While SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium originally released more than 20 years ago on the Neo Geo Pocket Color, the sprite based fighting game surprised fans despite limited controls. Even today, games like Pocket Rumble take inspiration from the little crossover that could.
However, Match of the Millennium released in the 90s, when franchise crossovers were all the rage, both in and outside of fighting games. With the game’s rerelease today on the Nintendo Switch, does it hold up to the test of time?
Lots to do for a little game
SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium features characters from multiple different franchises on each side of the roster. Capcom has Street Fighter and Darkstalkers, and SNK has representatives from King of Fighters and Samurai Showdown.
Each character has almost all of their special and super moves available, and each can use three different styles. Average is the standard way to play, building super meter and unleashing super combos when it is full. Counter is a defensive oriented style that focuses on avoiding enemy attacks and punishing reckless offense. Then there is Rush mode, which focuses on landing multiple consecutive attacks very quickly. Some characters play better with different styles, and the amount of variety and player choice in what was originally a handheld title is impressive even today.
Despite the game’s limited power, the sprites are well detailed and hold a lot of personality. They do a great job of representing the characters with so few pixels. Likewise with the gameplay, despite being on less powerful hardware, most of the fighting game essentials are there. Players can dash, backdash and perform special moves, supers and combos. There are only two buttons — A and B — so light moves are performed with a tap and strong moves are performed with a hold. But players still have access to a range of crouching, standing and jumping moves.
In terms of game modes, players have access to a standard versus mode, a training mode, a quick, enjoyable story mode and a tournament mode with single, tag and team battles. The rest of the options are features fighting games fans are used to, like Time Attack and Survival, along with a handful of minigames in the “Olympics” mode. The latter is a cute side mode where players pick team SNK or Capcom and compete in the above mentioned modes. There are even special minigames which help unlock secret characters and hidden moves.
For as small as the game seems, there is more content on day one than some games with a far greater budget. It is also great to have the full, original, 30 plus page instruction booklet available via the main menu. This is an especially nice touch for older gamers who miss the days of flipping through the booklets that came with all games.
Recreating a classic
Despite The Match of the Millennium coming to the Switch, the port is pretty much a one to one recreation of the original, to the point where the differences are indistinguishable.
The main difference, of course, is that now the game is on better hardware with more capabilities. As part of the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection, there are also multiple other Neo Geo games available for purchase. The best function of the games in this collection is players can game with friends even if only one has a copy of the game.
On the Switch screen, the game actually includes a Neo Geo Pocket color overlay, which players can visually customize. However, while the overlay with the hardware is cute, it does make actually seeing the screen in handheld mode difficult. Thankfully players can zoom in via the options on the Switch by pressing the minus button. But even zoomed in at the max, the edges of the screen won’t fit the edge of the Switch entirely.
It’s a shame there isn’t a simple “fit to screen” option. It’s especially a bummer since the controls are so simple, with only two buttons and a joystick, making The Match of the Millennium one of the few fighting games that work great when sharing joycons with friends. The game also doesn’t feature online play, which is a huge bummer but understandable at the same time. It is a port of a game that’s more than twenty years old.
In the end, this little flaw isn’t enough to ruin the game, especially considering it only costs $7.99 on the Nintendo eshop. The amount of content players get for that price alone makes the game worth it. Plus, this doesn’t even count the fact that the game is an almost perfect port of a nostalgic classic. For fans of either fighting game franchise looking for something fun and charming to play, it’s hard to go wrong with this port of SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium.