by Kyo2000


US Title: King of Fighters '99 Evolution
Japanese Title: King of Fighters '99 Evolution
Year: 2000
System: Dreamcast
Other Versions? No


[Editor's Note: Some listings of this game omit the "99" and list the game as "The King of Fighters Evolution."  Don't confuse "King of Fighters '99 Evolution," which is a port of KoF '99 with special features (bonus strikers like KOF2k's Vanessa and Seth), with the similarly titled "King of Fighters Dream Match 1999," which is actually a port of KoF '98! Confused yet? -Bobak! ]


Rarely have we seen a Neo game properly translated to a mainstream console. On Sega Genesis, we were treated to a horrid version of World Heroes... On our Super NES, we were treated to Fatal Fury (plus load times, a REAL rarity to cartridges)... On Playstation and Saturn, we had KOF games that had longer load times than fight duration... And in KOF Dream Match '99 on Dreamcast, we were treated to many glaring flaws: The music stopped and restarted briefly after EVERY round in Team Play, the new 3D backgrounds were low-res and looked outright trashy, and everything in the game was pixellated. However, in that mess of a port, there was a moment of brilliance in the awesome introduction that would have had ANYONE pumped to play KOF! 
It was with all these things in mind that I purchased KOF Evolution upon it's domestic release, and popped the disc into my DC for a spin. I wasn't expecting much to begin with... Then I played it...

I'll say it right away, the gameplay in this game rules the world. That's all there is to it. This is a translation of KOF '99, and it's missing very little (blood, a few animations, and one of Whip's SDMs). However, there are lots of reasons that I'd play this version over even the mighty Neo home cartridge version. First of all, if you happen to own one of the DC's better controllers or arcade sticks, you'll be treated to rock solid control on a better controller than SNK ever offered for the Neo home cart system. 
If you are a fan of the KOF style of fighter, you really cannot go wrong in purchasing this game. I can think of absolutely no notable control flaw to bitch about in this review. 
Of course, this game did add the "Striker" system, where you pick a character before the match that you can call into the fight a set number of times to help you out. This is much like calling in a helper on the Marvel vs. Capcom series. My favorite strikers are Ralf and Shingo. Shingo runs out, and holds onto your opponents ankles for a couple of seconds, letting you get in a cheap blow (or worse, a cheap SDM).

Well, don't buy this game expecting the graphics of a Dead or Alive 2 or a Soul Calibur... If you do, then this will disappoint you. For that matter, this game has already disappointed "graphics tarts" all over the world. Unsure of what a "graphics tart" is? That's a gamer that is playing only for the pretty pictures, and never learns a thing about actually PLAYING a game. Did you enjoy The Bouncer on PS2? You're a graphics tart!
Back to the review... We have 3D backgrounds with 2D character sprites. That probably sounds like a bad idea, but it looks just wonderful. In the backgrounds you'll see working fairground rides, airplanes landing and taking off, a strange elevator trip, and other sweet stuff. In the foreground you'll see pretty much the same old KOF sprites that you've seen before, but slightly smaller for some reason. I'm unsure of why they're smaller, but hey, at least they're not pixellated this time around!

Oh the music in this game!!! I had no idea what I was missing in KOF '99 until I bought this version! You see, I own KOF 2000 and had never thought about picking this one up... Until I saw it for $35 on the old DC...
You've got to hear the background tunes for the Kyo clones, for Kyo himself, and several others! Tears (Kyo's music) is so good, I just had to rip it to CD to play it in my car!
To be honest, the same old sound effects that we got in KOF '98 (and '97, and '96...) are still present. That's not bitching, but if you've played any KOF you already know that the sound effects are fitting for the game and for that matter they're just "there".

Replay Value:
In my opinion, I'd never play the Neo Geo version of this game NEARLY as much as I've played the DC version... Let's talk about why I love this game. We have rocking tunes that never stop and reload as in previous ports of KOF, they just play right through until the end of the match. We have some of the best KOF backgrounds I've ever seen, and in my opinion they're much better than what I got in my KOF 2000 game. We have an "Extra Strikers" option, that allows you to purchase more strikers with experience points earned through playing KOF. Hidden strikers include Fio from Metal Slug, among others. Also hidden are "dark" strikers, evil versions of some of our favorite characters. It really does take forever to open all the different strikers in this game, but it's worth it. 

In my estimation, I've played this game over 80 hours since I purchased it... That's more than I've played Tekken Tag Tournament on my PS2... More than I've played Metal Gear Solid on my PS1... More than I've played Soul Calibur on my Dreamcast... It looks like the only games I can think of that have eclipsed my play time with this are Dead or Alive 2 and KOF 2000. So yes, I think you'll play this game for a while if you buy it! Enjoy, you're getting a superior experience to the $200+ home cartridge in this $30 or less Dreamcast game!

(Here's an alternate cover of the same game)



More Reviews of This Game:

by Bobak!

by Shimitar: GotU


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