A playthrough of SNK and Visco’s 1997 versus-fighting game for the Neo Geo AES, Breakers.
The AES version of Breakers was only released in Japan, but it plays fully in English on any system that is internally set to English.
This playthrough shows two different runs through the game. The first is with Sho, and the second (beginning at 15:15) is with Pielle. Both are played on the normal difficulty setting.
I’ve always loved this game. I originally played it on an old, beat up MVS machine at a local skating rink when I was a teenager and I liked it quite a bit. Years later, I grabbed a Neo Geo CD system and a copy of this game, and played it nonstop – I’m guessing that this disc was one of the big contributors to wearing out the machine’s CD drive.
Breakers is easy to get into if you are familiar with all of the quarter/half circle motions from the Street Fighter games, but the action feels somewhat different. Though the game isn’t particularly fast, the fighting is pretty non-stop. Many of the moves have good reach and setup opportunities to combo cancel into your flashy special moves – of which nearly all set people on fire in some way. The characters are all reasonably well balanced in this regard, and since nowhere on the screen is generally safe at any given time, there isn’t any “downtime” in the matches. It makes for some tense matches, and I always found the balance between reflexes and strategy to be pretty exciting. As easy as it is to call it a Street Fighter clone, it really isn’t any more so than any other 2D fighter from the mid/late 90s were. It does some interesting things with the formula to great result – enough so that I still pop it in every few months despite it being 22 years old.
I always liked how it was very accessible to people that aren’t “into” the genre. Like I said earlier, if you know Street Fighter to some degree, you can play Breakers. You aren’t going to be an expert at the beginning, of course, but you aren’t going to go into it having to learn everything anew. It feels familiar but it is loaded with its own nuances.
The presentation does warrant a note here, too. It’s great. It might not be quite as impressive as some of Capcom’s CPS2 stuff that was coming out in 1996, but it nails it in terms of style. The sprites are all huge and full of detail, and they all animate really smoothly. Moves connect with loud thwacks and thuds, and the goofy voice-overs run nonstop but generally manage to remain entertaining. (Well, maybe except for Pielle – I used him in this video so you tell me. That voice, though… ugh). The music is classic in that “old-school arcade” loud, catchy, and generally insubstantial kind of way, as are the super flashy moves that cause all sorts of fire and meteor effects to blast across the screen. Throw in a healthy helping of Engrish, and you’ve got quite the feast for the senses here.
I really wish that Breakers or the sequel (Breakers Revenge) had had console ports released in the west at some point – or even now! I’d love to see this released as part of the ACA Neo Geo series on the Switch or the PS4.
I’ll take this over KOF96 or RBFF, thank you very much.
No cheats were used during the recording of this video.
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