Review by Forman

"Best 2D beat em up ever? Yes indeedy!"

Yes, it really is the ultimate review. I said so just now.

So, King of Fighters has almost hit the 2000 mark, having produced six games to date with each
being more cunningly great than the last. Obviously they're doing something right then. But
you're reading this to find out why, yes?

First off let me say this:

There's a wide streak of injustice in the world regarding video games of any kind: the more
skill you need to be a great player, the less people will like it. The reason Soul Calibur and
Power Stone got so popular is because a monkey thrashing away at the buttons could win on a
regular basis: try that in King of Fighters and you'll get absolutely hammered to a pulp.

The reason behind this is that KOF 99 Evolution is engineered so that it plays as tightly as is
humanly possible. You have to be very good indeed to be any good at all, if you see what I mean.
And if you don't, you're not cut out for this game, matey boy.

Right, for those of you who didn't shriek like a monkey and bolt for the hills as soon as you
heard the word 'skill', let me fill you on in the storyline...

Strangely enough, the year is 1999. Two years have passed since the last tournament (98 was one
of Shingo's dreams) and the whole world is going pear shaped. Kyo Kusanagi, the man destined to
win every KOF tournament he enters for no particular reason other than being the star of the
series, has been missing since the climatic battle against Orochi. Iori, long time chum of Mr.
Kusanagi, is searching for Kyo in the hopes of ripping his guts out. Terry and Ryo enter their
own chums for the new tourney, knowing that they'll have to let the teams most associated with
the storyline win in case they get into trouble from SNK.

And on top of all this, there's a bunch of Kusanagi clones been found around the world, waiting
to unleash destruction upon all they survey. Moreover, some Kyo clones are being tampered with,
creating new types of fighters... insanely hard ones, to put it bluntly.

In order to test out some of the clones against the world's best fighters, the word goes out
for the new tournament to be held. And the winning team will have the honour of having their
genetic code implanted into the new clones as the 'Killer Instinct'.

Bloody hell, you might be thinking, how on earth will we survive that scenario? Well, buy the
game and find out.

Okay, now that your pulses were racing so hard they exploded and showered you with blood, it's
time to get down to it. Some characters are gone, some are new and most are back. Yes, Blue
Mary's still there, so don't worry. Why no-one's written a faq for K' yet, I've no idea... maybe
I'll do one for him and Kyo by myself.

You can play the game with teams or in single play, and there's one significant new potato
thrown into the stew that is KOF 99 evolution... the striker system. At the flick of a button,
they rush in and assist you in various ways, from battering your opponent to recharging your
super bars. They're a funky addition to the game, so long as you don't cheat and put them on
infinite and use them as a shield against K's supers while you're being beaten up with Leona.
But who would do a thing like that?

(I'd like to take this opportunity to glare at someone I know. Won't take a minute. There.)

Do well in the main game and you'll acquire battle points which can be used to buy even more
strikers such as Alfred and Fio! Hooray! Besides, you've already got two exclusive strikers:
Vanessa and Seth. Who are both really hard, and are appearing in KOF 2000, fact fans!

Actually, I'll just cut right to the chase: explaining the way the game works is unnecessary to
anyone who knows what a 2D, bare handed fighting game is. Even better if you've already played or
even seen a KOF game: you get the idea, just new and improved!

Gameplay: 10/10
---------------

If you've got the skill to cope, you're in for the ride of your life. Other than the world
famous 'SNK Boss' syndrome, the characters are impeccably balanced, whilst remaining as diverse
a selection as anyone could possibly want. If you lose, you played worse than the other guy:
you'll very, very rarely win because of cheap shots or lucky attacks.

Put simply, the adrenaline gets going and you can't leave the machine for love, money nor
loyalty. End of story.

Graphics: 9/10
--------------

Okay, it's not exactly as impressive as Dead or Alive 2. What it is, however, is the best
looking 2D fighter ever to hit a home system. The backgrounds have undergone an overhaul since
their arcade debut, and are utterly beautiful in scope and execution. Rain slashes against the
fighters and spatters off benches in a stormy park, Jets swoop over the heads of fighters in the
airport against a sunset, a lift suddenly disengages from a sewer whisking your fighters away to
an underground base... the detail is quite simply stunning.

Oh, and it has the best characters ever to hit a 2D fighter thrown in as well. Can't say no,
can you?

Sounds: 10/10
-------------

Hey, there's no denying it: KOF 99 has one of the best musical scores ever to grace a fighting
game. The only shame is that there's so few of them compared to KOF 98. Kyo's new BGM 'Tears'
more than makes up for the lack of tracks though: it's a belter. Slow at first, building up to a
raging crescendo of aural greatness, it's the definitive track to fight to. Also, the Korean
team is worthy of note with 'Road to Rebirth,' as is... oh, to hell with it. Listen and be
converted, disbeliever.

Overall: 10/10
--------------

You know, I used to think that rating a game a perfect ten was, well, stupid. Yet, if Soul
Calibur and its like can get a perfect 10, this should get a ludicrously high 20 or so.

Why am I picking on Soul Calibur so badly, you may ask? It's simple:

Soul Calibur + Button bashers winning = Top game.

KOF 99 Evo + Button bashers losing = 'Uh, I can't play this. It's obviously crap then.' (Actual
quote, by the way.)

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Soul Calibur... it's just that it's the enemy of everything I
stand for. Well, except maybe the graphics and characters and extras. I was talking about
gameplay anyway, you unwashed vagrants.

I'm just waiting for Marvel Vs Capcom 2 to come out and prove my point. Hey, maybe it'll be
great, but I've heard that it's more or less the same as the first with much more characters.
Which isn't my idea of a good game at all.

Bottom Line: KOF is better than you. Buy it and be complete.

WARNING: If you don't want to see who I'm indebted to, don't pass beyond this line:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Scary and intimidating, yet strangely alluring, isn't it?)

Thank ee kindly:
----------------

Well, this is the point where I'd like to say a big 'Thanks' to Stuart and Fingies, for being
the best gaming practice a man could ever hope for. Cheers, people!

(Oh, and Stu: See you at the Scottish Gaming Tourney! Let the best (For)man win!)

Thanks to Takara/Tamsoft, SNK, Team Ninja and Team Neo Blood for their fine fighting game
efforts over the years. Mucho appreciated.

Thanks to Tsukasa Kotobuki for being the best artist/character designer ever to hit the earth.

Yet more thanks go to Vanessa Adams, Naska Chijoue and Hell Kits for being so utterly great in
each and every respect, not least of all humour and general niceness. Oh, and evilness, too.

Prof. Moriarty and his lovely, lovely site which will be reborn as - http://www.mmcafe.com -
go here for your latest gaming news, good citizens!

Finally, I'd like to thank Nigel, Meaty Burger supreme, for looking after my site while I'm
away. You can pop in to see him on my site at: http://freespace.virgin.net/k.forman

And... eh... that's it! Seeya people!

Just remember: KOF players are genetically superior human beings!

Here's to Mark of the Wolves appearing soon on Dreamcast!

Gee.. that's a big credit list for the size of the review...


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/10/00, Updated 05/10/00


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