"Even with my stubby arms and oversized head, I am unbeatable!"
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Genre: Fighting
Gameplay--Let's make a game. Start off by taking a bunch of Capcom characters, give them the funny animations, and throw them together to fight each other. Next, add a few old-school elements--Flashy, high-hitting supers, familiar special move motions, combos, etc. Simplify the original controls, add some items that can be thrown during battle, put in a ton of cameos by Capcom characters, and throw in some Gems and items to throw during battle for good measure. Put it in the Microwave (literally) and set the time for 2:31 (my kind of time). Finally, glaze it over with lots of cuteness. You now have the game "Pocket Fighter", one of the fastest, funniest, and arguably, best, 2D fighters for the home consoles.
Graphics--The graphics in this game are extremely cute. Very cute. Every character you see in the game has been Super Deformed with huge heads and small arms. Sounds weird, but it works. The fighters actually look better than they do in their other games! There is absolutely no slowdown or no weird glitches whatsoever, and every move the fighters do are very well animated. Two other things make the graphics stand out, though: Costume changes and the backgrounds. Yep, you read that right. Costume changes. While a character is in the middle of a Flash Combo, he or she will suddenly switch to a different outfit which is very funny. These include a caveman, a nurse, a soccer player, a policewoman, a maid, and even Mega Man. The costumes are all nicely detailed, and really make the action a whole lot more fun than it already is. The second best thing about the graphics are the backgrounds. They all look very, very good and well detailed, but best of all, you can see various Capcom characters talking to each other or doing something funny. Although they don't do all that much, it's still great to see them while you fight. If you've played Mega Man Legends, just about any Street Fighter game, Darkstalkers, or even Breath of Fire 3 (those character are in the Running Battle mode) you'll instantly recognize several characters while you fight (even Peco!). This, along with the costume changes and smooth animation, skyrocket the graphics into the "Wow!" stage.
Sound--There isn't any really bad music in this game, but there isn't anything that's catchy or great to listen to like some of the previous Street Fighter titles. The sound effects, however, are excellent. Fighters yelp when they attack or get hit in silly, cute little voices, like in Breath of Fire 3. Just about everything said is in Japanese, but it still sounds great. And while most of the hit effects may still sound like wet towel slaps, the Special Attacks (A new, one button attack which the opponent can't block, not to be confused with the Special Moves) make a weird BOING sound when they connect. While it may seem stupid when you think about it, it fits right in with the cute graphics and funny gameplay.
Control--Pocket Fighter's controls are some of the best seen in a fighting game to date. Characters respond smoothly and very responsively, and every special move is extremely easy to excecute. Super jumping, however, is much harder to do than in the previous Capcom titles. When you do one, your character oddly seems to weigh a ton, and you're barely up in the air at all. Still, the controls are great.
Fun Factor--If this game wasn't spelled P-O-C-K-E-T F-I-G-H-T-E-R, it'd spell F-U-N instead. The pace is very, very fast, and the screen is always filled with a funny or flashy attack. The new additions to the regular old Street Fighter formula have been changed quite a bit, with items--such as bombs and orbs to petrify people with--which can be thrown, and the innovative Gems which boost your special attacks and charge up your Super meter. Each fighter has their own distinct personality, and has been given some pretty cool new moves as well. I haven't tried the two player mode yet, but with all the fun additions, I'm pretty sure that it will be a blast.
Overall Satisfaction--Overall, this game is great. The pace is fast, the controls are great, the animation is smooth, and the overall feel is very cute and kiddy. It's very funny at certain times, and unlike most other titles, every character is given a different quest at the beginning, with text and pictures showing what's happening. This makes you want to beat the game with that certain character just to see what happens, which is a pretty clever idea.
Pocket Fighter does have a huge strike against it, however: The Edit Fighter mode. At first, I thought this game had a Create-a-Fighter mode, which I love. Then, I learned that you didn't even get to PLAY as the character you created and just watch two CPU opponents duke it out. I still thought, "Well, I guess you can have fun making up your character, though". THEN, I played the game, and found out that you didn't even get to create a fighter, just take an existing character, give them a name, and then equip them with a few different items that help them fight. Even though this last item sounds kinda cool, the lack of being able to play as the character really kills the whole concept. Lame.
Still, the rest of the game is great, and I'm sure you'll laugh out loud at least once each time you play it. The endings are pretty funny, and the credits sequence is great fun. Don't just press a button to skip it, watch the whole thing. The guys at Capcom must have had a great time with it. Overall, Pocket Fighter is a great game, and puts a twist on the same old Street Fighter game. Where else can you see Zangief turn into a construction worker?