Review by Macintosh User

"Art of Fighting Has Potential, but Squanders It..."

Art of Fighting looks great aesthetically. The graphics are very well done, the characters are huge and well-detailed. This game definately looks good and is one of the Neo's earliest triumphs, visually. This game came out in 1992 and was a direct competitor of Capcom's Street Fighter 2. This came looks great graphically, it has a good storyline, and the voices are great, it's just the tunes and controls that squander such amazing potential. If it weren't for the horrible control scheme, this game could be a classic, easily. Unfortunately the control engine is very broken and this makes this game very frustrating to play. It's unfortunate, because Art of Fighting certainly has the good looks and cool story to make arcade fans happy. Watch out when you grab the joystick though...

(gameplay - 3)
Video games must control well to receive any chance at earning respect, and this game fails miserably. The controls are the most glaring fault this game has, and it's a big one. I just don't appreciate the control scheme at all, it is frustrating to learn and master, and it takes a lot of time to get used to it. Pulling off special moves is very difficult, and everything feels a tad bit slow. Maybe it's me but this game doesn't move full-speed. Therefore your character is slower than you'd expect, and when you input a special move command and then all your fighter does is throw a jab, well you know you're in trouble. This happens all-to-frequently on this game. Really what is a game without good gameplay?

(story - 6)
Set inside the world of the Fatal Fury series, and Ryo goes searching for his kidnapped sister, he must beat down notorious thugs along the way to finding her. As he goes he finds out more about his sister's whereabouts until ultimately he faces her captor and must defeat him to free his sister, along for the ride is Robert, Ryo's best friend. Ryo Sakazaki, and Robert Garcia both make their fighting game debuts here.

(graphics - 9, sound - 5)
What a discrepancy. The graphics are awesome, and definately rival anything Capcom produced on their CPS1 and CPS2 arcade systems. This game appears to be a Street Fighter II clone but upon closer inspection you'll see it is graphically superior to anything else out there in 1992, it even impresses gamers today in the world of 3D fighters... the animation, the sprites, the clothing, hair, arms, special moves, everything is animated smoothly and fluidly, the game has a zoom in and zoom out mode which can be disorienting but considering all the animation and work that went into this game it's mighty impressive to watch the game in action. These characters are larger than life, literally they take up about 75% of the screen, they are huge, colorful, detailed, and lifelike. Their clothing is colorful, the special moves are nicely drawn and animated. Everything from the smallest detail in the background to the largest details on the front-line are done extremely well. A most impressive visual treat. Mmm... tasty........ As for the music, well it is generic and gets old fast. The voice samples are great and are very high-quality. Like most Neo games the music is nothing special, but it sounds crisp and clean, and the voice samples are very clear and audible to the ear.

(replayability - 4)
This game is far too difficult to waste your time playing over and over again. This is unfortunate because it is graphically a testament to the Neo and the power of its chipset. Luckily there are sequels that are much improved over the original. So these great graphics can be found in decent games, and that comes in the form of Art of Fighting 2, and Art of Fighting 3. SNK saw something good when they built the Neo-Geo, and they found something great in Art of Fighting, unfortunately it took more than one try to get it all done the right way.

I recommend AOF 2, or AOF 3 over the original version, but AOF has never been my cup of tea, I just simply had to write about it because it is one of Neo's best-known franchises. I've seen better, and I know you have too. I'd stay away from this AOF, but by no means does that mean they all are poor quality. Luckily SNK fixed some of these glaring problems in the future versions, so if this game sounds exciting to you but you don't want to deal with the complex control scheme, then give AOF 2 or AOF 3 a chance. But for your own sake, stay away from this one.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 06/19/04

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