The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga Review
Wii | PS2 | PSP
The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga	box art
System: PSP, Wii, PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: SNK Playmore 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SNK Playmore 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 28, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Covering a time span of five years, the assumption would be to see a steady progression in gameplay mechanics or at least some sense of refinement as one moves up the historical SNK chain. Even though you're getting five games in one, there is a sense of diminishing returns present. Sure, each entry in the series has more characters, a slightly higher amount of sprite detail, and some new moves, but the basic gameplay is one that centers primarily around special attacks.

The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga screenshot

While fighting games now have advanced counter systems and sophisticated multi-hit combos, all the games in Orochi Saga are of a “wait to perform the special move” nature. You can't really build up big combos and the counter system present is minimal. It never feels like you're being strategic in any real sense – rather, you're blocking and setting up for that moment where you do a stereotypical quarter-circle punch move. Since all the games essentially play like this, it begs the question: do we need five versions of this? SNK fans will undoubtedly say yes; however, those new to the fold may echo the question.

Aside from the general arcade and two-player mode, Orochi Saga also features a dedicated training and challenge mode. The Training mode is quite extensive; you can pick any move and have it displayed onscreen right below your health bar. This may not seem like much, but having the move onscreen as opposed to forcing you to continually jump back into a menu to see it is a nice touch. Yet, for that smart decision there's one particularly strange omission: you can have the computer block your attacks, jump, or even mirror your actions, but there's no general sparring mode. If you want that, you have to jump back to the arcade mode.

The different battle conditions present in challenge mode spruce up gameplay simply because they introduce some variety. You might fight an enemy, but not be allowed to see their health bar or power meters; some opponents can only be damaged with combos that are three hits or higher; and other battles may start you out wounded, but reward you with health for every hit you score. These battle qualifiers definitely make for some hardcore fights, which makes your reward seem not all that worthwhile. Beating challenges awards you with concept art and galleries, as well as arranged and official soundtrack music. These awards have a ho-hum effect. They don't unlock anything that ultimately affects the game – they're more of fan service than anything else.

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The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga ultimately falls flat because of technical issues that render its attempts at historical authenticity paltry. Only the most diehard SNK fans who want their fighting on the go (and can deal with their precious titles having some emulation errors) should pick up this title. It's really hard to recommend this title, especially when the PS2 version is available at half the price.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

All five games are sprite-based, so spotting the graphical progression – while possible – is a little difficult. It's all serviceable though and the only real complaints are the load times and the PSP's screen, which isn't suited for the aspect ratios available.
Hardcore fighting fans always opt for a proper joystick, but since we're talking about the PSP, your options are really only two: the D-pad or the analog nub. The first option works well enough (although it sometimes doesn't register moves correctly), but ignore the second.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The backing tracks suffice, providing that classic midi fighting feel. The sound effects, with their strange delays, degrade the audio package.
Play Value
The five-in-one package may seem like a value, but since all the games play nearly the same with only slight differences, it can almost be looked at like the same title delivered five times. Also, with a PS2 version that's cheaper and the PSP's control and display issues, it makes this version hard to recommend to all but the most devoted SNK fans.
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The most extensive King of Fighters collection ever, containing five complete games.
  • Includes the Orochi Saga trilogy ('95-'97) and more.
  • Multiplayer support via ad-hoc Wi-Fi mode.
  • Unlockable bonus content materials.

  • Screenshots / Images
    The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga screenshot - click to enlarge The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga screenshot - click to enlarge The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga screenshot - click to enlarge The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga screenshot - click to enlarge

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