11th Mar2021

‘SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

Around two decades ago I took the plunge and bought a Neo Geo Pocket – I couldn’t afford the Neo Geo itself so I saw the Pocket (and the Pocket Colour) as the next best thing. Of course the consoles were light years apart graphically but that didn’t stop SNK bringing some of their biggest franchise to the handheld machine… And of all those, easily the best were the fighting games. After all, the Neo Geo was known for the myriad of fighting franchises available for it: Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, World Heroes etc., and that experience translated brilliantly to a smaller screen experience with SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium – the very first of the SNK vs. Capcom collaborations to debut, way back in 1999.

Of course today crossover fighting games are nothing new, but back then the meeting of characters from two completely different was HUGE news, in fact such was the furore that this game single-handedly made the Neo Geo Pocket Colour a must-buy handheld for many gamers. However it’s over twenty years since this game debuted and fighting games have come a looong way since the early 200os plethora of 2D and 3D fighters; so how does SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium fare today? Bloody brilliantly IMHO!

Taking a total of 26 characters from SNK and Capcom franchises including Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Samurai Showdown, Fatal Fury and King of Fighters, eight of which are hidden, and turning them into cutesy “chibi” versions, a la Mighty Final Fight, SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium packed a lot into that original cartridge – all of which is present in this new digital release on the Nintendo eShop.

The game is split into a couple of formats. The first is your typical  tournament/arcade modes – you can battle solo, in 2-fighter tag teams like many SNK games, or in 3-fighter queue teams like many Capcom fighting game. Interestingly, and to change things up a little, every character in SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium also has a specific rival – a rival who will interject themselves and make you fight them at the fourth stage. Then the last two stages of the standard game sees players fighting the tag team of Geese and Bison, then, depending what the side opposite to the player character’s is and if the player’s rival had been defeated beforehand, Orochi Iori or Evil Ryu. Outside of the standard fighter, the game features an “Olympic mode”,  where you can play minigames such as a 100 one-round fights or seeing how many opponents can you knock out in 10-rounds or a time trial where you have to beat five opponents in the fastest time. Then there’s themed minigames such as blasting Martians FPS-style (lifted from the final boss of Metal Slug 2) or helping Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins hop pits a la Pitfall whilst catching treasure.

For those that played the game on its original release on the Neo Geo Pocket Colour, this Switch re-release of SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium is a most welcome addition to the roster of fighting games – not only on the Nintendo Switch but modern consoles in general; and for those that have never played this game, this is STILL a must-buy – as not only an example of the best crossover fighting titles but one of the best examples of the genre full stop.

SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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