SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium
System: Neo Geo Pocket
Review done by Paul Monopoli
SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium (from here on referred to as MOTM) is the first in the SNK & Capcom vs games. Being a fan of both franchises I purchased this game on release, & I didn’t even own a Neo Geo Pocket!!! It took another 6 months to get that, which means MOTM was sitting in the top of my cupboard eagerly awaiting it’s first play. So 6 months of waiting… it’s a long time. Was it worth it? In a word YES. WAIT, don’t leave the review yet. Don’t you want to know why it was worth it? Thought so…
This game is just so much fun. The game box promises “… the best of both worlds…” & it delivers.
When you first start the game you’re treated to a slide show of clips featuring the characters in the game in chibi form. Don’t let this put you off, it’s actually one of the best features of the game & makes it fit in a lot better than the main console versions. Let’s jump to the main menu:
So here are our options:
Tourney is the main game. Get in there & start fighting.
VS Mode. Do I need to explain this one? I probably should point out the obvious, being that you’ll need 2 Neo Geo Pockets, 2 versions of the game & the link cable. I don’t know if the wireless linkup device works on this game. Yes the Neo Geo Pocket had a wireless linkup device well before the Gameboy Advance ever did.
Olympic features side games which we’ll cover a bit later.
Entry allows you to customise you own character. I wasn’t very big on this feature. All you can do is create custom music & cheesy tag lines for the characters. Meh…
Sparring is just a non stop practice mode.
Record let’s you view your… well records. Win/Loss & all the rest of it. Let’s jump into Tourney, because this is where you’ll be spending most of your time:
This is where it REALLY starts to get impressive. SNK & Capcom fans are well & truly covered here. You can battle it alone, with a partner in a Capcom “vs style” match or in an SNK style 3 on 3 team. Let’s have a look at the characters:
Here’s the lineup. SNK on the left, Capcom on the right but HOLD ON. 4 blank spaces per side… Could there maybe be some HIDDEN characters? Why yes there are thanks for asking, & yes it’s 4 additional characters per side. I’ll get to unlocking them a bit later, as the review has been positive so far. I don’t want to ruin it. On this screen I’ve chosen Capcom “tag” mode, hence the 2 character boxes per side.
In both the TAG & TEAM modes you’re given the option of choosing who goes first, or in the case of TEAM who goes first & second.
The gameplay looks excellent. Sure we’re let down by 2 colour characters, but this is more a limitation of the Neo Geo Pocket than it is the game itself. The attention to details is amazing. Rivalries are all covered at the start of battles. Each Capcom character has an SNK rival & of course you have the original rivalries of Ken vs Ryu, Kyo vs Iori, Terry vs Geese (oops, did I just give away a hidden character??). They all interact & say things that highlight that maybe these 2 characters have a history. If the characters aren’t rivals then you get your generic statement & away you go.
Sound is great with every character getting their own background music. Music from Fatal Fury, Street Fighter 2, Samuari Shodown is all present. Hits feel like hits & while you’re not going to get an almighty HADOUKEN!! out of the little Neo Geo Pocket, you get suitable sound effects for every occasion.
The developers DIMPS are obviously fans. You tell me how many programmers would go into such minute details about making sure Ryu & Ken have different fireballs a la Street Fighter Alpha?
All the supers are there. From the Capcom vs games, to the King Of Fighters games, they’re all here
There’s Ryu doing his super Hadoken.
So the main game gets a 10 out of 10 from me. Superb playability. Yes the characters are chibi, but this makes them FEEL like they’re a part of the same universe, which is something I had problems with with the main console versions. Punches & kicks feel like they’re hitting, Massive fists & feet actually don’t feel out of place.
On a side note: The Neo Geo Pocket joystick is without a doubt the finest fighting controller used on a portable system, & after a few minutes of playing you can tell that SNK designed this little baby for fighters.
So it’s been all pretty good so far. Let’s move on…
Olympic mode is the other part of the game you’re going to be spending some time in. The only problem is that it’s really average. The olympic events are hosted by SNK & Capcom Characters. Rimururu will take you through the SNK section while Sakura’s rival Karin is your Capcom guide. Here’s Rimururu with a list of options:
Entry is obviously to enter an event.
Record is to check your records in the events
Master Skill is why you’re putting yourself through this. You can unlock new techniques for the characters in the main game.
Talk is to have a chat to either Rimururu or Karin… pretty uninteresting though their replies are mildly amusing.
Exit… I won’t insult you by explaining this one.
Rimururu & Karin’s event lists are the same save for 2 each side. Here are the girls with their event lists:
First are the 3 first challenges. Survival is just 100 fights on one health bar which gets slightly replentished every so many battles. Time Attack is beating as many people as possible in the given time limit of 7 minutes. First Blast consists of 2 characters with 1 hit point on the health bar each trying to get that first hit in. Now onto the special events for each side.
I’ll cover Rimururu’s list first. Target 9 is based on Metal Slug whereby you pay Marcus & have to destroy all the Mars people. Blade Arts is where you play Jubei from Samurai Shodown & have to destroy straw dummies. It sounds more exciting than it is, trust me! Well if you don’t trust me, trust the screenshots.
Now Karin has Ghost Trick & Cat Walk in her list. Ghost Trick involves you collecting gold while avoiding Red Arremer & Cat Trick is just a Dance Dance Revolution style game.
Again, VERY ordinary single screen games. So why are we doing this again? Oh that’s right… secret fighting moves. Everyone has one more move that needs to be unlocked by doing events & earning points.
I thought I would show you this move in the screenshot above. I’ve actually got Leona highlighted, it’s just not showing on the pic. Apparently Leona can make you happy while you die. Quite how she does this… well I’ll keep it clean & suggest she might kill you softly with his song. Apologies for the obscure musical reference.
Now the rant I promised you. Unlocking secret characters is a PAIN. After you complete tournament mode you are presented with a box made up of 9 squares. One of the squares in this box is removed at random to slowly reveal the hidden character. So you need to clock the game at least 9 times to reveal 1 character, BUT take note of the previous sentence. I’ll repeat it with the bit I want to highlight in bold:
“One of the squares in this box is removed at random to slowly reveal the hidden character”
RANDOM. Yes this means even if a square has been removed the random thingy that removes the squares can land on that spot again. So you could be stuck with one or two squares left & the game just keeps going to over boxes. I played over 30 times before I unlocked Akuma. It is worth it however just to see Geese vs Bison. Firstly Billy Kane & Vega come out & square up, then they step aside to let their bosses duke it out. So frustrating, but worth it in the long run.
So that’s the game. Before ending the review I’d like to comment on the manual. Capcom characters are normally drawn quite mangaey (is that a word?) while SNK characters are more true to life. The artwork in this manual & on the box art should please both parties as it’s a very well done even mix. Sort of a half & half mix. Again this makes everyone feel like they’re part of the same game & the same world. Move lists are included for all but the hidden characters but hey, if they told you in the manual who was in the game they wouldn’t be hidden.
Finally a list of characters per side:
Kyo Kusanagi Ryu
Terry Bogard Ken Masters
Iori Yagami Chun Li
Ryo Sakazaki Morrigan
Mai Shiranui Felicia
Athena Asamiya Dan
Hidden characters per side:
Akari Ichijou Akuma
Yuri Sakazaki B. B. Hood
Geese Howard M. Bison
Orochi Iori Evil Ryu
The last 2 characters per side are INSANELY powerful, but as you’ve already unlocked them I guess there isn’t much else to do except unlock any special moves you missed from the olympic section.
I go back to this game VERY regularly for a quick bash. I’ve unlocked everyone & everything, but it’s still fun. If you’ve played other fighters for the Neo Geo Pocket such as Gal’s Fighters, Fatal Fury or King of Fighters you will notice the game looks & plays the same. This is still an essential purchase, particularly if you’re a fan of both franchises.
I give this a VERY easy 5/5