King of Fighters Collection- The Orochi Saga for PlayStation 2
Video Game for PS2
The King of Fighters (ザ·キング·オブ·ファイターズ, Za Kingu obu Faitāzu?), officially abbreviated KOF, is a series of fighting games by SNK Playmore (formerly SNK). The series was originally developed for SNK's Neo Geo MVS arcade hardware, … see full wiki
The King of Fighters tournament is a spectacle that involves the toughest and most gifted fighters to compete in 3 on 3 competition. The disciplines vary amongst these teams, as they seek to learn who is the best. Hosting the tournament is a black arms dealer from the shadows named Rugal. He awaits the winners of the tournament, to face and defeat them single-handedly. But what exactly are his true intentions?-summary
Way back in the early to mid 90's, the video game industry found itself becoming over-saturated with fighting games. It appeared everyone wanted to enjoy the same success as Capcom with their Street Fighter franchise. SNK tried what appeared to be day and night to over throw the fighting game juggernaut with many of their own creations. Some of these games were quite creative, and brought a dash of originality to the table, such as Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, and Samurai Shodown. While at least one was a straight up rip off of Street Fighter with no shame, I'm looking at you World Heroes. Although all of these titles would do well and gain a huge following. None of them would ever match Street Fighter's popularity. SNK eventually decided to go all out, and they took the best characters of the Fatal Fury and Art Fighting series, created a few new ones, and put them in an all out battle. Hence, The King of Fighters 94 was born.
Throughout the years, there will be many sequels, and the franchise continues to run strong. This anthology, The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga collects King of Fighters(KoF) 94-98. The games feel arcade perfect to me. The series is a 2-D fighter, which features 3 on 3 combat with a very tough AI. The games contain between 24-38 playable characters and of course, is also two players.
When coming into this, the AI is very hard not to notice. After the first team or so it becomes very tough. But this is mainly due to the game just being cheap. This is one of the things about most SNK fighters that annoyed me. It's not much fun to miss most of your special attacks, which will happen here. I can actually make it through 94 without using a single special attack, but when those special attacks finally do land, the effort definitely pays off because the damage can be tremendous. Thankfully, the later games aren't as difficult. However, the boss battles are still no picnic. You can also lower the difficulty in the options if you're getting thrashed. But don't expect much of a difference.
King of Fighters borrowed from the Art of Fighting series, by adding the power gauge increase. When holding down the charge button, the player can charge up their characters spirit to add more impact to regular moves and perform super moves. The super moves are taken up another level when the character is facing defeat and their health bar is glowing. In addition, the super move can be pulled off repeatedly as long as the health bar is glowing, shades of Fatal Fury 2. In KoF's97 and 98, the spirit bars are changed in place of energy stocks. The power bar builds up while the character is performing moves, and a certain number of stocks will appear, indicating how many times you can perform your special moves, which is very similar to the Street Fighter Alpha series. But you also have the option on choosing the original power up feature.
During the character select screen, you are able to pick any 3 man team in 94. As a new addition for KoF's95-98, the teams can be edited and you can mix them up.
Most SNK fans will have you believe that SNK fighters have "deep" controls. When I think of "deep" controls, I think of Tekken, Soul Calibur, and Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. The reason being, because the characters are more diverse, with a variety of combos that require various button combinations, and key patience to pull off the most difficult combos ever. SNK fighters controls are nowhere near deep, instead their frustrating due to being unresponsive. They require strict and precise directional pad movements. The controls are just plain sluggish, and 94 is the worst of them in this area, plus there can be some bad hit detection too. Fortunately, the controls slowly get better later in the series, and in 98, pulling off moves is a breeze.
In comparison to the Street Fighter Alpha series, in which, the graphics to those games still hold up to this day and are very detailed. This series feels very dated. There's quite a bit of pixels with some choppy animation. This is most noticeable when certain characters are performing their long chain link combo finishers, and they come off looking a little stiff. The backgrounds are alright at best with some movement in the crowds. The battle stages are quite good, and some of them reflect the personality of the characters, with the most notable being the military like settings for the Ikari Warriors team. There's also quite a bit of "bounce" for the more jiggly, big breasted female characters. The graphics get better throughout the series, with of course, 98 looking the best.
The sound effects are alright at best to me. The hits have a sound that is kind of unrealistic but not distracting. However, there are small details worth noting, such as the cracking of thunder and flames from certain characters powers. As well as the clanging of metal when characters are walking on metal bridges. But I have to say that I'm not impressed with the voice overs. I find many of them to be annoying.
The music is very good though, with some songs that would go on to become fan favorites. The music is also character specific, in other words, there's no stage music. In this area, I think 96 is the coolest of them all. It's just an epic feel to fight against the bosses with their main themes playing, and Geese Howard kicking things off. It just has a nostalgic feel if you're a Fatal Fury fan, and playing with that particular team. Many of the songs do enhance the battles. Rugal's theme is just an awesome track for an awesome boss. You know you're in a fight when his theme begins. But there are some problems.
I think 95 has the worst soundtrack that just doesn't seem to fit. 97 has some serious issues concerning music. When the battles begin, the music will play until the enemy is beaten. Then all of the sudden, the music will simply vanish for the next character, and you're stuck listening to grunts and blows, which grows irritating very quickly. In some cases, there's no music at all. I only played through the game once because of this.
When it comes down to fighting games, replay is determined on how many friends you have to play with you a majority of the time. In this case, some of the replay value is determined by the large amount of playable characters. There are plenty of strategies to learn, and mixing up teams creates a different feel.
For the die hard fighting fan and completist, there's quite a bit more to be found here, like the challenge mode where the player chooses a character and tries to complete missions. This allows the player to unlock art galleries and other things in the media option. The challenge mode is very useful, because it's great practice to enhance your skills. There's also a practice mode for each of the games. This is highly recommended for use, due to the characters moves list either being extended or altered for the sequels.
In closing, if the controls were more fluid and responsive, then this would be the masterpiece that so many claim it to be. It was pretty original for its time I'll give it that. Still, this is a very solid collection meant for the die hard fighting game fan, and this is the category I fall into. I'm not a SNK fan, but I do find some enjoyment in their fighters. These are the two groups I recommend this collection to. Now if you're the type who easily gets steamed due to the games AI owning you. Then I do not recommend this game to you at all, because you will get beat up a lot.
Pros: -Includes 5 games -Progression through each of them -KoF 96
Cons: -Shaky controls -Cheap AI -KoF 97
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