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Neo Geo Pocket Power

Gal Fighters
Reader Review by Insecta
Genre: Fighting
Players: 1-2

This is probably one of the most controversial games released for the Neo Geo Pocket. It it clear from the pink box, that it is meant to be aimed at younger girls. But most of Neo Geo Pocket owners are teenage or older males. And even if a young girl did buy the game, would she really want a fighting game? Anyway, trying to ignore all this, and people staring at me, I bravely went and purchased the game.

Game Play
The game has few options, possibly to prevent confusion. The fight style is Rush, from Match of the Millennium or Advanced from King of Fighters. You can't change that, and you can only play in one on one matches. The first mode is Queen of Fighters mode, which is Tourney or Arcade mode. You have to fight a lot of opponents, then Whip and the mysterious Miss X. Miss X, is simply Iori Yagami wearing a dress. Once you do that, you get an super lame end sequence which does a good job of destroying strong characters SNK have set up. You get secret characters, at what seems like random. It took me about two hours to get all three secret characters, so the game isn't going to last you long! The most striking thing about the gameplay is the speed! It has four speed settings, with 1 being the normal speed. Set it on 4 and you've got a very fast, fun game! You can also hit opponents as they fall to the ground. It's so fast, you'll just end up button bashing, you even get a button bashing game sometimes! In fact, it plays so fast MotM feels like slow motion afterwards. It took me a day away from my Neo Geo before I could get back into MotM again.

The next mode is versus mode, which is a standard fight against a human opponent. Second to last, is the training mode, where you tweak some options and practice moves. You can't select the fight location, but that doesn't really matter. The last, and least mode is 'Items', where you browse through items collected during a fight. The items are given at random and are meant to help you in battle, but I don't bother using them. Items do not add to the gameplay at all.

The thing that I find weirdest about the game, is the fact that it has a lot of references to other SNK games. This may be nice for a hardcore gamer, but the audience this game is aimed at wouldn't have a clue. Why does Leona throw someone's head? Leona even has her real standing motion, but why would Yumekobo bother? Who is that boy Athena uses in one of her moves? Yumekobo have taken advantage in the audience, by removing and changing moves for some of the characters. You even get a special 'Pretty Burst' attack which has effects like making you stronger for a while. Gals Fighters is a real mixed bag.

Overall the gameplay is very good. Unfortunately, I had access to eight (Miss X is Iori) out of eleven fighters already, and seven of those are in MotM. The only thing that interested me in the game was Whip! Whip in KoFR3? I hope so! She's a really cool fighter, and fun. Anyway the gameplay might attract girls, or the casual gamer.

Graphics
Like gameplay, the graphics in Gals Fighters are a bit mixed. The characters look the same as the other games they have appeared in, although the colors are lighter. The problem with the characters is, that the King of Fighters characters look totally different from the Last Blade and Samurai Shodown! ones. It's not that big a problem, but it won't please your eyes. Characters also have cartoon attacks, like chucking grenades and burning themselves. One thing that surprised me, is that how well done Whip is. She looks just like she should in KoFR3, and I don't believe Yumekobo could have done it with different artists. A nice touch, is when the same two fighters fight, they do something special!

The backgrounds are bland, and uninspiring. A temple, a pyramid, another temple, a road. They have animation and night/day, but it doesn't help. It would have been nice to have seen a background for each character, but you don't get that. However, there is a good looking castle stage. The best graphical touch in the game is, that when you beat your enemy with a special move, the background changes into random artwork of your rival. This artwork is taken from the internet, and SNK because I have seen it before, but it's very nice to get it on the small screen. Unfortunately, you have to see the credits or beat an opponent with a special to see it. I would rather collect artwork than Items. They're is also some nice pre-fight pictures of characters.

What really lets the visuals in Gals Fighters down is the way it's all been chucked together. White backgrounds, clashing colors and text that looks horrible really mess up the feel. When I first switched the game on it felt messy, and it does the whole time. It's a shame, because the graphics would have been quite good otherwise.

Sound/Music
Sound and Music in Gals Fighters are nothing special at all. The sounds are the regular noises used in Neo Geo Pocket fighting games, which is obviously not very exciting. The music is a big disappointment. I expected each character to have their own tune. I was hoping Whip might even have a recreation of the Ikari Warriors '99 tune. When I found simple repeating tunes for each backgrounds I wasn't very happy. The tunes are okay, but I would have been a lot happier with the real character music. Oh well, I guess it works for its audience. There isn't much else worth mentioning here, so I won't.

Last Words

Improve:
Better Presentation
Better Backgrounds
Better Story
Decent End Boss
More Fighters
More Options
Real Background Music

Get if you like: SNK Girls, Fighting, Button Bashing, Quick Fix

Gals Fighters is a good game, that should reach its target audience. Unfortunately there is little in it for a hardcore gamer, and lack of characters and messy presentation let it down. Buy if you want a quick entertainment fix, and you have enough money not to feel like your wasting it. However, a game like this could easily hold up to Street Fighter Alpha on the Gameboy! Not a bad game.

Scores

Gameplay: ***
Graphics: ***
Sound/Music: ***
Personal Opinion: ***
Total: 60%

Final Score: 79%

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