Back in 2005, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum was released in Japanese arcades. The game was created as a response to Capcom's own All-Star crossover fighting game, Capcom Fighting All-Stars. Unlike Capcom's game, SNK's offering was decently received.
It's 2017. A large conglomerate called "WAREZ" (a pun about piracy, one of reasons SNK originally went bankrupt) is trying to take over the NeoGeo world. Yuki and Ai, two government agents enter WAREZ's tournament to try and stop the madman who runs the company.
The game plays like most SNK fighting games. It has the standard ABCD control scheme and 3 level super bar, but it has an additional "E" button which functions as the button that allows you to tag out and preform D-Assaults. You can switch between your two characters at any time, but you have to fill up a special bar above your super bar to use a D-Assault.
NeoGeo Battle Coliseum has about 40 characters to choose from. Many of SNK's biggest fighting games are represented (King of Fighters, Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, World Heroes) but some non fighting games are represented too (Athena, Metal Slug, King of the Monsters). The character line up is pretty diverse for the most part (save for only having 2 grapplers) and really lets some of SNK's more obscure characters shine.
I've heard some not so good things about some of SNK's previous XBL releases in the online department. This game seems to be an exception. SNK pull their act together and gave the game some decent netcode compared to some of their previous titles. I've even had some matches with over 160 ping that were flawless. It's not full retail game quality, but it's not the worst.
The game includes a few extra options you might not find in a lot of other fighting games. There's a survival mode in which you keep your health from the previous match as you try to beat as many fighters as you can. Just like SNK's previous XBL releases, the game has an optional sprite filter, but it makes the game lose that classic feel. You can view both the character select and win artworks if you'd like. One of my favorite little bonus features is the ability to make 2 custom colors for each character, your opponents on XBL will see them too.
Graphics: 3.5/5. The classic 2D sprites and terrible 3D backgrounds might be a turn off for some, but for others like me, they just add to the charm.
Gameplay: 5/5. Great gameplay that's easy to pick up but challenging to master.
Controls: 5/5. Very responsive, work like a charm.
Replayablility: 4.5/5. With decent online, you'll be able to play this one for a while.
Sound: 5/5. Decent voice acting combined with some great sound effects and catchy tunes.
Final Score: 5/5. The game might not be for everyone, but it's a definite buy for the fighting game enthusiast. It's at least worth downloading the (incredibly limited) trial if you're unsure.