NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1

NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 Review

10 portable SNK classics

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on

NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 is rated Teen by the ESRB

SNK has a huge library of classic NeoGeo games and they've just released a collection of 10 portable gems that you can play on Switch.

NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 screenshot 1
Morrigan and Chun-Li have never looked sexier

Before getting to the games, allow me to discuss this compilation as a whole and what better way to do that than to review the menus? The main menu showcases the 10 cartridges and upon selecting one, you can play it, view a 3D model of its box that you can open to view the cartridge itself, browse scans of the manual, and choose a language and device to play the game on. Specifically, you can play each game on the original black and white NeoGeo Pocket, NeoGeo Pocket Color, or the New NeoGeo Pocket Color. In-game, you can change the controls, swap console skins for the various models, toggle a filter, zoom to enlarge the screen, and rewind time which is a welcome modernization. Overall, it's all extremely easy to use, the extras are decent, and it features a solid amount of options.

Fighters

Considering I've already reviewed every included fighting game, I'll just say that they're okay portable adaptations of their far superior arcade counterparts with SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium being the clear highlight of the bunch. For more, please check out each individual review below. Anyway, I just wanted to say that if you already purchased these games then the fact that this compilation exists can be a real kick in the pants, especially considering that you don't get a discount. I've seen indie games offer discounts when you've bought their previous games so why can't this substantially-priced collection be discounted? To think of how much it would cost to buy each of the 6 fighters then this collection on top of that just for 4 bonus games is definitely a bummer.

SNK Gals' Fighters Review King of Fighters R-2 Review Samurai Shodown! 2 Review The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny Review Fatal Fury: First Contact Review SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium Review
NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 screenshot 2
This is the most fun I've had since Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge

Big Tournament Golf

With all of that malarkey out of the way, let's discuss the 4 new games. First up, here's Big Tournament Golf which is a portable iteration of the somewhat well-known Neo Turf Masters. I wasn't expecting much from a portable golf game that's over 2 decades old but I actually had a lot of fun with this. Sure, it's nowhere near as good as modern golf games or Mario Golf which is one of my favourites but it's charming, challenging, and impressively entertaining. Lining up the perfect shot then watching the ball soar only to have it end up on the green is super-satisfying and seeing your character's and the audience's reaction to your performance after each hole is fun stuff and an excellent way to cheer you on. Overall, if you like golf games then you'll enjoy what Big Tournament Golf has in store.

More golf games

Dark Arms: Beast Buster

Next up, here's another delightful surprise. Dark Arms: Beast Buster is a spin-off of the arcade light gun game Beast Busters and it's quite an interesting concoction. Basically, you play as the titular Beast Buster on a quest to explore 4 areas within The Dark Realm and as you do so, you'll shoot a lot of zombies and demons. The cool part about it is that your primary weapon can capture the essence of your enemies which awards you experience points as well as the ability to evolve and power-up your assortment of secondary firearms. This creates a surprisingly rewarding gameplay loop and once you manage to forge a powerful gun, it makes traversing tricky areas and defeating tough foes a blast. I may have never heard of it before but Dark Arms: Beast Buster is certainly an excellent game.

More games with zombies
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Dark Arms is like Resident Evil but you can capture zombies; cool, right?

Metal Slug 1st Mission

Okay, Metal Slug is an absolute classic so how the heck do you adapt it to a handheld console? Well, let me just say that these couple of iterations really aren't that good when you compare them to their arcade versions. That being said, there is constant action that will consistently put you in different situations as you'll drive around in a Metal Slug tank, pilot a fighter plane, and more. However, the controls are very stiff, especially in this first game as you have to toggle between your main weapon and grenades and aiming can be a genuine nuisance. Plus, Metal Slug 1st Mission doesn't even let you select your character. It's very barebones stuff indeed.

Metal Slug 2nd Mission

Thankfully, Metal Slug 2nd Mission is a step up from its predecessor although it's still nowhere near as good as the arcade games that it's based on. For starters, you can actually pick between 2 characters and you simply tap a button to throw bombs instead of having to toggle them. Also, the variety of missions is fantastic and you'll end up rowing a boat through hazardous waters, steering a submarine past spike-covered caverns, and there are loads of rewarding weapons to pick up and use against your enemies. On the downside, there is occasional slowdown that isn't terrible but it's definitely noticeable when it occurs. In the end, it's still an overall better game.

More Metal Slug games
NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 screenshot 4
Metal Slug even makes rowing a boat fun

NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 is as good as you'd expect a collection of 10 portable games from the turn of the millennium to be. Throw in a couple of hidden gems and some cool features and you're left with a decent offering from SNK.

  • + Big Tournament Golf and Dark Arms: Beast Buster are great hidden gems
  • + Both Metal Slug games are full of variety
  • + Nifty extras / includes 6 fun fighters
  • - It can be a real bummer if you already purchased the fighting games
  • - The overall quality of these titles makes it mostly worthwhile as a nostalgia trip
7.0 out of 10
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Gameplay video for NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 17:49
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