Mega Man (Rockman) Battle & Fighters is a re-release of the Neo Geo Pocket Colour game released in Japan back in 2000. It’s dropped this month (August 2022) on the Switch as part of the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection by SNK, let’s take a look at this little collection!
A recently rediscovered gem, Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters were originally released in the arcade in 1995, and followed by the sequel a year later. It originally found its way home on the Neo Geo Pocket which is where the Switch version is ported from. However they were also playable on the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube via the NTSC only Mega Man Anniversary Collection, pal territories like a bus, have 2 ways of playing all at once.
With the Switch ports available aswell as the original arcade versions being on July’s Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium. This was one of the first spin offs in the franchise, and Mega Mans first appearance in arcades before he appeared in Marvel Vs Capcom.
This port follows the same basis as the arcade. The game is a timed 1 on 1 battle, very similar to a boss rush or a Street Fighter, you’re tasked with fighting against selected franchise bosses, once these are completed you’ll visit an old friend, before fighting Dr Wily himself, these are all throwbacks to the original games so you’ll find yourself in familiar territory throughout the game. Both playable characters and your opponent have full health bars that are a lot more forgiving than the standard franchise, fights can take a bit more length with each boss having a more unique stage, much like other fighters of the time.
These are nice and bold, with each being animated in some way or another, highlights include Woodman’s waterfall in Wily World, and Magnet Man’s lift battle. They compliment the Neo Geo Pocket’s capability wonderfully, the only downside visually is some levels palette can be a bit of an issue when the enemy projectiles are almost the same color, playing this on an NGC would have been a bit of a nightmare, but a docked Switch will have you noticing this a bit more. Audio is a fun ride, the Neo Geo Pocket gives you a good array of remixed Mega Man tracks, and obviously the jingle entering each level is as it should be.
In both titles you’re given a selection of characters to play with; Mega Man, Protoman, and Bass. With an additional (Duo) in the sequel, each character moves fairly similar but with a few little differences between. They all play really well, controlling more like the later games in the main franchise, with charge attacks and slides at your disposal, you’ll feel a bit more reactive to attacks. It feels good on the switch, it controls reasonably well undocked and with the joycons individually though I preferred played with my Pro Controller, docked on my tv. Each game gives you a selection of paths to take, these will either be signified with a full enemy roster, or something a little more vague in the sequel, however in the first title, the boss fights are given in random, the sequel lets you choose who you want to fight in whichever order you want.
As with my previous review of the Metal Slug First/Second Mission collection, SNK haven’t changed these games in the slightest from original release, the games are played on a virtual Neo Geo Pocket Color device, you can zoom in on this to get a good close up on the action, the skins you get for the console are very basic and don’t really add anything to the game. My main grip here is the game is totally untranslated, which is a total shame as I don’t even know what most of the menu’s mean. From what we can gather, the main game is available, you can select between both games. There’s a gallery where you can see where you’ve perfected any of the bosses, obviously an options mode, a trading mode is in the original cart, but when selected you’re told it’s unavailable in this version of the game.
Battle & Fighters is a fun little portable ride, it’s a shame these haven’t been translated, nor they’re an unlock as part of a bigger collection, the £7.19 asking price is about right for these though and if you’re a Mega Man or have a passing interest in unusual retro games, this should keep you occupied for a bit.
fun little collection, but the lack of translation is really off putting