Mobile phones and tablets are quickly becoming the platform of choice for shoot-em-up makers thanks to the mobile market's low costs of development and large audience. Now SNK is getting in on the action by releasing two much-loved Neo-Geo classics on iOS: Blazing Star, a side-scrolling shmup and Metal Slug 3, a shooter of the run-and-gun variety. Both sport a handful of enhancements as well as Blueooth co-op for two players.
Blazing Star is a shoot-em-up released in 1998, fairly late in the Neo-Geo arcade system's lifespan. Some of its stand-out features include six selectable ships (including one from Pulstar), CG-rendered graphics in a 2D setting, and a finely honed scoring system. Since I'm betting most readers will be less familiar with Blazing Star than the Metal Slug series, I've attached a batch of iOS screenshots below.
Metal Slug 3 actually appeared a bit later in arcades: June of 2000. This one features four playable characters: Marco, Eri, Tarm, and Fio. In addition to blasting everything in sight while on foot, the game allows players to wreck havoc with five different Slug vehicles. New to the iOS version is Mission Mode - basically a stage select.
Blazing Star and Metal Slug 3 are designed for both iPhone and iPad, so a single $6.99 purchase will work with either device. On the iTunes Marketplace, fans praise both ports for their excellent graphic options (including scanlines!), but criticize the on-screen controls. Blazing Star really should have an autofire option, while the virtual stick and buttons are kind of tiny and can't be repositioned in either game. Hopefully SNK fixes those problems via future updates. In any case, these are fine arcade games that should provide plenty of fun and challenge on the go.