King Of Fighters 2000/2001 PS2 Review
SNK’s Greatest Fighters come together to battle it out in the world famous ‘King of Fighters’ tournament.
The company formerly known as SNK Neo Geo bring you a two game compilation of one of their best known and most loved games to your Playstation 2 for the first time as a stand alone game. Originally this game came out in the US about a year ago, so why the long wait? Well to be honest I don’t know what took it so long but the wait is worth it… That is if your’e a 2D fighting fan. Lets face it for £20 you can’t go wrong either.
Lets start with the bad points as this is such a brief area to discuss it shouldn’t take too long. Unless your a hardcore 2D fan or even a fan of anime styling in games, the presentation in KOF (I shall refer to the game as this through the duration of the review) will not wow you or even impress you in the slightest. The character sprites whilst detailed and fluidly moving do not stand the test of time well at all compared to other fighting games 2D and 3D, especially 3D Virtua Fighter 4 Evo happily stamps all over it in the pure ‘Aesthetics’ department. An example of an excellent looking 2D fighting game would have to be Guilty Gear (why cant developers look at what Sammy have done and move with the times?). SNK have tried to make improvements on the aesthetic side, the have antialiased the backgrounds to stop them looking blocky but in doing so, they have made some of the backgrounds look worse with blurry edges. Whilst these are minor gripes at a game many people wont not know this was a game that originally came out 3 and 4 years ago on the now defunct Neo Geo AES (Arcade Entertainment System), many will not care and pass it over purely because it does not look like Tekken… Their loss.
This is where things start to get interesting, as in all fighting games there must be a good balance in all the fighting styles. Making the game accessible to new comers and in depth for the veterans of the genre, This is a game that will never disappoint in that regard. Upon picking up the game I found myself being able to pull off some excellent moves and also a couple of combo’s with relative ease (maybe the experience on 10 years of Street Fighter games helps). Whilst new comers are welcomed the game is suitably balanced so that skilled players can exhibit visual displays almost unimaginable, If you see two skilled fighters on this game either of the versions 2000/2001 you will be subject to a spectacle, people blocking each others moves, combo’s, side steps, taunts it is great to watch a skilled player battling someone with just one hit left on their health bar and beat the other competitor with a 15 hit super combo which you wouldn’t have thought possible. Likewise it is brilliant to see two fighters battling away neck and neck only for one of them to win with a cheeky leg sweep, its the ultimate defeat move nothing special yet so clinical.
The soundtracks to both games are nothing to shout home about , the same old fighting game staples of rock and techno music which help to carry along the game but do not really add to the experience in anyway, most will turn down the game soundtrack and listen to their own music collection anyway. The characters voice-overs are well done and if you do have the sound turned up, the taunts and little jibes towards each combatant are thoughtfully worded and well presented.
There are many unlockables in the game starting with a total of 75 fighters (between the two versions) many more to unlock (gotta catch em all!), You can also unlock the movies and intro’s from the previous KOF games.
If your a fan of 2D fighting games then you will probably lose many an hour to this game learning the hidden intricacies and the many special and hidden moves (the special moves are not told to you in the manual you have to find them out yourselves), the possibilities of glitches to exploit. It is endless art to learn in essence. However if your knew to the genre but genuinely interested, it may take you months to learn the game and years to master.
Finally one the greatest fighting series ever gets a package deal worthy of its name and heritage, the bonus is it finally gets a European release. Fans of the genre will love something new to pick up and play, New comers will like the games little subtleties and extras to unlock. Critics of the genre will find nothing to appease them here, especially because of the old version released just now and also the 2D graphics will put many off… But looks are not everything, right?