3DS eShop: Most Wanted Neo Geo Pocket Color Games
SNK's deceased portable system should make a comeback on Nintendo's newest handheld.
SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Color had the unfortunate luck of debuting in 1999, wedged in between the Game Boy Color (which played host to the relatively new but insanely popular Pokemon franchise) and the impending 2001 release of the Game Boy Advance.
Unless you were a hardcore gamer (or a person who roots for the underdog), there was little to no reason to own one.
That doesn't mean it was a bad system. Compared to previous handhelds like the ill-fated Atari Lynx and NEC's Turbo Express, this pint-sized portable had a wealth of positives, from unbeatable battery life (40 hours on two AAs) to a small assortment of colors (blue camouflage for the win) and a wallet friendly price of $69.95.
Most importantly, it played a handful of critically acclaimed games that we'd love to experience, particularly on the 3DS through the upcoming 3Shop, set to launch June 6. No one's made an official announcement, and the odds of these titles seeing a re-release are slim.
That said, stranger things have happened, so here's a short list of NGPC games that deserve a comeback.
SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium
Being an SNK system, it was no surprise that the Neo Geo Pocket Color had plenty of fighting games. The Match of the Millennium, though, was the best of the bunch. This highly entertaining brawler features a mix of 26 warriors from both camps, pulled from games like Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, Street Fighter II and Darkstalkers. You can battle one on one, or play a cool Olympics mode inspired by such hits as Metal Slug 2 and Ghosts 'n Goblins.
Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure
Sega's mascot will appear on the eShop via an undisclosed number of Game Gear titles. His Neo Geo Pocket Color adventure, though, will probably get swept under the rug. That would be a shame, since this is one of the best portable Sonic games we've played. This charming and fun title combines elements from Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 from the Genesis, then ups the ante with puzzles and two-person multiplayer. It's fast, attractive and one of the system's best games. Too bad we haven't seen it since 1999.
SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash (SNK and Capcom versions)
SNK apparently did its best to milk the Capcom partnership, releasing yet another game pitting both companies' franchise heroes against each other, this time through virtual playing cards. At least the core title was entertaining. You could even buy SNK and Capcom versions, both of which had unique starting decks and exclusive cards.
On a side note, SNK released a more updated Card Fighters on DS to horrible reviews.
Metal Slug: 1st Mission and Metal Slug: 2nd Mission
When it comes to side scrolling shooters, you can't go wrong with the Metal Slug franchise, especially on Neo Geo Pocket Color. Both of these games play similar to the arcade counterparts, but with toned down graphics. Thankfully, the intense, over the top combat remained intact.
The NGPC didn't have a huge library of role-playing games, but the handful of titles kept us entertained. Case in point, Biomotor Unitron, a strange adventure that tasks you with exploring randomly generated dungeons in search of parts for a robot. It's essentially Pokemon, but with some Monster Rancher and Dragon Quest thrown in for good measure.
This turn based strategy RPG lets you command an army of robotic foot soldiers and upgrade them over time. The goal? Crush the opposition, though the complex battle system may take a little while to get used to. Bottom line, the game packs a ton of value into a tiny cart that would give Nintendo fans something to chew on before Advance Wars 3DS appears.
King of Fighters R-2
Another quality fighter, this one featuring characters from different SNK games. Not only does it look and play well, but the neat Making Mode lets you customize your chosen hero and send him or her on a quest. A long-lost treasure indeed.