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Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
Score: 78%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK Playmore
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Fighting/ Arcade

Graphics & Sound:
It's hard to describe the graphics on Neo Geo Battle Coliseum in a new way, because, well, they're pretty much identical to all the 2D fighters recently released by SNK Playmore. Basically, the fighters are pixely and everything has a look that seems frozen in time from years ago. While you can still have a great fighting game with these kind of looks, you've got to wonder when the update is coming.

As far as the background music, it seems to have more of a techno flavor to it than other SNK fighters recently released. It's generally an upbeat soundtrack during the fights. When you lose, you get an overly dramatic track that sounds like you let down the world. It's kind of a clash in the overall feel of the game. Once again, the characters keep their signature yells and sounds. Though sound effects get a slight tweaking in every few games, it generally sounds the same as always.

Neo Geo Battle Coliseum is a Neo Geo fan's game. Now admittedly, there probably aren't many of you out there. But some pretty unique characters are gathered here, and whether you've seen them before or not, it doesn't make much difference. To name a few of the games they hail from, you've got the side-scroller Metal Slug, the samurai fighter Samurai Showdown, another samurai fighter called Last Blade, and of course The King of Fighters. The line-up is decent, and chances are you will be able to find your favorite fighter from among the many games sampled here. But it's still not as expansive a lineup as say Capcom vs. SNK 2. So because of the team play here, you might have trouble putting together a team of people you like.

You won't see much for story, but that's pretty typical for a fighter. The back of the box has about as much story as you can expect to see in a single play through. Other options like Color Edit mode and graphics options are included in this game as it was in The King of Fighters XI. It seems that this is just another flavor of a very similar game.

The way team battles are handled here is a bit unique. You have a team of two people, and you can tag them in and out of the fight. In the Arcade Play mode, you will lose if either one of your fighters dies. You can use tagging to your advantage if you play defensively. When you tag your injured partner out, he'll start to heal if you can keep the fight going for at least 8 seconds. As a consequence of these team rules, you can be in for some really long fights, if you're fighting people who like to tag in and out, or some really short ones since you only have to defeat one team member.

Neo Geo Battle Coliseum keeps to the tradition of cheapness, so on the default difficulty, it's pretty tough. Bosses have huge, screen-covering moves, and they aren't shy about using them. The Arcade Play rules are pretty harsh. If you lose one member of your team, you lose the match. It encourages a level of caution that you don't normally have in a team battle situation.

Of course, bosses as well as the other fighters are cheap, cheap, cheap. But like most of the recent SNK fighters, continue services are offered. Battle bonuses for fighting through a string of opponents are also offered. So if you can only manage to land a few hits on a certain character, you can come back with a bonus like reduced opponent health or an increased time limit.

Game Mechanics:
Neo Geo Battle Coliseum is your basic 2D fighter again. It does a pretty good job of giving you options with its team battle system. In addition to the health recovery, fighting without switching for 8 seconds gives you access to a special move called Double Assault. It's basically a free move that doesn't use any of your Power Gauge. It does normal damage, but it's valuable because it is a move that chops down the opponent's refillable life.

The tag team system is a unique twist on this fighter, and luckily you don't have to play by the pure Arcade rules if you play in a versus match. While it's a solid fighter, it's not bringing much that's new to the fighter world. If you're an avid Neo Geo fan, you'll probably find charm in this game. If you aren't, you probably won't recognize half the characters here, but that's still ok, since the characters are distinct and interesting. The feel of SNK fighting games hasn't changed much, so take that for the good or the bad thing it may be.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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