SNK Gals Fighters (Switch)

Nintendo has always pretty much dominated the handheld gaming scene, and that’s certainly the case with my handheld gaming time, too.  But there were a couple of periods where another handheld drew my attention away for a bit.  One was with the PSP, but another was with the NEO GEO Pocket Color.  This came out in the tail end of the 90s to compete with the Game Boy Color, and man I loved this little system.  It had neat rarities like a Crush Roller remake, great card games like SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash (which I liked better than Pokémon), and loads of fighting games.  SNK has always been known for their one on one fighters, and a lot of their franchises had handheld versions on this thing.  But they had one slightly original fighter on their handheld: Gals Fighters.  It featured female characters from their other fighting titles, and had a more lighthearted, humorous approach.  I even got to review it way back when for The Dallas Morning News, and now I’m reviewing it again for the Switch!

In the game, SNK female fighters get invitations to compete in the Q.O.F. (Queen of Fighters) tournament.  The winner will get a talisman that grants any wish.  You get to play as fan favorites like Mai Shiranui, Leona Heidern, Athena Asamiya, Yuri Sakazaki, and many more!  Since this game is on a handheld from 20 years ago, characters are short and squatty, but it fits the humorous tone of the game.  Characters also fight in more cheery colorful backgrounds like beaches and amusement parks.  But even though it’s on a handheld that has only two buttons, it’s nearly every bit as complicated as a regular fighter, with joystick movements and button combos to pull off special moves.  Since this fighter has a lighter tone, characters’ punches and kicks have enlarged hands and feet, as well as other silly attacks like giant hand grenades, hammers, and more.  Sometimes you can even get into a ‘smoke and fists’ cartoon fight and must rapidly press buttons to get out of it!

The game has a few modes of play.  The Q.O.F. mode is the main story mode.  If you pass certain objectives, you can get items that you can equip that might give you an edge in the next fight.  You can view what items you have in the main menu as well.  There is also a two player mode.  I didn’t think this would work since you had to use a link cable in the original game, but they got around it here but having a second NEO GEO Pocket Color pop up so the other player can choose their character!  There is also a training mode where you can practice moves, and various options to toggle.

Really the only problem with the game is that since it came out 20 years ago, it doesn’t have all the quality of life features that a lot of today’s fighters have.  But luckily, there is an option screen that takes care of a lot of that.  You view the action on a mock up NEO GEO Pocket Color handheld (which is weird when you are playing the handheld on the Switch handheld mode), but you can choose to zoom in on the screen to make it much easier to see.  You can also toggle various screen filters, rewind, and view the game’s original instruction booklet.  All in all, Gals Fighters was one of the NEO GEO Pocket Color’s best fighters, and I’m glad they ported this one to the Switch, since my copy of the original game is sadly long gone.  I hope they continue to port NEO GEO Pocket Color games to the Switch, especially SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash!

Kid Factor:

Even though the game has an all-female cast, the game itself really doesn’t have any suggestive themes in it since everything is so cartoony.  But the instruction booklet does have Mai in her usual scantily clad outfit.  Some slight adult humor in the text in some of the endings.  You do punch and kick other fighters, but it’s very silly and cartoony.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find it a bit too difficult.  Gals Fighters is rated E for Everyone.

2 Responses to “SNK Gals Fighters (Switch)”

  1. Hmmm … He “lost” the game?

    Anyway, good review. I miss smoke and fist cartoon fights!

  2. I missed this era of handhelds. Never had a gba either.

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