After the bitter taste left in my mouth from the arcade release of SNK vs. Capcom Chaos it’s nice to go back to what SNK is known for, their King of Fighters series. With the recent release on PS2 gamers like you reading this are treated to not one, but two new fighting games, or not so new if you know of a good arcade near you. This collection is a 100% accurate port of the arcade classics, and they were even kind enough to bring the lack of balance between some characters. But with a little practice you’ll be kicking Zero’s ass up and down the… or should I say left and right around the screen. 2-D is back with a flourish and for twenty bones a game you really should pick this up.
King of Fighters has always been known for its expansive casts and neither one of these games will disappoint. Of course the downside to this is the fact that there isn’t too much in terms of new characters from game to game, usually just four new people and a new boss that’s really tough to beat for the average Joe. Like I said before there are some balance issues with some characters being much stronger than they should be, and other characters who are usually fun to play are so miserably weak that you just wind up playing the team of Iori, Kyo, K, and some broken striker. I don’t mean this is terribly detrimental to the gameplay but it is something I think should be addressed for future versions of the game. After seeing King of Fighters 2003 and seeing what a Duolon/Leona team is capable of I think it’s going to take some major complaining on gamers parts to get any sort of change going.
Graphically the game is sub-par, I’m sorry but after Guilty Gear I don’t see why games can’t always look that good. Granted the graphics of KOF have always been serviceable, I just wish SNK would put a little more effort into how the game looks. That and wish there were more frames of movement per character instead of what looks like just 3 frames to throw a punch. Sound in this game is also pretty weak. Some of the voices sound horribly digitized and the music is a tolerable affair.
Being a fighting game control would have to be the most important aspect of the game and thankfully SNK doesn’t cut corners there. The controls are quick and responsive which helps the fast on-screen action. Some frames for hit detection could use a bit of tightening but that’s just coming from someone who notices these things. Most people won’t care about that millimeter of distance, so I really can’t score against the game for it.
Keeping this review short and sweet, if you’ve had your fill of Guilty Gear and Capcom vs. SNK then go out and get this collection. At twenty bucks a game you really won’t be disappointed because there is a character here for everyone, my wacky team of Angel, King, Kula, and K are more than enough to keep me coming back for more in these games. All you have to do is look past the graphics and sound and you’re set for some furious fighting action.
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