Fans of SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Color are quick to proclaim their love for games like SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash, Match of the Millennium and even Sonic Pocket Adventure, but there's one game that deserves to be in every portable gamers collection. It's the one game that every American should have played but probably didn't due to the untimely death of the system. It's Faselei! and it's easily one of the best games SNK has ever published.
In this Neo Geo Pocket Color tactical role-playing game developed by Sacnoth, you command a breed of mechanized foot-soldiers out to restore peace to the war-torn land set one hundred years in the future. The king has been assassinated and anarchy is in place, so it's up to you to put an end to the evil revolution and reinstate the monarchy. As you progress through the Faselei! storyline, you'll have to enhance your army with parts, weapons, and supplies to keep them fighting fit. You'll also be able to purchase newer, more powerful troops to enhance your squad.
Faselei! features three modes: a training mode to familiarize yourself with the complex battle engine, the story mode (the role-playing game), and a mode where you can take your troops into different, organized missions. Released in Japan and Europe, Faselei! never shipped to retailers due to SNK's withdrawal from the handheld market. It's a shame to because it's a damn good game, if you can find a copy to play I recommend picking it up.
Instead of the usual mech game type of controls, the game forces you to anticipate what your opponents are going to do, by programming in a sequence of five commands (walk forward, turn right, fire weapon 1, step back, fire weapon 1, for example). You are limited to how many different command chips you can carry by the size of the CPU in your TS, and, of course, how much money you have to buy them with - so if you're low on cash between missions and you absolutely MUST have the new chip in there to fire weapon number 3, then you have to take out something else - are you going to deny yourself the option to turn left, walk backwards ... ? The end result sits somewhere between conventional real-time and turn-based strategy games, with a sizeable element all its own. As is so often the case with NGP games, Faselei! may not be very original, but it's an extremely different way of doing something that's already been done. And it does it very, very well. The game has a lot of depth
Like most Neo Geo Pocket Color games (or any handheld games from the 1990s) the sound isn't all that great, personally I play with the sound off. I get the feeling that the NGPC was capable of better sound, it just wasn't implemented in this game.
While no game is perfect, Faselei! comes extremely close. It was a major reason for me buying an NGPC. Sure it's not completely original and the sound isn't all that great but the gameplay is what matters. The story is pretty decent as well. Sure the graphics may not be comparable to something on the PSP but for the system it was on and the era it was released in this game was top notch.