Wednesday, July 17, 2024

‘Stakes Winner ACA NEOGEO’ Review – A Horse of a Different Color – TouchArcade


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In terms of the NEOGEO, just a few genres come to thoughts. Combating video games. Aspect-scrolling motion video games. Possibly shooters and beat-em-ups. The same old array of sports activities. You in all probability don’t consider horse racing video games, however this was an arcade platform that was bought in Japan within the Nineties. With that in thoughts, it’s in all probability not an enormous shocker to search out out that it performed host to a few video games primarily based on the game. The one actual shock is that SNK bothered to deliver them out within the West. The most recent launch within the ACA NEOGEO line, Stakes Winner ($3.99), has yet one more shock up its sleeve: it form of guidelines.

Developer Saurus was based in 1994 and was largely made up of former SNK workers who didn’t really feel like shifting to Osaka after SNK closed its Tokyo workplaces. It labored on a number of NEOGEO video games together with quite a lot of console ports and might be finest identified within the West because the workforce behind the Shock Troopers top-down run-and-guns. Like a variety of the builders engaged on NEOGEO video games within the later years of the console’s life, Saurus was actually good at flexing the ageing system’s robust factors to make engaging, detailed visuals for its video games. Anyway, off to the horse races.

Horse racing remains to be considerably fashionable in Japan to this present day, however within the Nineties it was going via an particularly large growth. In typical vogue, everybody and their uncle was quickly making a horse racing recreation for the varied consoles of the period. The junk bins at second hand recreation retailers in Japan are positively drowning in horse racing video games for the Tremendous Famicom, PlayStation, and SEGA Saturn. A few of these video games took a heavy sim method to elevating and racing your steeds, whereas others have been little greater than playing video games. Stakes Winner does what many different NEOGEO sports activities video games did so nicely: it takes a sport with a variety of nuances and sophisticated elements and compacts it right into a enjoyable, approachable arcade recreation.

The very first thing you’ll do while you begin the sport is identify your jockey. 4 letters should be sufficient for anybody, proper? You then get to decide on your horse from a bunch of a number of colourful characters. All of them have their very own stats, racing type, and look, together with a flowery identify. With that completed, you’re able to race. There are twelve races in whole within the recreation, and you must rank within the prime three if you wish to win any cash. As an added incentive, failing to rank within the prime three means you’ll must drop one other coin in. That doesn’t matter a lot for us right here within the present yr with our fancy limitless credit, although. Neigh, it’s all about that money prize whole, which works as an ersatz rating. You’ll need to do your finest to earn the highest prize in each race.

The racing itself is pretty easy. You’ll be able to transfer your horse round with the stick, with a double-tap ahead making it jostle any horses in entrance of it and a double-tap again slowing you proper down. You may have one button that flicks the reins somewhat and accelerates your horse at the price of somewhat stamina, and one other button that whips the horse for a giant velocity burst at the price of a variety of stamina. That’s all there’s to it. The primary couple of races are so quick that you may just about fly via them at prime velocity with out worry of operating out of stamina, however after that you simply’re going to must be very cautious about when and the place you apply that whip.

Throwing a wrench into the racing is the presence of pick-ups alongside the monitor. A few of these are good, providing you a velocity burst or additional stamina, whereas others are dangerous, slowing you down for various lengths of time. In case you have been questioning why you’d ever use the transfer to decelerate, avoiding these dangerous gadgets is one nice cause. The one different wrinkle to the sport comes from the coaching segments, the place you possibly can earn everlasting upgrades on your horse. You’ll must get good at these because the later races are virtually unattainable in case your stats aren’t as much as the place they need to be.

Whereas it’s removed from standard, particularly for those who’re unfamiliar with horse racing, Stakes Winner gives all of the enjoyable of racing recreation. The core stamina administration facet forces you to think about the monitor you’re on, and the pick-ups and different horses add in that important factor of chaos that retains issues spicy. You’ll be able to even play this with one other participant, and it’s an amazingly good time. In fact, that’s fairly laborious to do with this cellular model. You need to play regionally and also you’ll want some exterior controllers. I’m simply going to imagine you’ll primarily be taking part in alone. Nonetheless, even taken in that context, Stakes Winner is admittedly pleasing.

Hamster has completed its typical work with this, and I might virtually copy and paste this paragraph in these critiques at this level. You get a variety of choices to tweak, and you may select between the Japanese and abroad model of the sport. The same old additional modes are right here, although they’re not fairly as enjoyable as they’re in one thing like a capturing recreation. You need to use an exterior controller to play, although the contact controls are primarily ample. The double-taps are somewhat annoying to do on a digital stick, however you may get the hold of it with a little bit of follow.

Stakes Winner will get some additional credit score only for being one thing somewhat off the overwhelmed monitor, however it’s a genuinely glorious arcade recreation all by itself. SNK had a knack for this kind of factor, and the tip result’s a horse racing recreation that I feel anybody can take pleasure in even when they’ve zero prior curiosity within the sport. I hope we ultimately see the sequel, Stakes Winner 2, however till then there’s loads of enjoyable available with this nice model of the unique.


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