Card Fighters Clash is another of the fruits of the SNK vs. Capcom
initiative (the future of which is unclear with the demise of SNK
, although most of their development staff were rumoured to have been picked up by Capcom
). It's a game for the NeoGeo Pocket Color
released in 1999
in two versions: one that was weighted toward SNK
characters and another that was weighted towards Capcom
characters. This was to encourage multiplayer uptake of the game (a strategy also employed by Pokemon
, to some success I believe).
The game is comprised of two sections. "Card Fighters Clash" is the name of the virtual CCG that the game implements. As a framing device for this, there is a rudimentary RPG where you can challenge computer players to make your way through a tournament, acquiring new and rarer cards as you go along. You can also play head-to-head matches via the link cable.
The CCG is very, very addictive, and while simpler and less extensive than certain real-life CCGs (i.e. Magic The Gathering), it still requires a lot of strategic thought to construct and use a deck successfully against opponents with different playing styles. The library of cards is comprised of 240 character cards (120 SNK, 120 Capcom) and 60 action cards (which can be called into play once at a cost, and then discarded).
Character cards are placed in the 'ring', and can attack, counter attack, use different special abilities, or be used to back up certain other characters (for example if you have Sakura in the ring, you can sacrifice a Ryu card to add 300 battle points to Sakura). The rules are very complicated to explain, but can be learned quickly during play thanks to a tutorial mode and a comprehensive in-game help index.
Another major part of the game that should be mentioned is the quality of the artwork. All the cards have highly stylised portraits by SNK's artist Moto Kikaku. These portraits are for the most part excellent, and liven up the game quite a bit, as you never know just who (or what) is going to be dealt against you next. A real-life set of the cards would be cool.
The selection of characters featured on the cards includes just about everyone from the Street Fighter 2/3/Alpha universe, and the equivalent King of Fighters/Fatal Fury universe, as well as a selection of characters from many other games by both developers, including Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, Metal Slug, Captain Commando, Strider, Megaman, Forgotten Worlds, Resident Evil, Last Blade, Samurai Shodown, Darkstalkers, Final Fight, Breath of Fire, Athena, Rival Schools, and more. (The Captain Commando and Metal Slug sets are unfortunately rather weak cards, which is a shame, because they're some of my favourite characters!)
And did I mention this game is addictive? Well, it is. Dangerously so. This game can make Tetris seem about as more-ish as Brussels sprouts. I've clocked up over 90 hours so far and don't see myself quitting any time soon. You have been warned.
Some notable cards*
Akuma (aka Gouki) - The best single character card that you can have in your deck. Instantly K.O.s one enemy character on entry. The only possible defence against this is Guile's Somersault power (which neutralises all powers that are activated on entry to the ring). They actually toned this card down for the sequel (see Card Fighters 2 Expand Edition). 800 BP, 0 SP.
Yashiro - Almost as good as Akuma, Yashiro's power is to return one enemy character to the enemy player's hand. Of course, it would be silly to perform this action on an enemy's Akuma, Kyo or Nakoruru (C) cards (allowing them to use their powers a second time). 700 BP, 2 SP.
Morrigan - The card that you ultimately want to be fielding at least one of, preferably in the rightmost slot protected by a card to the left with an equal or higher BP (when playing against the AI, combos, higher BP's, and cards to the left are given highest priority to counterattack). When attacking the enemy player, your life is increased by the amount of damage done. Particularly jammy players can reach 6000+ HP through this sneaky method. 700 BP, 5 SP.
Morrigan (P) - The 'garbage collector' card. This card's power is to instantly K.O. any one card you have played (including itself), and increase the player's SP by 6 points. Very useful when you have a very weak card left in the ring and desperately need to call an expensive action card. (The 'P' stands for 'Private Clothes' - this has different artwork to the other Morrigan card). 700 BP, 5 SP.
Tri-Quiz - Ridiculously useful. If you need health, it can give you 500BP (Grace). If you have three decent cards in the ring, you can power them all up (Showtime). Or if you have the enemy on the ropes, you can damage them 300HP directly (Grenade). Costs 5 SP.
Evil Ryu - Most of the time, this card is pretty useless. But if the enemy has a frozen character in the ring, this card will automatically K.O. is on entry. 700 BP, 0 SP.
Wild Iori - Another Akuma variation, this card can K.O. any one enemy with 800 or more BP. 1000 BP, 0 SP.
Geese - Geese Howard, immensely strong. This card has no powers or SP, but is useful for clobbering people. 1500 BP, 0 SP.
Haohmaru - A quite common card, is slightly more useful than average because it damages the enemy player even if they counter (providing the counterattack doesn't kill it outright). 1000 BP, 1 SP.
Nakoruru (C) - Gives you 500 HP on entry. The high SP rating means that you can quite easily escape the card or use a powerful action card or unite attack in the same turn. The 'C' stands for 'Chivalry' (incidentally only Nakoruru, Akari and Ryu have three different character cards based on them). 600 BP, 5 SP.
*bearing in mind this could've been the noding-for-numbers mission of a lifetime...