Fatal Fury: First Contact (Switch)

When Street Fighter 2 was super popular in arcades, one of the first fighting games to kind of steal its thunder was SNK’s Fatal Fury.  Aside from new characters, it didn’t really do much different than Street Fighter.  But fans were so starved for more brawling action that they were willing to take more of the same.  Even though they’re more famous in the King of Fighters series, characters like Terry Bogard, Joe Higashi, and Mai Shiranui got their start in Fatal Fury.  Terry Bogard is sometimes even considered the mascot of SNK and was recently added in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!  So when SNK brought out their handheld game system, the NEO GEO Pocket Color in the late 90’s, it only makes sense that one of the first games for it would be a Fatal Fury title.  And now you can play Fatal Fury: First Contact on the Switch!

Since the game is on a handheld from 20 years ago, the characters are a bit on the short and squatty side.  But don’t think the game is any less complicated, as even with just two buttons, you can perform all sorts of moves and attacks using joystick and button combinations.  And like other fighters, you just hit your opponent to whittle down their energy and whoever runs out first, loses.

Really one of the only main problems with this game is the lack of modes.  And even then, it’s not really a problem, it’s just that other NGPC fighters on the Switch have way more gameplay modes.  Fatal Fury: First Contact is still a solid fighter, but there are only two modes.  In single player you just fight through the other opponents.  But there are no win quotes or story for each character.  All you get for finishing is a still screen with one of the fighters.  Maybe since this game was a near launch title for the NGPC, that’s why it didn’t have as much content as later titles.  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!

The only other 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.  Fatal Fury: First Contact is still a decent handheld fighter, but if you have to choose only one NGPC game on the Switch, I’d go with Gals Fighters instead.

Kid Factor:

Fatal Fury: First Contact is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Tobacco Reference. You punch and kick others but the pixelly cartoon graphics negate a lot of the violence.  I don’t remember if one of the fighters or background characters smokes, but it isn’t very noticeable.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and selectable difficulty means players of most skill levels can enjoy it.

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