The 90s was a period filled with arcade fighters and coin operated machines. King Of Fighters 94’ stood out at the time for its excellent visuals and intuitive team play involving three players. King Of Fighters pulls characters from Fatal Fury and the Art Of Fighting series’ and mashes them all together for a big tournament. For those too young to remember, Fatal Fury was one of the premier fighting title available on home consoles during the early 90s, I personally have fond memories of playing as the series protagonist, Terry Bogard, so it was a lovely bit of nostalgia to play as him again.
The game comes with a few different versions, of which includes the original Japanese version, the home console version and also a caravan mode (survival mode). On top of this, the title has been up-scaled so players can enjoy it in 1080p along with all the usual trimmings like streaming capabilities and share play. There’s a surprising amount of options available, from changing the filter seen on-screen to changing the difficulty of the AI. These extra options give players the chance to tailor their experience a bit more, and also helps people new to the series by giving them a lower barrier to entry.
Other than the standard offerings there isn’t really a lot of new content, it’s pretty much the original version of the title. Considering how old the game is, it sure does play surprisingly well. It ‘s a lot more responsive than I remember fighting games at the time being, and the array of moves is surprisingly complex for a title that’s 26 years old. I’ve always considered myself fairly good at fighting games, but King Of Fighters ‘94 does not take any prisoners. The game punishes you for your mistakes, which isn’t surprising considering it was a coin operated title.
The three on three fights are fun and surprisingly deep, the teams are varied and all suit a certain play style. Even the order in which you choose characters can have an effect on how well you perform, showing a surprising amount of depth for an arcade game from the 90s. For those with a few controllers there the options of split screen play. Due to the games arcade nature, there’s a jump in and out option that can shake things up a little bit if you’ve got a few buddies around.
The game looks like a standard 2D arcade fighter from the time, but the up-scaling has made some of the background sprites and textures a little bit stretched. This isn’t too big of an issue though as you likely won’t be that focused on the background. I have to commend just how well some of the characters are designed, the art designers did a great bringing out the personality of 2D sprites. Each set of characters were designed around their country of origin, bringing an extra level of depth to each character – this works well given the lack of back story.
Some players might find the lack of choice available in King Of Fighters ’94 a little off-putting, compared to modern fighting titles the game is incredibly basic. There no training modes or practice modes that modern players get the privilege of using, and the command list is hidden away in the options somewhere.
I think people are going to struggle to get into King Of Fighters ‘94 if they don’t already have a history with the title, especially when the later entries in the series are far more balanced and accessible. This one is definitely for the hardcore fighting fans out there.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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