Review by tanarus

"Fun for the first little while..."

I've always been a fan of the King of Fighters series. Ever since I played my first game in the arcades, completely clueless to the gameplay nuances (what? It wants me to pick a second player? Must be my opponent... This person looks weak...) I've been hooked. Unfortunately, my availability to the games was terrible; I'd get to play at said arcade once a week. That is, until I finally found a copy of KoF99. If you'll excuse me, I'm the kind of person that would freak over finding a Iori Yagami jacket and never let it off my body, this installment of the series leaves me begging for more.

''His name should be Kapostrophe! They would've called him K- otherwise!''

As always, SNK's superior character design shows here. The new characters, in a word, rock. K' sports a mean lookin' outfit and a really cold personality, akin to the insane Iori, who always knows how to dress well and look cool, for example. The original characters alone are enough to bring interest in many a player. It's a good thing the graphics in this game allow for the design to be displayed well, as well; from what I've seen, this looks exactly like its arcade versions. The animations are fluent and beautiful, and though the fighting may not be fast paced, there are numerous strategic elements to it.

''Oh, my god! His hand! It's... On fire!''

The music is passably good, ranging from jazzy piano driven tunes to some really neat rock. Though cool at first, the tunes soon get old; even with two versions of the same songs for the fights, hearing them for up to five rounds per game does cause it to grow old quickly. The voices seem muffled as well; they almost sound like scrap jobs taken from a $10 computer microphone. Though the voice actors and sound effects themselves sound great, the lack of recording quality detracts from the overall experience. A punch just isn't a punch is the resulting smack drones out with a fizz. And let's just not talk about the 20 second wait for loading time between matches, shall we?

Fireball: QCF+P Err... QCF QCF+P. ...Why won't it work!?

My biggest complaint about this game, however, is the really still controls. You'll swear you executed a move perfectly, only to find your character counter the fireball thrown at him with a heavy punch. Moves have to be pulled off at an exact pace, which is especially hard to do when you're in the middle of a frenetic matchup, desperate to pull off that final Desperation Move... It just doesn't work.

Continue?

Episode Five in the series is great, but also very flawed. People looking to get attached to the series should try to find an arcade version of this game before taking the home version. Overall, the game itself is excellent, but the poor control quality bogs it down quite a bit. Because of the many flaws, I can only recommend this game for diehard fans that can see through the numerous problems of the home version.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/29/02, Updated 10/29/02


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