Okay, that headline might read like hyperbole, but if you have any knowledge of SNK’s arcade fighting game dominance, you might not be surprised that the NeoGeo Pocket Color, despite being a little outdated for its time, had some impressive titles. SNK Vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is definitely one of my favorite fighting games that came from its extensive fighting game lineup.
SNK Vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is a fighting game that pits characters from SNK’s series of fighting games against characters from Capcom’s series of fighting games. It’s a fighting game from a semi-obscure handheld console, but it’s made by the master of fighting games at the time: SNK. They really knew their stuff, pumping out a half dozen or so amazing fighting game series. And Capcom’s Street Fighter series is legendary, with its characters and other Capcom icons fitting right into this SNK helmed mash-up.
While actually playing SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium might not feel as smooth as a modern fighting game, context is important. Even so, despite this game being from 1999, it plays better than some contemporary fighting games I’ve played. Don’t expect a triple AAA modern fighting title, but it’s surprising just how fun fighting in SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is. I’ve been more of a Street Fighter 2 person growing up, so I don’t know the SNK fighters’ move list as intimately as some of the Capcom characters. Playing my favorite Street Fighter characters actually felt correct, with their move sets (mostly) intact.
There are a lot of characters to play as in this classic, too. There are 13 characters from Capcom games like Dark Stalkers and the Street Fighter Series, and SNK lends 13 of their own fighters, including those from Samurai Shodown, and Fatal Fury. The list is truly impressive, especially for a handheld game of its time. Some of these characters, visually, look more like chibi counterparts to their full-sized doppelgangers, but the visuals are just enough to translate the character to the (emulated) tiny pixelated screen.
There are multiple ways to play SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium. You can play in the Tourney mode, which brings your chosen fighter on their personal journey, fighting their way through the SNK and Capcom roster. There is also a versus mode, where you can play against a friend locally (or in remote play together)—and you don’t even need to own two NeoGeo Pocket Color systems. There is also an Olympic mode that not only challenges your preferred character in time and endurance events, but also features minigames like a Ghosts ‘n Goblins game where you have to help the knight Arthur, or a zombie blasting minigame that is taken from Metal Slug 2.
Since SNK vs Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is an emulation of a handheld game, there are a lot of setting available to make the most of your game. You can choose to play the game in a virtual border, with a NeoGeo Pocket Color working as a visual border. In fact, you can even change the skins out to your preferred style of the handheld system. You can even do away with the border altogether, and zoom the screen in to make the on-screen action as large as possible. There are also options to rewind the last few moments of play, so you can undo any moves you might regret.
I definitely recommend SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium. On Nintendo Switch, it’s included in the great NeoGeo Color Selection Vol. 1 , but unfortunately it was omitted from the Neo Geo Color Selection Vol.1 Steam Edition—which is a real shame. But if you’re curious about NeoGeo Pocket Color, and the obscure (but amazing) fighting games from that system, the best one to get is SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium. It’s feature packed, full of iconic characters, and even diversionary minigames if you get tired of the main experience. It might not be a modern fighting game, but SNK managed to make one of the best handheld fighting games of its generation, and while still semi-obscure, is now available on a much wider scale. And that’s a win for video game preservation.
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