SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash (Switch)

Back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, game maker SNK released a handheld called the NEO GEO Pocket Color, to compete with Nintendo’s Game Boy Color.  I loved that handheld, and I’ve been super happy that over the past few years, many of those games have been re-released on the Switch.  But every time I reviewed one, I would always want and ask in my review for them to re-release SNK vs Capcom: Card Fighters Clash on the Switch.  That was my favorite game on the handheld.  I liked it even more than Pokémon!  I have a lot of great memories playing that game with my brother, and also playing it with SNK employees at E3 back then!  So now I’m SUPER HAPPY that they’ve finally re-released it!

Gameplay is kind of similar to the Pokémon card game on the Game Boy.  You walk around in 2-D top down fashion, visiting various card and hobby shops, challenging other players to matches.  Your goal is to win a medal at each of the locations so you can compete in the final tournament.  When you win matches, you earn cards.  You can then add them to your deck, or trade them for rarer cards if you have a bunch of extras.  A lot of the shops have various Capcom and SNK references, so that’s a lot of fun.

Card battles are simple and straightforward, but complicated enough to keep you interested.  Although fans of cards games like Magic may still find this one too simplistic.  On each players’ turn, they can draw a card and put a card into a row of three.  You can choose to have a card attack the opponent, but they can use a card to defend.  You can use fighter cards to whittle away at other cards, or if the opponent has no cards to defend with, you can chip away at their HP.  Whoever can make their opponent’s HP go down to zero first, wins.  You earn points each time you draw a card, and you can use those points to activate special card effects or have two or more cards attack at once.  Each card has a Capcom or SNK character on them, and you can even double up certain cards to increase your attack power.  For instance, you can combine Mega Man and Rush cards together.  But sometimes you can mix and match SNK and Capcom cards, too.  Like for instance, Galford has a dog named Poppy, but you can also use the Rush card and combine it with Galford or Poppy cards!  So previous knowledge of SNK and Capcom characters is helpful.

I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to trade cards and battle another player in this one.  This game originally came in two different versions, SNK and Capcom.  And like Pokémon, the only way to get all the cards was through trades.  This Switch port lets you pick one of the versions to start out with, but you can reset the game and play the other version as well.  So it’s like you’re getting two games in one.  Then you can trade cards with both save files!  So it’s nice to see you can do that.  I tried to do a battle, but either the game froze up on me or I wasn’t doing it right.

Since this game came out 20 years ago, it doesn’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.  And one problem the original game had was sometimes battles lasted too long, but here you can pause the action on the Switch and come back to it later at any time, so that’s nice.

As much as I can gush about this game, it does have some problems here and there.  The learning curve can be a bit steep, but luckily you can view an original scan of the print instruction booklet, and there are in-game tutorials, too.  Back in the day, SNK was notorious for bad translations, and this was no exception.  It was a bit more acceptable back then for some reason, but not now.  Also, since this is a handheld game from 20 years ago, some of the menus are a bit clunky and I would’ve liked to have been able to see what each special card did at any time.

But otherwise, I really liked this game!  And I don’t usually even like card battle games.  It’s definitely one of the best NEO GEO Pocket Color games, if not THE best one.  Now that I’ve finally gotten the NGPC game I’ve wanted on the Switch, what else is there to ask for?  Well, I guess I could ask for them to port Crush Roller, or maybe one of the puzzle games like Puzzle Link.  Actually there was a sequel to Card Fighters Clash on the NGPC that never came to the US.  It would be neat to have that, but then they’d have to translate it and that may be too much to ask.  I don’t want the DS version of Card Fighters Clash, though, because they added some rules to the game that I didn’t like, and the original DS cartridge had a game-breaking bug in it!

Kid Factor:

SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, and Mild Blood.  Some of the characters on the cards are holding sake bottles and others have streaks of red stuff around them.  But the cards are so cartoony that I’d be OK with just about any kid playing this.  Strong reading skill is needed for all the text, though.

2 Responses to “SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash (Switch)”

  1. I have the DS version but haven’t played it yet. I’d love to play the original on Switch.

  2. I definitely want to play this.

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