Initially released in 1999 on the Neo Geo Pocket Color, Fatal Fury: First Contact impressed anyone in North America who was lucky enough to give SNK’s handheld a try. Like other handheld titles on the platform, SNK’s morphed its long-established fighters from their Fatal Fury series into cute kiddy fighters. Don’t let the cuteness fool you, though; these pint-sized fighters can lay down the pain just like their originals. Fatal Fury: First Contact looked and played terrific for a handheld fighter. Still, many didn’t get the opportunity to experience the game due to the short lifespan of the Neo Geo Pocket in North America. However, that is about to change thanks to the game being re-released on the Nintendo Switch as a part of SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection of games.
Bringing Fatal Fury: First Contact to the Switch will undoubtedly allow the game to be seen in a new light, in more ways than one. Sure, many gamers will finally get the chance to experience this fun fighter for the first time, but now they don’t have to worry about finding a light source to see the screen, an issue the Neo Geo Pocket Color had. The pixel visuals look great on both the Switch screen and on a large screen when the Switch is docked. I’m still blown away by just how well the characters in this game are animated, even for a 1999 handheld game. To get the best out of the visuals, be sure to turn off the screen filter setting that can be changed in the on-screen options menu by hitting the – button. I found that when the screen filter was turned on, the setting seemed to mute the game’s colorful visuals. The option to zoom the game to fill the screen’s vertical aspect ratio is also available, which was my preferred way to play the game. Fatal Fury: First Contact also features great music, and it, along with the game’s sounds, seem to be accurately reproduced from the original Neo Geo Pocket Color hardware.
For those of you who have played a Fatal Fury/Real Bout title, you will feel right at home as many Fatal Fury favorites are featured, including Mai Shiranui, Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, and Billy Kane. While it’s been years since I’ve played First Contact, my memories of the input commands from other Fatal Fury games allowed me to pull off special moves to trounce my foes. Even though my Nintendo Switch Controller doesn’t have the clicky stick that I loved on the Neo Geo Pocket Color, it still had no problems launching several Power Wave shots into my opponent.
My favorite feature of the Switch release of Fatal Fury: First Contact is that you can quickly launch a two-player mode that pits you and a friend against each other. While this feature was available in the original game, it required using a Neo Geo Pocket Link Cable, something I did not have readily available back in 1999.
SNK fans that love Fatal Fury and other Neo Geo fighters need to pick this game up, but newcomers shouldn’t be afraid to step in to experience their first real bout of Fatal Fury action. Hopefully, SNK continues to highlight more great titles from the Neo Geo Pocket library in the future.
Fatal Fury: First Contact is available now to download from the Nintendo Switch eShop.