The NeoGeo Pocket Colour does seem to be getting a second lease of life lately with all the re-releases developed by Code Mystics. In a twist of fate that few saw coming, the SNK-developed Megaman Battle & Fighters saw a swift shadow release. Fortunately, I am a Mega enough Man to tackle the strangely titled game.
You may remember the name MegaMan Battle & Fighters as I pointed them out as highlights in my Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium review recently. Up until that release, MegaMan Battle & Fighters on the NeoGeo Pocket Color was the only way you could play these titles outside of the arcade.
Not Quite Arcade Perfect
MegaMan Battle & Fighters & by extension Power Battles are often touted as “Fighting Games”, though I would personally err on the side of them being “Boss Rush” titles. Impressively this Neo Geo Pocket Colour port manages to retain every Robot Master and Wily battle from the arcade versions of the game.
Opening the game, you’ll pick from either Power Battles or its sequel Power Fighters, and from there you’ll pick a route to the final fight. Power Battles are themed around Megaman 1 to 7, whereas Power Fighters has 3 separate storylines involving Roll, A Robot Wily, and a Missing Part.
Finally, before you dish out robotic justice, you need to pick your dispenser of said justice. Power Battles have the choice of Megaman, Protoman, or Bass whereas Power Fighters adds Duo to the mix.
What follows all of this is 7 boss fights, leading up to your final showdown with Wily. It’s Megaman as you may know it, but levels are stripped away and boss fights are given a little extra TLC.
You’ve got Guts, Man
If you’ve played any Megaman before you’ll be right at home with its simple controls, especially as the NeoGeo Pocket Colour only has 2 buttons. You’ll be jumping and shooting in no time! If on the other hand, you haven’t played Megaman before, I’d have no idea why you’d want to start with an obscure spin-off. That said, you’ll be fine with just how easy it is to pick up and play this 2D run and gun platformer.
Each Robot Master needs to be taken down by avoiding their attacks and shooting away until they are disposed of. In typical Megaman fashion, you then acquire their weapon. Each Robot Master has a weakness to a particular weapon, but due to the random nature of the fights in this title, you can either have a really good run or be stuck with the basic buster for a good few battles.
Battles are pattern based and often easier than they were in the game they came from. That said, they do tend to last longer due to the nature of the game, and weaknesses while effective aren’t quite the health bar drainers they were in the source material. Sadly, hits that take advantage of weaknesses don’t have the animation or feedback from the arcade versions, and as such don’t feel quite as satisfying to land. If you want these nowadays, the Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium version is the arcade version, so you can find them there.
What is a curious move when it comes to this release is that none of the improvements made in Power Fighters were put into Power Battles. Power Fighters had Duo as a playable character, collectible items to gain health and energy, a fight select menu, and each character had a special move just like Mega’s Shoryuken. Sadly none of this appears in Power Battles. I couldn’t even offer a good theory as to why!
The game runs you around 15 minutes per route and was designed more for quick sessions than marathons. There is a database where you can unlock information about every character in the game, but aside from that, there isn’t a tonne outside of the thankfully infectious fun of fighting the Robot Masters.
This is the first time the NeoGeo Pocket Color version of this game has been released outside of Japan. The trailer adverting the game mentioned an English Translation, which was welcome news! Unfortunately and surprisingly, it only extends to the in-game manual. This makes the Gallery/Database and any of the in-game lore and endings pointless to someone who can’t read Japanese.
You can muddle through the menus with relative ease and the weapon names are in English so you’ll know what you’re switching, to but heaven knows what Dr. Light wants to tell you during the game!
Being released under the NeoGeo Pocket Colour Selection it has all the usual features. You can read more about these in my previous reviews of Big Bang Wrestling, SNK Vs Capcom: Card Fighters Clash, Biomotor Unitron, and the NeoGeo Pocket Colour Collection Vol.1.
For a quick “too long, didn’t read”, this includes touch screen and remappable controls, many display options, a rewind feature, and an in-game manual. The emulation quality is of the usual high quality which has become a staple of any Code Mystics re-release.
8-Bit Mega Power Man
Visually Megaman Battle & Fighters is on par with the NES Megaman games and features many of the sprites from those titles. The sprites are fantastic, with many more frames of animation as compared to the source material. This lends itself to providing a unique-looking Megaman title that is still warmly familiar.
The character art and the ending art is amazing as expected. The backgrounds of the fighting arenas while stationary have plenty of charm too and nods for any Megafan.
The music is often one of the most memorable parts of any Megaman game. Fortunately, SNK decided to port over only the finest tunes and they have never sounded better!
Megaman Battle & Fighters is much like previous releases in this selection. The gameplay is sublime. Unfortunately, the package is held back by the lacking “English Translation”, which sucks the charm of the Database.
Another factor to take in is that the arcade versions of both titles included in this game are both available on the Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium. To buy them both via the 2nd Stadium roughly works out as the same price as buying this NeoGeo version. So you may wish to instead consider putting the money down on a slightly downgraded but more charming arcade version of the game.
Megaman Battle & Fighters is a recommendation to Megafans who are curious how SNK handled the Megaman license, but I’d recommend waiting for a sale due to the lack of in-game English text.
WAIT FOR SALE ON MEGAMAN BATTLE & FIGHTERS
Many thanks go to SNK who provided a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
Support High-Quality And Detailed Coverage
Want to support the cost of us bringing you these articles or just buy us a coffee for a job well done? Click the Ko-fi button below. You can even find some digital goodies in our shop~!
Pride of utopia & greatest thing ever, I found the One Piece, Collected the Dragon Balls & won the Mortal Kombat Tournament in one night, it was quiet for me that night! Follow me on Twitter @powahdunk