Review by king hiro blast

"An evolution in fighting games"

First off, before I write this review, I'd like to thank Jason Robinson, for making me the SNK fan I am today, for allowing to whup his butt as many times as I have and ect, ect, ect.(Now I hope he's happy and never will ask for that again).

Remember the saying, ''Expect nothing and you'll never be disappointed'' well I went for this game with the exact reverse of that and you know what, I love being right. KoF: Evolution met and went beyond what I expected and I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise; SNK is, of course, THE fighting game people(What about Capcom? Some might ask(you heard me folks)).

Of course, after the amazing KoF99: Dream Match, I thought it would have been nearly impossible to top: what with it's superb presentation, smooth music, and excellent control, it was a tough task; Evolution was more then up to the task with it's even cleaner graphics, cool music and hot women(oh and the control was perfect). And except for missing an anime intro on par with Dream Match, it's definatly an Evolution alright. The only downside, back to 24 characters and no individual chracter music tracks but thank heaven's the chracters and tracks that are here are about as good as they get.

So what's the story in this installment of KoF? Two years after the last King of Fighters turnament, Kyo's been cloned by the leaf Cartel so they could: 1)Take over the world by an army of Kyo clones using 'Killer Instinct' from unfortunate fighters and/or 2)Create a really cheap work force of Kyo's(union free, of course) who'll go to arcade's
all over the world and sign autographs for Kyo fan boys. Fortunately, or unfortunately(it's how you see it), it's the former of the two.

What's amazing about this game is the presentation; the look and feel is ever so polished. Evolution takes what was good about Dream Match and makes it better. Character select screens and portraits are smooth and juicy; never have I seen the KoF gang look so sweet in just the chracter select screen alone, well what would you expect with hand drawn portraits, to look like crap.

If you thought the character select screen was groovy, wait till you see the game graphics themselves; what an ''evolution'' from Dream Match. What once was dated and a tad old, now looks new and surprisingly fresh with far cleaner sprites and better animation then ever(Which considering the Neo-Geo hardware from which it's derived from is over 10 years old, it's quite amazing).

Returning from Dream Match is the ''special intro'' between certain characters(i.e Mai giving andy a bit of a scare by doing a fine vantriliquism act with a baby puppet(must be seen to be believed)). Also back from Dream Match, is the awesome winning stances and taunts which give the term ''character'' new meaning.

What's different in gameplay from Dream Match? First off is the subtraction of the ''extra mode'' now we're just left with advanced mode but when you think about, who really liked Extra mode anyhow? Dashing back causes you to go back for a short moment but you snap forward at your opponent, which if your timing is really good can tip the match in your favor but the first time you try it you'll more then likely run into your foe's fist.

Another gamplay change is change from 3 fighter teams to 4 fighter teams, 3 fighters and 1 striker; the striker is an interesting concept, during the fight call your striker and they jump in for a short moment, attack, and then leave. A great addition to the KoF fighting system and far more fair then Capcom's, ''Marvel Vs. Capcom 2''

Music is as always brilliant and to tell you, a milestone for fighting games(and video games in general) with it's cool sound and beat; the chracter select music is electrifiying and the stage music is right on and doesn't distract like certain other games from a certain gaming company that starts with the letter C(Hint, ''they want to take you for a ride''). Actually I wish more games had music as fitting as this game's was; again ''evolution'' is more then just the surtitle, it's what it is.

That's nice and all, some might ask, but what the control. Well, it's not just good, it's great; dead on accurate with no delay in button presses and on screen actions. Moves, are a snap to pull off, unless your a button mashin' Soul Calibur guy then you'll probably not understand the smoothness and gracefulness of the moves you execute. Button mashin sinners come, play this and your sins will be forgiven.

The only downside is again, the slight load times but so small it's no biggie; I'm just bringing it the forefront and that's it(So Jason shut your trap, okay?).

Making up for the load times is the ''Extra Striker'' system in which you battle in the aracade modes and get ''points.''
Take these points and you can buy new strikers; there's quite a few of them ranging from 800 to 2000 points to obtain...believe me it's worth it to play for these gems(trust me Extra Striker Kyo is a gem is use in a battle if you want it to go your way).

So with the combination of: Control, sound, graphics, addition of the innovative striker system and all around feel; this King of Fighters is truely the ''Evolutionary'' leap that we've been waiting for. Definatly more then just a rental it's a must own. Now take yourself and your striker and go buy this game, you won't be sorry.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/12/00, Updated 09/12/00

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