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The King of Fighters '95 review
by Uneducated_Reviews

The King of Fighters '95 is the second installment of the once upon a time hit series of the same name. It continues the basic but great formula of having teams of three characters to fight other teams. A lot of the characters from these teams were taken by other SNK series like Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, and Psycho Soldier, just to name a few. Although it is an upgrade from the last edition, it is far from being the ultimate fighting game.

The story is basic but serviceable each team receives an invitation to the annual tournament of KOF but with the distinction of being signed by just an ‘R’ letter. To get a story ending it is mandatory to select a preset team as this time around it's possible to choose individual characters to make your dream team. This new feature of getting to choose your preferred characters enhances your multiplayer experience greatly in an arcade environment, to give you an example when I was a kid I remember going to a local store where they have this particular game and while playing sometimes you will be challenged by a better player or older person, chances are that this kind of duels always attracted a small or big crowd and if you were lucky enough another kid that you didn't know by speaking to, but by fighting each other before, may lend you a hand with one of your characters and try to beat the challenger, this kind of events let me feel like I was in a Shonen manga, as this duels often ended with more challengers and even real three-person teams full-on with an unforgiven but roaring audience, basically your rivals of today became the allies of tomorrow. I am pretty sure that circumstances like this were foresighted by the developers, so it was a genuinely good meta-mechanic.

However, this edition of the game is tied to the unmoving chains of a console therefore having a challenger, let alone a crowd it's pretty limited by your circumstances. In the heath of the battle when having a mob screaming behind you is easy to magnify and embellish a flawed game, stiff controls, and so on. So how does KOF '95 fare by itself in the comfortable but solitary spot of your living room? For the most part, OK.

The gameplay at least from my perspective seems pretty similar to KOF '94 but with some tweaks here and there that make battles somewhat better. Combos are easier to pull off (at least the basics) and doesn't feel like you need to be extremely precise, don't get me wrong, there is still a big learning curve, but if you're going to tackle this game in a more casual or relaxed way, you'll have a better time with it than KOF '94. Playing multiplayer is the optimal option but not everyone has the luxury of playing local with other people nowadays.

The arcade mode has some story to it if you play with the default teams as aforementioned, and although this time around is more interesting than the last game, as a Rival team was introduced with some antagonists for the other star teams (Iori Yagami being the main one of those), it certainly doesn't hold up by itself. Some endings are better than others, some of them add some to the lore and even tease you with events for future entries, and others don't even concern with the story and just show you a silly cutscene. They're not bad but they're not great either, also there are a lot of localization issues, this is not a problem at all, since probably the original staff needed to translate by themselves without a professional translator, and back in the 90's the game industry was another, nonetheless, this being a re-release would benefit to re-translate the script and make it more similar to the original, so it is more like a missed opportunity.

The art direction maintains the standard and it adds a little notch to the bar. Stages are pretty, especially the Fatal Fury stage which is in a Mediterranean harbor it seems, I can almost smell the breeze while fighting there. Characters while they look good, most of them seem like recycled assets from the last game, there is nothing wrong with that but they don't seem more polished either in terms of animation. This port has the option of playing it with scanlines which add more depth and richness to the sprites, it is not by any means a perfect simulation, but it improves the visuals so it is recommended to turn it on.

King of Fighters '95 was a beast when it was released on Arcade machines, but the passing of the years it's kind of noticeable since it keeps almost the same DNA of the last game with not much noticeable upgrading, as almost every team is the same and the U.S.A. team was simply replaced by the Rival team. Still, you can have some fun with it and it certainly has its charm even when playing it solo, although the preferred experience if possible is by playing with several people, to remember or try to recreate its past glory.
«Better with friends»