I’ve been a bit of a sucker for the Neo Geo Pocket Color games releasing for the Nintendo Switch under SNK’s inititiative to bring those games to the more modern Nintendo handheld. Not only does it give me a chance to play games I’ve read about, but these selection of games also goes leaps and bounds towards adding customization options so you can play them the way you want.
Mega Man Battle & Fighters is actually two games: Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. Both of these are fighting games that released on SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color, and were ports of the arcade versions bearing the same name. These handheld versions don’t quite match the “full-sized” versions in terms of graphics and mechanics, but they’re a pretty good handheld version. Originally released in Japan in 2000, this is the first time you can get a hold of these games in an official capacity.
Let’s get this out of the way first: I found these handheld versions of the Mega Man “power” games a little lacking. They’re decent approximations, but they don’t quite live up to the main versions. Unfortunately, you’ll have to find a Rom or a retro console to play these older versions, as I don’t think they’re available for purchase easily. That doesn’t mean the Neo Geo Pocket Color versions replace them, but they’re pretty cool to have from a game preservation standpoint.
The Neo Geo Pocket Color had a fair amount of fighting games on it and Mega Man Battle & Fighters is a perfect fit. Unfortunately, even with it brought over the US, there is very little localization. In fact, I’m not sure if any localization attempt was made at all: a lot of the text is in Japanese. I had to use my phone’s translate ability just to get through the menus! Needless to say, this made the game a little more complicated than I would have liked.
Gameplay-wise, Mega Man Battle & Fighters holds up as a handheld fighting game. It doesn’t quite pass Match of the Millennium as my favorite handheld fighter of that era/system, but it actually comes pretty close. Your goal in Mega Man Battle & Fighters is to defeat your opponent in a fighting style match, with the ability to choose between multiple fighters: Mega Man, Proto Man, Bass and Duo. Being able to fight bosses on demand as Mega Man is fun, but taking on these bosses as Bass, Proto Man, and Duo adds a layer of novelty for those new to Mega Man power fighting games.
As with all of the Neo Geo Pocket Color games for the Nintendo Switch, there is a lot of customization in the way you can play. You can play handheld with or without the Joycons, instead using the Switch’s touchscreen to press the buttons on the Neo Geo Pocket Color in its 1:1 size. That’s right: the Neo Geo Pocket Color was so small, the entire device fits within the Switch’s screen size. You can also choose to change pixelation, remove the Neo Geo Pocket Color “border” or change out the skin to make it look the way you want it to.
While it’s not the best fighting game for SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color, I’m glad it has made its way to the Pocket Color Selection on Nintendo Switch. It’s not only important for game preservation, but it gives a whole new audience a chance to play these games. Unfortunately, Mega Man Battle & Fighters just doesn’t stand up to its arcade equivalent, and are really just for those that absolutely crave the handheld versions.
Mega Man Battle & Fighters is available now on Nintendo Switch.