GAME REVIEW | Big Punches In Small Packages In Retro "SNK Vs. Capcom"
The Neo Geo Pocket Color Classic may not have had the same life span as the Game Boy Advance, but it did have its fair shares of great titles on there. One of them was one of the early company crossovers, brought to gamers in a time when such a concept was still a fantasy for most. SNK Vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium had the worlds of King of Fighters, Street Fighter, Samurai Shodown, and DarkStalkers meeting on the fighting grounds for the first time, in a way that would be emulated in future meetups of similar fashion!
With 26 fighters to choose from (with 8 of them unlockable), SNK Vs. Capcom goes the usual route of having players entering tournaments to reach the top spot. If you choose a Capcom character, you’ll face SNK warriors; pick an SNK character, then it’ll be the Capcom roster you’ll be going up against. Outside of the usual arcade mode, players can try their hand at various mini-games in the Olympics mode, where other characters from SNK and Capcom’s roster can take center stage.
For a handheld title, this fighter packs a surprising amount of power. While we have been spoiled by today’s modern-looking fighters, the moves one can pull of in this game are just as vibrant as what players came to expect in arcades back in the late ‘90s. It does have that chibi visual style, which fits well in a game meant to play on the go, but beyond the look is a system with loads of fire in its belly. Don’t be fooled by its cute looks; SNK Vs. Capcom aims to whoop a lot of ass, and does go with glee.
One of the things that drew me back into the ring is the maneuvers you can pull off. From Felicia’s Panic Nail and Athena’s Psychic Shoot to Ryu’s Hadouken and Terry’s Power Dunk, almost all of the techniques seen in each character’s respective games is on full display and in your grasp to unleash. As the Neo Geo Pocket had a more traditional Joystick for its controls, playing the game on the Switch is a very easy adjustment. (I had attempted to play with the D-pad, but it was a lot harder to pull off the special moves with those.)
Besides the usual fight mode, players can experience a couple of fun mini-games via the Olympics area. You can do a 100-person survival mode or try to beat five opponents as quickly as possible, as well as try your hand at a point-based tournament system. However, mini-games such as the Ghouls ‘N Ghosts-based “Ghost Trick” and Jubei’s “Blade Arts” offer a goofier look at some of the roster’s toughest fighters. They’re good time-wasters, albeit not as cool as throwing down with two rosters made up of two of the top fighting game makers around.
An impressive aspect of SNK Vs. Capcom is its co-op set-up. By placing the Switch handheld on the table, two players can battle it out like a classic arcade system. It does take getting used to with the smaller buttons and joysticks, but the end result is a load of classic fun that any fighting game aficionado would approve of.
As part of the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection, SNK Vs. Capcom also allows you to take some advantages the original game didn’t let you. The NES Online-like rewind option allows you to correct past mistakes and attempt to get your fighter that perfect victory. (It’s not too generous, as it allows you to rewind only up to about ten seconds back.) You can even customize the Neo Geo onscreen with unique skins or — if you’re playing on a big screen — zoom in so the whole game takes up the TV rather than a small amount.
- A great selection of fighters
- Surprisingly large move set
- Mini-games are very fun
- Final boss battles are always a pain
SNK Vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium offers a lot of adrenaline in a very small package. Even after 20 years, it’s still a game that brims with fun personality and savors any fighting game lover’s thirst. With that being said, perhaps now would be a good time to get another SNK/Capcom game to happen on current-gen consoles...
Promotional consideration provided by David Lozada of HomeRun PR.