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Gal Fighters
Platform:  Neo Geo
# of Players:  1-2 (linkable)
Developer:  Yumekobo
Publisher:  SNK
Features:  5 game modes, link cable
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
As you probably know, the Neo Geo Pocket is home to loads of fighting games, some may say too many. Well, hot on the heels of the last fighter for the system (the great Match of the Millennium), comes SNK Gals Fighters, and it's yet another one of those games that makes you glad to be a Pocket owner. It may have lots of pink all over the box, but it's not just a girl's game. In fact, GF is a solid fighter for anyone looking to enhance his or her collection.

A solid fighter with an excellent sense of humor and amazing speed as well. GF is overflowing with little touches (and a few big ones as well,) that would put a smile on a dead man's face. Beginning with the game's story, in which each of the SNK girls receives an invitation to compete in the "Queen of Fighters" tournament, to the end boss (a surprise, if ever there was one!), you won't be able to put this one down. The game is also WAY off the cute scale, with animations galore for each of the characters, mimicking the moves from the "real" games they're in. Shiki teleports onto the screen, Mai has her trademark bounce, and Athena is just worried about her hair! Since there are only two buttons on the Pocket, each of the Gals shares the same basic moves, making the game easy to pick up for anyone. There are 8 regular fighters, plus at least 3 hidden ones, unlockable through the usual means.

What's unusual, and makes the game even more fun (and replayable) are the many Special Items that you can collect, such as a pair of earrings that max out your Power meter, or a picture of Kyo, which makes you invincible for 5 seconds. Items you find are saved to the cartridge, and you can choose only one when you start up a new series of matches, so it's a good idea to experiment with each character, not only to see who you like best, but to see which items are available. There's the usual training Mode that lets you hone your skills, as well as check out all the funny animations and taunts at your leisure.

The backgrounds aren't as detailed as the ones in SNK vs. Capcom, but you're not buying a fighting game to look at or play the scenery, I hope. As I said above, the game is really fast- only MOTM comes close to what's here, if you have to compare it to something, but why bother? This is the type of game that's not meant to be taken at all seriously, and I can see some hardheaded purists whining about the lack of continuity with the rest of the SNK "universe". But those are the sort of folks who play a game once, then put it on a shelf and look at the box every once and again, to see if it's still there. SNK Gals Fighters will get a regular workout on your Neo Geo Pocket because it's constantly FUN to play, like any good game should be.

Greg Wilcox

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