2D fighting genre is showing its age.
by Cole Smith
18, 2006 - You're
probably wondering how I managed to get this review
done after just recently returning from E3 in L.A
over the weekend? Truth be told, I began playing King
of Fighter: NeoWave about two weeks ago. I didn't
really get into it at all, and I thought that might
be due to my anxiety/anticipation of attending E3.
I would give the game another chance upon my return.
I was right the first time.
even talked to a fellow reviewer about NeoWave and
he agreed with my original assessment of the game.
It's just a repackaging job. Unless you're a "brand
loyal" consumer, there's nothing in this version
to get excited about except for perhaps the online
component which allows you to participate in a 128-person
tournament. I admit that sounds like fun but the overall
combat system is lacking in depth. The golden age
of the 2D-fighter is officially over.
years, the King of Fighters has stood the test of
time. I'm not going to argue with fans over its legacy.
As far as 2D fighters go, the KoF series is classic,
but it's seen better days. The fighting engine is
about as good as it's going to get. It needs a complete
overhaul to survive. I just can't recommend purchasing
a game like this that uses the same engine that we've
played for years with only a modest amount of new
features and upgrades. Granted, the online component
is a good addition but the fighting system is so archaic
and shallow that the fun will be very shortly lived
for the average gamer. Therefore I would strongly
advise that you rent this game first.
having said that, even if you're not a fan of fighters
the arcade-style action is brilliant fun when taken
in small doses. Newbies will appreciate the basic
control system and moves list which will offer them
a decent challenge. But you can reach the ceiling
quickly, at which time fights between equally-skilled
opponents can be decided by one little mistake. Hardcore
fans of the series thrive on such nuances. It's what
makes this game so coveted but even they will admit
that it's all about playing against another opponent.
Nobody could possibly recommend the single-player
mode except for training.
of the game's best features include a huge roster
of fighters, some different moves and attacks as well
as the inclusion of some classic moves such as the
thrust attack and the evacuation roll. There are a
good assortment of options and modes including online
play as well as updated graphics. It's still a 2D
game but the environments do look substantially better
than they have in the past. They actually have a sense
of spatial depth that makes them appear more realistic.
There is more graphic detail in the surroundings and
although the sprites have been cleaned up they still
look like their raggedy arcade counterparts. I can
hear the purists whining about the new backgrounds
but they don't look out of place. It would be nice
to see the characters brought up-to-date as well.
the menu system is like playing an action adventure
game. It's so puzzling I almost required the assistance
of a 12-year old to show me what the hell to do. The
single-player modes include Story, Single, Team, Endless,
Practice and Verses. There are some 42 fighters in
all including Shingo, Ramon, Mai, King, Terry and
Andy to name a few. Different characters have different
move sets which you'll have to learn but fortunately
many have had their move sets mapped to the same control
of the combat is combo based. Linking moves and using
special attacks is where it's at. A new feature is
the Super Cancel which will let you abort a move if
you suspect your opponent has correctly guessed your
actions and is planning a counter. There is also a
Heat feature which allows you to charge up an attack
and make it more powerful by exchanging your health
for destruction. This feature should only be used
when you've got nothing left to lose or if you're
absolutely convinced your opponent won't survive the
hit. It does take a good portion of your health.
play is the only reason to purchase this game. At
twenty bucks it's bargain priced but if you're not
going to take it online don't waste your money. You
can play against another human competitor in head-to-head
matches or you can join a tournament which can accommodate
up to 128 challengers. The online menus are easier
to deal with and the controls were precise with no
are some new attack animations but they are few and
far between. They don't make up for the repetitive
and poorly acted voiceovers. The soundtrack could
be considered a mess, but for those that want to experience
the original Japanese production, this is as authentic
as it gets. Yes, it is a mess but it's fun when taken
in the right context. Some of the sampled sounds are
thin and piercing, as though they were recorded off
of a cell phone. Expect all kinds of shouting from
disembodied voices, squeaks, scratches, grunts, smacks
and trashy garage band tunes.
of Fighters: NeoWave is basically treading water.
Its appeal will be limited to fans of the franchise
that will defend the game to the death - as long as
it's priced under twenty bucks. Taken as a whole,
NeoWave is a classic fighting game - but it's essentially
a remake of a classic fighting game. The fact that
it doesn't offer many new features in the gameplay
makes it appear like nothing more than a cash grab.
It's time that SNK started to cultivate some new fans
for its fighting titles instead of taking advantage
of its loyal ones that deserve more than this.
Live support featuring online multi-player head-to-head
fighting and Tournament Mode.
total of 43 characters yielding 12 of the most dangerous
fighting teams plus 7 bonus fighters.
your team and fight it out in the original 3-on-3
rendered background graphics.
"Heat Mode" to power-up your attacks.
the evacuation rolling maneuver and thrust attacks.
Super Special Moves.
modes of play: Super Cancel, Guard Break and Max2.
a Special Move with a Super Attack in the Super
Cancel Mode to cause extreme damage.