Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have a very love-hate relationship with fighting game series The King of Fighters...

On one hand, there's the expansive cast of characters, the uniquely tangible, weighty fighting system, and of course the unforgettably, unforgivably brutal boss fights...

On the other, it also looked like this.


Now, I'm not a stickler for graphics, but while that may look kind of bad now, it was amazing in it's heyday. The Neo-Geo was a 2D powerhouse, but after 10 years of using the same sprites, it was REALLY showing its age in the visual department. Even though the fighting system kept evolving, the look wasn't. So you can imagine my excitement when SNK announced they would be using Atomiswave, the amazing 2D engine powering the excellent Guilty Gear series..

...and my disappointment when it ended up looking like this.


(Really guys? The backgrounds look amazing, but the SPRITES are still the same?..)

Now we're 5 years later, and the influx of great looking fighting games has everyone taking notice. We've seen a high-definition remix of Street Fighter 2, a 3D overhaul of the series in its fourth installment, and even Arc System Works came up with something more impressive looking in the game Blazblue.

I think SNK had no choice but to step their game up.

I'll spare any more nostalgic waxing and say they did in spades, because The King of Fighters XII looks amazing. Using a graphic technique akin to the way Rare made Donkey Kong Country for the SNES yet being completely hand-drawn**, SNK has not only managed to redefine KOF, but they've also I think, redefined the expectations for what a next-gen 2D game should look like.

I'm done talking, just have a look. You may be speechless as I was.

**Curious? Have a read. Source: Kotaku.

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