SNK vs Capcom: The Match of the Millennium, developed and published by SNK, is a curious little fighting game. Part of SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection series, The Match of the Millennium seeks to bring the charm of the 1999 original to a new generation of gamers on the Nintendo Switch. Like the recent Mighty Fight Federation, it seeks to capitalize on nostalgia and carry on the spirit of an old classic. How well it holds up will entirely depend upon a player’s attachment to the characters and styles of classic SNK and Capcom fighting games.
SNK vs Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is a traditional fighting game that brings characters from several SNK and Capcom series together to battle it out in single, tag, and team matches. It seems the experimental testing of Ryu and Goku in King of Fighters in 1998 had some effect, because The Match of the Millennium brought the fighting game crossover to life for the first time in 1999. Reliant on good fighting game fundamentals, combos, and a special meter that can be chosen at the start of the game to reflect SNK or Capcom style meters, The Match of the Millennium is still a tight fighting game experience on the Switch.
The primary game mode is a one player arcade mode where players take on the role of a character from Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Darkstalkers, and Samurai Shodown, leading them through a series of fights until they take on classic villains. There are extra characters to unlock, extra game modes to play, and a complete local multiplayer that simulates using a link cable between two Neo Geo systems.
The gameplay is fun, if simple. This is not the deep fighting system of modern fighting games, but the difference between short and long button presses alongside directional inputs and the special meter means there is enough going on to make mastering The Match of the Millennium a difficult, if entertaining task. Players familiar with any of the characters’ original games, especially the game that gave birth to fighting game combos, Street Fighter 2, will be right at home. With eight extra characters to unlock, there is plenty of reason to go back and play more, including the extra game mode, the Olympics. This mode has a variety of challenges that are fun enough, but probably won’t hold players attention for more than a few rounds. The stand outs include controlling Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins as he jumps around collecting treasure and avoiding the Red Arremer, and playing a target minigame with Marco Rossi from Metal Slug.
The Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection series is also a major draw of The Match of the Millennium. Players get full control of the system within the Nintendo Switch and are able to customize its case, change its language between English and Japanese, and even reset the system to punch in the date and time. The emulation is handled well, and the port is responsive enough that there was never a time that the emulation felt like it was inhibiting player inputs. This isn’t the N64 Classic though. Each game in the wider Neo Geo Color Pocket Selection must be purchased separately, so players must take into account that they are only getting The Match of the Millennium.
As a single game, The Match of the Millennium occupies a strange space. There is not enough here to really enrapture new players who missed out on this fighter the first time around. The real meat of this game is for players who grew up with a Neo Geo Pocket Color. All of the nostalgia is there, but for players who never experienced it and are still playing Street Fighter 5, it doesn’t ever feel like The Match of the Millennium was good enough to warrant its own release. As a competent and entertaining, if simple, fighter that recreates a bygone era of handheld fighting games, The Match of the Millennium is a success. As a stand alone entry of the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection series, there’s nothing here that new players can really discover to make it anything other than a curiosity.
SNK Vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium released on Nintendo Switch on February 17th. A Nintendo Switch code was provided for the purposes of this review.