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SNK vs Capcom Card Fighters DS

Score: 56%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK Playmore
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Card Games

Graphics & Sound:

It is hard to figure out exactly how to approach SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS. As a fan of the Neo Geo Pocket Color original, the DS iteration of the game is a disappointment; nearly everything that made the first game entertaining has been altered, removing nearly everything that made it great to begin with. Newcomers will have a slightly different outlook since they won't have anything to compare it to. While the game is in no way a good one, it still has its fun moments and might find an audience with some casual CCG players.

For what it is, Card Fighters looks good. Card artwork is great and manages to show off the character's personalities. Battle animations are limited to a few special effects and other pyrotechnics, so while it isn't anything to get excited over, battles are a little better than just staring at two static cards.

The exploration segments don't fare much better. Some areas in the tower are themed, though even then they feel sterile and aren't all that fun to look at. You are given some control over what your battler looks like, but it isn't a major gameplay component.

The same can be said for sound. For a card game it is okay, though it doesn't excel by any means.


SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS begins with what is sure to contend for, "Most Ridiculous Story Ever." After creating a character, you are entered into a Card Battle Tournament at the Card Tower. Shortly after arriving at the tower, its computer system, MAX, takes over the entire building, trapping you inside. Somehow or another the computer has kidnapped the tower's creator and brainwashed all of the other Card Battlers, leaving you the lone "free mind" to ascend the tower, battle all of the other players and defeat MAX. Alright, if you're going by Yu-Gi-Oh standards, it isn't THAT absurd of a setup, but the translation work is incredibly sloppy so it comes off even worse than it probably is. Words are misused, misspelled, or outright wrong. Worse yet, reading is a major gameplay aspect, placing a sizeable roadblock in the way before you enter your first match.

The tower is split into two sections, SNK and Capcom. Depending on which tower you are in, you will have access to cards based on each of the company's bigger franchises. Most of the characters that appear in the game are from each company's portfolio of fight games, however a few non-fighting game characters sneak in like Phoenix Wright, Dr. Wiley and Dante. Characters have special abilities, though the poor translation makes it hard to figure out what each does. Sometimes the information is hard to read, while at other times it is wrong.

The single-player game is crippled by a game-ending bug that occurs when battling a certain character for a second time. After challenging the character a second time, the game crashes. This shouldn't pose much of an issue for players who want to play through the game once, though the OCD completist players will certainly have a problem. A fix is already on the way and the company is even offering a trade-in if you've already purchased the game.

The single-player game is joined by local head-to-head, multi-cart play and the ability to trade cards with friends.


SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS is mostly governed by chance - perhaps more so than other CCGs since one bad hand could easily leave you in a deep hole. Any CCG player will tell you that the first few turns are the most important, though Card Fighters DS seems to penalize you more than other games.

The battle system is extremely easy to pick up after two or three matches. Very little strategy goes into each match beyond deck construction and even that doesn't prove that difficult since you can run through most of the game with an unaltered starter deck. Most matches are a race to see who can get the most characters out first.

Single-player is extremely easy. The A.I. takes few chances and is very predictable. Unless you make a series of bad draws, it is hard to lose a match - including boss battles. The only things that prevent progress are arbitrary limitations set by some bosses. Sometimes they won't battle you or let you pass unless you meet certain requirements.

Game Mechanics:

As much as I would love to say that the card battle system is great, that isn't the case. The system used in the original was balanced, addictive and fun; the revised one is, as already mentioned, fun for newcomers, though any well-seasoned CCG player will find it amazingly simplistic.

You begin with a deck of 50 cards composed of character, action and counter cards. Spending colored gems, called Force, allow you to place characters into play as well as perform other actions. The use of gems gives the game a feel more in-line with other CCGs, though at the same time, they limit the actions you can take per turn. Even with the ability to earn Force by discarding cards, it always seems like you are coming up short.

Character cards are governed by two stats, Health Points and Attack Points. Once characters are in play, you attack. If your opponent has characters in play they battle; if they don't, the damage goes against your opponent's health. The game ends when someone runs out of health or cards.

The number of characters you can have in play have been upped from three to eight - removing a good part of the strategy involved in the first game. Rather than thinking about which cards to place out and when, you are simply rushing to put down as many cards as you can as quickly as possible.

SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS is a hard game to recommend, even if you are a newcomer to the series. I would be lying if I didn't say there were some fun moments in the game. At the same time, there are so many little nagging issues around that they detract from the fun moments.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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