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Fatal Fury: First Contact

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Released: 1999

Publisher: SNK

Developer: SNK

Submitted by: Michael Coops

Fatal Fury: First Contact is the worst fighter on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. It’s still great. This game is a sort-of port of Real Bout 2. However most characters are missing and those that remain play differently – Terry has no longer has his Fire Kick for example. It’s also missing plane switching, although by this point that was being phased out of the series anyway (Garou and Dominated Mind have no plane switching either).

This is a simple Dream Match with no story or even win quotes, and it’s refreshing because of this. Fights follow on immediately from each other, aside from a screen telling you who you will fight next. The game is short but good fun while it lasts.

The problem is that all the other fighters on the system had something to do after finishing the game. This has one unlockable character and only a simple versus mode that requires two copies of the game to be played, though there is apparently a new exclusive character called Lao in this mode. It’s also very easy even on the highest difficulty setting, and has no real scoring system.

On top of this the changes to the characters break the combo system. It was easy to get huge combos as nearly any character in Real Bout 2, here it’s much harder. Also some favourites who I would have expected to appear, such as Mary and Duck, are gone. The game even suffers a little from slowdown (which I didn’t notice in any of the other games).

Despite all this it’s still a decent fighter. The basic engine is as solid as any fighter on the system, and these are the best handheld fighters ever. The click-stick is also surely the single greatest innovation for portable fighters, and is just as responsive here as it always was. I would still recommend this to fans of the system, of Fatal Fury, and of fighters in general, but only after playing the other fighters available first, especially SVC: Match of the Millenium.