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King Of Fighters R2
Platform:  Neo Geo
# of Players:  1-2 w/link
Developer:  SNK
Publisher:  SNK
Features:  Transfer Fighters to Dreamcast
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  N/A
Well you know King of Fighters would get itself on the NGPC somehow. After all the King of Fighters games are very big with SNK loyalists. In fact it is such a given that it was one of the first games released for the system. With that in mind it is easy to see why this game may seem a little primitive when compared to some of the newer games out for the system. However, due to the playability of fighting games on the Neo-Geo Pocket Color, the game comes off smooth and fast.

Immediately the question of graphics comes into my mind when I hear of a fighting game on a handheld system. If you have ever played a fighting game on the Gameboy Color you will know what I mean. They are usually just a jumbled bunch of sprites with blocky shapes making up their features. However, the NGPC boasts great graphics that work exceptionally well for handheld fighting games. The backgrounds in KOF-R2, for example, are rich with colors and features. They paint a nice picture behind each scene as opposed to just a flat background in an area. The characters are not made to look like their console/arcade counterparts; they are scrunched down into super-deformed characters. This makes them much easier to draw and animate. My only complaint is the sparse use of colors for the characters. Each character only uses two different colors while there are a lot more used in the backgrounds. I realize the limitations, but c'mon, they could have spared another color or 2.

The fighting in the game is very fast and highly detailed. Each character comes with a whole host of special moves and throws. Usually games of this type get messy when the characters are close and doing special moves, but KOF stays clean and crisp. The projectiles and other forces that come out of the fighters are also nicely animated and easy to see, though hard to avoid. If you are a fan of the SNK style of gameplay then you will feel right at home here. Punches and kicks are delivered with a force that results in climatic attacks and combos. Add in the special moves and you have an exciting round.

The only notable option in the game is the build your own fighter mode. With this you can pick a fighter and take it through fight after fight building up skill points and learning moves. What's more is that you can transfer the info about this particular fighter to the Dreamcast through a cable so that you can use it in King of Fighters on the Dreamcast. There are 14 characters in all to choose from so you are sure to find the one that is right for you.

Control for the game is leaps and bounds better than anything else on any other system. Sine the NGPC's controller is circular instead of a plus sign like on the Gameboy, it is easier and more fluid to rotate. It makes doing the fireball maneuver a breeze. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to do something that you know how to do simply because your controller is wack. With the NGPC I very rarely had this problem. The system is laid out well and the control is superb.

So even if you have every other fighting game for the NGPC you should still check out this little gem if for no other reason than it is a classic NGPC title. It is one of the first games to come out for the NGPC and it really shows what the NGPC is capable of. Plus this is one of those games that down the road people will remember because of the King of Fighters name associated with it. Even if all of this doesn't matter to you, it is still a worthwhile game because it stands on its own as a great fighting game.

Chris Shade

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