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.