Review by Macintosh User

Reviewed: 07/06/04

King of Fighters 98, The Legacy Continues

The King of Fighters is a long-running series of games that serves as the flagship of SNK fighting games. The King of Fighters pits some of SNK's best characters from its fighting universe in battle against one another. Featuring only the best of the best, KOF has earned the reputation as game that is among the best of the best. So it is no surprise that The King of Fighters '98 has been so well received by the SNK fan base. In fact few other titles have earned as much respect as KOF '98 has. Why? Because plain and simple, KOF '98 is one of the smoothest and most impressive fighters in the world. The game weighs in at a whopping 683 megs, over two times the original said capacity of the Neo-Geo System. The game features crisp, clean, wonderful graphics, decent music, great sound effects, excellent control, and fantastic gameplay to lure gamers back into the arcades. KOF '98 is definately one of the best fighters SNK has ever put together.

(gameplay - 9)
KOF '98 is definitely one of the better KOF games, control-wise. The characters move about the screen responsively, and the two-punch, two-kick button layout works well. The Super Moves are easier than ever to pull off, as are the special attacks. The players are fluid in their movements thanks to wonderful animation, and the action is quick and instantaneous. Of course everything is tight and responsive, and the players move as if they are on strings that are pulled simultanteously by the gamer. The control is close to perfect, but small imperfections hold it back slightly.

(story - 8)
The story is reallly pretty weak this time around, this is a Dream Match, in which the best fighters of the world have gathered for a tournament to be declared King of Fighters. The action takes place in team versus team form, but there is no real deep plot or storyline behind KOF '98, unlike the previous and following years when an in-depth story was included.

(graphics - 9, sound - 8)
The King of Fighters '98 is one of the best-looking KOF games out there, with large detailed characters that are fluidly animated and seem very realistic. The special moves are a sight to behold, and the backgrounds are all heavily animated and highly detailed. The graphics seem like they get better with each passing year, as new sprites are drawn, players clothing is changed, new characters are added, etc., on and on it goes as the game's graphics continuously improve upon the version from the previous year. The backgrounds of the stages also have lots of stuff going on in them, with all kinds of action from people watching and conversing to broken down cars and trains moving to and fro. Lots of detail and effort went into these graphics and it shows. The soundtrack is okay, not the best, but decent enough to please the ear. The voice samplings leave some to be desired, as they sound kind of funny and garbled. The sound effects are simply stunning, with each attack accounted for and the impact of a blow really takes hold when a large thunderous smack is heard reverberating through the speakers after you have been pummeled mercilously by your opponent. Really the sound effects rule, but the soundtrack is less than perfect.

(replayability - 9)
This is one of the best KOF entries, but it doesn't include my all-time favorite character K', so I have docked it a couple points for small flaws and the replay value in my estimation is not as high if your favorite fighters are not represented. Luckily this game has a huge cast of characters and plenty of them are easy to like and they have enough strength and power to demolish most other fighting game characters, so finding a team you like isn't that hard to do. The replay value is high because this game is so well done and offers so many variations on who you can team up with. Awesome.

There aren't many KOF games that aren't worth owning, and KOF '98 is definitely one that deserves purchasing. It will keep you coming back for more for a very long time. The great controls, polished graphics, cool sound effects, and replay value should all convince you that this game is worth the price tag. For fighting game fans this is a must have, for SNK Neo-Geo fans this game is a thrillride that deserves your attention. The Neo-Geo CD version really blows and should not be purchased because some of the animation has been cut out and the load times are very long. But for MVS or AES owners, this game is definitely worth the price of admission and is sure to please the gamer in you.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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