I’m sorry, but I refuse to call this game anything other than Pocket Fighter because the whole ‘add random words to the end of a title and hope for the best’ thing just makes this series of games a bit of a laughing stock at times. I am NOT calling this game Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. I AM NOT CALLING IT THAT. IT IS POCKET FIGHTER. Now let’s all have a cup of tea and carry on before Zangief flips the table.
He’s had enough of your shit, Super Gem Fighter Mini Rainbow Attack Warfare Style Cross Combo Win XVXL 2. Don’t make him spill that gorgeous-looking cake.
Clearly you can tell I’m something of a fan of the Street Fighter series of games or else I would be lamenting this game’s buggered existence with a LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT THIS GAME opening. Indeed, you will soon discover that there is nothing I like better than talking about games where the characters beat the living crap out of each other by cosplaying.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, this game allows you to cosplay other characters and beat the crap out of people. Fancy dressing up as Megaman mid-combo and then uppercutting as Sasquatch? Then this is the game for you because why wouldn’t ANYONE want to do that? I mean, how can you even suggest that you don’t want to dress up as a cheerleader and pummel your opponent with a baton before giving them a love letter? That’s the dream, isn’t it?
Serious-mode on: Pocket Fighter. I’m sorry, I can’t actually be TOTALLY serious about this game. I mean it’s got characters that fucking cosplay mid-combo and shit gems at every turn. It’s HILARIOUS. It’s AMAZING. It’s BATSHIT-CRAZY. It didn’t do very well.
Probably because of all of those reasons. And the cosplaying element. And it wasn’t a true Street Fighter game. It was a pretty watered-down version of what the fans truly know and love and probably wouldn’t accept anything less. But seriously, this game wasn’t even a proper Street Fighter game and PEOPLE KNEW IT. LOOK AT THE CHARACTERS. THEY’RE ALL CHIBIFIED TO THE BASTARD HEELS.
LOOK AT THESE CUTE LITTLE FUCKERS. THEY’RE FUCKING ADORABLE IN THE MOST TERRIFYING WAY! They’re ickle and yet they’ll send you to hospital in a heartbeat with a Hadouken smashing into your teeth! Seriously, how can you NOT like the idea of this game? A chibified version of the Street Fighter series that can be accessed by newcomers and yet still be rewarding enough for veteran players of the series? What is there not to-
Oh fuck off, Dan, nobody even likes you, you prick. Go back to your crappy dojo and learn how to special move properly. Prick. Did I mention he’s a prick? He’s a prick. Look at his prick-like face. The prick.
So you may have guessed that one of the flaws in the game is the decidedly lacklustre roster of characters. A total of 12 in all, 10 of which you can see and two of which are REALLY poorly hidden. Basically, you see the top line? You press left or right to switch between Ryu and Ken and eventually you’ll find Dan and Akuma just sitting there waiting for you. They’re not secret. If they are, they’re terribly hidden. Bravo Capcom. You win at secret characters. Here’s your gold star to say you didn’t even fucking try a la Tumblr. Good job.
Character wise, Capcom totally fucked up on not giving us a grumpy, chibi version of Guile and to be honest, they already had the sprites for Donovan from Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo Ex Plus Alpha Rainbow Gembots that they could have at least shoved him in here. He’s a shit character, granted, but an extra bod here and there?
Seriously though, my biggest complaint in this game is the roster of characters being so minimal. I could name you a dozen characters that would have been bloody hilarious to shove in this game. Guile, defo. B.B.Hood, defo. Rose, defo. Cammy, defo. Just… bloody hell. Plenty of chances. None taken. You give us Tessa from Red Earth and who even knows who that is? You have such a rich variety of characters and you give us Tessa? OK, fine, but can’t we even have Blanka or E.Honda thrown into the mix? I mean, they’re originals! HOW CAN YOU NOT EVEN ORIGINAL US, CAPCOM, YOU BASTARDS. DEMOTE THEM TO CAMEOS IN THE BACKGROUNDS WILL YOU? BAH! BAH!
Anywhos. There’s no real story. Every character has a little HA HA HA HILARIOUS story to give this game a reason and most of them are innocuously trite about missing cats, ice cream, circus jobs and finding a decent film script. It’s not like these characters are just fighting because the Earth will explode otherwise or for honour/glory/power/whatever reasons they have in fighting games these days. It’s just a happy, clappy, snappy little fighting game that literally just wants to make you smile.
And that’s the dealbreaker. It’s hard NOT to like this game. It’s so cheerful, likeable and charming, just on looks alone, that you cannot fail to be swayed by it. I mean, look at how bonkers this game looks:
I mentioned that you can dress up as Megaman right? Cos you can totally cosplay as Megaman. I mean, you have to choose Felicia to do it but you can TOTALLY cosplay as Megaman. The combo system itself is seriously pared down for this game but that gives it a beautiful flow in that you can try out numerous different combo structures with varying results. You can simply press punch four times to get the standard combo or you can throw in a kick to change the combo strand to a different one. You could end up covering your opponent in ink or dressing them up into some sort of life-draining kimono. It is utterly hilarious trying to find all of the ridiculous combos. As a true Street Fighter/Capcom aficionado, you spend a lot of time smiling at the random cosplay cameos. Chun-Li turning into June from Star Gladiator for example or the aforementioned Megamaning from Felicia. The system itself is bright and breezy, not too taxing but it lends itself to some reasonably intricate combos.
Special and super moves are still present, of course, and the super moves are easier to pull off now. A fireball motion and the square button pretty much sets your character off into dancing troupes of clones, a horde of bicycles trampling over you or a trio of burly men dragging you off screen and pummelling you in what can only be described sonically and visually as a slightly homoerotic attack. It’s fucking brilliant.
Certainly, there is a certain level where this game cannot be taken seriously by hardcore fans. How on Earth is it meant to be when the cartoony visuals pop out at you, vampires go sliding across waxed floors on their bellies, M.Bison goes for a toboggan ride and one character grabs you, turns you into a bowling ball and throws you down a bowling alley? If you want to keep things classy, you KNOW you go for Street Fighter 3. You don’t turn to this game and think “OH IF ONLY THIS WERE A DIFFERENT GAME OR JUST LIKE STREET FIGHTER 3” – if you want a game like Street Fighter 3 then it’s called STREET FIGHTER FUCKING 3. Now I’m not suggesting this is a kids game. Just because it’s got cartoony graphics doesn’t mean it’s automatically a kids game. I mean, I got this game when I was in my teens and I still like playing it now. It’s a beautiful little spriter-fighter. If anything, this could be an easy way into fighting games for a lot of younger gamers. The control system is simple but rewardingly fun and the story section isn’t heavy, brooding or over the top. It’s just plain bonkers. That’s all it needs to be. If it was too heavy handed, it’d be an altogether different Street Fighter title.
Oh fuck off, Dan, everyone still hates you. LOOK HOW MUCH CHUN-LI LOATHES YOUR PRESENCE, YOU ASS. Stop being an ass, you prick.
Oh my God, I never noticed Huitzil in the background on this stage before! Huh. How ’bout that?
Barmy fighting mechanics aside, the game has an infinite amount of charm in the same way that MySims has it. There’s just something instantly likeable seeing your favourite characters in this chibi form trying to be serious and yet sorta failing at it. Some characters fit the crazy mould very easily whereas others actually give off a fairly uncomfortable feel. It’s like they’re screaming internally whenever they get hit by a dolphin through a hoop or the spray of a champagne bottle. Ryu in particularly doesn’t actually do anything crazy at all. His weirdest move involves big Japanese sandals. He’s FAR too serious to not be serious at all. Even Akuma joins in by getting into a swimming costume and diving into a puddle as an attack. Good grief, the grumpiest of grumps even got into things, Ryu, what’s wrong with you? WHAT’S ACTUALLY WRONG WITH YOU? HUH? YOU TOO GOOD FOR THIS SHIT, HUH? WELL FUCK YOU. GO PUT YOUR SANDALS ON AND FUCK OFF IF YOU’RE NOT GONNA JOIN IN, YOU SERIOUS BASTARD.
I suppose he’s an example of leading a horse to water but not being able to make it drink but he’ll do as the anti-foil in these instances. He can be the serious one as we have eleven other cosplaying characters to pick from and they really show off the characters’ personalities a bit more.
And besides, it’s such a happy little game, how can you begrudge it anything? Aside from being called Super Gem Fighter Mini Mixalot I Like Big Butts And I Cannot Lie Beta Gamma Pi Crust 4 V: The Return.
OHHHHHHHH FUCK. FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!