Next up in our Neo Geo reviews is Shock Troopers! Shock Troopers was released in 1997 on the MVS but never on the AES or Neo Geo CD systems which is a shame. We played it on the WiiVC which should be accurate to the MVS version. The game was also released with an online feature on Steam but i’ve heard that the port is a bad, choppy emulation.
Shock Troopers is a 2-player co-op run and gun game thatkinda makes you think “what if Ikari Warriors was actually a good game?”. Yes, you have the overhead view and can walk/shoot in 8 directions.
Now lets gun down some bad guys!
In Shock Troopers you have 8 characters to choice from in a “team battle” and a “lone wolf” setting. What that means is that in team battle you choose 3 characters, 1 for each life you have before you have to use a credit. In lone wolf you get 3 lives with the same character per credit. The characters differ slightly in speed, power and special weapon and for me at least team battle seems the better option for variety and flexibility since you can switch between characters in mid-action. The set of characters is also an interesting one visually, the look cool and hot even.
Aaaanyway, after choosing characters you choose one of three routes all leading to the same final stage. Each route has 5 stages which means the game rocks 15 stages which is just amazing for replayability and lasting appeal since each playthrough can be different! You are even allowed to jump from one route to another after stage 3 making the possibilities endless! Ok.. not endless… but they are many.
The action starts right away as a barrage of enemies try to stop you from reaching your goal of saving some chick from the evil “Bloody Scorpions” or something (it’s really not important). One button shoots, one uses the special weapon, one dodge rolls and the last one changes characters if you opted for the “team battle” option when picking a character. Shoot and kill them as you like, but the most fun aspect of the game is the dodge roll. You can roll to dodge bullets and other shit and to become invulnerable for a short time. This opens up for the possibilities of pulling some nice moves with quick thinking and skill which is vital in the higher difficulty levels of the game.
The stages are well designed and they sport a good variety of enemies and bosses that sometime make you feel like you are playing a shoot ’em up(shmup). Dodge bullets, shoot like crazy, pick up new better weapons, throw all kinds of grenades depending on what character you are playing as. Shock Troopers is just great great fun.
You walk in 8-directions but holding in the shoot button locks you in making you strafe and shoot in the same direction you were facing when you first started shooting. This is done really well and implementing this the right way could have made or broken the whole game. Luckily, the strafe shooting and in fact all gameplay just feels great.
The game looks really good, which is to be expected from a 2d game released in 1997. The sprites and backgrounds look good but what impressed me more is the animation and effects on display here. Dying enemies look like they are suffering greatly, the screams in their voices really adds to that. Explosions and gun effects look great and in addition the game does all that with no obvious slowdown in gameplay.
The music is also pretty hilarious. Its a mix of some classic rock video game music and what i guess this is called “jungle music” or something but the drum ‘n base fast paced tunes and beats feel right at home here in Shock Troopers. Some tunes are great, others not so great but we liked it.
Just give it a listen, great stuff.
Shock Troopers is a difficult game and it is important to note that you have 4 credits and that will have to be enough in either the easy, normal or hard setting of the game. I absolutely loathe infinite credits because that takes away all incentives to do well and ultimately it kills all the fun. Clearing the game on easy with these 4 credits might take you 2 or 3 tries which can be considered moderately difficult. Playing on normal and hard should provide you with a bunch of extra challenge plus you can always pick different stage routes for extra variety as well.
Here’s a longplay. Its quality is pretty shitty so we are planning to record our own playthrough soon.
Overall Shock Troopers i an outstanding quality title packed with fun, challenge, variety and quality aesthetics. The amount of fun to be had is massive, and best of all you can enjoy it with a buddy. easy, normal, hard! Valley route, river route, mountain route! Run, roll, dodge, shoot, explode, kick ass! Shock Troopers gets Cousin Gaming’s awesome stamp of co-op super goodness no question!
Lasting appeal 9,5
Is it fun? 9,5
Overall 9+ an awesome game!
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