The Neo Geo platform is best known for their amazing brawlers. Back in 1999, SNK released the Neo Geo Pocket. This was a 16-bit handheld that featured a 2.7″ screen (160X152 resolution), with a color palette of 4,096. One of their very popular releases on this tiny portable system was SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium. 22 years later, it has now landed on the Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a look at how this classic has held up over the years and if it still packs a punch.
Capcom and SNK were fierce competitors during the late ’80s and ’90s. Both were trying to deliver the absolute best fighting games across consoles and at the arcades. It was a race to see who could bring more action, detail and bigger rosters to the table first.
Financial hardships on SNK’s side eventually lead them to pursue a different approach. This ultimately brought both gaming juggernauts together to create a crossover for fans from both sides. The mashup would include excellent miniature takes on some of the best from both Capcom and SNK’s lineups including: Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury and more. Fighter selection on this title at the time was insane, with 18 characters to select from at the beginning and an additional 8 more to unlock as you progress through the game. There are many fan favorites in place, including Athena, Terry, Kyo and Mai from SNK’s lineup; plus Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile and Zangief to name a few from the Capcom Team.
Gameplay and Modes
There are loads of different modes to choose from, giving this brawler some serious replay value. The main menu offerings include Tourney (single, tag or team), plus three styles to choose from which are Average, Counter and Rush. There is also a Versus, Olympic and Sparring Mode to keep your skills sharpened.
The Olympic Mode offers some great trials to conquer. Below is a summary of different challenges to overcome.
Survival pits players against 100 opponents in total.
Time Attack sees how fast you can beat 5 other fighters.
First Blast is comprised of 10 matches and based on winning points.
Ghost Trick features Sir Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins. Collect as much treasure as possible while dodging enemy attacks.
Cat Walk stars Felicia in a rhythm based challenge.
The overall gameplay and controls are outstanding, allowing gamers to pick this one up and have fun immediately. The simple two-button control scheme works perfectly here. It’s a simple system, one for punch and the other for kicking, while holding down either will initialize a more damaging strike. Combos and signature strikes are here to keep the action intense as ever and the game is phenomenally balanced across all 26 fighters.
The visuals and presentation for this port are excellent. It’s represented on the Neo Geo Pocket system itself on screen, which will certainly be a really neat throwback for gamers that had this system. The sprites and colors really pop with detail and no doubt pushed this portable Neo Geo to its limits at the time. There are small humorous cutscenes for each character as you battle your way through the tournament, including different endings that depend on if you defeat the final boss with each playthrough. There is little to complain about here. I would have liked to seen more options in how the game can be displayed and a mode showing off each of the characters special moves in real time would have been pretty neat.
SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium for the Nintendo Switch is simply a must have for old school brawler fans and for those that loved the portable Neo Geo Pocket. I missed out on this unique little system back in the day, but this port alone tells me I would have loved owning it. This mashup between absolute legendary rivals is not to be missed and features loads of content that give this title some truly impressive replay value. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the era where you were likely in one of two camps, either SNK or Capcom. With this release however, gamers could finally blur the lines between these worlds and experience the best from both sides.