previews\ Nov 19, 2003 at 7:00 pm

THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2000/2001 - PS2 - Preview

Here comes the pain – well, that almost sounds like an advertisement for a WWE title, but in actuality it is a precursor to the two-disk set of King of Fighters, a PlayStation2 release from SNK Playmore.


The set includes King of Fighters 2000 and King of Fighters 2001, arcade-style side-scrolling combat titles. The games are very similar in style to the Capcom fighting titles, which are comprised of cartoon characters moving side-to-side against a colorful background.


There is a rich array of fighters, some with their own set of moves, but most adhering to a standard style of fighting. You are, essentially, challenged to work through the ranks of fighters and move up the ladder toward being crowned … well, you know – just look at the title.


KoF 2000 has a nice array of fighters, but that is expanded markedly with 2001. Both titles have the same game modes – single player, team mode, party mode and practice. As you defeat opponents, you will unlock more game features.


The game concept is a simple one – pick a mode of play, select your fighter (or if in team fight mode, you can select your fighters and their order of appearance) and then, when the announcer says fight, try to knock out your opponent before you are knocked out. There are no powerups, per se, but each fighter does have some special attacks, and a hotkey will allow you to call in assistance.


The control elements of this game are incredibly easy to grasp. In no time you will be throwing kicks, punches, as well as holds and tosses. The real damage comes in combination moves. Throw your opponent, move quickly and land a series of blows while they are in the air. The only distracting thing is these games ignore the thumbsticks and work solely off the D-pad.


The sound of this game is what one may expect from an arcade fighting title. Lots of superficial combat yells, punches and kicks that sound like wet slaps, and semi-cheesy music. The language used by the fighters is Japanese.


Graphically the action is fast and the animation is average. The game is lush and colorful, and the characters look like they stepped from a comic book. However, don’t expect fluid movement. At times the action was a bit jerky, either a slowdown in framerate or intended to accentuate the moves.


This game is very two dimensional, not only in the fight sequences but the overall look of the game. Don’t expect dynamic lighting or shadow texturing – those don’t exist here.


King of Fighters 2000 and King of Fighters 2001 may appeal to fans of this style of gaming. The two titles are almost mirrors of each other, with the 2001 feature a slicker interface and more fighters – but the action is the same.


If you are looking for a combat title that is a real visual treat, go with something like SoulCaliber II. If, however, you are looking for a nostalgic journey into the arcade past of fighting video games, this might be worth a gander.

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