You have to wonder what the hell SNK is thinking, sometimes. Launching six individual Neo Geo Pocket Color titles on the Switch eShop was a good idea, and Samurai Shodown! two, The Last Sword: Beyond Destiny, SNK Gals fighters, SNK vs. Capcom: Millennium Match, King of Fighters R-2 and Fatal Fury’s first contact they were received – rightly so – with enormous warmth.
Now, however, we have the release of the build Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1. A fantastic idea on paper, but was it really wise to cannibalize your sales by including all six previously released games, as well as including four more that have never been re-released so far? While we are grateful to have access to Neo Turf Masters, Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999 and Metal Slug 1st and 2nd MissionThis is the type of movement that generates discomfort; Why committed Neo Geo Pocket Color fans should six sets to get four more that are not available elsewhere? Unless they’re making the bonus games available separately, in which case … Announce that!
But we are not here to complain about the circumstances of this release. We are here to review it. And, leaving aside our doubts about its value, Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 is an absolute pleasure, and even better if you have not yet tried any of the included games.
Given that six of the included titles have already had the Nintendo Life review treatment, we think it’s best to focus on the four exclusive titles in this compilation and the production itself. Which, by the way, is pretty nice. There is a degree to which form overrides function, but you have a cheerful little menu for all eight games and visible 3D models of the game’s original cases and even the cartridges themselves.
You can also view the original scanned manuals; This may seem quite banal, but it is worth doing, as the Neo Geo Pocket Color manuals often had as much character as the games themselves. Throw in the now-usual rewind feature and the option to play the original (not color) Neo Geo Pocket games in their monochrome form, and you’ve got yourself a pretty well-equipped little package. But they are the games we are all here for.
The first of the new batch is Neo Turf Masters, also know as Great golf tournament, a brilliant pocket version of the absolutely magnificent arcade golf game, which is also available in its original form as part of the Arcade Archives series. It includes pretty much all of the gameplay of its older brother, but it comes down to the super warped and hugely engaging anime presentation of the vast majority of the NGPC library. It’s a bit redundant in a sense because (as mentioned) you can buy the original game on the Switch for a fairly low cost, but it’s still nice to have this miniature street classic as part of the collection, given it’s never been seen before. of any kind. relaunch.
The following is the strangest game in the pack, one Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999, a kind of follow-up to the 1989 small arms arcade game Beast hunters, although here reimagined as a kind of cross between an RPG and SNK itself Ikari Warriors. And while it’s really cool that shadows like this are getting a second turn in the spotlight, we have to declare that Dark Arms is the weak link in this ensemble. It is not horrible, but surprisingly lacking in charm, almost an achievement, given how overtly charming the vast majority of games on SNK’s handheld actually are. There is a weapon evolution system that allows you to change your arsenal, but it is not enough to make this game more than a distracting curiosity, with unattractive graphics and somewhat awkward controls.
To crown this rather enchanting collection, we have the absolute crown jewels and, in the humble opinion of this writer, the best games in the entire Neo Geo Pocket Color library. Metal Slug 1st and 2nd Mission are scaled down versions of the popular arcade run n ‘gun series, but modified in a sensible way to fit its portable format.
Instead of individual lives, you have a health bar that can be replenished by collecting hidden items, but in addition to this change, it retains everything that makes the main games so fun. The missions are small and plentiful, with more of a platforming focus than the main titles, but in no way do they compromise the frenzied explosion or the fun of finding secrets. There is not much difference between the two games, although using the “Option” button – assigned to the + button on Switch and there is apparently no way to redefine that specific command (?!) – switches you between bullets and grenades in the 1st mission while just sensibly throwing a grenade into a tap in 2nd Mission. While this control option is true to the original hardware, we can’t really see a good reason why it might not have been possible to remap the Options button to one of the unused front buttons, or even one of the shoulders.
A good sample for Neo Geo Pocket Color, this is a compilation of eight games with seven stated recommendations. That’s a pretty high ratio, and that tantalizing “Vol. 1” in the title keeps us waiting and praying for more of the SNK portable goodies to come. Now that the Match of the Millennium has been accounted for, after all, surely there is no reason to resist us in the face of Clash of Card Fighters, the absolute best game of the system. Sonic Pocket Adventure it would also be an ace. But that’s all speculation – here and now, Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 is a great little compilation and so much better if you didn’t buy all of the independent releases above. If it did, is it worth the money? For this writer, yes, but you can calmly talk about financial taxation.