First up, special thanks to Ultra Powerful Pal of Gaming Hell, HokutoNoShock for the many, many online sessions of this game over the years. Some screenshots are from those very sessions, no less. As for resources, the best remains the legendary Kao Megura's GameFAQs guide which details everything you need to know, although it is based on the Saturn port which has at least one extra move (Dan's Hisshou Buraiken) not in the arcade game. With credits out the way, a philosophical question emerges: what's in a name? Don't ask me. What I can tell you is this game was released in arcades under the name Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix in the West and Pocket Fighter in Japan. We've decided to refer to it as Pocket Fighter because it's the less-unwieldy name plus it was the name used worldwide for the Playstation port. Perhaps someday we'll have a consistent naming system for all video games but clearly that day is not today. What else is on the agenda... Aha, gotta dust off the ol' CPS-II resolution notice, huh? Well then. The native resolution of CPS-II is 384 x 224 which makes it look all wide, but they were never intended to be seen like that, instead meant for old CRT televisions that were usually less wide, explained here. So they've been resized via HTML to 320 x 240. Maybe that's what happened to that Chris Redfield fella from Resident Evil 5 onwards, they never altered his resolution so his shoulders just got too wide. I made a funny, please laugh, for the love of God please laugh.

Oh no, all of Capcom's fighting game characters got shrunk in the wash!

No, no, it's just Pocket Fighter, a teeny-tiny tussle in the arcade.

The only place we can really start is what spawned this game, 1996's Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo or Super Puzzle Fighter II X in Japan (the title is a play on each region's name for Super Street Fighter II Turbo / Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge). This was Capcom's response to the arcade versus puzzle game trend of the '90s, as while Tetris obviously ushered in a puzzle game goldrush leading to releases like Columns and Klax, Compile's hit Puyo Puyo, and in particular its sequel Tsu, in Masamitsu "Moo" Niitani's own words from this translated interview on Shmuplations, "established a "post-Tetris" standard for falling-block puzzle games. The reason you see so many games imitating Puyo Puyo's competitive battle system is that it's exceptionally well-crafted" (man, we go back to that quote a lot, huh). Bearing similarities to Sega's Baku Baku Animal, the Compile / Capcom co-pro Pnickies and even minor elements of Konami's Taisen Puzzle-dama, it's a fast-paced puzzler with a focus on combining gems to make large stacks of the same colour then cashing them in with the same-coloured crash gem to bury your opponent in timed garbage blocks... But if they can hold out long enough, those garbage blocks turn into gems they can use to turn the tide. It's an excellent versus puzzle game, which is all the more surprising given Capcom's lack of experience in the genre, and it still has a strong following today (at least the original, we don't want to get all upset about that delisted modern version).

... But we won't be talking much more about this game today, sorry! Right now what's important is the presentation of the thing. Gathering together characters from contemporary hits Street Fighter Alpha 2, Night Warriors: Darkstalker's Revenge and Capcom's #1 game Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness, Puzzle Fighter opted for super deformed (SD) or chibi-style character designs- small bodies, big heads, stubby limbs, all cute. Not the first time the Street Fighter crew were depicted like this- the art for Bandai's Carddass cards is less specifically SD but it's still a slightly cuter, more lighthearted approach to the World Warriors, and there's also these chibi plush toys as advertised in the Club Capcom newsletter, but this was their first appearance in a game (let's say Ken Sei Mogura Street Fighter II doesn't count). Much as I'd love to bore you with an etymology lesson on the origins of the word (the history of words is fascinating!) this is, so my editor tells me, a video game website so please read about it on Tofugu instead, but for our purposes, big heads and small bodies will do the job. While not necessarily all taking the SD route, focusing on cuteness was a prevailing design trend for these kinds of puzzlers from the well-known like Puyo Puyo, Puzzle Bobble and Magical Drop to the more obscure like Monster Slider and Gyakuten! Puzzle Banchou, so this was a smart choice for appealing to a wider audience. Even more so, despite the cutesy character designs the game still had fighting game-style presentation with both characters facing off in the middle of the screen, using special and super moves depending on the size of the attack being sent, doing dizzy-style animations when they're on the ropes, that sort of thing. Little details, but they gave it that extra bit of charm to make it more memorable.

A year and change after Puzzle Fighter, Capcom would take most of the SD designs from that game (ditching Donovan from Night Warriors and Princess Devilotte de Death Satan IX from Cyberbots, noooo) and take the next logical step with them- put them in a fighting game of their very own. Unfortunately there's not much in the way of developer insight on what lead to Pocket Fighter- no translated interviews I could find or anything like that- but it's fair to look at trends in the industry at the time and connect a few dots. First and foremost, a few other fighting games had taken the route of chibified spin-offs- the most famous is of course Virtua Fighter Kids but there's also Nitoshinden and the Game Boy adaptation of World Heroes 2 Jet showing that this approach could work, albeit to varying degrees of success. I guess Capcom figured just putting these designs in a fighting game would be the most obvious move. Going from there, given that Puzzle Fighter was already a success with a wider audience, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that there was an attempt at aiming for a broader market with Pocket Fighter than the more 'hardcore' fighting games being put out at the time such as, say, Street Fighter III: New Generation. Not just for players but arcade operators too- CPS-II was a cheaper prospect than CPS-III after all, and Pocket Fighter didn't even need a kick harness so it could be put in any old JAMMA cabinet that wasn't making money anymore. This is all speculation of course, and I fear people reading too much into the 'appealing to a wider audience' angle take it too far and accuse Pocket Fighter of just being a simplified, dumbed-down Street Fighter without enough complexity to it (the completely-unsourced rumour that it started development as Street Fighter Kids- something probably exacerbated by this '90s hoax- doesn't help either). Hopefully giving it the Gaming Hell treatment will show there's a bit more to it than that. No mercy- let's get stuck in!

Time to see which small-scale scrappers are fighting for the crown of the greatest Pocket Fighter.

Voice actor info taken from the ending credits, matched up to the characters with the Behind the Voice Actors page for the game.

Also, while Akuma and Dan are technically hidden characters... Just press Left on Ryu to pick Akuma, and Right on Ken to pick Dan. Easy.

(VA: Tomomichi Nishimura)
from Super Street Fighter II Turbo

(VA: Sōichirō Hoshi)
from Street Fighter

(VA: Tetsuya Iwanaga)
from Street Fighter

(VA: Osamu Hosoi)
from Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams

(VA: Yūko Miyamura)
from Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

(VA: Yuko Sasamoto)
from Street Fighter Alpha 2

(VA: Yayoi Jinguji)
from Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors

(VA: Michiko Neya)
from Night Warriors: Darkstalker's Revenge

(VA: Kae Araki)
from Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors

(VA: Naoko Ishii)
from Red Earth

(VA: Wataru Takagi)
from Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

(VA: Yuri Amano)
from Street Fighter III: New Generation

Pocket Fighter is a patchwork-like game in that it combines mechanics from multiple Capcom fighting games yet at the same time eschews quite a few standards of them, resulting in something very unusual. This starts at the very basics with the controls as over a decade before Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, we have only three attack buttons to play with- one (1) Punch, one (1) Kick and a unique button, Special. There's not even any World Heroes-esque "hold the button for a stronger attack level" mechanics here! It's easy to just look at these controls and instantly assume the game is too simplified to be an engaging fighter, but there's a lot more here than you'd expect. For a start, every character gets an anti-air attack from down-forward + P and a sweep attack to guarantee a knockdown from either down or down-forward + K (bringing to mind, of all things, Mortal Kombat which had similar universal uppercuts and sweeps) and both a normal throw from P + G plus a special kind of throw that can't be teched and can be charged from a motion + P + G (usually with a more over-the-top animation, like Tessa launching her opponent into space on a rocket). For mobility you get a run (a rarity in Capcom fighting games, you even get special dash attacks), a backdash and a super jump so while you have a reduced number of attack buttons you still have the flexibility of movement you'd expect from a 'proper' fighting game. Every fighter also has access to items that drop during battle from floating carriers, including food to recover health and item orbs similar to the elemental ones found in Red Earth that can be thrown with K + S as universal projectiles with different effects- a cute way of giving everyone a universal projectile with some funny animations for sure, although it's not much beyond that really.

While Punch and Kick should be pretty self-explanatory, the odd one out is the Special button which is where Guard Crushes, Guard Cancels and Guard Returns live. Guard Crushes are special chargeable moves (one from the button by itself and one each with forward or down) that can't be blocked normally and can really wallop your opponent if you charge it fully (some will even send your opponent so far the game cuts to a shot of the Earth as they get sent flying around it, ending up on the opposite side of the screen, hell yes). Having an unblockable at your beck and call is actually really important in this game because there is no chip damage from anything so you can't just spam special moves and hope to chip your opponent out! As a way of dealing with them though, the Guard Return (back + S) is a special counter specifically to stop Guard Crushes- they won't block anything else and leave you wide open if you guess wrong. It's unusual to see unblockables and counters compartmentalised essentially to their own buttons like this, but it does offer something that's pretty easy for new players to understand- Guard Crushes have whopping huge startup times especially if fully charged, so it's easy to figure out that you can counter them with Guard Returns, meaning you need to throw them out when the enemy's not expecting them. Guard Cancels, meanwhile, are counterattacks used when blocking a string of attacks that cost a little Mighty Combo meter, a feature slowly becoming a genre standard at the time so it's unsurprising to see here. The Guard Crushes and Guard Returns might be a bit too simple for fighting game veterans, but they work together to make a neat little system and they also play into powering your character up, more on that later.

Beyond the basic attacks, Pocket Fighter's main combo system is something adapted from, of all places, Star Gladiator! The Plasma Combo system from that game is shrunken down into the Flash Combo here where combo strings start with P then let you press either P or K to do an automatically-linking move that moves you forward and you can keep going for a maximum of five hits, with ending attacks doing things like launching the opponent, doing a Guard Crush or throwing them. The gimmick here is that the characters change into costumes as the string progresses, from things like Morrigan changing into a nurse outfit or Ken into a cowboy to Capcom references like Felicia cosplaying as Gamof from Star Gladiator or Chun-Li using Jill Valentine's weapons! Obviously these play nicely into the game's sense of humour and some of them are genuinely funny- Zangief flips a table in one combo and Akuma practises his swimming poses in another- but they also help beginner players start doing combos straight away. Advanced players can of course do other kinds of combos like in other fighters (just as long as they don't start with P on the ground) but this gives players a starting point and, because of its implementation of Strong Throws and Guard Crushes, can help introduce players to these other mechanics if they're just mashing... And experienced players can counter those Guard Grushes with Guard Returns if they know they're coming, so you have to vary up your Flash Combos too!

This system does place limitations on the kinds of combos you can do without having to get creative, but I think it's easy to overlook one other really important element of these Flash Combos, these costume-centric combos aren't just fanservice or for a quick laugh- they play into a specific design philosophy with many of the attacks in this game as they either move you forward or use some kind of trick to extend their reach beyond what you'd expect. The reason for this is obvious once you notice it- one of the issues with using SD character designs for a fighting game is that their limbs are a fist too short as they say in the business, which could potentially be a problem when trying to actually hit the opponent, especially with small sprites like this game. There's definitely ways to approach this to alleviate the problem- the Neo Geo Pocket Color fighting games generally exaggerate the size of hands and feet for attacks- and while Pocket Fighter does this too (often having characters wield items like traffic signs and champagne bottles) I like the approach taken with the Flash Combos as it makes you constantly advance and put pressure on the opponent. This also means that a few characters (in particular Morrigan and Tessa) get moves they've never had before to help them move horizontally- Morrigan doesn't just have Lilith's Merry Turn as a cute nod, it's to give her a special move that gets her closer to the opponent easily. It's a nice little system that does its job fairly effectively, and because the surrounding game is less stiff and slow than Star Gladiator, it works out better than that game, even if it can mean the game doesn't go at the same pace as, say Super Turbo or Vampire Savior.

Moving on to special moves, this is where the Puzzle Fighter origins are more obvious and actually factor into the mechanics but there's also elements of Red Earth here too. Every character has three special moves (some have more, but not many) that have their own coloured meters shown at the bottom of the screen- red mostly for projectile attacks, yellow for primarily anti-air attacks and blue usually for forward-moving attacks (and these meters show the inputs for them too which is nice). Not a universal rule, mind you- Zangief and Tessa don't have projectiles, Felicia has the three move types but they're on different colours, and so on- but for most of the cast this holds true. Landing attacks drops gems of these three colours which fill the meters up and changes them up to two times to make them hit harder or give them longer range. This is kind of a stand-in for different strengths of special moves meaning, again, the complexity of things is reduced a little (you only get one strength level at a time so you can't play fireball mindgames with slower ones whenever you like) but there's subtleties to it too- you can drain your opponent's special move meters with specific Guard Crush attacks to reduce their attack power, item carriers can drop more gems as well as the food and item orbs plus you can cash in all your meters for a 'get-off-me' move, the Mega Crash, if you're in a real pinch. Finally, there's the Mighty Combos which serve as this game's super moves that are pretty genre-standard although with a touch of humour- Tessa turns into a gigantic stuffed dragon doll, Chun-Li summons the cyclists from her Alpha 2 stage and so on. You build meter fairly quickly and can store up to nine just like Vampire Savior so you're definitely encouraged to use them, but remember, no chip damage! Interestingly, the Mighty Combos exhibit an early example of simplifying inputs as you can perform them with just single motion inputs and S if you like with no real changes to them (handy when it's been a while and you can't remember them, although Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu has to be put in manually, of course).

All these mechanics combine to make Pocket Fighter a very different fighting game from Capcom, a strange melting pot of a lot of ideas from their other games that somehow turns out pretty well. It kinda slots in right in the middle of a string of 'weird' 2D titles, specifically Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness from 1995 and the two JoJo's Bizarre Adventure games from 1998 / 1999, games that eschew the six-button standard for their fighters. Of all these games, Pocket Fighter is by far the most accessible to me- I respect Cyberbots and the JoJo's games a hell of a lot (especially Cyberbots) but they're very intimidating and not the easiest thing to just jump into and play, which is what Pocket Fighter is best at. The downside is that yes, there's perhaps less to it than other fighters. Paring the Capcom fighting experience down to two attack buttons and a function button and lacking something more substantive like Cyberbots' Boost button, the Stands of Jojo or the tag actions of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, there's still plenty to get your teeth into but characters can feel a little similar in many ways, and while the charm of the animations and special moves are still individualised, there's certainly less variety between them than, say, Red Earth or Vampire Savior's cast because of the lack of different normals and buttons available to you. I think as long as you go in with these things in mind, this is an ideal 'mess-around' fighter, one where you can faff about and find stuff that works for you without getting too lost in thw weeds.

Of course, the presentation is also something that makes it distinct from other Capcom fighters, and a lot of fighters in general at the time, especially in arcades. The chibified style is pulled off really well here, with plenty of frames of animation (although we're not talking about a CPS-III game here) and unique poses and costumes for everyone as well as lots of sight gags and cute nods to other games. The backgrounds in particular can be distracting if you're on the look-out for characters from Capcom's past! They definitely sell the idea of this being a bit more tongue-in-cheek, an exaggerated parody of fighting games with things like Dan using his father as a cudgel, Chun-Li handing a love letter to an opponent to break their heart and some of the goofier expressions you'll see characters make. The fact that the intro parodies several different Capcom intros such as Night Warriors, Red Earth and Street Fighter Alpha 2 kinda sets the tone in this regard, and each character has a completely nonsense story with little cutscenes like Akuma having his island sanctuary turned into a tourist trap, Ryu looking for a strong opponent and ending up with Hauzer and so on (although the English localisation infamously includes a slur in Dan's ending- it really sticks out!). The one disappointing element here is the soundtrack which is completely fine work by Capcom musicians Isao Abe, Yuki Iwai and Setsuo Yamamoto but, well, it's just OK, not really standing out or having any real hooks to it (beyond maybe the main theme which I quite like). They can't all be winners like the Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo soundtrack!

To wrap things up here, I'm rather fond of Pocket Fighter as a fighter to go to when you want something a bit simpler to play that's still got a little something to it. In terms of being a fighting game perhaps intended for a wider audience, I think it does a mostly-good job of keeping things accessible and light while not being overly-simplified, although beyond the simpler Mighty Combo inputs there's nothing akin to a simple control scheme so you'll still be doing motion inputs, just less buttons to worry about instead. The implementation of it isn't perfect- not being able to use any strength of special move as and when you see fit is a little limiting, as is the somewhat-rigid nature of the Flash Combos although that's clearly by design- but combined with its cute presentation and sense of humour, I feel it's a light-hearted little game that has enough for you to be getting on with, and even veterans of the genre will find a different experience from the norm here to get some fun out of. I can see why it's easy to overlook, mind you- that chibi-style presentation is not for everyone (even if it is absolutely for me) and it came out at a time when Capcom were finally making strides into 3D and more impressive-looking 2D games so something like this feels quaint in comparison... But sometimes quaint is exactly what you want, meaning Pocket Fighter does an admirable job of filling its own little niche. Haha, little, see? I made a funny! 'Cause... 'Cause they're chibi-style? No? OK, I'm done.

For being a good showcase of pint-sized pugilism, Pocket Fighter is awarded...

In a sentence, Pocket Fighter is...
Small, but nicely formed.

And now, it's that time, folks!

There's one cute set of secrets in the arcade game, all to do with Morrigan's win pose, via GameFAQs.

If you end the final round with a Perfect as Morrigan, hold Up + P + S + Start as soon as you win.

Against most of the cast, you'll get an alternate win pose where she rests on her bats.

Against Chun-Li, Dan or Sakura though, Morrigan will cosplay as them and imitate their win poses!

That's pretty much it for the original arcade game, so let's head over to the home ports.

First up, surprisingly, is the Playstation port released worldwide (under the Pocket Fighter title everywhere this time) in 1998.

I know what you're thinking, you're dreading the prospect of a CPS-II port to the Playstation, but hold your fire, this isn't like the Vs. games, this one ain't bad. While there's still cut animation frames as expected, it's not too rough, a fair number of animation frames have been cleaned up and it seems to play completely fine, no real compromises here (with the exception that, if I have this right, the 'round-the-world' animation that can occur with certain Guard Crush attacks no longer happens). There's even a whole extra move- Dan's Hisshou Buraiken Mighty Combo is here, a cheeky pseudo-namedrop of Avengers / Hissatsu Buraiken! There's a couple of extra modes here with standard Free Battle (basically two-player versus) and Training but the ones of particular interest are Running Battle and Edit Fighter. Running Battle is a survival-style mode where you fight against the cast one after the other on a new backdrop made for this version (which includes cameos from other Capcom games like Breath of Fire III, Mega Man Legends and Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness) with health restoration based on your performance. It's a neat little twist on the standard survival setup and the cameos are pretty cute. Also, each character now has a fourth colour palette, accessed by pressing Select on the select screen.

Edit Fighter is something slightly more involved, although if you're expecting something like the World Tour Mode frrom Street Fighter Alpha 3's home ports, nope, not this time. Instead, you start by taking a questionnaire from Tessa to determine your starting items and attributes (and, if you like, your character) that includes pertinent enquiries such as "You have a crush on someone you know. What do you give them?" (the best answer is, of course, "undue stress") and whether your favourite video game character is Firebrand or Hinata Wakaba. Once you're done, you can name this character and send them on their way playing against other characters one-on-one or as part of a survival match... But you don't control them! Instead the items you've equipped them with determines their behaviour and performance, and as you play matches you'll eventually get new items to change things up. I guess it's a kind of character-raising game, and you can also fight your friend's raised fighters using passwords if you want, so while it's not something I'm particularly interested in (if I want to do any character-raising, I'll do it in Princess Maker, ta) but hey, maybe it appeals to someone out there.

Next is the Saturn port released only in Japan also in 1998.

Coming out a few months after the Playstation port, this is a similarly-close port with a few differences. First, while the game is compatible with the 4MB Ram Cartridge, it's not required (unlike many of the other CPS-II ports for the system) so you can play without one, there'll just be less frames of animation although honestly it's a little hard to tell. Using the 4MB cart guarantees you get more frames of animation than the PS1 port at any rate! The other difference is an unusual one- Edit Fighter is not present at all! As for what's similar, this keeps all the other modes including Running Battle and its exclusive backdrop (which is kind of funny, seeing as it has Breath of Fire III characters whose game never appeared on the Saturn or any non-Sony console for that matter) and has the fixed animation frames plus Dan's Hisastsu Buraiken and the fourth colour palette (selected with X this time) so if you're willing to sacrifice Edit Fighter Mode for more frames of animation, this is one to go for, plus all the menus are in English so it's import-friendly too. It'd be surpassed a couple years down the line, but this is probably the contemporary port to pick out of your three options.

Three options? Yes, because next is... Huh? There was a monochrome WonderSwan port, released only in Japan in 2000?!

Oh, there certainly was.

Developed by Soft Machine (a company whose CEO was Pengo programmer Akira Nakakuma), Pocket Fighter for the WonderSwan- the black & white WonderSwan specifically, no colour here- is a fairly ambitious port that does a pretty decent job of replicating the experience in monochrome with some omissions and concessions. The whole roster is here with as many animation frames as you can reasonably expect from a handheld from this era but not all the mechanics- item orbs, item carriers and chests are gone as are different gem sizes (and because of the monochrome screen, gems are distinguished by shape instead of colour)- and the backgrounds are very scaled back, static images with a certain level of detail but no animation at all. While in theory a game like Pocket Fighter is perfect for a handheld with its simple button layout, it poses something of a problem on the WonderSwan as it only has two primary buttons. For the Special button you'll need to use the other D-Pad on the system that you're not using for movement which is a little awkward. On the plus side, button combination shortcuts can be set to the other D-Pad to make things a little more comfortable. The only other major change is that the game only has two speed settings, Normal and Slow, and Normal is not particularly fast so it feels a bit more sluggish than the original game. It's fine but matches just feel that little bit slower which is a shame.

As for exclusive features, this has some really strange ones, with two major exclusive modes, Point Battle and Card Battle. Point Battle is just Arcade Battle without cutscenes or endings but you're given points at the end of a run based on things like getting Perfects or finishing with Mighty Combos- almost like a score attack mode, a nice extra but nothing hugely noteworthy. The big one is Card Battle though, which is a completely different game! After selecting a character and starting a battle, you draw a random set of five cards and use them to make attacks, dodge, heal yourself and so on during each turn. If your cards have bigger numbers than the cards your opponent plays, you get to do your attacks and reduce their life bar, drain the opponent's life completely and you win. The specifics are covered in greater detail in this FAQ but honestly, I think it's a bit boring. Fights take a very long time in this mode especially since there are healing cards and the game cuts to fighting after every move and, well, maybe I'd prefer to play the actual fighting game, this isn't a Tekken Card Revolution situation where there is no proper fighting to be had! Maybe it's a mode for you, but not for me. Oh well.

There's some other extras here as well. Completely separate from the Card Battle mode is a Card Gallery with a base set of 131 cards for each character that you earn through Arcade Battle but they just use sprites from the game. Still, you can trade them with friends if you like. The game also had (key word: had) compatibility with WonderGate, the WonderSwan's online service which allowed you to download additional cards for the Card Gallery and upload your best Arcade and Point Battle scores to an online leaderboard, at least according to this report. Additionally, the Extra Menu has items that would be unlocked via WonderGate that you can fortunately still activate with cheat devices, weirdly including Training Mode and command lists. Clearly Capcom were prepping their on-disc DLC practices all these years prior. As a final bonus, here's the game's manual if you'd like to give it a read.

If you're the kind of Street Fighter fan who devours any and all Street Fighter media, you've already seen this port of the game!

The 2000 OVA Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation (AKA Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie) has a scene where Sakura, recovering in hospital, is playing the game on her own WonderSwan.

Ken doesn't seem amused, but then again, he doesn't get the three greatest frames in animation history in this OVA, now does he?

Next up is the odd inclusion of the game in Street Fighter Alpha Anthology / Street Fighter Zero: Fighter's Generation on PS2 in 2006 across the world.

Part of a duology of Capcom CPS-II collections on PS2 alongside the sadly Japan-only Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection, Street Fighter Alpha Anthology gathers together the arcade Street Fighter Alpha games and a couple of variants like Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold and the brand new Hyper Street Fighter Alpha but, for whatever reason, also includes Pocket Fighter (under the Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix moniker in the international version). As is my understanding these aren't emulations but instead actual native ports and so there's quite a few extras included here that you wouldn't normally see. As well as Arcade and Versus (which allows you to pick your stage freely) you have Training with a full suite of training dummy options, the fourth colour palette from the console releases and you also have pretty free reign over in-game options as well as a few simple display features. The Japanese version also has move lists for every character when you pause, but these were cut from international releases to sell copies of the strategy guide. Boo! Unlike the other games on this set Pocket Fighter doesn't get an Arrange Mode but it is required to beat this as well as all the other games to unlock Hyper Street Fighter Alpha, so get practising, the AI in this one is kinda brutal.

There's several exclusive features too, surprisingly, using a couple of simple codes explained in this GameFAQs guide. First, hold Triangle, Cross and R2 and select Arcade Mode to play Survival Mode, adapted loosely from the Survival Mode found in Edit Fighter Mode in the PS1 port where you have two lives to get through as much of the cast as possible (except this time you can play it rather than just watch). Next, hold R1 and select Game Options in the Options Menu to enter the Extra Option screen to enable infinite health and Mighty Gauge plus disable or enable certain elements of guarding. There's yet more, hold R2 and select Game Options in the Options Menu to enter the Secret Option screen that allows you to either set the game to be the Japan 970901 revision, the standard 970904 version or customise several features by selecting from a row of unlabelled stars. These star features are explained on this fan wiki and for this game in particular includes things like enabling or disabling intense screen flashing during Ken's ending and whether Akuma's PKPK Flash Combo ends with a hit that actually connects. Finally, hold R2 and select Display Options in the Options Menu to go to the Color Edit screen where you can make one new palette for every character, with the caveat that it replaces their default costume. Until the modern-day rerelease, this would be the one to go for.

Finally, an honest-to-goodness modern port? Oh hell yes. That'd be as part of Capcom Fighting Collection on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and Steam from 2022.

A collection of leftover arcade fighting games not related to licenses or Street Fighter (well, mostly), this is also the first time Pocket Fighter has reappeared since a Japanese PSN rerelease of the PS1 version, Pocket Fighter was a game producer Shuhei Matsumoto was very keen to rerelease alongside Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo also on the collection (that means it's officially a fighting game) and honestly, it's well-deserved. As with the other games on this set, Pocket Fighter includes both Japanese and English revisions, online play, a decent training mode, easy special move commands as an option, a museum with lots of production art and full soundtracks to listen to and even bug fixes (with Pocket Fighter's fix being more a curiosity than anything else). Arguably, Pocket Fighter is one of the games most impacted by the fact these are all the arcade versions- no Edit Fighter, no Running Battle, no fixed sprites, no extra colour palettes, none of that. I understand why of course- the arcade versions are generally regarded as the definitive versions for competitive play, and it's not like there's a button Capcom can press to make all that old content made specifically for multiple-generations-old ports appear... But it's still worth noting. I also would've liked more instructions and context for these games, but having them playable online with friends and in a convenient format is good enough for me.

One last thing to note today, as I very much doubt I'll get the chance to talk about this again.

Did you know there was a Street Fighter pachinko game with sprites taken from Pocket Fighter and more added?!

Fever Street Fighter II is a 2001 pachislot machine created by SANKYO and, of course, only released in Japan. Based on Street Fighter II, this uses chibi designs for the cast with sprites reused from Pocket Fighter where applicable but also includes the rest of the World Warriors (and Akuma, but not the other New Challengers) with brand-new sprites made just for this machine! While I couldn't possibly report on the machine itself given that it was released only in Japan and even if you could find it, you'd probably have to brave a pachinko parlour (if the incessant noise of balls slapping against pins doesn't get you, the near-impenetrable wall of cigarette smoke will), there was a home port of sorts. SANKYO Fever 4 (listed on GameFAQs as just Fever 4 which doesn't make it easy to find) contains a recreation of the machine for you to practice at home if you really want. A very odd bit of Street Fighter ephemera, here's more info from the PSX Datacenter and an archive of the official website for your perusal.

Morrigan always ends up a little mad at the end of these crossover Capcom articles, huh.

Morri, I'm a huge fan but you're not allowed to say anything bad about Lilith, I don't make the rules I merely enforce them.