SNKP released the NeoGeo Station on the Playstation Network last night. There’s been a lot of conjecture on what exactly NeoGeo Station is. It’s not an application or anything of the sort; it’s actually just the publisher’s page on the PSN. All of the games are listed on this page as they are released. The games do share a common settings file which contains user-defined options such as graphic settings. I downloaded Samurai Shodown last night and King of Fighters 94 this morning to test them out.
The emulation is great and has a lot of features that justify the $9 purchase price. Under the Screen Setting tab, players can define display mode, scanlines, smoothing and 1 of 4 wallpapers. Display mode offers the choice of normal and fit, which fits the height of the screen. On my 42″ television, normal mode was 410% and fit is about 500%. I prefer the normal view. Scanlines can be turned on or off with off as the default. The smoothing feature is very subtle and looks great on my HDTV. It’s not a drastic change, like the filter in KoFXI, but a slight reduction in the sharpness of the edges of the sprite. The 4 wallpapers are made up of 1 game specific and 3 general system wallpapers – a NeoGeo console, a G-Mantle image and the old school blue and yellow logo. Any preferences changed under Screen Settings will be applied to all titles in the NeoGeo Station series.
Under the Etc. tab, players can turn Quick start on/off and Game Save State can be set to on/off as well. Players can turn Original Bugs on or off here. Lots of people expressed concern over the original bugs being present but it seems SNKP has addressed this. The default setting for all 3 of these preferences is off. The region can be set to either ENG or JPN at this screen.
Each game can have 8 replays saved to it. A replay is not a single game but a session. I’ve saved a few online sessions that were 7 or 8 minutes long.
Finally, there is the Online Mode. This tab allows players to choose Quick Match, Search Matches, Create Matches or Check Invitations. There are no lobbies or ranked matches in these games. In the Search Matches menu, the player can choose search parameters such as Ping, Region and Player Side. Ping can be set as Any, 5 bars only or any range between 0 and 5 bars, i.e. 1-5, 2-5, etc. The region can be set as either JPN or ENG. Once the criteria are filled in and the search function is ready to start, the player can choose to play the game while the search is conducted. I’ve found that my games are more quickly connected through the quick matching service; still, the choice is nice.
There seems to be mixed reviews on the netcode. I’ve played roughly 20 matches of Samurai Shodown, some via wireless but most through a wired connection and I’ve had nothing but great connections. I spent 30 minutes getting acclimated to the game again before playing any online games. So far, I’ve had 1 instance of stutter during the knock out animation at the end of a round. For comparison, my PS3 is connected via a wired connection with forwarded ports and my connection generally runs 20 down/4 up.
In closing, I find myself extremely excited about the NeoGeo Station. The NeoGeo is one of my favorite all-time game libraries and I look forward to the release of the classics – SamSho II, IV; KoF 98, 2002; Real Bout Fatal Fury 2; Garou; and others. In the press release announcing NGS, SNKP promised to release some games that have never been available outside of Japan before, so here’s hoping for SamSho V Special.