Released in March 2021 on the Nintendo Switch eShop, the Neogeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 is one of the best game compilations of all time in my opinion. Each game in this bundle is a quality title, the extra features like rewind, local multiplayer through simulated link play, and all the other quality of life features are most welcomed especially the screen settings and controller customization. Now available on PC via Steam, this outstanding compilation is the same as the Switch version with one glaring difference.
Before reading more here, I encourage you to check out my article on the Switch version of the NGPC Selection Vol.1 here. Everything highlighted there holds true here to this Steam version except for the topic listed below.
Here is a list of games included in this $40 compilation:
-SNK GALS’ FIGHTERS
-KING OF FIGHTERS R-2
-THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny
-FATAL FURY FIRST CONTACT
-METAL SLUG 1ST MISSION
-METAL SLUG 2ND MISSION
-DARK ARMS Beast Buster 1999
-BIG TOURNAMENT GOLF
-CRUSH ROLLER (unique to this Steam version)
Since my article on the Switch version is linked above, let’s focus on what is different here with this Steam version.
Unique to this Steam Version is Crush Roller. Outside of owning the original cartridge and playing on original hardware, this is the only way to play this action puzzle game. By comparison, the Switch version contained SNK VS Capcom: The Match of the Millennium. It seems like SNK got wise by selling MoM as a standalone title for $7.99, knowing that fans will want to own this great game no matter the cost. When compared against Crush Roller, Steam fans definitely got the short end of the stick, but that is not to say Crush Roller isn’t a bad game. It just isn’t MoM.
So what is Crush Roller? It is basically Pac-Man meets Splatoon. From a single screen maze, the player must ink the entire game board while avoiding enemies, playing almost like the reverse of Pac-Man. In Pac-Man, you clear the board of pellets. Here, you fill the board with ink. The mazes are also more complex and the enemy AI is more brutal but it still is a nice little arcade-style game. Also, instead of eating a power pellet to go on the offensive, the player can activate a paint roller to smash enemies that are in the way. It can be a little annoying to clear the few pixels trapped within the edges of 90 degree bends but overall, Crush Roller isn’t bad by any means. Also, it is one of the few games that is easily playable with the keyboard over a controller, making it a good fit for Steam play. And honestly, Crush Roller is a much more entertaining game than the NGPC version of Pac-Man and glad it was included here. Maybe one day the NGPC versions of Puzzle Link and Bust-A-Move will also be released.
Crush Roller also features numerous game boards with branching paths. After you clear a stage, the game will ask you which stage you want to tackle next. Cleared stages can be played via the main menu and the game respects the player’s time by offering unlimited continues. With the dastardly AI, you will be needing those continues too. Although there is a high challenge, the game is still fun and I personally enjoy it more than the original Pac-Man. This game is also playable using the original black and white option found on the menu screen, representing playing on an original Neogeo Pocket console (not the Color console), and two players can play the enjoyable multiplayer mode using one PC.
When comparing the Switch version to the Steam version, PC players definitely got the short end of the stick by not having Match of the Millennium bundled in this lot. At the same time, Crush Roller is still a quality game, exclusive to Steam, and it isn’t available on Switch at all. Either way, the Neogeo Pocket Selection Vol.1 is still a ridiculously high quality compilation regardless if it is the Switch or Steam version.
Don’t Forget About: most of these games are available individually for $7.99 on the Switch eShop
Also Try: the Metal Slug 1st and 2nd Mission Double Pack compilation also exclusive to Switch
Wait For It: NGPC Vol.2 with a translated version of Ogre Battle and Faselei!