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Pocket Full o' Love:
Finally!

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
Vol. 2, Issue 4 
December 1, 1999 

 

Okay, so let's get back to some of the really cool whiz bang features of this thing. The built-in memory function rules. Plain and simple. I hope Nintendo listens here, because if the GameBoy Advance (or whatever it ends up being called) doesn't have this, I'll be very angry. The NGPC allows you to save a game on the system. Not the cartridge, the system itself. If you've ever had to play a GameBoy title and been annoyed to all hell by those damn passwords, you'll love this feature. Gone are the days of having to carry with you a bunch of post-it notes with hundreds of random characters on it...and the games themselves can cost less, since they don't have to have a battery backup built-in.

As for the system's ability to connect to the Dreamcast, I haven't tried it out yet, but I'm told it's pretty cool. It only works with one title at the moment, (King of Fighters DreamMatch '99 connects with its NGPC sibling, King of Fighters R2 to open up other characters on both games, and upload custom characters) but there are others coming, and there are all kinds of cool possibilities (Internet downloads, perhaps?). You'll need to pick up a Dreamcast connection cable for it to work, but it's cool stuff.

As of right now, the only way to connect for multiplayer games is a cable not at all unlike the GameBoy's connection cable. But coming soon (really soon, I hope) is an innovative device that will allow for wireless connections between systems (up to 64 simultaneously!) and even cooler, they can be 100 yards apart from each other. Nifty stuff here, kids.

Naturally, all of this is meaningless without the right games to back it up. So how are the games so far? I'll go into more detail in the next edition of this column, but the quick version is - pretty good. There's a good selection of games available, which range from the classic (Pac-Man) to some fantastic fighting games (Samurai Showdown, King of Fighters R2) and even a decent RPG (Bio Motor Unitron). There isn't really a "killer app" out there yet, but if you ask me, the game to get for the system is Bust-A-Move Pocket.

If you ever played Bust-A-Move (it's known as Puzzle Bobble outside the US) on any platform, you know the drill (it's available on the Nintendo 64, PC, Saturn, Playstation, and others). It's a puzzle game where you (and your really cute little dinosaur thing) have to eliminate all the bubbles at the top of the screen by lining up three bubbles of the same color (obviously it's more complex than this). It's very, very fun, incredibly addicting, and there's even a "VS. CPU" mode where you can battle against the computer. It's no Tetris, but it's one of those games that are just made for handheld gaming.

So what's the one thing this system doesn't have? It's got a true 16-Bit CPU, it's light, the colors are bright and plentiful...but you know what? It's got absolutely horrendous sound. The sound, and I kid you not here, is literally the same as the GameBoy's. I suppose adding a more advanced sound system would add lots of power consumption, but jeez...can someone explain to me why in all these years of technology improvements, no handheld system has managed to surpass the Atari Lynx in terms of sound quality? Aaaargh. Unfortunately, with the NGPC, you're going to have to suffer with the same annoying cheezeball MIDI music as all those GameBoy games. I suppose it's not the worst thing in the world, but it is a major let down for an otherwise flawless system.

So there you have it...my initial look at the Neo Geo Pocket Color. Is it worth getting? Hell, yes. SNK deserves some major credit for releasing a system this powerful for a price this low, and there are a lot of games available (around 20) for the system already. So if you're bored with that outdated GameBoy technology, definitely get yourself one of these bad boys. They come in six different styles, too. :)

- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here at loonygames. Yes, that's a Neo Geo in his pocket, you pervert.

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Pocket Full o' Love is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you weirdo.