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The King Of Fighters 95

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Released: 1995

Genre: Beat-'em-up

Format reviewed: Neo Geo CD

Publisher: SNK

Developer: SNK

A screenshot of Athena Asamiya performing the Psycho Sword attack

This review was originally published in Computer & Video Games issue 169, December 1995

The Neo Geo has played host to some of the best combat games available. Truth be told it has played host to little else! King of Fighters 95 is another fighting game.

But what a game it is. The most original aspect of KoF has always been the team angle of the game. Rather than taking one fighter into the game you select three, and do battle in each round against three different opponents. This manages to increase the amount of variety in the game by a factor of three, and makes King of Fighters one of the most varied, exciting combat games around. With the exception of Konami’s lacking Dragoon Might, no other fighting game has cottoned on to this excellent idea.

Still, this feature was available in this game’s predecessor, King of Fighters 94. However, this time, there exists a Team Edit mode – this enables you to choose from all 24 fighters and create your own unstoppable killing force. Previous weak links in certain teams can now be removed and replaced, adding significantly to the fun factor. What this also means is that the variety of KoF is now even more pronounced – there are over 2,000 different possible team formations with the 24 fighters.

At its most basic level, King of Fighters is best described as the ultimate culmination in the evolution of Street Fighter II (and this game was designed by some of the original Capcom masters who invented that classic) and represents some of the greatest fighting moments you’ll ever experience in an arcade game.

The home CD version remains identical to the coin-op – as all Neo Geo titles do- but the loading is even more pronounced than the memory-intensive King of Fighters 94. Whereas the preceding game loaded in both teams (six characters), 95 loads in each individual character, which breaks up the game horrendously mid-bout. Oddly enough, you get over it quickly when playing in two-player mode. However, the one player game suffers badly. Speaking of which, the CPU computer logic remains as cheap and as unsatisfying as ever it was – this is definitely a game best enjoyed with two players.

If you’re interested at all in King of Fighters, it’s worth checking out down the arcades. What also might be of interest is the announcement from SNK that they are to have discussions on swapping arcade titles with Sega. Who knows? Maybe we could expect to see a Saturn King of Fighters some time in 1996?

A screenshot of Kyo and Iori in the intro sequence

VERDICT

Two popular sprite-based combat games have arrived this month – King of Fighters 95 and X-Men: Children of the Atom (a demo version on Saturn). KoF is definitely an experts’ combat game – the sheer range of attacks, the variety in the characters, the incredible combinations – it’s awesome frankly. I mention X-Men because that game is accessible to novice fighters, which this definitely isn’t. Still, in my books, King of Fighters is aptly named – incredible stuff!

Paul Davies

SECOND OPINION

I’ve never been a big fan of the SNK brand of beat em ups, preferring the likes of Street Fighter 2 and Virtua Fighter instead. As it stands though, King Of Fighters ’95 is undoubtedly a superb fighting game. The huge range of characters. awesome moves, team option and fantastic presentation make KoF a joy to play. If you’ve got a Neo Geo CD you obviously wanted this type of game, and this is the best you can get. I myself, am looking forward to X-Men on the Saturn.

Tom Guise

SCORES

GRAPHICS: 91
Great looking sprites and fantastic backdrops.

ANIMATION: 90
All the awesome moves are displayed in a brilliant fashion.

MUSIC: 91
Atmospheric tunes that add a bit of spice to the action.

SOUND EFFECTS: 91
Great fighting sounds, but some peculiar speech.

GAMEPLAY: 94
For sheer depth and combo potential, KoF is right at the top.

VALUE: 90
24 fighters and an excellent team option. Great value.

OVERALL: 93%
Irritating for solo players, but absolutely stunning in every regard when played as it should be with two players at the controls.

A screenshot of a victorious Iori laughing over his fallen foe

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