Review: SAR: Search and Rescue (Sony Playstation Portable/Playstation 3)

SAR: Search & Rescue
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Genre: Action
Release Date: 03/20/12

SAR: Search & Rescue, or “SAR” for short, is another one of those oddball arcade games from SNK that was released prior to the company’s Neo Geo era. The games sees you controlling one of two 80’s styled space marines as they investigate a distress signal received from a downed spacecraft. The investigation will take an astounding twist a few seconds into the start of the first stage, as we realized the ship and it’s crew has been taken over by alien parasites.

SAR features an amusing gallery of enemies and bosses that don’t disappoint with their shameless popular culture monster likenesses, a staple in any campy 80’s arcade quarter muncher. There is also a good amount of weapon combinations to turn the horde of zombie crew members lurking around every corner into amusing piles of purple goo. SAR’s take on the Sci-Fi, “In space, no one can hear you scream” aesthetic that ran rampant in the media during it’s time is effectively amusing, and definitely worth the asking price in of itself.

SAR is essentially a build on SNK’s Ikari Warriors, and utilized the same 360 spinning stick in the arcade. The turning mechanic has been implemented by way of the shoulder buttons L1/R1 on your PS3 controller, or L/R on your PSP, which makes moving and shooting considerably more awkward than was originally intended, but after awhile it becomes easier to deal with, at least enough that you can play through the game and experience all the campy 2D glory contained within it.

If you’re an old school arcade fan in the traditional sense, I can’t say you’d be missing much by passing on SAR, but if you’re a fan of 80’s arcade culture, this oddity certainly deserves a spot in your Minis folder along with any of the other pre Neo Geo era SNK screwballs also available on the PSN store.
It’s not a perfect emulation due to the controller implementation, but SAR is still a great 80’s arcade rarity despite this.

Short Attention Span Summary:
SAR: Search & Rescue is a Playstation Mini that’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of old school arcade games and looking to have as many available as possible, as it’s something of an oddity in the SNK library, and isn’t a game many are likely to have played. The game is essentially similar to Ikari Warriors, but built around weird monsters instead of soldiers, and while it’s a little cheesy, it’s fun and interesting if you’ve never experienced it. The gameplay can be a little weird to adjust to, and you’ve probably seen more than a few games that do what it does, but for those who’ve never seen it or love to have little historical oddities available to them, SAR is certainly worth checking out.



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