by wagesofsyn


Japanese Title: The King of Fighters '99
Year: 2000
System: Playstation
Other Versions? Neo Geo: Home cart, CD, & MVS; Dreamcast


After playing King of Fighters '98, I wondered, "how could the conversions get any better?" King of Fighters '99 proved me wrong. Though the character count was down from last year (38 in '98, 32 in '99), the game was still one of the best in the series. Some of the new styles of play threw me for a loop when I first popped it in, but I adapted fairly quickly, as I'm sure you will. This is definitely an "evolution" in KOF gameplay. 



The King of Fighters cast has never looked better on the PSX. Smooth looking characters with very little unpolished spots give King of Fighters a good name. Personally, I like the realistic look of King of Fighters infinitely better than the Capcom cartoony look, and comparing Street Fighter Alpha 3 and King of Fighters '99, KOF '99 wins hands down. There are even more frames of animation in this years conversion than '98, and that's saying something. All the idle animations from the Neo Geo version are here, and the backgrounds look great, with high levels of detail and great background activity. 



Just like King of Fighters '97, '99 introduces a few new elements to gameplay, most noticeably the introduction of the striker system, and the teams of 4 instead of 3. The new system of retaining DM's and SDM's is a variation of the Advanced system, so it's not a totally new idea. The striker system, however, is a rip off of the Capcom Vs. series helper system. Your fourth team mate jumps in and performs a special attack on your opponent while you stand and watch, or take advantage of the situation and perform a special attack in unison with your striker. This is A LOT different than previous years, and adds a lot of different strategy to the KOF tournament. Also, the new Counter and Armor modes add more variation to the battlefield, and learning how to utilize them takes a while, but it's worth it. 



The soundtrack is alright, but it's not as good as previous years. The music never really struck me in this game as fitting. Some of the tracks seem very out of place. The sounds are great, and the hits and kicks sound perfect. The voices are the best they've ever been. Special moves sound just how they look, and the quality of every sound, from music to sound effects, everything sounds crisp and clear. 


Final Thoughts 

Though quite a few new tactics are introduced, King of Fighters '99 still feels like a KOF game. KOF purists might not like the new modes and the Striker system, but I applaud SNK for taking the KOF franchise into the new millennium. They retain everything that makes KOF great, and add some new and versatile modes that might attract new fans, as well as satisfy the old ones. If you don't have a Neo Geo, this is definitely the next best thing. 


- John Gillerlain 

Overall: 8.8/10



(new cover recently released in Japan by Playmore)

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