Review by Macintosh User

Reviewed: 07/07/04

King of Fighters '94 Launches A Revolutionary Series

The King of Fighters '94 started the KOF franchise, and that alone should garner it some points. However the slow gameplay, grainy graphics, and bland color spectrum really pale in comparison with newer KOF titles. KOF '94 is a good game that introduced the world to the 3 on 3 fighting tournament that has now captivated audiences for a decade. The best fighters in the SNK stable come out to prove their might in this all-star tournament. Some new faces arrive as well, such as legendary Kyo Kusanagi, one of the most cherished and adored fighters SNK has ever created. Feauturing classic fighters such as Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui, Ryo Sakazaki, and Kim Kapwhan, KOF '94 really does bring the goods to the table. This game does have some flaws, and this is only natural for the first in a series, but the bottom line is KOF '94 comes out swinging and connects most of the time.

(gameplay - 7)
The controls are very nice and responsive, but the game is sort of slow. Pulling off special attacks are pretty easy, and controlling your team is a breeze. This game lacks a lot of the combos that the KOF series has become known for, but there is still the ability to chain together some nifty moves for some major damage if you are so inclined. A charge bar is included in this game, which builds up as you block attacks or get hit. You can also charge it by holding down the A, B, and C buttons at the same time. Once full, you can pull off a super attack and your regular attacks inflict more damage than normal. The only real flaw with the gameplay is that this game seems a tad bit on the slow side, but for 1994, this is good enough.

(story - 8)
The invitations have been sent out to the best fighters in the world to compete in The King of Fighters Tournament. Featuring Rugal Bernstein as the host of the tournament and end boss, you must fight your way through round after round until ultimately you are defeated or emerge victorious. Your reward is a battle with Rugal. The story is simple but it works.

(graphics - 7, sound - 8)
The characters are very well animated, although sometimes they can be a bit mechanical in their movements. Each character is highly detailed, but the end results are a bit grainy. The colors seem a bit bland as well, and the backgrounds, while highly detailed and well animated seem to be a little bit too grainy and perhaps a bit dull on the color end of things. A lot of characters from SNK fighters are represented in the background of the stages, which is definitely a cool feature. There are lots of cool animations included in the introductions to the fights, like large wooden doors opening to reveal the stage, and lightning flashing and rain pouring down in one of the stages. Overall the graphics are not the nicest in the Neo-Geo world, but they show a lot of effort. The music is good, and some of the stages have really awesome tracks, while some of them are simply average. Some of the tunes can be a bit annoying, but for the most part they are well done. And the sound effects and voice samplings are top-notch. The announcer sounds clear and crisp, and the voices of the fighters are clean and well-presented. The music is definitely one of the high points of the game as are the sound effects.

(replayability - 8)
There are eight teams that cannot be edited, so you pick one team and are forced to play with those fighters that represent it. This is a bit annoying as there are lots of fighters I'd rather mix together to form a team rather than play with all three characters that are given to me. This game is easy to get into because the controls are good, and the game is fun, but the slow pace and cheap end boss really detract from the replay value. Overall this is a solid fighter that should keep you entertained for a while.

The King of Fighters '94 is worth owning simply because it is the first of the KOF series, but every KOF after it improves upon it and prove themselves to be better. So considering the price tag of Neo-Geo games, KOF '94 may be one that you would rather play at a friends house or in the arcade rather than purchasing it for your own use. This is a good game that starts off a fantastic series, but there are just too many better KOF games out there to justify purchasing this one unless you must have every KOF game, (like me)...

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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