The King of Fighters '99
Review by NewRevelation
"SNK release the ultimate King of Fighters experience for the PSX."
There are only two companies that dominate the 2D fighting arena of gaming. No, it isn't Midway with Mortal Kombat and it isn't Rare with Killer Instinct. It's Capcom and SNK, the two Japanese gaming giants who have set their mark on the 2D fighting game genre. However, while
Capcom was off releasing spin-offs from its Street Fighter II franchise, SNK came out and release a truly innovative fighting game. And that was King of Fighters '94. The series has been receiving an update with every passing year, and the latest release on the PlayStation is the '99 edition, Match of the Millenium.
Same old, but good!
I'll get straight to the point. King of Fighters '99 (KOF99) is no different to its predecessors, playing exactly the same as an SNK fan would expect it to. This time, there is a whooping 32 characters to play and fight against, making this one of the biggest fighting games to date. Old favourites like Benimaru, Iori, Terry, and co. are back while the Orochi team (Yashiro, Shermie, Chris) have been ditched for two extra versions of Kyo and three new characters, one which is from Real Bout 2. However, unlike KOF98, which was a ''best of'' collection than an entirely new game, this game has a new storyline and a new end boss.
The story is like your regular Hollywood blockbuster. Some guy dressed like a 70s pimp daddy is out to rule the world. Not only has he got a powerful influence under the King of Fighters tournament, but he has managed to get a DNA sample of Kyo Kusanagi, last year's champion. He has now cloned an entire army of Kyos out to take over the world. Believe me, this guy makes Gendo Ikari from Evangelion look like a paper dileivery boy. He's mad, and he knows it.
So that's where you step in, playing the game as your choice of characters. Unlike Street Fighter where you choose a single fighter, you get to choose three to make your team. You choose the order you want your fighters in and when your first fighter gets KO'ed, your second one picks up from where you left of. The match is concluded when all three players of a team have been taken down. This battle system makes the matches last longer and they give a bit of strategy when it comes to setting the order of your fighters.
The fighting remains unchanged from KOF98 except for the ''striker'' that SNK has added to this version. Now you are able to choose four (!) characters, with the first three taking part in the fight while the fourth one can be called to do an attack. This works like the backup ''partner'' you had doing an attack in X-Men Vs Street Fighter EX.
I'm not getting old! You are!
The arcade machine is running on aging NeoGeo hardware, yet the graphics don't show it. The characters look sharp and detailed while the backgrounds will blow you away with their detail. However, due to the PlayStation's RAM constraints, some of the character animations have been cut out. They're only noticable if you really look or if you're a complete die-hard of the arcade game.
The sounds and music are arcade perfect, as you would expect, and the controls are spot on. The only bummer is the somewhat long loading times in between bouts. But the image gallery full of concept arts and pictures makes up for it. Even though this game was only released in Japan, all of the menus are in English. Only the story is in Japanese, which kind of sucks.
If you're after an awesome 2D fighting game, then this is it. It's fighting at its best. The KOF series wouldn't exist unless it was popular, and when you'll play this game, you'll understand why. KOF2K is already making the rounds in the arcades, so here's hoping it makes it on the PS2 with shorter loading times!
An arcade perfect translation of a great fighting game.
Loading times slow down the action in between bouts.
91% A religious experience.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/18/01, Updated 03/18/01
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