The Neo Geo Pocket Color (NGPC), released in 1999 by SNK, was a bold foray into the handheld gaming market, dominated then by Nintendo’s Game Boy. Despite its relatively short lifespan and limited library of 82 games, the NGPC carved a niche for itself with an array of unique and enjoyable titles. This article, delves into the top 10 hidden gems for the Neo Geo Pocket Color that deserve a spot in every collector’s library.
|Many of the titles are now expensive collector’s items
|RPGs, platformers, fighting games, and more
|Creative gameplay mechanics, diverse storylines
|Competed with Game Boy, unique in SNK’s lineup
|Cult classics, significant for retro gaming enthusiasts
Neo Geo Pocket Color: A Treasure Trove of Retro Gaming Gems
- Biomotor Unitron
- Metal Slug: 2nd Mission
- Gals Fighters
- Legend of Ogre Battle Gaiden: Prince of Zenobia
- Cool Boarders Pocket
- Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure
- Dive Alert: Becky’s Version & Matt’s Version
- Evolution: The World of Sacred Device
- Fatal Fury: 1st Contact
- Melon Chan’s Growth Diary
1. Biomotor Unitron
A standout RPG for the NGPC, Biomotor Unitron broke new ground by introducing a role-playing game to SNK’s typically arcade-focused lineup. The game centers around a worldwide robot battle tournament, where players upgrade their robots with collected parts to tackle dungeons and opponents. Its detailed backgrounds and first-person town navigation were groundbreaking for handhelds of that era.
2. Metal Slug: 2nd Mission
Metal Slug: 2nd Mission is a testament to SNK’s ability to deliver high-quality arcade experiences on a portable platform. This run-and-gun title boasts impressive graphics, detailed backgrounds, and fluid animations that push the NGPC’s hardware to its limits. The game’s fidelity to Metal Slug’s signature style, complete with voice samples and a health meter system, makes it a must-play.
3. Gals Fighters
Gals Fighters, released in 2000, was a culmination of SNK’s portable game development expertise. This all-female fighting game brought together characters from various SNK franchises, showcasing fast-paced action and vibrant, detailed graphics. Its whimsical tone, combined with an optional weapons system, adds depth and replayability, making it a unique and enjoyable experience on the NGPC.
4. Legend of Ogre Battle Gaiden: Prince of Zenobia
This strategy RPG serves as a side story to the Ogre Battle Saga. Following the Prince of Zenobia, the game’s faithful recreation of the series’ original gameplay, combined with new areas and a fantasy storyline rich in dialogue, makes it an intriguing title for fans of the genre.
5. Cool Boarders Pocket
The NGPC’s only snowboarding game, Cool Boarders Pocket, deviates from the typical first-person perspective of its PlayStation counterparts, offering an overhead view. This unique visual aspect adds variety and a fresh perspective to the gameplay, making it a standout title in the NGPC’s library.
6. Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure
Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure brought Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog to the NGPC in 1999. This platformer was lauded for its original levels and stages, exclusive modes, and faithful adherence to the Sonic formula, all while being adapted for the smaller console.
7. Dive Alert: Becky’s Version & Matt’s Version
Dive Alert offers two perspectives of the same story set in an underwater world. Each game—Becky’s Version and Matt’s Version—expands the narrative through different items and boats while maintaining the same premise, providing a rich, interconnected experience.
8. Evolution: The World of Sacred Device
Evolution: The World of Sacred Device is a dungeon crawler RPG also available on the Sega Dreamcast. Set in a world where large robot-like creatures assist adventurers, the game features non-random turn-based combat, allowing players to strategize and explore various characters and areas.
9. Fatal Fury: 1st Contact
As part of the Fatal Fury series, Fatal Fury: 1st Contact brings the franchise’s classic fighting game style to the NGPC. Featuring familiar characters and an exclusive new one, the game successfully translates arcade-style brawls to a portable format.
10. Melon Chan’s Growth Diary
This unique life simulation game had players caring for a little girl named Melon Chan. Its ‘chibi’ style graphics and simple, icon-based menus offered an engaging pet-sim-like experience with a human character, adding diversity to the NGPC’s game roster.
The Neo Geo Pocket Color, while short-lived, offered a range of unique and engaging titles that still resonate with retro gaming enthusiasts today. These hidden gems showcase the creativity and versatility of the platform, offering a diverse array of genres from RPGs to platformers and fighting games. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a newcomer to retro gaming, exploring these titles will provide a glimpse into a fascinating chapter of handheld gaming history.