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Neo Geo Pocket Power

SNK vs Capcom : Card Fighters Clash
Reader Review by Insecta
Genre: Card fighting / RPG
Players: 1-2

I, like many people I know, were worried about getting this game. Cardfighting sounded a little boring to me, and a bit to close to Pokemon for my liking. After reading some exceptional reviews for it, and finding out how many characters featured on the cards my doubts were lifted. Living in Switzerland I had no quick way of getting the game, so I asked my mother to get the game on her trip to England. She brought back the SNK Version a few days later, I slotted the cartridge into my Neo Geo Pocket Color and I was instantly hooked.

Game Play
There are four maintypes of gameplay in Cardfighters, the main one being Card Fighting. The other three are Card Sorting, Trading and RPG Style Wandering. As each one is pretty different, I will focus on them seperatly.

The first section I will describe is the RPG Style Wandering, which is pretty simple. You use the control stick the navigate your character around and press A to talk to people. Holding B makes you move fast, helping you to travel. Pressing Option will summon up a little menu with Status, Card, Save, Message and Link. Some people you talk to will challenge you to fight, some give items, others tell hints and most of them will just talk about irrelevant stuff. The only thing I don't like about walking, is that pressing diagonally will make your character will flick from horizontal to vertical while walking diagonall. This looks stupid, but it's no big deal. When you leave the area you are in, you get a townmap which you can use to select your next destination. The game saves your playtime in hours and minutes too! Walking is basically the same as every other RPG style game.

Next on the agenda for describing is Trading. I have never actually used the trading option, being the only serious Neo Geo Pocket gamer in my school! Even if there was another gamer they probably wouldn't get Cardfighters anyway. From what I can tell, there is a Versus option that lets you fight another human opponent. Then there is give and get card so you can trade cards. Hopefully you don't have to do 1 for 1 trading like Pokemon. Pocket Link is the last option, and I imagine it is for connecting with Match of the Millennium. That's all I can say about that, and if I ever play versus mode expect an update!

The next mode which some love, and some loathe is the Card Sorting mode. This is where you organize your decks and look through your card album. You can have up to six decks, and each one must have 50 cards. I don't know how many cards you can have out of your deck, but six 50's is 300, which is the number of in-game cards. You organize your decks by viewing a list of all the cards you have. To add or remove cards you change a number by it. Pressing option brings up data on the card. Couldn't be any simpler! You view your album in a similar way, but without changing numbers. If you have a card and lose it, it's data will stay in your album. Unlike Pokemon's pokedex, seen cards do not end up in your album.

The last, but certainly not least is Card Fighting mode. Fans of Magic the Gathering will get the rules a little quicker. In fact, it's almost Magic without Mana. You draw a random card into your hand every turn and can put one character down in the battle area, and so can your opponent. You may have up to 3 characters in your ring at once. Then you may attack with as many characters as you want, and the opponent may block with their characters. The character with the most BP wins, and if the opponent doesn't win your attacker(s) BP will be taken off the enemy. You can also play action cards, which have special effects. Now, that may sound complicated but it took me two fights to get used to, thanks to an excellent in game tutorial. Powering off mid-battle will automatically save the battle! The game is very hard though, but I like a challenge!

You progress through the game by winning, and will need a good deck and strategy to do so! The gameplay is practically flawless and makes playing a dream. Go SNK!

Graphics
The graphics are generally very pleasing in Cardfighters. The intro is hands down, the best intro I have ever seen on a handheld game. There is a spinning card, which is true 3D running. It's not a video, that would take up too much space, it's fast running basic 3D graphics! Now I got that out of my system, I will tell you what the in game graphics are like. The pictures of the cards are fantastic, with every character instantly reconizable. The more silly personality characters look more cartoony, while the serious characters have more realistic looking pictures. The characters will always come off the edge of the card, which is used to an extreme effect. Each picture has a lot of colour, and are the best artwork I have seen on a handheld. There are a lot of fancy effects used during battle, that really add to the play. The RPG style top-down graphics to display the world are a little substandard. One thing I don't like, is the graphics are still plastered in Japanese writing. Also the tiles look a little rushed, with simple textures and some messy looking places. The town map looks very badly done. Fortuantly the ace card graphics make up for this! Keep up the good work SNK Art Department!

Sound/Music
The sound in CfC is the typical catchy Neo Geo Pocket music and standard sound, which sounds better then the Gameboy at any rate. The tunes are long, but a little repetitive at first. Most of them are standard, but there are a few really cool ones in there! The Choopy Groupie music rocks, and Sylphy's shop has a strange catchy tune! The SC Park music is also catchy! Strangly, Chun-Li and Athena's MotM tunes are in the arcades! The music really does add to the atmosphere of the place your at, and you'll want the volume up throughout the game! The sound effects are great, with really nice beeps and clicks for menus and walking sounds. In battle there is a whole host of groovy sound effects, that tie in perfectly with the graphics. Most impressivly is the inclusion of sampled speech and sound effects. In the intro a man yells out "Card Fighters!", the Choopy Groupies say something japanese, Zombies have recorded groans and a Dinosaur exhibit roars! Great fun! Sound effects are on par with the best, although the music could have been a bit better.

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Last Words

Improve:
Music
More Cards
Tile Graphics
More of a Story

Buy if you Like: Pokemon, Collecting, A Challenge, Lastability, SNK, Capcom, Card Games.

All in all, Cardfighters clash is a different, and immensly addictive game. Once you pick it up, you won't put it down until you find your hungry. If the Neo Geo Pocket was waterproof, you would play it in the bath! I recommend this to anyone who wants a break from the norm!

Scores

Gameplay: *****
Graphics: ****
Sound/Music: ****
Personal Opinion: *****
Total: 90%

Final Score: 92%

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