Read our Neo Geo Pocket Color Retrospective HERE.
Read our Neo Geo Pocket Color – Top 10 Games Article HERE.
Out of the Ordinary Imports
Though the games listed in our Neo Geo Pocket Color Top 10 are certainly the highest quality titles available for the system, some of the games that never hit North American shores are so interesting or strange that they’re definitely worth mentioning.
Super Real Mahjong: Premium Collection
Super Real Mahjong: Premium Collection is exactly what every portable gaming system needs- an anime style strip mahjong game. Since it’s a Japan-only title, English speaking gamers will never get to fully experience the story of this game, which I’m sure reaches Shakespearean depths, but if you already understand the rules of traditional mahjong and have any sort of desire to see a virtual girl’s pixel-tastic bra, then this game will be more than able to fulfill its purpose.
Densetsu no Ogre Battle: Zenobia no Ouji
Had Densetsu no Ogre Battle: Zenobia no Ouji come out earlier in the lifetime of the Neo Geo Pocket Color, it may well have made our list of the top ten games. The Ogre Battle series is known for its excellent strategy RPG gameplay, and the NGPC installment was no exception. However, it was released so late in the system’s run that an English translation of the game never materialized, meaning that it’s relegated to a list of oddities, rather than the top games. Still, if you have an understanding of the Japanese language and are a fan of strategy RPGs, Densetsu no Ogre Battle is very much worth importing.
Rockman Battle and Fighters
Though the Neo Geo Pocket Color was a system with more than its fair share of fighting games, the fact that it was an SNK system naturally meant that the games available were heavily weighted away from the Capcom side of things. The one Capcom-only fighting game available on the system was a port of the arcade game, Rockman Battle and Fighters, which featured Mega Man engaging in 2D combat with several bosses from his titular platform games. It may be in Japanese only, and it doesn’t control as well as some of the other fighting games available for the system, but the fact that it’s a 2D fighting game with Mega Man makes it very deserving of a mention on this list.
King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise
Even though making virtual board games with fighting game characters isn’t completely unheard of (after Namco’s PS2 party game Pac-Man Fever included characters from Tekken and Soul Caliber), the fact that the Neo Geo Pocket Color is home to King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise, a King of Fighters themed board game, is still plenty odd. Since the game is, like the others on the list, entirely in Japanese, it’s very difficult for most North American gamers to fully enjoy it, but the sheer weirdness of forcing somewhat odd King of Fighters characters, such as the ever-popular Yamazaki and Chizuru, to participate in Mario Party-style minigames, is universal. The cute art and Dreamcast connectivity also make this game notable, even if it’s not a must-buy addition to any Neo Geo Pocket Color game library.
Games to Avoid
Though there are plenty of excellent games that were released for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, it would be impossible to say that it didn’t also have its fair share of crap. A couple of titles for the system surpass the bounds of mere low quality to become absolutely pointless, though.
I must begin this by saying that I have absolutely nothing against Pac-Man. It is a classic game with an iconic main character, and if I pass by a Pac-Man arcade machine with some spare quarters, it’s more than likely that I’ll stop to play it. Because Pac-Man is a classic game, however, it appears on piles of consoles and is not difficult to find on any of them. Considering that, if you’re taking the time to acquire a Neo Geo Pocket Color and a pile of games for it, Pac-Man probably isn’t at the top of your must-have games list. The NGPC port of Pac-Man is playable, but the fact that it lacks any sort of special features and has been done as well, if not better, dozens of times both before and after its release, makes it a less than desirable game. It’s better than the legendarily bad Atari 2600 Pac-Man, but not nearly as memorable.
Seeing games about gambling on a portable system certainly isn’t unusual, and at times, these games can be quite fun. The big advantage of most casino games, however, is that they feature multiple games and will often try to do something to distinguish themselves from one another. In the case of the Pachi-Slot Aruze games, neither of these things are true. Each Pachi-Slot Aruze game contains one virtual slot machine with a bright and colorful theme, such as baseball or fireworks, and to be fair to them, they work fairly well for what they are. The problem is that piles of them exist, and all of them are exactly alike, save for differences in artwork. If you really like virtual slot machines, it might be worth playing one of these, but be forewarned- they aren’t quite as fun as the plastic handheld slot machine games you can get in the toy aisle at any Wal-Mart, and certainly cost a lot more.