A Blast From Another Millennium
When you’re looking for your next great fighting game fix, you’re probably not thinking about a 16-bit title made for a forgotten portable console more than twenty years ago. You should be. SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium isn’t a perfect game, but even after all these years, it stands out as a game well worth playing. Packed with a vast variety of characters, modes, and content, it’s pretty unreal how well it holds up.
Play Your Way
Match of the Millennium features 26 characters, including eight you’ll need to unlock. You have a wide variety of modes to choose from when deciding how you want to fight. Standard one-on-one fights are, of course, available. So are two vs. two tag battles, reminiscent of the rest of the vs. series. Or you can play in a three-on-three fight where you use your characters in order, like in the King of Fighters. Tag mode, in particular, grabbed my attention, as it’s the only one of the NeoGeo Pocket Color fighting games to offer the option. I might have thought real-time switching in and out would have been too much for SNK’s little system, but I’d have been wrong.
Each character feels unique and true to who they are in various Capcom and SNK series. The roster is made up of favorites from King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, Art of Fighting, The Last Blade, Street Fighter, and Darkstalkers. Capcom’s side of the character select page may be a bit more limited in scope, but considering SNK developed this title, that’s not a huge surprise.
Surprisingly Deep Combat
Combat is smooth and responsive, with SNK doing a brilliant job mapping things onto just two buttons, a limitation from the NeoGeo Pocket Color handheld where the game was initially released. It shouldn’t work, yet somehow through timed button presses, things are complex with the sort of move list you’d expect from these characters. Fans of the various series these characters come from will have a relatively easy adjustment to make.
Like its console big brothers, you’ll also have various fighting styles to choose from, mimicking the feel of the various series SNK vs. Capcom pulls from. I’m partial to average style, but they all feel excellent; it really comes down to how you like to play.
Online play is sadly missing, but that’s about the only mode I’d want here. In addition to the earlier mentioned types of battle, you can play local matches against a friend and jump into a full sparring mode to practice your moves. Genre staples like survival and time attack modes provide variety, as does an Olympic mode which tasks you to compete in various mini-games based on other Capcom and SNK series. Team up with the Metal Slug crew to take down aliens. Help Jubei from Samurai Shodown practice his blade. Help Arthur from Ghosts and Goblins gather gold and avoid his nemesis, Firebrand. Or play in a mini rhythm title. These are all relatively simple games, but they’re fun ways to unlock things and kill some time. They probably had a bit more appeal on a handheld title where you could jump into them for two minutes when you had some downtime but didn’t necessarily have time to play a couple of matches.
The Game Remains The Same
The only features of the original title not included here are those that required you to connect with other games or systems using the system’s link cable. While this is certainly understandable, there’s no good way to connect your PC to a Dreamcast for that purpose; after all, simulating this could have also been an option if the developers were willing to put a bit more work in. Another option that might have been worth opening up is the ability to unlock characters more easily. Unlocking the eight hidden fighters requires playing through arcade modes time and again. It’s fun, but like most fighting games, I mostly want to face other players after a few times through. Having to go through this time after time gets old, but fans wanting the full roster will be forced to do so.
Unsurprisingly, SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium uses the same emulation platform as the recent NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1. After all, it was included in the Switch version of that title before only being available separately on PC. You have the same graphic options and filters that collection offers. You can still rewind if you don’t feel like losing a match. Controls can be fully remapped to fit your needs, and you can even pull up the full manual if you need to look up moves. I would often jump into it mid-fight even if I forgot something. Save states are still missing, though like in NGPC Selection, the game does save your spot when you quit. This is probably fine for a fighting game, though more options aren’t a bad thing.
Featuring more modes and options than I knew what to do with, SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is still worth the time of fighting game fans 22 years after its initial release. With tight controls, deep combat, and a huge roster, there’s so much to keep you busy. I’d love to see PC releases of the arcade Capcom vs. SNK titles, but for now, this alternative will keep fans plenty busy.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (Reviewed), Switch; Publisher: SNK; Developer: SNK, Code Mystics; Players: 2; Released: September 29th, 2021; ESRB: T for Teen; MSRP: $7.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium provided by the publisher.