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The King of Fighters XI
Review By: Siou Choy
Developer: SNK Playmore
Publisher: Crave Entertainment
Genre: Fighting
ESRB: Teen
# Of Players: 1-2
Online Play: No
Accessories: Memory Card
Buy Now: Buy The King of Fighters XI at Amazon.com!

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In a post-“next gen” era of 3D games and realistic graphics, it’s become quite rare to find a game still locked in a world of 80’s-style 2D animation and sprites. But Against all Odds, SNK has decided to go Back to the Future and stick with what it built its Fame on, 2D fighters. Somewhere between Revenge of the Nerds and the Karate Kid lies King of the Fighters XI for the PS2.

Sadly, the graphics in King of the Fighters XI for the PS2 don’t look all that different from my copy of King of the Fighters 95 for the PSOne. While KoFXI does look a bit cleaner, the difference is all but insignificant. While they’re clearly sticking to their retro guns here, at the very least the proceedings could have benefited from a dash of cel-shading or some minor touches of modernity to keep gamers from feeling like they stepped into a time warp.

The King of Fighters XI

Pluses…hmm. I do like the fact that the voices were left in Japanese. However minor a garnish, little things like this make the game a bit more appealing. Nothing is more irritating than a badly dubbed game, movie or (particularly offensive and widespread in offense) anime (somebody shoot the US dubbing crowd, please!). Thankfully, KoFXI doesn’t suffer from this gruesome fate. On the flipside, you do get to suffer from the same English-challenged mushmouth voice from Cooking Mama 2: “sewekt you-a fyetaa” kept sounding like “eethen beddah thah mwama” to my ears. There’s also some retard that keeps yelling “rock you” with every move he makes – after a round or two against this clown, you start to feel like you’re at a Kiss show or something.

One interesting feature is the option to improve your chances of winning after being beaten soundly by an opponent. After continuing, you can choose to face your foe either at the same stakes or with a slight advantage, such giving your enemy a slightly lower health bar, starting the round with your Skill Gauge at max or having your Power Gauge restore (rather than decrease) over time. While this sounds like a cheap out, it can prove extremely welcome after having dealt with a cheap boss or two.

Another nice feature of KoFXI is the ability to “shift” in battle. “Shifting” is the tag team function, where you get to call in another member of your team to take your place or assist you in a powerful attack. This little feature can help save a character from defeat or make weaker characters more of a match against tougher opponents.

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Posted: 2008-03-31 18:27:51 PST