King of Fighters 2002 and 2003 is actually a greatest
hits package which features more than 40 characters
from the heady days of the NeoGeo game system. It
can't compare to today's fighters but if you want
to see what inspired the trends in fighting games
then look no further.
2002 & 2003 is essentially two games in one package.
Some may say that it's a lot more than that because
the 2002 game includes characters and matches from
as far back as 1996. The 2003 disk features a lot
less characters but it takes the gameplay to another
level. If you're a fan of the KOF series and would
like to relive those great arcade days you won't be
disappointed with this purchase.
of the first things I should mention is that there
are no upgrades on any of these games. Sure there
are some minor changes here and there, mostly just
technical ones that ensure the game can be played
faithfully on the Xbox. There are no bells and whistles
- well actually there are but what I really mean is
that these games are no-frills. There are no online
multi-player modes, upgradeable characters or deep
storyline. What you get is a 2D fighter with faux
3D backgrounds and one hell of a tight control system.
are limited to kicks, punches, special attacks and
combos. It's simple, to be sure, but very effective
and challenging none the less. Matches in the 2002
version are three-on-three where you continue with
your character until you're clobbered. If you're one
of the faithful of the series you'll thrill to see
some of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) teams
back in action.
newly added gameplay feature of the 2003 version allows
you to select any character on your team, anytime,
in true tag-team fashion. The matches are fast and
furious and maintain that pace since you can introduce
fresh characters with plenty of juice left in the
games offer different approaches to fighting. The
2002 version requires more strategy in terms of pace
and energy conservation while the 2003 version explore
the frenetic frenzied approach. They both manage to
bring a nice balance when offered as a complete package.
It won't be uncommon to switch between them several
times at one sitting. The characters have plenty to
say and display a sense of fun to their personality
that very few of today's fighting games can match.
Some, if not most of it, is cliché but it's
done in a compelling way that gives each character
a bit more dimension.
graphics are colorful and presented in a 2D cartoon
style. There is no shortage of background detail but
it's not an interactive environment. The animation
is quaint as these big old characters tend to move
around like one solid mass with only the arms flailing
and legs kicking. You'll hear those familiar arcade
tunes along with the groans, grunts, smacks and thuds
that punctuate the soundtrack.
2002 & 2003 is jam packed with solid fighting
action. It's a great investment for fans, but those
unfamiliar with the old series may not appreciate
its relative straightforwardness.