With the portable gaming market rapidly growing in size, deals are being struck all over the place. Bandai's Wonderswan will link with the PS2, the Neo Geo Pocket Color can send data to Dreamcast games, and nearly every franchise has spawned a portable spin-off. It didn't take long for Sting to get in on the act -- the company's popular Evolution series is now bound for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, courtesy of a port by SNK itself.

 Pepper Box
Portable Pepper power

   Despite the dramatic shift from a fully 3-D Dreamcast title to a 2-D, 146-color portable one, Evolution seems to be holding up well. The gameplay itself is actually quite similar to the original's: You explore randomly-generated dungeons, collect parts for your mechanical Cyframes (thus enabling new abilities), and retreat to town to purchase supplies. The entire cast of characters has even been crammed into the cartridge.

   Of course, a few changes had to be implemented. Town navigation is now conducted from a menu, while the dungeons are explored via an overhead 2-D perspective. And at least one new feature is set to be included: A link cable mode that allows players to pit their saved parties against each other -- a rarity for a non-monster-based game. A brand new storyline is also featured; in this episode, Mag and pals search for a treasure named Evolusia.

   Evolution for Neo Geo Pocket Color is due out February 11th in Japan. Word has it that SNK will release the title in North America this spring, so expect more information soon.

Preview by Fritz Fraundorf, GIA.
Developer SNK
Publisher SNK
Genre Traditional RPG
Medium Cartridge (? mb)
Platform Neo Geo Pocket Color
Release Date  02.10.00
 Q2 '00
9 screenshots