SNK had a life before the Neo Geo, and this collection seeks to bring light to it.
NIS America is demoing SNK 40th Anniversary Collection this week at E3 2018. The collection contains a selection "over a dozen" of SNK's pre-Neo Geo titles, both from the NES as well as arcades. There's no Metal Slug or Fatal Fury in this collection. Instead classics like Ikari Warriors and Guerrilla War fill out the line-up.
It was assembled by the team at Digital Eclipse, who brought us both the Disney Afternoon Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection vol 1, and that lineage is immediately noticeable. If you've played either of their previous collections you'll see their clean menus for selecting games and options are intact. Although the demo is not complete, there are a handful of features that caught my eye, including the ability to play different versions (Arcade/Home) and regions (Japan/North America) of the same game.
The E3 demo has 13 of the games available, although at least one isn't demo-able.
I played a lot of Ikari III, TNK III, and Athena. All of these games' arcade origins shine through in their crippling difficulty, but being able to rewind mistakes, and not having to drop in quarters every minute, makes the brutality more charming than frustrating. The collection being shown is mostly comprised of brawlers, platformers, and scrolling shooters. However, the sight of an NES-perfect version of the long-absent Crystalis ended up demanding much of my time.
In docked mode the games felt good. The action, visuals, and sound perfectly matched with my memories of many of these games. The team at Digital Eclipse is obsessive about "perfect" emulation, and it showed when docked. However, the E3 demo was showing obvious signs of slowdown when played in handheld mode. The demo isn't final, and there were multiple other bugs pointed out to me by the staff demoing it, so expect these issues to be ironed out by the time the game launches November 27.