NEO GEO Pocket Color Selection vol. 1 (Switch)

Game maker SNK is known for their fighting games, but they also made their own consoles, like the NEO GEO and subsequent arcade machine.  When it came time for them to compete with Nintendo’s Game Boy Color, they brought out the NEO GEO Pocket Color.  This was a really awesome little handheld, and for a short while, I even liked it better than Nintendo’s portable offerings.  And now you can play a collection of ten NGPC games on the Switch!

The menu screen lets you select from the ten games and view 3-D models of the boxes, instruction booklets, toggle the languages, and choose the borders (mostly NGPC handhelds).  I’ll briefly go over the games on here I haven’t reviewed yet, and provide links to the ones I have.

Big Tournament Golf

I always knew this one as Neo Turf Masters, so I don’t know where it got the name change.  But it’s the same game either way.  It’s just a handheld golf game, but don’t let my generic description fool you.  For being on a portable system from the late 90’s, this one is pretty good.  Simple to pick up and easy to control for the most part.  For a while my friends and I were really into it back then.

Dark Arms: Beast Busters 1999

It’s an overhead action game where you shoot at a bunch of zombies and demons with bullets and try to upgrade your weapons.  I had a hard time getting into this one, though.  The shoddy translations (SNK was known for that back then), plus the slow, plodding gameplay just kept me from getting into it.  I’m sure for 1999 this isn’t a bad game, though.  There actually was an arcade game from SNK called Beast Busters.  It was a light gun game where you shot at monsters in urban settings.  I remember when I would go to arcades, my stepdad and my best friend’s dad would play this one all the time!  We’d even have to pry them off the machine when it was time to go!

Metal Slug: 1st Mission

A 2-D run and gun shooter series with fluid animation, Metal Slug is one of SNK’s flagship series.  They did the best they could with the handheld version, and you can even ride in some of the vehicles in certain sections.  But even so, the underpowered hardware causes the game to be slower and less hectic, you can only play as Marco, and the bosses take FOREVER to beat.  It’s still not a bad game, I’d just rather play the originals.

Metal Slug: 2nd Mission

Now talk about an improvement!  This game has better animations, two selectable characters, branching pathways, voice clips, and a wider variety of gameplay.  Definitely one of the NGPC’s best!

OK so the rest of the games on this collection I’ve already reviewed, as they were sold separately before this collection.  So I’m going to just post links to my reviews for the rest of them.  In particular, please read the reviews for Gals Fighters and SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium, as those are some of my favorite NGPC games!

Fatal Fury: First Contact

King of Fighters R-2

Samurai Shodown 2

The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny

Gals Fighters

SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium

I didn’t think the two player modes would work here since you had to use a link cable in the originals, but they got around it here but having a second NEO GEO Pocket Color pop up so the other player can choose their character and whatnot.  Also, since these games came out 20 years ago, they don’t have all the quality of life features that a lot of today’s games 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, and rewind, too.

Really the only problems I had with this collection aren’t really the game’s fault.  It more has to do with the NGPC in general and how these titles were released on the Switch.  There is a lack of variety in this collection, as over half of it are fighters.  But then, that was a problem with the original NGPC, since SNK is most known for their one on one fighters.  But the collection could still stand to have more variety.  There were a lot of puzzle games on that handheld, and having one of those here would’ve been nice.

The other problem I had was how these games were released.  Originally they were sold separately before being on this collection.  I don’t like it when companies nickel and dime you like that.  Just release the compilation!  Also I would’ve liked to have seen a physical release of this collection as well.  But if you didn’t get any of these titles separately, you gotta get this collection!  The best news is that since it says vol. 1 in the title, maybe they’ll be a vol. 2?  I’d love to see a collection that has Puzzle Link or SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash on it!  Or maybe even third party stuff like Sonic Pocket Adventure!  Make it happen, SNK!

Kid Factor
NEO GEO Pocket Color Selection vol. 1 is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, and Suggestive Themes.  Most of the games on here are fighters where you punch and kick others.  But the short, squatty cartoony character graphics really negate a lot of the violence.  I didn’t really notice any blood, and the in-game graphics aren’t very suggestive either.  The only time you may see that would be in the instruction booklets, where some of the art of the female characters wear skimpy outfits.  (Mai, I’m looking at you…oh sorry about that Andy).  Reading skill is also helpful for the text, but otherwise I’d be OK with any kid playing this collection.

One Response to “NEO GEO Pocket Color Selection vol. 1 (Switch)”

  1. The whole NEOGEO phenomenon has always been lost on me.

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