Art of Fighting 2
Review by Patrick Haber
Two years after the huge success of Art of Fighting, SNK decided to give their fans what they wanted: A better sequel. Almost everything has been improved from the original, but just as I said, "almost everything". Read on to learn the score...
The graphics are greatly improved over the original. The sprites are just as big but are now more colorful, and much better animated. The scaling has also been improved significantly, and as a result the graphics don't look as grainy as they were in the original. The background artwork is also beautiful, ranging from a dojo to an airport, making for a visually appealing experience.
The tunes from the original were great, but the tunes that accompany the fights in this game are some of the best in videogame history! For example, listen to Kisaragi's theme... also note that the voice-clips are now much crisper. In step with the music, the sound effects are also of better quality.
The controls have also been improved from the stiff, wooden mess found in AoF 1, but it still isn't perfectly responsive. You now have to press the A or B buttons down shortly for a weak attack and briefly for a strong attack. The C button is used for throwing your opponent or hit him/her with a strong attack (if you aren't in reach). D button is used for taunts that will deplete the enemies' stamina meter, pressing A and B together will recharge your own stamina meter, and if it's too low to perform a special, leaving you open for an enemy attack. Overall the control is similar to the one found in part 1, but everything just feels a lot tighter.
Now for the bad part. The game is INCREDIBLY difficult against the CPU. And I do mean incredibly. You can choose between some difficulty settings, but this is absolutely useless. The so-called "Beginner's Grade" is practically the same as "Strong Hard". This is nothing new from SNK, however, and there is a nice feature in this game which I'd like to call "ridiculous". If you can manage to beat the game without losing a round, you'll meet Geese Howard from Fatal Fury as the final boss. Right after defeating Mr. Big, you'll see "Special Stage: Geese Tower". You have to complete it without losing a round, in fact. You can use as many continues as you want, but do not lose a round! If the CPU wins even a single round against you, you have to quit and start over if you want to see this special stage. If you manage to advance and get to Mr. Howard, you'll be confronted with one of the toughest fighting game bosses ever. Think of him as "King Leo 2" (from SR/Kizuna) or "Johann 2" (from RotD). If you've ever faced the previously mentioned bosses, you'll know what to expect here.
Here's the one and only tactic to beat Geese:
Get your character in a corner, and then simply get into a crouching position. Wait for Geese to attack. Don't forget to BLOCK! Geese will likely attack you with a sliding kick at first, continue blocking and when he jumps, he will perform some sort of an uppercut. Stand up, keep on blocking, get into the crouch position, and begin attacking with light kicks (button-mash-style). And REPEAT. Believe me, it may take a few tries at first, but it DOES work 100% of the time.
For novice players is the game only playable against another human player. This mode is a load of fun, however. You can choose from twelve characters in a story mode setting.
All in all this game is a great improvement over the original, but it is still flawed.
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