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Friday, June 17, 2011

Capcom vs. SNK Card Fighter’s Clash Series Retrospective

I recently collaborated on a Neo Geo Pocket Color article by doing a write up on the Card Fighter's Clash series as part of the larger "Games that Defined the Neo Geo Pocket [Color]" article for  The segment I wrote on Card Fighter's Clash can be read below, and the entire article can be found here:

The initial two Card Fighter’s Clash games were released as the SNK (blue label) version and Capcom (yellow label) version, with each game utilizing more characters from their respective franchises than the other, at least at the start of the game.  Although these games are centralized around a battle card game, at first glance the games greatly resemble the Pokemon franchise, using a top down view and similar looking sprites.  This resemblance is amplified by the games utilization of the Neo Geo Pocket link cable and the release of two versions, each of which feature some exclusive cards.

Using the link cable players can battle or trade cards with other players.  However, the heart of the Card Fighter’s Clash series’ gameplay, a simple battle card game, is surprisingly unique.

The player can challenge various non-playable characters throughout the game in order to advance the story.  Each card battle begins with a selection screen, where the game selects which player will go first and shuffles each player’s deck.  Each of the two players has a set number of hit points which must be whittled down to zero in order to win the match.  When the match begins, you have five cards and another card you draw at the beginning of your turn.  The cards consist of two types, known as Character Cards and Action Cards.

Character Cards consist of BP (or battle Points) and SP (or Soul Points).  Soul Points are gained each time a character card is played, and can be used to activate Action Cards, which can do a variety of things such as allow you to draw more cards or directly inflict damage upon the enemy player’s hit points.  Battle Points are used to buffer the players hit points and can be lowered by the enemy player’s characters attacking.  Essentially, the Character Cards must battle through each other in order to damage the players.  Up to three character cards can be laid out at once in order to act as buffers for the player’s hit points.  Deciding whether to counter enemy characters with your own or to allow the damage in order to keep your Character Card’s Battle Points up can play a major role in battles.  In addition to this, saved up Soul Points can be used to combine multiple Character Card’s Battle Points to unleash devastating combo attacks.  Many Character Cards also feature special abilities which can be beneficial or detrimental depending on when the Character is played.  Also, some Character Cards can be combined at no cost for increased Battle Points, but these combinations could prove difficult to uncover for a player unfamiliar with SNK or Capcom franchises.

If the Neo Geo Pocket is turned off during a battle, the battle can be resumed upon turning the handheld back on, making the game very pick up and play friendly.  Upon defeating an opponent the player gains at least three cards which they can choose to add to a 50-card deck.  The player can then have up to five different decks at once.  As the player defeats opponents and increases the strength and strategy of their card decks, they must collect six SC Coins from certain non-playable characters in order to play in the final tournament.

A third Card Fighter’s Clash game known as SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters 2 Expand Edition was only released in Japan and was the last game released for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.  Unlike the previous two games, this game let you choose to play with either a Capcom deck or an SNK deck at the beginning of the game, instead of being released as two separate game cartridges and featured all the cards from the original two games.  The game also featured over 100 new cards, including a new type of card called a Reaction Card.  These performed actions similar to Action Cards but the player could interrupt the opponents attack phase to use them, adding a new layer of surprise and strategy to the games.  A fan-translation patch exists for non-Japanese literate gamers looking to get in on the action.  For more information about the translation project and how to go about playing the game head on over to (Thanks to Flavor for providing the link down in the comments!)

Additionally, a Nintendo DS game was released in December 2006 in Japan, and later released in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.  However, this game was radically different than the previous entries in the series.  It featured a new type of card game battle, new cards, and a bug found during the game’s second play-through which made truly beating the game an impossible task, and was widely considered a poor game.

The three Card Fighter’s Clash games found on the Neo Geo Pocket had a surprising amount of depth and strategy despite appearing quite simple at first glance.  Combine this with their portability, multiplayer features, and addictive quality and you have a series of games which remains as compelling to play today as it was when it was first released.

1 comment:

  1. You ought to check out these
    for playing the CFC2 fan translation ( )