Mega Man Battle & Fighters – Review
Follow Genre: Fighting game
Developer: Capcom, SNK
Publisher: SNK
Platform: Switch, Neo Geo Pocket
Tested on: Switch

Mega Man Battle & Fighters – Review

Site Score
Good: Core gameplay holds up, even after two decades
Bad: There is no English localisation present
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 2.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Unless you’re a die-hard Mega Man fan, chances are you haven’t heard of Mega Man Battle & Fighters before. Released exclusively in Japan as Rockman Battle & Fighters, way back in 2000, this obscure boss rush fighting game is now being released officially in the West for the first time, thanks to SNK’s ongoing effort to bring what seems to be the entire Neo Geo Pocket Color back catalog to the Switch. We imagine that people will be considering adding the game to their library based on brand recognition alone, but how does this two-decade-old title hold up?


We know that there is supposed to be a story present here -multiple in fact, as Mega Man Battle & Fighters bundles two arcade games from the mid-1990s, namely Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. Unfortunately, the narrative is lost entirely due to the game’s lack of translation -which you’ll find out more about when we get to the gameplay- so we can’t quite tell you what’s happening in-game as our Japanese isn’t up to snuff.


While the first few Neo Geo Pocket Color ports on the Switch suffered from muddy graphics, it seems like SNK has perfected their formula to bring ancient pixels to modern screens, as Mega Man Battle & Fighters looks fantastic. Bright colours, sharp visuals and fantastic sprite designs are accompanied by the options we’ve come to know and love, from having various frames and the option to zoom in to a mode that mimics the original screen that these games were originally played on. Naturally, the graphics are simplistic, but SNK has found a way to make them work.


There is of course only so much that could be done with the original hardware that this game was released on, and Mega Man Battle & Fighters provides a crisp version of the same 8-bit audio that graced the game when it was released back in 2000. Sound effects are pleasing and the music is catchy, but there isn’t a whole lot to say about the soundscape as it lacks depth, due to the aforementioned hardware limitations.


Given how Mega Man Battle & Fighters is an obscure title released only in Japan, on a relatively niche console, we can imagine that there is going to be a lot of interest in this Switch port, not just from Mega Man fans but retro game enthusiasts in general. In all honesty, before we delve into the gameplay -or what we could make of it at least- we recommend that you steer clear from this game unless you’re a completionist that absolutely has to have it. Even then, the chance that you’re actually going to complete the two games included here is minimal, and that has entirely to do with the game’s localization (or lack thereof). We don’t know if we have SNK or Capcom to blame, but what happened here is that whoever was in charge of bringing this title to the West simply dumped the Japanese ROM into SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Emulator and decided to call it a day.

In theory, that would be fine, as Mega Man Battle & Fighters is a simple fighting game focused on boss rushes, with a limited selection of buttons. This is not a sprawling RPG, so as long as you understand the core mechanics, you should be fine, right? Unfortunately, there are quite a few options and settings menus that you would be able to tinker around with to make the experience more enjoyable, and you’re hit with these as soon as you boot up the game. We’re not even going to delve into how the story and database could’ve just been cut from the game altogether, but the fact that you constantly need to swap between the game and the English language digital manual just to understand what you’re doing already destroyed our enthusiasm for the game.

If you can get past that initial hurdle, and are able to get your head around the mechanics, then what you’re left with is a fairly simple and standard arcade pair of single-player fighting games, where you pick your fighter of choice and then take on a series of bosses hailing from the Mega Man series. For what it’s worth, Mega Man Battle & Fighters holds up fairly well. With tight controls, a slew of powerups and even assist characters, this is the most fleshed out fighter we’ve seen in the Neo Geo Pocket titles that made an appearance on the Switch. It’s a title built around learning boss attack patterns and trial and error, and there are plenty of strategic options at your disposal here as long as you can figure out how to use them.

We should also point out that the overall laziness of the Mega Man & Fighters port doesn’t just end at the lack of an English translation either. The port actually disables a feature present in the original game, specifically a trading feature of sorts. We assume this has to do with the in-game database, although we can’t be sure as we cannot try it out for ourselves. Given that other Neo Geo Pocket ports actually allow split-screen multiplayer, it’s hard to justify the game disabling a feature, even if it only has limited use.

The game does come with the other bells & whistles we’ve come to expect from SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Switch titles, such as the option to rewind should things go awry. These are of course features built into the emulator program itself rather than specific tweaks to the port, and therefore shouldn’t come as a surprise. Although these features are always welcome, we can’t quite credit SNK for allowing it in this game. Given that there are unlimited continues available here in the first place, the rewind feature also seems superfluous, as you can simply continue mid-battle fully healed whereas any damage you’ve done to the boss you’re fighting remains, ultimately killing off any feeling of challenge.


Everything about the Mega Man Battle & Fighters port feels like a lazy and uninspired cash grab, from the lack of translation to the disabling of a feature. It’s clear that SNK and/or Capcom are banking on Mega Man’s brand name and the fact that this is a Western audience’s first real chance to try out an obscure, Japan-only title. The game itself isn’t bad, which makes it all the more insulting that it was ported in such a lazy manner. Don’t be tempted and vote with your wallet. There’s a good chance Mega Man Battle & Fighters will be included in the recently announced NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 2 anway, so any cash spent on a separate release only encourages them to give other Japan-exclusive titles the same treatment in the future.

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Rating: 2.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Mega Man Battle & Fighters - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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