Man, the Neo-Geo Pocket Color didn’t really have a chance on the market, did it? Granted, it had an excellent library of first and third party games, along with strong support in the U.S. and Japan. But, alas, it couldn’t topple the mighty Game Boy for handheld superiority. Still, it amassed more than enough fans to create a cult following – and now those fans can relive the old days yet again with a fun new collection for Nintendo Switch.
NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 celebrates the handheld system with a compilation of ten games, which can be enjoyed in their original monochromatic format, so that they look like the older titles. And what’s more, those fascinated with the system can take a good look at the cartridges as well – 3D models of them anyway.
But the question is…would it be a wise investment for $40? Well, that really depends on your love for all things NeoGeo Pocket Color, but there’s tremendous value here.
The collection consists of ten games, which are as follows:
Fatal Fury: First Contact
King of Fighters R-2
The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny
Samurai Shodown 2
SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium
Metal Slug: First Mission
Metal Slug: Second Mission
Dark Arms (Beast Busters)
Big Tournament Golf (Neo Turf Masters)
If these titles sound familiar, it’s because the first six on the list got a separate release on the Switch already. So if you bought those, you might feel like you’re paying twice for a classic. But the compilation does include the four titles at the bottom exclusively, so even if the first four are already owned there’s STILL tremendous value here.
Let’s talk about those games. Probably the weakest of the bunch is Dark Arms, a role-playing style adventure with limited story appeal. That being said, it is fun to blast enemies with a shotgun and collecting spirits does have its moments. It’s a curious addition, but one that’s worth a try.
The big sports title in the collection is Big Tournament Golf, or Neo Turf Masters to some. It’s a great, cartoony approach to the sport, capturing all of its skill in wondrous handheld form. It also looks terrific, despite the crammed viewpoint of the system itself.
However if any games are worth their weight in gold here, it’s the two Metal Slug games. The First Mission is excellent, with lots of shoot-em-up action and even some side-scrolling shoot-em-up stages, but the Second Mission takes the cake. It boasts a superior design and fun gameplay, along with a few new tricks up its sleeve.
As for the other six games, they’re awesome fighting games, especially SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium, which is the absolute gem of the collection. Samurai and Last Blade are awesome, and worth play-time too.
That said, it would’ve been nice to have more diverse offerings. Sonic the Hedgehog, for example, had a robust Neo-Geo adventure that would’ve been right at home here. Also I would’ve taken Pac-Man and maybe Biomotor Unitron.
Alas, this is just Vol. 1, so there’s hope down the road for another collection like this, depending on how well it sells.
The rendering of the Neo-Geo Pocket Color games for this collection is just about perfect, as the games run like their classic counterparts. The soundtrack is excellent for most of these games, and the visuals look great. However, keep in mind that the screen is crammed to kind of a 4:3 format, so unless you zoom in, you’ll have to put up with static wallpaper around a small screen. Not the end of the world, as it does emulate the hardware, but it might be limiting to some.
There could’ve been more history stuff, given that this is a compilation. But being able to get a closer look at the hardware itself is very cool, and may even serve as a lesson in the classic handhelds of old. That doesn’t mean we’ll get something that breaks down the Atari Lynx anytime soon, but this is still nice to have.
While NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 has some missing pieces in terms of different visual options and key games that would’ve been ideal for it (at least a Card Fighters Clash title!), it’s still a tremendous value for $40. There’s more than enough fighting games here; and the others, especially the Metal Slug games, are well worth checking out again. This is the best way to rediscover the glory of the classic handheld – without actually owning the real thing, of course.