The end of an era: a cruel look at what we missed
featuring evil game previews

Editorial by Torture
Screens and blurbs by substance J

By now, we're all familiar with the situation regarding SNK in the United States and Europe. Even now that I think about it, it doesn't seem real. Why should it, it isn't logical at all? The announcement didn't hit me as hard as it did many others. I bought a monochrome Neo Geo Pocket, and never expected the NGP to see a US release at all. I devoted myself to the NGP soon after it was announced, despite it being in the Dreamcast's shadow. I preordered a unit only on my own blind faith to SNK and their quality products. Not surprisingly, SNK didn't disappoint. Even though I knew about a planned color unit, I bought the original anyway, and it made me more excited for the color version. I had no knowledge that some games would feature english. The fact that they actually did turned out to be a great bonus.

After the release of the Neo Geo Pocket Color, SNK USA prepared to bring the unit to the United States and Europe. For a long time, I never expected to see any NGP release in the west. Even after SNK announced their intentions to release it in the US, I still didn't think it would happen. Considering the nature of SNK USA, and the stranglehold that Nintendo has on pocket games, I just didn't think it was realistic. I'm glad I was wrong.

SNK USA used a conservative strategy in handling the Neo Geo Pocket in the US. They started with direct sales only, and slowly got the unit into retail stores. The US release turned SNK USA into a more active group. Suddenly, they were translating games into english, such as Dive Alert, fixing problems in Puzzle Bobble, and even publishing games on other systems on their own.

[Next Page]

Dynamite Slugger
ADK knows baseball. Dynamite Slugger features exhibition and championship modes and 10 international teams packed with deeper and more realistic player stats than SNK's Baseball Stars. When selecting your starting pitcher, you'll have to take into account ERA as usual, but also stamina and other factors that balance out each player. ERA's can vary greatly, but the lower the ERA, the more quickly the pitcher will become fatigued and start getting sloppy. Other positions have similar stats to be aware of. Each team is customizable using the team editor, which allows you to rename players and even create a new national team of your own. The actual gameplay is smooth and enjoyable, with controls that feel natural and respond well. Innings move at a quicker pace than Baseball Stars, which is quite a relief. With excellent graphics and gameplay, refreshing variety and options, Dynamite Slugger is THE portable baseball game.

Biomotor Unitron 2
Yumekobo's Biomotor Unitron sequel takes the basic plot and concept of the original, and cranks the production values through the roof. The basic gameplay remains the same, but more variety and sleeker look makes it feel totally new. After picking your pilot and engineer from a number of different species, it's time to head out to the dungeons to collect cash and rack up experience. The dungeons have received a nice facelift, and are populated with more serious foes than before. The Unitron arena is still a central gameplay element, as is the development arms for combat. Biomotor Unitron 2 is an inspired sequel that builds on the foundation of the original with super smooth presentation and gameplay.