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 The Final Word game review

Card Fighter's Clash: SNK vs. Capcom -- SNK/Moto Kikaku/Capcom
(both Capcom & SNK versions)

Dr. Otto
Let me just state for the record: I hate collectable card games (CCGs). Ever since the bad run in I had with Tragic: The Blathering, where I discovered that no matter how many cards you buy, beg, borrow, or steal, there's always some guy who looks like he was raised by wolves who also just happens to have the one card that totally negates your deck in his possession... obviously purchased from another similarly pungent individual with money scrounged together from months of doing without such items as food, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, laundry detergent, shampoo, combs, shaving cream, et al. Add to this the rampant plague that is the Pokemon CCG, which has so many kids enslaved in it's insidious grasp that they'll actually go so far as to steal $2,000 worth of paperboard rectangles with freakishly cute anime rodents from their closest friends (I'm not making this up; this happened locally), and you can understand why just the mere mention of Freakachu makes me want to shove shards of broken glass into my ears to stop the pain.

That being said, I love Card Fighter's Clash.

I can't describe fully what it was that drew me into the game, but I gotta say that this is one of the most addictive pieces of pocket gaming I've ever played. Take the same general concept of the Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon CCGs, but toss in the best loved characters from the Capcom and SNK stables and you have a title that's enjoyable by fans of CCGs as well as fighting games in general. Just about every character imaginable is here from games such as King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, PowerStone, and Resident Evil, not to mention many other obscure titles such as Cyberbots and Captain Commando.

Gameplay is simple to pick up and learn: your stable of three characters vs. your opponent's stable of three. You have to use your character's abilities, backup characters, combo attacks (joining with other character cards), action cards, and any other means necessary to drill through your adversary's defensive roster and nail his life points until they hit zero (much like any other CCG). Anyone familiar with CCGs of any sort will feel right at home.

There are two versions of this game, the SNK version and the Capcom version. Both games play identically, where you travel from shop to shop in an overhead RPG style fashion, challenging other cardplayers, winning cards, customizing your deck(s), and eventually working your way through the opposition to get to the Card Fighter's Clash semi-finals and ultimately, the world championship. The main differences between the two versions are thus: the Capcom version will tend to award you more Capcom character cards for winning matches, and the SNK version will do likewise with the SNK characters. The other notable difference is that each version has five cards that are exclusive to that particular version.

There are 300 cards altogether, but you'll only be able to collect 295 of them on your own... you'll need the NeoGeo link cable to connect to someone who has the other version so you can trade up to get those last elusive five, and even then, only if your opponent has acquired them. The link cable also gives you the opportunity to go head-to-head against another player, and gives you a chance to test your deck creations against another player who obviously doesn't have a ham's chance in Oprah's fridge of beating you because you've been so addicted to playing the thing, searching for that elusive M.Bison card or the "Bust" version of Nakoruru that you've cornered the market on visine.

Graphics are very nicely done, with all characters appearing on their cards in super-deformed anime style, and in gorgeous full color (unlike their counterparts in the various NeoGeo Pocket fighting games... why a 16-bit portable system renders fighting game characters in only two colors is beyond my comprehension as well as being inexcusable).

Sound is very rudimentary as you might imagine, which is probably a blessing... the burping and farting noises associated with real life CCG opponents has thankfully been left out. The music tends to be catchy but repetitive, but each shop location you play at (including the Resident Evil mansion, no less) has it's own theme to add at least a little variety.

Gameplay is as deep and involving as any other CCG, with countless strategies available based on how you construct your 50 card deck, though the rules DO limit you to no more than three cards of the same type per deck. Otherwise, the options are limitless.

In short, you NEED this game. Or, as in my case, you need (and have) BOTH of them. Card Fighter's Clash: SNK vs Capcom is reason enough to own a NeoGeo Pocket (as if there weren't enough other reasons), and both CCG aficionados as well as fighting game fans will find reason to love this title as much as I have.

>>>>> 22.0/25 <<<<< Dr. Otto
Graphics 4.5
Sound 3.0
Gameplay/Control 4.5
Longevity/Playability 5.0
Overall 5.0
Total 22.0