The Ultimate Crossover
In 1999, SNK and Capcom decided to put rumours of a crossover to bed. Both companies being at the top of their fighting game prowess. SNK’s stable nearing the end of their Fatal Fury main timeline and Real Bout run, and nearing the 6th year of The King of Fighters. Capcom at the end of 3rd Strike and Alpha 3’s other versions, with Marvel vs Capcom 2 on the horizon of tag-team supremacy. Both camps well established enough to put their soft jab blows, mainly through parody characters i.e. Dan and Yuri, to rest and come together.
SNK vs Capcom is one of the first on the SNK x Capcom slew of games, from Millennium Fight 2000 to SNK vs Capcom: Chaos – SNK’s take for the arcade scene. Card Fighters DS ended the run in 2006, but Millennium stood out ever so well. The King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and Samurai Shodown, faces off against Street Fighter, Rival Schools, and Darkstalker characters, to answer burning dream match inquiries. “What if Kyo and Ryu decided to come to blows” is never really a question compared to Ryu (Street Fighter) vs Ryo (Art of Fighting), but still a nice take all the same. Neo Geo Pocket Color was the best place to take it in Chibi styles. Each combatant equipped with their supers, normal, and taunts that established them for years. Ken’s Shinryuken, Leona’s V-Slasher, Guile’s Sonic Hurricane – it’s practically the all-stars of the game’s set. The poster children of each game are brought on stage regardless of their origins. Backgrounds are homages to their own. Suzaku Castle, the downed Chopper of Brazil, Shadowloo’s storm base setting – all size reduced. Even bosses M. Bison and Geese Howard have brought their world domination scheme to the fight to serve as final bosses.
This new port keeps everything intact from its predecessor.
3 vs 3 King of Fighters style, single, and possibly my absolute favourite, tag, are here. Sparring and a Character Edit was also included. So, if you felt like having a team that isn’t Sexy Bombers (Mai and Morrigan) or Fighting Queens (Chun-Li and Mai) – their names, not mine – you can. Even the win quotes are up for grabs. The 25 man roster plucks the fan favourites, adds them to new and classic scenes, and even throws in their signature theme songs. The dot-matrix blur speed has been replaced by crisper finishes. Special intros, a practice nearly forgotten in the current fighting games, is still in and praised. The overlay UI can be removed from its NGPC usual to just black – as other collection titles do.
The game runs on two buttons to do practically everything the 4 button AES controller setup could. Punches and Kicks can represent their light and heavy usages. Would it have destroyed thumbs? possibly. Especially with the infamous SNK difficulty settings. Two struck me as dangerous – brutal and gamer, which turn the fighting up to 11. The CPU is nearly as vicious as a competitive tourney player at this point, taking stock of switching outs, super levels and footsies. The Olympic Mode adds 100 Man Survival, a First Hit Battle, and Time Attack, to add to the additional modes. Special points are given to buy extra moves for the roster. SNK and Capcom camps are represented with Karin and Rimururu and Karin as coaches. It’s a cute distraction with several other cameos and appearances. Feeling Ghouls and Ghosts? Arthur’s here, too!
Some slight missteps plague Match of the Millennium.
The point system, used to get other fighter’s moves, is restricted to the Olympics mode instead of all range progression. It felt like a strange way to pull this off instead of probably just an alternative version of the character. Feels a bit like a grind on Olympic mode compared to just gaining more points all over. The harder modes do play a bit dirty, but it could be the difficulty scaling that is rendering this challenge.
SNK vs Capcom: Match of The Millennium is still regarded as one of the best takes of the collaboration – if not, the best Neo Geo Pocket Color fighter. Something I marvelled at in high school, first witnessing the quick switching out. Code Gurus and SNK brought this one out the crates, and SNK’s first handheld, with its style ungrazed by slight wishful features that would render nearly unnecessary. Match of the Millennium commemorates an innovative and collaborative age and is still the love letter to both factions. The quick pick-up game is real on this one and unlike other portable fighters, the dream match here really doesn’t end.
Review code provided
Release Date: 17/02/2021
No. of Players: 1-2
Developer: SNK, CAPCOM
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop