|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SNK Playmore||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SNK Playmore||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 11, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by D'Marcus Beatty
There is something undeniably appealing about a crossover. Most people are always wondering what would happen if this character met this character, or if the heroes from this particular universe were able to interact with the heroes in a completely different universe. That appeal extends to gaming, especially fighting games, as seen in fan favorites like Marvel vs. Capcom or SNK vs. Capcom. SNK, of the aforementioned Marvel vs. SNK, has a large catalog of fighters, with games like Samurai Showdown, World Heroes, and King of Fighters, and so apparently they decided to pit their own fighters against one another. NeoGeo Battle Coliseum is the result, a budget fighting game that will please fans of SNK fighters, although the title might not appeal much more than the hardcore fanatics.
NeoGeo Battle Coliseum is a 2-D fighting game in the vein of the aforementioned Marvel vs. Capcom. Battle Coliseum has an impressive roster of over 40 playable characters to choose from, pulling characters from SNK titles like Metal Slug, Samurai Shodown, King of the Monsters, and Art of Fighting. It's always fun to pit some of your favorite fighters from one game against the fighters from another. You choose two characters to create a team and swap them out for 2-on-2 tag team battles, fighting your way through the Arcade Mode, Tag Mode, or Survival, all of which play out exactly how they sound. The major difference between Arcade and Tag is the ability to continue playing after losing one of your combatants, which seems shortsighted. It is very inefficient to create two modes of what should have basically been an option choice. Survival mode predictably charges you with surviving waves of foes for as long as possible and essentially becomes the other modes without an order or ending.
The visuals in Battle Coliseum are dated at best. The game is a throwback to the days of 2-D fighters, but most of the characters seem unimproved from the games that they were ported from. At the very least, the developers could have chosen to update the sprites a little, especially considering that the PlayStation is at the end of its cycle life and we've seen what it is capable of. The graphics are functional, but many gamers will wonder why the developers didn't take the opportunity to upgrade the simple visuals a little bit. The sound effects are also merely functional, recreating the expected sounds from the respective games.
One standout gripe is the incredibly long load times between matches. Initially, matches can take quite a while to load up, which is a disappointment considering the "simple" nature of the game. Since it is older tech running on the PlayStation 2, most gamers would expect the loading times to be nearly nonexistent, but the seconds between matches draw out noticeably. This can become really frustrating, especially after losing a match and having to wait through the loading screen again and again. This will be a nearly unavoidable inconvenience for all but the best of gamers, considering the legendarily cheap nature of SNK boss characters.