Metal Slug 2nd Mission (Switch): COMPLETED!

And now the sequel! It’s basically more of the same, but there are plenty of changes which improve on it. Firstly, you press pause to actually chuck a grenade (or “pineapple”, as the VO says) rather than use it to swap weapon. This makes it much easier to make use of! You can still pause by holding the button.

Secondly, there’s voices. Like the original Big Boy NeoGeo games, you get sound samples of “Heavy Machinegun!” and “Rocket Lawn Chair!” when you pick them up, which might not sound like much but it makes a big difference.

The game is also a fair bit longer than 1st Mission, doesn’t have as many “maze” missions, and reintroduces the aliens from Metal Slug 2 which were missing from 1st Mission. Your character has more colours too – I assume they mesh two or more sprites together to achieve this. While the first game is still excellent, this is better in so many ways!

Metal Slug 1st Mission (Switch): COMPLETED!

The two NeoGeo Pocket Metal Slug games are both much, much easier than the “proper” NeoGeo games in the series, and they’re also as much about platforming as running and shooting, which differs from the big versions too. They are, however, still both excellent on the tiny screen.

I’ve completed them both before (a few times, I expect), but I hadn’t remembered much from the actual levels. There are a couple where the layout is basically a maze, which was a bit annoying as I got lost and all the baddies respawn, and having to press pause to swap between gun and grenade was not ideal, but 1st Mission was a lot of fun.

SNK vs Capcom: The Match of the Millennium (Switch): COMPLETED!

Yes, another NeoGeo Pocket game from that Switch compilation. And it seems I’d completed this previously – twice in fact. Like all the other fighting games on the NeoGeo Pocket, it’s very good, although they don’t half do a lot of asset reuse. At least in this one they had to create all the Capcom fighters from scratch though!

I played through it three times. First as Ken, then as Mai, then as Leona, getting the ending for each, Of course, Ken is best.

Dark Arms (Switch): COMPLETED!

This game is one I have for the NeoGeo Pocket and I remember I enjoyed it at the time, but don’t remember much about it. Aside from you shoot baddies to get souls which upgrade your guns. Seems, now I’ve completed it on the NeoGeo Pocket Colour Selection on the Switch, that really that’s all there is to it.

OK, so not quite. There’s a story which is badly translated and makes little sense, and you don’t just have a gun, you have some other weapons which you can swap between like “a big alien arm thing” and “some sort of shield I think”. But you do just go round various areas like a graveyard and a cave and a haunted house shooting (or “big alien arming”) ghosts, demons, witches, zombies, and other evil and/or undead creatures.

There’s a day and night cycle, with different characters and foes appearing at one or the other, and because of the terrible text in the game it’s a bit tricky to understand what you need to do so you basically have to wander the whole of each area several times over both day and night to make sure you’ve done everything. This may sound tedious, and it is a little, but you have to grind to improve your weapons anyway so it’s actually not too bad.

Then, when you’ve defeated the final boss it turns out that’s not the end of the game as you have to find a load of (harmless but hidden) witches to combine them together to resurrect something which isn’t really explained. So I did that and got the One True Ending.

Dark Arms was, overall, less fun than I remember but I still enjoyed it.

Big Tournament Golf (Switch): COMPLETED!

Although I don’t like golf at all, I’ve always enjoyed a good golf game. From PGA European Tour on the Amiga, which I don’t even remember buying, through Mario Gold, NES Golf, Golf Story, and so on. One of my favourites is Neo Turf Masters for the NeoGeo Pocket, which is the Other Region name for this – Big Tournament Golf.

To be enjoyable, golf games need to be simple. Choose a club, aim, press a button to swing, set power, then set accuracy. That’s it. And Big Tournament Golf does exactly this with no fuss. There are three courses, with increasing difficulty, although actually none of them are really very hard. I completed them all over a couple of weeks, coming first in the tournaments for each.

SNK Gals’ Fighters (Switch): COMPLETED!

The Neo Geo Pocket fighting games are such good fun. They might all be the same, more or less, but they’re fun. Even in single player.

I completed this a few years ago, but I recently bought the Neo Geo Pocket collection for the Switch so I’ve been playing the games on there a bit. This is the first one of them I’ve completed, and I did it as Yuri for a change.

SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium (NGPC): COMPLETED!

I was sure I’d never completed this before, but as I got to the three “guards” just before the Geese/Bison double fight, I realised I had played it before. See.

Not only that, but I chose Ken to play as this time too. Because of course I would. He’s Ken!

Looking at my post from a couple of years ago though, it seems I really struggled in the final few battles last time. No such trouble this time around. Well, I mean, they weren’t a walkover but each of the guards/Geese-Bison/Iori only took a handful of attempts each.

 

Metal Slug 2nd Mission (NGPC): COMPLETED!

As well as completing 1st Mission, I thought I’d do 2nd Mission. Makes sense. It’s good, too.

I think I was misremembering how good, though. I was pretty certain it was better in almost every way than 1st Mission, but no. Certainly, the addition of speech, more levels, and two characters to choose from are improvements. Changing the Start button from “toggle between guns and grenades” to “throw grenade” is definitely for the best. However, the levels seem less interesting for the most part, and some – like the prison and the factory – are just rubbish. In addition, many of the bosses are just those from the original again.

They also seemed to add a lot more colour to the game, especially the player character, but this just makes them garish. The animation on the new alien foes, though, is super smooth as they sort of tear open and vomit goo. No, really.

On balance, it’s still excellent. It’s just not quite as impressive or fun as the first game.

Metal Slug 1st Mission (NGPC): COMPLETED!

The Neo Geo Pocket had some great versions of Neo Geo games. They were reimaginings of them rather than ports, and played to the little handheld’s strengths.

Metal Slug 1st Mission looks and feels like the “grown up” version, only is more platformy, a bit less shooty, and much easier. That’s not to say it’s easy, it’s just the original Metal Slug was definitely a bit of a coin chomper. Sadly, there’s no speech, but that’s a small loss.

The levels are varied, with some needing exploration, some straightforward left-to-right jumping and shooting, a few sideways scrolling shooter sections, and some massive bosses. In some ways it feels a bit more like Mega Man than Metal Slug (not least when you get to the disappearing block section), but that’s OK as Mega Man is great too.

Oh, and it looks amazing. That NGPC could really make some pretty games. Just look at the sunset here, for example:

You can’t see from the screenshots, but the animation is awesome too, especially on you and the soldiers. The cute “SD” Metal Slug tank and jet look fantastic as well.

SNK Gals’ Fighters (NGPC): COMPLETED!

No, I don’t know why I decided to play this either. I mean, I’d just set my Raspberry Pi back up with a fresh install of Retropie, and yeah, I’d added this as one of the games, but still. Why this and not something else, I can’t say.

But these Neo Geo Pocket fighting games are just so good, aren’t they? So slick and responsive and fun. It wasn’t that long ago I played KOFR2 and it was great as well. In fact, there’s a lot of great NGP games. Best console. For a while, anyway.

Anyway.

I’m not sure what else to say about the game. It has a nonsense story about “Miss X” holding a Queen of Fighters contest (do you see what they did there?), but of course Miss X is – spoilers – Iori. And not a “gal” at all. Hilarious and we all fell about in stitches, didn’t we? Then there’s the cut scenes like this one:

Which are great. Just the right about of wonky translation mixed with a limited text area to perfectly ruin any depth to the conversation. Nobody cares about that though, because what is important is how good the punching and kicking is and in that regard, it’s lovely and fluid.

If you’re taking notes, I played through as Yuri. And if you don’t know how she plays, she’s basically Ken from Street Fighter. Which is why she is Best.

Oh yeah, and there’s a sequel of sorts to this coming out on the Switch soon! Yesss.

SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium (NGPC): COMPLETED!

While I was in Neo Geo Pocket Colour Mode, I busted out SNK vs Capcom. The NGPC had a lot of fighting games, but perhaps the best was this crossover title featuring characters from both SNK and Capcom series.

snk vs capcom
I punch you.

I picked Ken, because Ken is Best, and quickly made it through as far as what I thought was the final boss battle – a team-up between M Bison from Street Fighter and Geese Howard from Fatal Fury. It was easy going until then, as I lost just one round (and that was close) before meeting that pair, then it all went wrong.

snk vs capcom
Fwends.

Several million attempts later, most of which ended before I’d even defeated one of the two fighters – and a few before I even got a single hit in – I finally beat them. Naturally, they were not the final bosses after all – Iori in full on Zombie mode was.

snk vs capcom
That’s a whole lot of nothing you’re saying there, boy.

Thankfully, he was a much easier than Bison and Geese, although he still took a fair few attempts, and I’d completed it!

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (NGPC): COMPLETED!

It has been a long time since I played a Neo Geo Pocket game, but having figured out why they hadn’t been working on Retropie (games have to be .ngc files, if you’re interested) I got stuck into Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

sonic the hedgehog pocket adventure
Hammer! Hammer! I am! Hammer! They put me in the mix!

I remember being slightly disappointed when I bought it for my Neo Geo Pocket Colour back in the day. There I was expecting a new 2D Sonic platformer, perhaps a 2D version of the excellent Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. After all, it shares the same art style as that title, on the menus and box and stuff. Instead, what I got was a rehash of the Mega Drive version of Sonic 2.

As it turned out, that was awesome.

And it still is. Certainly, each level looks like a level from Sonic 2 – there’s your Emerald Hill zone, and your Aquatic Ruin zone, and your Metropolis Zone, but for the most part the levels have different layouts. They also all have new bosses, and Knuckles makes an appearance too.

"Knuckles you eediot!"
“Knuckles you eediot!”

There are reworked versions of the music from several different Sonic games, not just the second one, and the final stage more like the end of Sonic 3 and Knuckles than Sonic 2. Add to all this the hidden puzzle pieces hidden round the levels which you can collect and complete, and you can see why I loved it so much all them years ago. I think, bar remakes of Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure might be my favourite handheld Sonic title too.

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Oh, and yes – I got all the Chaos Emeralds. I totally forgot the final one though, and had to redo the end boss to get it! That unlocked the final, final stage, which I also finished. Phew.

Assorted NeoGeo CD games (NeoGeo CD)


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Shock! I bought a new console! OK, so it’s an old console, but it’s one I’ve wanted for absolutely ages. Someone on rllmuk was selling it with four games and some, uh, “backups”, for a not-to-be-missed price, and lo – it arrived this afternoon.

And it really is very nice. To look at, it’s like a giant Sega Saturn, and the interface is almost identical to the MegaCD. The joypad is like a big version of the NeoGeo Pocket stick on a CD32 pad. It’s ace.

So I played Metal Slug, Magician Lord (which has the worst animation of any game ever made), Samurai Spirits, Top Hunter and Last Resort.