VISCO Collection is a compilation of Neo Geo games originally coded by the ’90s developer Visco Corporation. The majority of their output either came out in the arcades or on the Neo Geo, a sort of hybrid home/arcade system that only the rich kids could afford games for given that these offered arcade perfect games at home. This collection of games features seven of their Neo Geo titles, spanning several genres and saving you a fortune in eBay purchases.
We’ve reviewed other Visco titles, namely Ganryu 2 and Andro Dunos II whose predecessors appear on this package as well as a couple of compilations (the Breakers and VASARA collections) as publisher PixelHeart continue to mine Visco’s back catalogue. With each game being very different from each other (save for the combination of Flip Shot and its sequel Bang Bead) we’re best off looking at each game individually.
This horizontally-scrolling shoot ’em up offers up some very challenging blasting with a slightly faffy Nemesis-style weapon and power-up system. While not all that highly rated when released in 1992, the game does have its fans but you’ll need all the dexterity and concentration you can muster if you want to beat its eight stages.
While the game has its moments, the gameplay is too difficult at times and the visual style feels a bit underwhelming for a ’90s arcade game.
If you’re reducing them down to their core mechanics, Flip Shot and it’s sequel Bang Bead are Pong clones albeit with a mix of Street Fighter II presentation and a bit of Windjammers thrown in. Arguably the best games on the package these see you facing off against an opponent and trying to get a ball past them. Behind each player are emblems and if you take them all out, you win. At least that’s the case in Flip Shot. Bang Bead also requires you to then get the ball past your opponent one last time to secure the victory.
These are fun games with a host of different characters to try out, each with their own special move. The small play area makes for some frantic action but the controls can feel a little stiff at times.
This vertically-scrolling shooter is a little different to the 194Xs and Xevious type of affairs you might be used to. Playing as a mutant tomato, you take to the skies as you take on some equally-bizarre enemies. However, the weird thing here is that you’re punching them rather than blasting them. Your fists do detach, giving you a bit more range, but this shooter feels very different to anything else in this genre. You do get to change into other things along the way such as a plant pot, plane and… er… fish and some of those shoot a bit more traditionally. That said, you might struggle to get to those parts of the game as, again, this is pretty challenging.
While the controls aren’t always the best and the screen does feel a bit cramped for this type of game, the weirdness of it combined with some good variety and some cute and colourful visuals do make this one of the more interesting games on the package and it’s certainly a rarity worth checking out.
We didn’t get on great with this game’s sequel when we reviewed it, citing the controls and difficulty as barriers to any real actual fun but what we did like was the variety of skills and attacks that your ninja had at his disposal and that’s pretty much the case here too. This is a standard side-scrolling run/jump/beat up kind of affair with a little bit of Bionic Commando grapple hook action.
As the most recent game in this collection (it came out in 1999), you’d expect this game to wow you a bit more but the generic visuals and frustrating gameplay (especially on some boss battles) make for a game that we appreciate being on here but it’s not one that we can see ourselves returning to very often.
Goal! Goal! Goal!
Back in the old days, all arcade football games seemed like this with their side-on view point, fast and frantic action and five-a-side formations and, well, we always liked them (shout out to Taito World Cup or whatever it was called, let’s just say it was the one bright spot in an other-wise dreadful holiday in Tunisia back in the ’90s). Goal! Goal! Goal! is very much what you’d expect from this sort of game.
There are issues, namely that the shooting is bullshit, your goalkeeper usually parries the ball right at the opposition striker and the camera is a little too zoomed in meaning that you can’t really figure out where you need to pass to but when you score, it feels good and that’s what matters. We enjoyed this one a lot (although we’re a little annoyed that one of the trophies requires you to beat Italy in the final which isn’t something you can bank on doing as you have no control over Italy’s progress, but whatever) although it was also kind of nonsense most of the time.
Neo Drift Out
When we started messing around with emulation there was a racing game like this called Mille Miglia. The isometric visuals were absolutely gorgeous and so we tried in vain to get on with it but it was let down by the same issue that Neo Drift Out has which is that you’re too zoomed, and moving too fast, to really be able to see the track. Combine that with a lack of a mini-map and you’re just relying on directional arrows that flash up. In the end you just feel as though you’re reacting to those, QTE-style, rather than actually driving.
It’s a shame because the visuals are so great here and the licensed cars, controls and sound are all on point too. There’s definitely fun to be had here but Neo Drift Out feels like a very closely-missed opportunity.
And there you have it, seven games that offer a really interesting look at one Japan’s less-celebrated arcade developers. The mix of games here should keep you interested for a while, especially as you’ll need to put in a lot of time if you want to beat them. That said, there is a quick save option which will make life a little easier but it won’t exactly inject any extra fun into these games.
While we’re happy to see this many games, the package doesn’t offer much else. It would have been nice to get some additional information about these titles and maybe some museum features such as soundtracks and concept art but instead what you get is a pretty bareboned collection with nothing but a CRT filter option. That said, the inclusion of online-play is very welcome but you might struggle to find many opponents out there for this one.
However, what this compilation will do is introduce new players to seven fairly unique games while allowing Neo Geo fans to save some wear and tear on their collection, as well as a lot of money. And ultimately that’s what this is all about and in that respect this is a collection that does its job.
+ Not the usual arcade suspects
+ Quick saving is welcome
- Many of these games are too difficult for their own good
- Lacks additional features and content