Does this updated version of The King of Fighters 98 keep up with its predecessors? Find out in this review.
I've been a fan of The King of Fighters Series for a long time now. 98 was one of my favorite in the series. The first time I had a chance to try this game was at Metrocon 2008, in which I was able to play it on the PS2, through an imported copy. I was hooked to the updated ver., I ended up going on a huge winning streak. when the convention was over. I did alot of searching, seeing if this port would arrive to the US. it wasn't until 1 year later when the game was released onto Xbox live. right away, I picked it up and played it for a very, very long time, mastering my characters, and beating people senselessly online, and meeting plenty of friends. several years later, I'm ready to give my review for this game.
As you can see from the main menu for this game, the game offers various game modes. ARCADE PLAY is the standard 3-on-3 team battle mode. SINGLE PLAY is the 1-on-1, best two out of three battle mode. ENDLESS is pretty much a survival mode, testing how much you can knock out until you are knocked out yourself. with every game, there is a PRACTICE mode so that you can try out new techniques. the CHALLENGE mode offers 30 different missions which tests your very skill at the game, which can vary anywhere between doing a simple command, performing complicated combos, and even beating a set of enemies (I'm looking at you, challenge #21). NEOGEO MODE actually switches over to the classic KoF 98, which was one of my favorite game in the series. Xbox LIVE is the last one I'll mention, as it is your online mode.
The standard battle format in The King of Fighters series is a 3-on-3 team battle, in which the objective is to knock out all of your opponent's characters. Befor selecting your characters, though, you'll need to select a style. In 98UM, you could choose between ADVANCED, EXTRA, or ULTIMATE. ADVANCED allows players to dash, use a roll evasion, and have a three stock meter, in which it gains and extra stock whenever you lose a character, for up to a total of 5 stocks. EXTRA allows players to quick step, dodge in place, and a meter that they can charge. As for ULTIMATE, this will allow players to mix and match between both the ADVANCED and EXTRA, allowing for a unique setup, such as having the stock meter and dash, but having the dodge instead of the roll evasion, etc...
The game's roster consists of up to 42 characters, with some of them spanning from various SNK games (Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Ikari Warriors, Psycho Soldier). Some of these characters also has an extra version that can be selected by holding a certain button before selecting the character. Personally, My main character, and personal favorite of mine, is Athena Asamiya, the female member of the Psycho Soldiers team.
in terms of the controls, there are four main buttons: Light punch, Light kick, Hard Punch, and Hard kick. when both light buttons are pressed, depending on your choice of style, will allow you to do the roll evasion, or dodge. when you have at least have one stock in your meter (ADVANCED), or a fully charged meter (EXTRA), by pressing light punch, light kick, and hard punch at the same time, you will go into what's called MAX mode for a limited time. In Max mode, your attacks are stronger, and when you perform your SDM (Super Desperation Move, aka Super move), it'll be more powerful, visual changes will appear, and after the attack, you'll be out of max mode. Using a SDM will cost one stock out of the meter, and if you're not in MAX mode, and have three stocks, you could do the MAX mode verion of the SDM at the cost of three stocks. the last thing I'm going to mention is the assist attack, in order to do an assist attack, you have to be dizzied on your side of the field. if you still have people on your team that hasn't fought yet, when you are dizzied on your side, you can press light punch, light kick, and hard punch at the same time, and one of your partners will jump from the background and attack your opponent.
As you can tell from the screenshot (sorry, I couldn't find a better one at the moment), it still retains that classic KoF artstyle. Each of the stages were greatly improved from their original appearance, with some stages being new. This is what I grew up with when I play SNK games, and I'm glad for this type of style.
Just like with the graphics, the sound quailty retains its vales for the series just as well. For those who have the PS2 ver. players can switch between the original tracks and an arranged ver. of the soundtrack for the game. In my opinion, I like both versions of the music used in the game. Here's some samples (these videoes includes both versions of the songs) :
All in all, this particular KoF game is one of my most favorite ones to play, in which I still do against some friends from time to time. nowadays, the game is pretty much dead online, so it'll be hard to find someone online unless you made an arrangement with a friend to meet up online for some battles. If you ever get this game, let me know if you want to have a couple of battles.
Final Verdict: Buy It!!!
Before I end this story, here a video of a fight i had with an old friend over a year ago:
Leave your comments in the bottom, and don't be a Jimmy!!!
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