King of Fighters '95

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7


kingoffighters951.png (31293 bytes)There's one thing fans of the original King of Fighters wanted: custom team selection. That's the big change inserted into the 1995 release. The gameplay tweaks that would begin to follow the series didn't make a significant impact until the following year, making '95 seem cheap, rough, and a meager update.

The balance issues from '94 are still here. The Art of Fighting squad is overwhelmingly powerful, with a ridiculous amount of special moves, some of which would be turned into last ditch efforts in later games. The core fighting engine remains identical, aside from some new characters and the loss of some old ones.

Even a bigger issue is the difficulty balance, skewered almost entirely in favor of the computer. Their hits cause more damage, their attacks come with little delay, and their defense is impenetrable. It's a classic case of "SNK boss syndrome," but one that runs through the entire game, even when set on easy.

kingoffighters952.png (31759 bytes)That makes this one for multiple players almost exclusively. The ability to select your characters instead of being forced into teams is a change for the better. Any strategic choices are of course somewhat hampered by the balance issues. Still, the gameplay itself is more than enough to be considered worthwhile, and the few small, subtle tweaks may have an impact. Fans of the original also have the option of picking teams as pre-set selections and forcing their opponents to do so as well.

That leaves this edition one of the least renovated. The company was obviously working the formula, inserting some inspired backdrops, and tweaking this just slightly for the next year. It's a small step (though not a bad game by any means), enough to write this one off completely, and ignore it to head straight into '96.


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Last updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 01:21 PM