Pocket Fighter


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6

Pushing aside any limitations, Pocket Fighter lands on the Wonderswan in incredible form. Even with the black and white graphics, this uncanny look-a-like is a Wonderswan treat on the eyes. It's the Wonderswan itself that poses the problems, and if you've ever held the system, it should be obvious what the issue is.

pocketfghtr1ws.bmp (856054 bytes)Yes, this is the full arcade/Playstation game in shrunken form. All the characters and backdrops have made the move. That's almost enough to deem this worthy enough to track down.

Even more stunning is the gameplay, completely intact on every level. A watered down version of a 2-D fighter classic, Pocket Fighter is Capcom's simplest brawler. Three buttons perform all the moves, and one of those is a goofy, powerful, and always tough to land charge blast. A basic kick and punch supply the rest of each character's arsenals. It's a change of pace from the norm, and one that's appreciated.

What separates this further is the gem system. By connecting punches and kicks, jewels fall out of opponents. Collecting them increases the strength of the special moves. It's a unique system to add the already hectic gameplay, though on the Wonderswan, it's a problem.

pocketfghtr2ws.bmp (861190 bytes)That's system issue #1: The lack of color makes it hard to distinguish between the gems. It's not a terrible problem since rarely are you worried about finding the right color. However, it's nice to know without looking at a meter on the bottom of the screen what's being increased. They're animated (like the rest of the game) in stunning fashion, and that makes them even harder to pick out.

Even that pales to the major problem here. Simply put, this is not a console with a control scheme set up to play a fighting game. The d-pad is awful, and it's impossible to continually make special moves work as needed. It's not the coding. A Wonderswan emulator will prove that. That split second delay is enough to take out any real strategy.

It's such a shame to criticize something this special. Everything from the look to the audio is flawless, just shrunk and devoid of color. All the gameplay features are here too. The only thing missing is a sense of solid, responsive control. That's no fault of the coding or Capcom, but it's just too hard to ignore.


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Last updated: Saturday, December 03, 2005 11:13 PM