King of Fighters '94


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8.5

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

kingoffigthers941.png (29859 bytes)Take the best of Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting, mix 'em up, redesign the game engine, revamp the graphics, and you get one of SNK's long running King of the Fighters. 1994 was the first year for the popular series and what a start it was. A majority of characters are from two of the franchises mentioned above along with a slew of newbies make their appearance in this inaugural edition of SNK's classic.

The biggest difference between this edition and the later versions is the fact that there is no way to edit the teams. You're stuck with who SNK picked to be on the individual teams. The plus side is that all of the teams are balanced well (the Art of Fighting Squad is a tough set to beat) making for one of the best two-player fighters ever. Players also have the option of playing the game with only one character and taking on all comers in single bouts.

All of the old characters were re-drawn with new animations and loads of new stages. Die-hard fans have no need to worry as the classics (such as Terry Bogards hat throw) are all present. Some of the backgrounds feature what seems like hundreds of spectators, all animated, cheering on the fighters. This is definitely a game to show off what the Geo can do.

Geo fans will recognize a few of the tunes, but the vast majority are new. There is rarely a dull moment in the sound category as ambient sounds, voices, and music all blend together for a great sounding game. All of the voices players know are present and the new guys each have a voice that gives them their distinct personality. This was yet another benchmark for the Neo Geo.

kingoffigthers942.png (20882 bytes)The only downer is the games downright abusive challenge level. Even on the beginner difficulty setting, the computer doesn't quit. It pulls off moves nearly impossible for most players and could easily take out opponents with a single combo. This is especially frustrating in the later fights when the computer gets ridiculously aggressive.

With the majority of the series still quite expensive (rarely seen under triple digits), this may be the only one the majority of gamers will be able to afford. While the lack of team creation is a downer, this forces players to master a wider variety of characters, increasing the replay value. Then again, mastering all of the characters with the difficulty level could simply prove frustrating. Regardless, this game is really a major piece of gaming history as it has spawned countless sequels on multiple platforms and is a must own for self-respecting fighting game fan.


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Last updated: Monday, September 26, 2005 04:02 PM