Since owning the Switch it’s become my retro system of choice. With various Contra, Street Fighter and Castlevania collections amongst others, it’s become great at visiting games from the past. The latest game from yesteryear I’ve been checking out is Fatal Fury First Contact, this being my first time playing it, and it’s mightily impressive.
A Neo Geo Pocket Color fighting game in the long running Fatal Fury series, while I’m familiar with the fighting games, this is my first time playing a NGPC game. It’s not surprising really that it completely passed me by. Its release to being discontinued was a short 8 months and I’m pretty sure during that time I never saw one in the wild, it was just Game Boys everywhere. Having played First Contact though I’m a little disappointed I never did if this was the sort of games it produced.
First Contact then is a 1v1 fighting games with chibi versions of the Fatal Fury cast, including SNK series stalwarts Mai, Joe and Terry Bogard (of Smash Bros fame I guess) as you fight through 8 stages (and a secret ninth). It’s actually surprising how in depth the fighting system is considering you just have two buttons, punch and kick. Each character has unique super moves, as well as special moves once the bar at the bottom of the screen is filled and the game just flows so nicely. And you know, it’s nice to play a fighting game where the final boss isn’t incredibly cheap.
While it does have complex moves and mechanics, this is still aimed at the more casual of fighting game fans, unsurprising considering it was initially designed for a pocket handheld. If you happen to lose a fight, as well as being able to continue you’re presented with choices such as starting you opponent with less health or adding an extra round. It’s really great at never frustrating the player certain single player fighting games have a habit of doing. Obviously there is also a 2 player fight option if you so choose.
Being the first NGPC game I’ve played on the Switch it was nice poking around all the visual options you’re given. From changing the borders, to zooming in and out of the gameplay, there’s also the option to have the classic visual look or smoothing out the graphics for those heathens amongst us. There’s also a really neat way of heading into the options of the Neo Geo Pocket Color, so you’re able to actually change the internal clock if you so wish. I imagine this is incredibly neat if you have huge nostalgic feelings for the handheld.
Everything about First Contact is built on making it quick, pick up and play experience. There are no save states here, instead the game automatically starts back up where you left off. Even when the game is closed completely, just start up, select your profile and away you go. It’s probably the most “pick up and play” experience I’ve had on the Switch in a while.
Fatal Fury First Contact may be pretty bare bones when it comes to options (just a 1 player arcade mode and 2 player are here) but it’s really surprising how much fun there is to be had here. However, the Switch does already have it’s share of excellent SNK fighting games (a bunch of King of Fighters games for instance), so it does make me wonder if First Contact is a curiosity more than anything else. That said, if you’re in the market for a new fighting game, there are far worse games to spend your hard earned on.