Art Of Fighting II Review
The first time I played this game, I was not impressed to say the least. The game's controls seemed very clunky to me and I was not used to this sort of difficulty. I refused to play this game anymore, calling it impossible on several occasions. A few weeks ago, though, I felt that I wanted a ridiculously hard challenge, so I picked up the controller and decided to give it another chance. And, boy, am I glad that I did!
The characters are very large and have a surprising amount of detail for a 1994 game. Most of the backgrounds are done very well, such as Temjin's stage on the docks (For some reason, King's level just looks stupid to me, though). A nice touch, that was also present in Art Of Fighting I, is the fact that the characters will become more bruised as they sustain more hits to the face. Other small details that are nice are the different ways in which an opponent can be knocked out. For example, if you knock your opponent out with a certain special move, their clothes may rip or they will fall over in a painful way. My favourite of these is when Temjin goes flying across the screen, then keels over slowly. It's realistic in a very strange way.
The sound effects used in this game have a very classic feel to them. The slicing of Lee's claws or the loud hit sound that any Art Of Fighting fan will recognize instantly. One problem that plagued Art Of Fighting I was the quality of the voices, which were very muffled and quiet. Those problems are no more in Art Of Fighting II, as all of the voices are loud and clear. One interesting note is the fact that some characters have different voices depending if you have it in English or Japanese. This holds true for John, King, and Robert. It's sort of distracting if you're used to their original voices, but it can be overlooked. Sometimes, it actually sounds quite funny! Just listen to John and you'll see what I mean.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: THIS IS NOT A BUTTON MASHING GAME!! Like Art Of Fighting I, there are two separate bars, one for life and one for spirit. If you use a special move, your spirit meter will deplete. Holding down either the A, B, or C button will charge your spirit meter, but will leave you open for an attack. By pressing the D button, your character will taunt and deplete your opponent's health. There are Super Moves in this game that you earn by completing a bonus game. Also present are Super Desperation Moves. When your health meter is low, it will flash, enabling you to do one of these damaging moves if your spirit meter is full. It sounds kind of confusing, but if you take the time to figure out the control scheme, it is actually quite a brilliant layout.
This game is very difficult and requires strategy (and sometimes cheapness) to win. Do not play this game if you expect to beat it easily and without trouble. There are several characters to select, some which are easier to play as than others. Each character has their own strength and weakness, such as Lee for his good speed and bad defense capabilities. You're sure to find a character that will work for you.
This title may take more than one try to get hooked and it is very difficult, so don't say I didn't warn you. However, I used to lose every round, I mean round, against the CPU and now I can beat it with a couple of credits! Just give it some time and you'll soon be an expert at this great game! I definitely recommend this to anyone who has either a Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, or a computer and would like to play an underappreciated masterpiece of the great company known only as SNK.