Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK Playmore
Release Date: Q4 2008
When you think of fighting games, certain franchises come to mind. Most people would easily conjure up memories of Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter and Tekken, but hardcore fighting fans would be offended if the discussion didn't include King of Fighters, SNK Playmore's beloved series. While the KoF franchise may not be releasing any new stuff, their legacy lives on with their new anthologies, the most recent and promising of which is King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga.
This collection of titles will incorporate the entire original Orochi series (KoF '95-'97) as well as the '94 and '98 editions of the game. This collection will give nostalgic gamers access to all of their old favorites, as well as a few faces they may have forgotten along the way. SNK is also planning a great deal of unlockable bonus content, so series fans will likely spend a great deal of time exploring every last nook and cranny.
For the uninitiated, KoF is a traditional 2-D fighting series that was originally developed for, and saw its peak popularity with, the Neo-Geo. The games feature the small, brightly colored sprite characters that were oh-so-popular in the '90s, as well as a number of pre-rendered stages and crowds. The game is a hardcore brawler through and through, with complex button combinations and punishing foes that will make you earn every match you win. Thankfully, there is a training mode and a complete moves list for every character, so you can always go back and practice those seemingly endless controller sweeps and button combos until you can do them in your sleep.
The game will be releasing for the PS2, PSP and Wii, and Wii owners will need the classic controller in order to play this game. Sure, while the Wiimote can be used to control your character, it is so clumsy and unwieldy that it proves to be nearly impossible. Go ahead and invest the $20 for a classic controller; you'll be needing it for other games anyway.
While King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga doesn't break any new ground, it will provide a blast of nostalgia for all those KoF loyalists who are still out there. SNK has kept everything you love about the series intact, while adding a few nice touches along the way in order to create a sort of "thank you" to their fans. If you think you've got the skills, prepare to step into the ring and face a real challenge later this year.