That faraway shrill? The collective squeal from the 17 people worldwide who plumped for the Neo Geo Pocket F1 in the midst of Pokémania in 1999. For these unorthodox fiends, Card Fighters was their Mecca, but this DS re-imagining is destined to disappoint.
Perhaps unsure of their card game's staying power, SNK have seen fit to make several changes to the formula, which succeeds only in making it an artificial and arbitrary experience. Firstly, the number of cards that can be laid has been bumped from three to eight, but instead of increasing options it instils apathy - why bother building up and protecting a card when another identical one will be along in a minute?
It's a card-knock life
Your cards act as a defensive wall to your own HP, with the aim being to overwhelm your opponents' cards in order to get a crack at their health bar.
Laying a card utilises the requisite force gems - coloured gems that your cards can actively or passively 'harvest' by being in play. The rationale behind this is two-fold; it requires you to start with weaker cards, and build together a set using cards of the same colour. But the attritional nature of the rules means that success is a numbers game - you'll find yourself hurling in any old card when you get the opportunity.
And if a gung-ho approach is a legitimate tactical strategy, you feel that the rules haven't been tweaked as tightly as they might.
Where's Wi-Fi? RPG mode? Not a total wash-out, but it is limited. SNK should have spent more time combing the rules and less combing Dante's hair.