounds. The issue I have with the landscapes is that they just didn’t have a Punisher feel to me. I would have preferred something a little more gritty and dark like night-time city streets, not trains and forests. Furthermore I feel like most of the stages were just taken right out of final fight. They look very similar. That doesn’t make the game bad, it just isn’t very creative.


The music in Punisher is ok. There are a few catchy tunes like in the boss fights. It’s just very fast paced electronic synth type stuff. The sound effects are a bit better than the music. You can hear the enemies grunt as they die, and the guns firing, and the objects in-game as they are destroyed. But again a lot of this just sounds like it came out of Final Fight.

The Punisher controls well. The action is fast and never-ending. Unlike most other Capcom beat em ups there is a bit more story here. You get a little piece of story after every stage with good-looking cutscenes. Also I really like there are more moves and weapons that are actually useful. In Final Fight a weapon was a death sentence. So useful weapons are a good addition. Seeing as how this is an arcade game there isn’t a ton of replay. This is the type of game you may play a few times in a year because it’s fast and fun. The best way to get your replay out of arcade games is to limit yourself in the number of credits you play. I never beat an arcade game unless I can do it on 4 quarters. That way you don’t beat the game and never play it again. After that I like to 1 Credit Complete the game (1CC) as you will see it on YouTube or online. Also it is always good when mastering these games to turn up the difficulty. That’s really the only way to get the most play out of these games. Limit your credits, and refrain from just beating them by powering through them with credits. You will enjoy them much more.


When reviewing beat em up games it is really hard to compare them to Final Fight. If you go and compare every beat em up to Final Fight you are going to be disappointed MOST of the time. However there are titles that can hold their own with Final Fight and I really think Punisher is one of them. It’s fast and full of action. It capitalized on a lot of Final Fights mistakes, namely having more moves, and better weapons with the addition of guns and blood!. Although I feel like a lot of the game was ripped directly from Final Fight, I guess if you’re going to recycle gameplay and sprites Final Fight is a good choice. Even though the music and backgrounds are not the greatest I still feel the game is pretty solid and worth anyones time. The only real problem I have with this game is it wasn’t dark enough, and that the characters with exception to the boss characters didn’t really fit in the game. There should have been better enemies in the game that tied in with the comics. When I fight ninjas and robots I don’t think Punisher. If the backgrounds had been better, the enemies changed, and just a bit better music this game would have had a near perfect score.

The Punisher Arcade Gets


Out of Five

What’s Legit?


+Nick Fury with Stogie

+Lots of Moves

+Good Weapons

What’s Perpetrating?


-Recycled Final Fight Sprites

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