Viewpoint is an arcade isometric shooter developed by Aicom and originally released in 1992 by Sammy and SNK for the Neo-Geo arcade and console platform.
Viewpoint is Sammy's only game for the Neo-Geo Multi Video System hardware. By default, Player 1 and Player 2 can only play one after another; in the Service Mode though, simultaneous gameplay can be enabled. Along with the ship's primary weapons, the player also has access to three bombs: one that can make a wave of fire that starts from behind the player's ship and scrolls "up" the screen, one that makes a powerful circular, nova-like blast, and one that shoots several mini-missiles capable of homing in on multiple targets. The game has six stages.
Viewpoint also saw release on a variety of home platforms, including the Sega Genesis and Sony PlayStation game consoles, as well as the Sharp X68000 and FM Towns computer platforms. A port for the Sega Saturn was due in 1996; however, it was cancelled.
The Genesis version features a sound and graphical style similar the Neo-Geo arcade game, but has considerably fewer enemies, a lower color palette and suffers from slowdown. The Sony PlayStation version, developed by Visual Concepts, featured re-done visuals and sound while the gameplay itself remains true to the original game with level layouts and boss/enemy patterns remaining the same. The X68000 version, trimmed down like the Genesis version, is similar to that port in terms of sound and visual style. The FM Towns platform received the truest-to-arcade port, although it suffers the occasional slowdown.
The Neo Geo version received a positive critical reception. Viewpoint was awarded both Best Graphics and Best Music in a Video Game in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 1992 video game awards. On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Neo Geo version of the game a 30 out of 40. The Neo Geo arcade version received highly positive reviews from Computer and Video Games, which scored it 95%, and Sinclair User, which scored it 96%. GameFan's two reviewers scored the Neo Geo console version 99.5% and 99%, stating that it is "the best game on the system so far." GamePro gave it a full score of 5 in all four categories of graphics, sound, control, and overall fun factor. They noted similarities to Zaxxon, but praised Viewpoint's graphics, animated backgrounds, hip hop style funky dance music, and gameplay. French magazine Player One scored it 97%.
The later ports for the Genesis and PlayStation were much more divisive. Electronic Gaming Monthly's five reviewers scored the Genesis version 8, 6, 7, 7, and 7 out of 10 (average 7 out of 10). Though they noted that it has some severe slowdown and music which fails to approximate the original version's, they rated it as an overall good conversion. A reviewer for Next Generation similarly said that though the graphics and music fail to effectively recreate those of the Neo Geo version, it is an exceptionally good port given that it is for a less powerful system and on a cartridge a fraction of the size of the Neo Geo one. His main criticism was with the game itself, which he said gets dull fairly quickly due to the redundancy of the level designs. GamePro, however, argued that the slowdown and general slowness of the Genesis version ruins the game.
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly scored the PlayStation version 30.5 out of 40 (average 7.625 out of 10). They praised the PlayStation version's improved visuals over the Neo Geo version, but most felt that the new soundtrack was inappropriate. All four reviewers concurred that the game is "unbelievably hard", but were divided on whether this was a good or bad thing. GamePro took the side of it being a bad thing; though they praised the "fresh, futuristic look" and enhanced audio of the PlayStation version, they felt the combination of overly high difficulty and "gummy" controls made the game not fun to play. Next Generation said that while the Neo Geo original is justifiably held in high esteem, the PlayStation conversion suffers from slow pacing, sluggish control, and most especially the excessively hard difficulty: "We have no idea what kind of sadist converted this, but unless you're also an equally extreme masochist, give it a wide berth." Maximum also held the PlayStation version to be inferior to the Neo Geo version, commenting that though the graphics were generally improved, some sections looked better on the Neo Geo, and the music and gameplay were much worse. However, they added "Judging Viewpoint as a game on its own (as opposed to comparing it to the Neo Geo), it's not bad at all, offering plenty of blasting action and much entertainment."
Viewpoint 2064 was planned to be released on the Nintendo 64 in 1998, but Sammy Corporation had development issues, so it was cancelled. A prototype resurfaced in October 2015 on an online auction.