Review by DiasMagnus

"Nice start for the greatest fighter series."

Spending several hours in the arcades of my mall playing fan favorites such as The King of Fighters '99 and Capcom vs. SNK, I finally decided to try out the original. After days of searching, I finally found the original, King of Fighters '94. It's great to see that my favorite fighting game series had a great start.

After a few Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury games, SNK finally decided to make a hybrid fighter. Full of lovable characters and their unique taunts from both series, new characters, a plethora of new moves, a great fighting engine, and an interesting story, The King of Fighters '94 is the game that should have driven me from Street Fighter a long time ago.

Basically, there is a King of Fighters tournament (yes, the same one from the Fatal Fury games).This time, it's out of South Town and now focusing on a global competition. A letter of invitation sent by [R] is received by countries, and eight teams are selected. Each team has their own storyline and ending (though not too unique, it's quite interesting).

If there is something about SNK that amazes me, it's that they can do so much with their 24-bit console. Long at these visuals. There are tons of frames and unique animations for each fighter. No two fighters look the same (except Ralf and Clark). Special effects and backgrounds are great as well. The sound effects are basic fighting game. However, the voice acting is superb (the good thing about Japan is that they have voice actors who can fill their characters with personality and emotion). The music itself is great, and those who have played Capcom vs. SNK on Dreamcast and The King of Fighters '98 will recognize some of these tracks. Plus, most of these tracks are memorable. I have no complaints about controlling. Great job on the presentation, SNK.

Any SNK fan of the past or present will recognize these characters. The roster of 24 characters (and one boss) includes Kyo Kusanagi, King, Terry and Andy Bogard, Ryo Sakazaki, and Ruagl Bernstein.

On to the mechanics. There are four buttons: weak and strong punches and kicks. These controls are not adjustable, but I have no problesm with them. Weak punch and kick allow you to step into the background to dodge moves, weak punch and kick and strong punch fill your power bar. Strong punch and kick allows you to use a knockdown attack. Desparation moves can be performed when your life bar is flashing red (ala Fatal Fury 2) or when your bar is completely filled (like Art of Fighting).

This is basically Street Fighter with a twist. Pick your team of 3 fighters (no team edit here). Defeat all three of the enemy's fighters and win. (Note: The console version has a one-on-one mode in which the winner of two rounds moves on) After defeating all teams (including a mirror of your own), you will fight a final battle with Rugal Bernstein. As for challenge, it is variable, but it is hard at all times (Rugal is way too cheap in this cheap as Geese in Fatal Fury!). There is not too much replay in this game because of no team edit.

Is this game worth buying if you come across it? No. If you can find it in an arcade, have a blast playing it. Or borrow from a friend. What SNK would do to the later games of the series would only be better each year.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/12/01, Updated 04/12/01

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