Breakers doesn’t jump to the front of my mind when thinking about arcade fighters, mostly because the mid-late 90’s was full of them.
Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Virtual Fighter, Killer Instinct, Soul Calibre just a few of the games vying for attention in the era.
Breakers was built on the Neo-Geo platform in 96, with a console release in 97, followed by the arcade only release of Breakers Revenge in 1998.
This “Breakers Collection” features both games, but it’s a little difficult to class them as separate games, because instead of a sequel, Revenge was more of an update, adding 1 extra characters, making the final boss playable and adding a few tweaks to backgrounds and character balancing.
Similar (but on a smaller scale) to how Street Fighter 2 received “Turbo” and “Super” updates improved on the base game, and very much like those, when you work out Revenge is just the better version of Breakers, you’re unlikely to spend much time with the original.
This immediately asks a few questions about the value of this bundle at $19.99,
This isn’t the first we’ve seen of NeoGeo games on the Xbox, with the ACA NeoGeo collection (about £6 per game) offering titles such as Samurai Showdown, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting, all of which were arguably more popular titles.
That isn’t to say that Breakers is a bad game, as it surprised me in many areas, but it wouldn’t be my first choice if looking for a nostalgic scrap.
Graphically Breakers Collection is every bit as late 90’s as you could wish for, heavily pixelated (but incredibly detailed) graphics, do a great job of bringing the era back into your living room
It’s bright and colourful, and while I do find a few backgrounds a little distracting (and in comparison, with the characters, maybe a little too detailed)
it all looks fine and runs great, with no noticeable framerate issues and there’s plenty of options for how to view, from a smaller box with a background that keeps things looking relatively sharp, or 2 zoomed in modes which make those pixels a little too defined, as well as a smoothing option, there’s also a great CRT filter, which with the default setting keeps the game looking as good as you can expect from a late 90’s fighter.
Audio is equally as nostalgic with no major complaints, but I did notice a few issues, such as the overly obnoxious female French voice in the background of one stage, which sounded more like an accidental click on XHamster, than an arcade fighting game.
Standing on its own as a fighting game it’s again a little mixed, the fighting is pretty fluent, I was able to pull off a few impressive combos with ease, but the punishing difficulty made the later stages of its core arcade mode less enjoyable.
Characters are quite well varied, mostly using the standard quarter circles and button combinations we’ve seen a thousand times, so you’ll quickly feel at home once you’ve had a quick glance at the move lists.
There are some extras to unlock, such as concept and fan art for all of the characters, so fans of the original are really going to enjoy this collection, and anyone who missed out, but loves similar games is likely to find a competent fighting game, while I have enjoyed my time with the Breakers Collection, I struggle to recommend it when you could spend the same amount of money and pick up three different games form the ACA NeoGeo collection.