Review by Neo Kyo
""Kyo" buy a copy today!"
Okay, I'll admit it: I used to know nothing SNK beyond the Fatal Fury game I bought off of my friend for SNES years ago. I knew Terry was cool, Andy was lame, Geese was evil, and Mai was bouncy. Then, after an otaku friend of mine dressed up as Yuri Sakazaki one year for Halloween, I decided to try King of Fighters.
Having the money to burn, I went and picked it up on a whim about three weeks ago. Since then, it's more or less the only fighter I've been playing. It's a shame that SNK itself can't produce any more great KOF games, but the rest are still around to be enjoyed, like this one.
The play graphics are to be expected from SNK, but they give KOF a certain level of visual class that Capcom fighters seem to lack (no, I'm not dissing them, they just have a more fluid, cartoony style).
The gameplay is smooth if you take the time to learn it. If you pick up the controller and expect to be able to instantly stomp someone into the pavement, you're outta luck. But if you spend a little time learning basic moves, you'll instantly have at least half the characters mastered. Plus, with the Strikers added, you can string together incredible combo attacks, even if you're a combo-illiterate fighter like myself.
What I particularly like, though, is the Japanese dialogue. Although it's sort of annoying not to know what they're saying, it's better than having them done by worse voice actors this side of Dragonball Z. It also helps KOF '99 retain a certain level of originality and a certain charm.
I digress, however. The only secret character is the final boss, and the illustration gallery, while unique and neat, is a little on the lame side. However, I like the Color Edit option - lets you make a fighter that looks like you! And it actually works, too!
Overall, I really enjoy this game, and hope that the fact that better fighters exist on better systems doesn't deter someone from picking up a piece of work from SNK.
Graphics: 8/10. As I stated, the realism of the fighters is a nice breath of fresh air from the more anime-inspired Street Fighter-styled games.
Sound: 7/10. While I really like the Japanese dialogue, the attack sounds get to be repetetive, and effects such as connecting punches and kicks end up being mediocre.
Control: 7/10. Very functional, reactive controls... if you take the time to learn them. Don't be afraid to set up your controller differently. And understanding the easiest way to call out Strikers is necessary.
Fun Factor: 8/10. Being new to the KOF mythos, I had fun pitting various characters with and against each other, and learning the story through this. It's also a great game to play against a friend who's also a KOF newbie.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/13/02, Updated 04/13/02
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