SNK knows their fighting games. They should. They’ve been making them for over 15 years. The biggest franchise in their fighting game arsenal is The King of Fighters series. Most know that KoF is a crossover game featuring characters from all the SNK games. Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown, Ikari Warriors, and many other games lend their characters for the big fighting game. The first KoF was released in 1994 on the Neo-Geo. A year later, we got this game, properly titled The King of Fighters ’95.
The game play remains intact from 94, for the most part. You have a light and heavy punch, a light and heavy kick, a dodge and throw. The biggest change that was introduced is that you can manually choose your characters, rather than having to stick with a set team. KoF ’95 is the first game in which fan favorite Iori Yagami makes an appearance. All the great characters are here: the Bogard brothers, Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru, Mai Shiranui, Clark Still and many others.
The story takes place a year after the first King of Fighters tournament. Rugal was thought to be dead, but instead of dying, he becomes Omega Rugal and hosts yet another tournament. Wanting to get revenge on Kyo Kusanagi, the fighter that defeated him in ’94, he finds Kyo’s father, Saisyu Kusanagi, and brainwashes him into fighting his son.
The game play is that of any KoF game. You have 3 team members, you choose the order of which you want them to fight, and you fight them in that order until all three members are knocked out. In between rounds, the winner gains a small portion of health back. Every character has their own unique combos and special attacks.
This game is part of the NeoGeo Station, a hub for all the games to be released on the platform. It’s a nice little feature that offers up full manuals, a feature that allows you to save replays of matches and online play for the games. I have to say, the online is very solid. I played a good 30 matches online with absolutely no lag whatsoever. This is a great feature, considering the past few KoF games had some really spotty online.
The only real complaints I have with the game is that it is very pixilated, even for a game made in 1995. Still, it’s just a cosmetic complaint that doesn’t effect the game play at all. For the most part, the game is solid in all aspects.
The King of Fighters ’95 is a great game that any fighting game fan will enjoy. Plus with the features of the NeoGeo Station backing it up, it makes the game even better. The online is smooth as butter, and the game play still holds up after 14 years. All this for $8.99? Count me in.
Review copy provided by publisher.