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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

SNK Playmore

 

Developer

SNK Playmore

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2003

 

- Very true to the Neo Geo originals

- Some decent extras

- Two games in one at a great price

 

 

- Visuals and sound are dated

- Controls are clunky on a gamepad

 

 

Review: Guilty Gear X2 (Playstation 2)

Review: Capcom vs SNK (Dreamcast)

Review: Soul Calibur II (Playstation 2)

 

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King of Fighters 2000/2001

Score: 7.8 / 10

 

When we first started to see the Neo Geo get fighting games in its library it was obvious the system still needed time to get its sea legs.  There was the Street Fighter II clone, World Heroes, as well as the somewhat awkward Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting.  Finally SNK hit its stride with the King of Fighters series and the rest was history.  Now SNK Playmore has released its first title for the US market in quite some time with King of Fighters 2000/2001.  Despite the presentation of these games starting to look a little bit old, KOF 2K/2K1 will keep 2D fighter fans entertained for quite a while as it is a port very true to its Neo Geo counterparts and also sells for a very reasonable price.

 

king-fighters-2000-2001.jpg (21762 bytes)       king-fighters-2000-2001-2.jpg (17557 bytes)

 

The first, and probably most disappointing, thing players will notice about these games is that they really havenít aged well visually.  Clocking in at almost 5 years old, the graphics are starting to look quite pixilated with less than stellar animation and a real lack of detail by todayís standards.  Seeing this game in action makes one really appreciate how much effort was put into the visual presentation of a title like Guilty Gear X2 and how far graphic quality has come in the last few years.  On top of this, the audio experience is also dated.  The music doesnít feel as crisp, the sound of blows being landed donít jump from the speakers, and the little bits of vocal work performed when doing certain moves just feels flat.

 

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But despite the aging visuals and sound, the game is everything fans of these two fighting games could want.  Theyíre very accurate to their arcade predecessors with enough play modes to keep you busy for a very long time.  But what will give players the most bang for their buck is the sheer number of selectable characters the games have in their rosters.  Obviously some of them will be in both games but even despite this there are just so many different characters with different fighting 

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styles that it will be hard to get tired of the combat any time soon, even if you do have one or two go-to-guy types of characters.

 

What also helps this installment of KOF is that it does go beyond what it had in its arcade equivalent with some unlockables, such as new story elements, as well as a few more play modes, not to mention a few exclusive characters for the PS2.  Itís not a quantum leap over that of the arcade versions of the game, but itís a nice addition nonetheless.

 

king-fighters-2000-2001-3.jpg (14414 bytes)          king-fighters-2000-2001-4.jpg (20129 bytes)

 

While marching through the matches, though, the controls did prove a little more clunky than usual on a control pad.  Usually itís to be expected that performing moves is a more difficult task on game pads when playing a fighter, but here they felt extra problematic, especially on KOF 2000.  It is possible to adjust to a degree, but it gets frustrating failing to pull of a move at critical moments.  An actual joystick is highly recommended for this compilation.

 

The real question, though, is how many people are going to swarm to the stores to get it.  Really, its main appeal will be to those who didnít bother to import the titles when they were released separately overseas.  For those who missed the boat on those games and really like the King of Fighters series, or are just looking for a new 2D fighter, this title wonít disappoint despite looking a tad dated.  It has plenty of characters to choose from, stays in step with the arcade originals with just enough extras to keep things interesting, and its two games for $40US.  You canít beat that with a bag of hammers.

 

- Mr. Nash

(February 19, 2004)

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