King of Fighters 02/03 Combo Review

The King of Fighters 02/03 (KoF) is actually two games on two disks for the price of one. It won’t appeal to all bargain-hunting gamers, though. KoF is really for hard-core fighter fans, especially those who’ve enjoyed other King of Fighters games or who have a penchant for old school 2D fighters. And KoF is decidedly old school, originally appearing on the NeoGeo system which has been around almost as long as I can remember. As you can probably guess, the NeoGeo is nowhere near as powerful as an Xbox, so the games’ graphics look decidedly old and chunky. Don’t expect a Dead or Alive type of look here as you won’t find anything that jiggles or bounces as you play. Even the menus are bare-bones functional here. No, KoF is most decidedly for the fighter purist.

Both games come with a whole bevy of fighters to choose from (over 40 in each game), so there’s a lot of variety in styles here and the opportunity to get in a lot of gameplay as you figure out the strengths and weaknesses of each one. The gameplay options in each are far more modest, though. Both feature three-on-three battles but they’re handled slightly differently in each game. In 2002 your first fighter competes until he or she loses, at which point the next fighter steps into the battle. In 2003, you can tag-team between your fighters. This latter style of play opens up the game’s strategy a bit as you can try and get a good match-up by bringing in the right fighter at the right time.

Both games support online play, and again the support is pretty basic. 2003 seems to perform better online and also has the option of fighting rematches with your last opponent, which 2002 lacks for some reason. Expect another bare-bones implementation, as King of Fighters is focused on the fighting and little else.

If you’re a King of Fighters fan or yearn for a return to the days of 2D fighters, then you’ll find The King of Fighters 02/03 a nicely priced treat. Most others will probably be put off by the clunky graphics and strict 2D gameplay.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 68%.  Strictly for the King of Fighters enthusiast or old school 2D fight fans.


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