Mega Man: Battle and Fighters (Switch)

A lot of people don’t know that Mega Man starred in two arcade games.  One was brought to the US, I know because I have the arcade cabinet in my garage.  But the sequel stayed in Japan.  They looked like fighting games, but they were basically boss rushes.  But you could still acquire the boss’ weapons and use them against other bosses who had a weakness to those weapons.  You can play these arcade games on some collections, like the most recent Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium.  But did you know that around the time these games were released, there was a home port of these titles on a handheld device?  SNK’s late 90s handheld, the NEO GEO Pocket Color, got a port of these games combined into one: Rockman: Battle and Fighters.  It was never released in the US until now with Mega Man: Battle and Fighters on the Switch.  As a fan of both Mega Man and the NGPC, I’m really glad I got to review this!

When you start, the first thing you’ll notice is that the game is all in Japanese.  It would’ve been nice if they could’ve translated this port, but at least it’s pretty easy to sift through the menus.  Plus you can view an English translated version of the instruction manual, so that’s nice.  When you first start the game, you’ll choose between playing The Power Battle, or its sequel, The Power Fighters.  Since I just recently played the arcade versions of these games on Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium, I was really impressed how they re-created the subtle differences between each game.  The character graphics look more 8-bit, but the backgrounds are some of the best the NGPC handheld had to offer.  One disappointment is the music.  There are some remixes of Mega Man tunes, but they replay them a lot and there’s not as many as in the arcade versions.

Gameplay is like fighting a boss in a typical Mega Man game.  You can choose between playing Mega Man, Proto Man, or Bass in the first game, and a fourth character Duo in the sequel.  You can run, jump, fire and charge your weapons, and switch between special weapons.  One disappointment is the controls.  The default controls are all wrong, but lucky you can edit buttons so I recommend doing that right away.  You also have to go to the pause screen and press the A button to switch weapons, so it’s not as seamless to switch like the arcade version.  Sometimes when you defeat a boss without continuing, you can get their info and picture in a separate section.  In the handheld game, you can trade these parts with a link cable, but you can’t do that here.  While I think this game is still pretty good, I think I would’ve appreciated it more had it come out back in the day 20 years ago, when playing the arcade versions of these titles wasn’t so easily accessible like it is now.

Since this came out 20 years ago, the game doesn’t have all the quality of life features that a lot of today’s games have.  But luckily, there is a separate 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.  This is also where you can change the button configuration, which I highly recommend for this game.

Kid Factor:

The violence in these games is pretty cartoony.  You shoot silly weapons at goofy robots, and defeated characters just explode into circles.  Endless continues mean any skill level can enjoy this.  Mega Man: Battle and Fighters is rated E for Everyone.

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