KING OF FIGHTERS KYO
When I first heard there was a KOF RPG, I was elated. Even if you did have to be Kyo, you could pick the other 2 members of your team, and Geese Howard and Billy Kane were both in the game, so that wouldn't be a problem. I placed the game in my PSX, eagerly anticipating what could have been the greatest of the entire King of Fighters line. I say could because SNK obviously didn't have their heads on straight when they created this "game" (It's not really that bad, that was just my initial reaction...).
Graphically, the game looks impressive. Most of the game is comprised of well drawn portraits of the KOF characters as you interact with them in the RPG side of things. When you get to the "fight" sequences (the quotation marks are explained in the Gameplay section), you are treated to some of, if not the best, hand drawn sprites in the KOF series. Amazing special effects enhance the effect of the special moves a thousand fold, making simple punches look downright impressive. This is all complemented perfectly by...
...The incredible sound that graces this game (Yes, I moved the gameplay section to the last position to finish that sentence...). In the RPG side of things, the characters talk to you. I'm not talking about Final Fantasy text talk, I'm talking about actual speech, a la Koudelka. Every character's voice reflects their personality rather well, and the voices come through crystal clear. On another positive note, the voice acting is handled well, making their moods and tones quite believable. The music played throughout the game is well done, and continues in the outstanding quality of the voices. Sounds during fight sequences are second to none, once again adding to the overall effect.
I'll start with the good first. The RPG side of things is handled well. Controls are easy to get the hang of, and moving from place to place is surprisingly easy, considering the depth of the game. Interacting with others in an RPG has always been a trouble spot for some companies, but SNK seems to have picked it up on their first try... unfortunately, that time could've been better spent working on the fighting aspect. Imagine any King of Fighters game, any year, and the incredible fighting that takes place during a match. Now forget all that, because that ain't what you're gonna get. King of Fighters Kyo is a strategy game. You select from a drop down menu what attacks you're going to perform, and watch as they play out against your opponent. It sounds stupid the way I'm describing it, but it's really not that bad. The more you play it, the better it seems. It still would've been INFINITELY better had you been able to actually fight.
Easily one of the more challenging games on the PSX, King of Fighters Kyo will keep you coming back for a long time. Since it features nearly every character from KOF '94-'98 (and a few who make an appearance only in this game!), it's bound to have your favorite as one of the characters you can choose for your teammates. It's great to be rid of Benjamaru and Goro, and finally get Geese Howard and Billy Kane on the same team. Now if only Eiji Kisaragi made an appearance...
- John Gillerlain
Overall: 6.9 / 10
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