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King of Fighters Wii Review

19/04/2009 Family Returning Gamer Review
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King of Fighters Nintendo Wii

King of Fighters

Nintendo Wii


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It's been ages since I've had a good brawling game, years in fact. So I was pleased to be able to bang King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga into the Wii for some martial arts mayhem. This is a collection of 5 previous titles from this Franchise. Basically, from around 1994 onwards SNK Playmore released a different version of this game each year, up until 2003. This title comprises five of those versions from 1994 through to 1998.

In a nutshell, this is a 2D 1990's meat and drink fighter. There are various characters each with their own special moves, and you beat each other to a pulp until either players health bar is empty. Pretty simple concept eh? It was a Worldwide success. If it was released tomorrow it would be like burberry to the CHAV community. This genre seriously set the tone for the next generation of beat em ups such as 'Street Fighter' and the fantastic 'Tekken'. This one is playable in 2 player mode or against the Computer. When playing against the computer, a nice touch is that an opponent can jump in at any time. An arcade mode is thrown in with particular challenges that breaks up the monotony should you experience any.

This genre seriously set the tone for the next generation of beat em ups such as 'Street Fighter' and the fantastic 'Tekken'.

Is this latest release an attempt at blatant profiteering? You would have to say yes, potentially it is, but we would do the same wouldn't we? The games are pretty much unchanged from the original versions. There is also a lack of any online features. Playing this with the Wii controller is much harder than using the advanced game pad, trying to move and then punch is cumbersome, you need a proper pad for this one.

Revisiting the great range of characters on offer was certainly a pleasure. I can't remember his name but there is even an enormous sumo that throws a ball and chain at you. Where the game really comes into it's own is when you start to master the combinations. If you have a friend that provides decent opposition then there is bags and bags of fun to be had. Does anyone else remember spending hours and hours trying to master the ridiculously complicated special attacks? They would generally go along the line of 'up up up down down left right jump kick left down up punch', and would be called something like 'Dragon's Vomit'. You would need to execute the combination in around the same speed that the guy on 'Record Breakers' used to draw a gun and shoot paper cups off his hand. The result move would be a sure winner at any Olympic gymnastic event, and would obsolete half of your opponents health bar. I remember playing this one for 20p a time in Mablethorpe Chalet Park. Everyone's fave character seemed to be Hangetsu as he was the easiest to control and had the most all round skill.

King of Fighters you may or may not remember was also one of the first games to really pit people against each other and create tension, excitement and a lot of shouting.

King of Fighters you may or may not remember was also one of the first games to really pit people against each other and create tension, excitement and a lot of shouting. There is nothing more frustrating than having your opponents health bar on next to nothing, only to witness an epic comeback and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. You can't help but wonder though, given that the best game is likely to be the 1998 one, is there much point in playing the others? Not really, but thanks for bundling them in.

This is a good revisit down memory lane, and I'm not knocking it, but let's move on and continue to innovate these fighting games. Certainly not one for new age types owing to the violence, definitely one for students and CHAVs. It's reasonably priced at present, but I would be tempted to just download KOF 1998 off the Wii shop. The main question would be with the amount of good games on offer written in the noughties, do you want to put the hours in needed to master something from the 90's?

In case you are wondering, I think that man used to 'Draw', 'Shoot the Cup', then 'Replace the Gun', in around a quarter of a second.

Written by Sinan Kubba

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Sinan Kubba writes the Returning Gamer column.

"As an 80s kid I was obsessed with gaming. But university, stress and life relegated my hobby to the backseat. After years in the wilderness, I'm back into video games. I don't just want to play games that remind of a happy youth though. I'm just as excited about games that take things forward, experiences that re-ignite that curiosity and fascination I had years ago."

Here are the games I've been playing recently:

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