written and some screenshots by Bobak!

US Title: King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing
Japanese Title: King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing
Year: 1992
Size: 74 Megs
Home Release? Yes
MVS Release? Yes
CD Release? Yes


King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing 

The Next Review by Bobak!


The original King of the Monsters was one of the first big hits on the Neo Geo.  Placing decent knock-offs of famous movie monsters in city-flattening wrestling game satisfied the destruction-filled fantasies of video game fans everywhere.  From this success, SNK moved quickly to bring out a sequel.  Not satisfied with a simple rehash, they worked on it two-fold: adding elements they had wanted in the original and making some major changes to the game's format.  Alas, the reworking succeeded first area but failed in the second.  The next year, KOM fans had their sequel, but  KOM 2 is a different animal than its predecessor -its legacy is a bitter/sweet experience.   




The original KOM took place in 1996.  According to KOM2, after battling for three years (in what the insert claims is historically called "the King of the Monsters Massacre"), only three of the original six monsters survived.  Those that remain were given enhanced powers:

Sadly, my two favorite monsters from the original: Beetle Mania and Rocky, did not make the cut.  I guess they were sacrificed for meg-space and a more dramatic story.  Nuts...


Now it is 1999.  Just when humanity thought it was going to be dominated by these mega-monsters, along comes a major alien invasion (well ain't that a bitch?).  Far from being friends-of-the-earth, these aliens are a greater menace than the monsters.  Seeing a challenge to their authority over earth, the 3 Amigos (err, monsters) saddle up and take on the invaders.  After all, this is their planetary buffet!  


Now the monsters must team up and fight through delightfully ambiguous locations ("American City," "Desert," "French City," the g-spot... you get the drift), taking on minor aliens and pesky humans on your way to a show down with the big, bad, and cheap level-bosses.  Ah yes, the humans.  They're still here, infesting the earth and being a general nuisance to your every day working-fellow behemoth monster.  As the instructions note: "The humans can no longer rule the world," but that doesn't mean they aren't going to try.  They've improved their weaponry since you devastated the Land of the Rising Sun, and they're much more militant (no civilians getting caught in the melee this time around).  Fortunately, their danger is no greater than any of the minor monsters -just more overpriced hors d'oeuvres for you to munch on along the way.  


As the insert declares, the ensuing alien/monster showdown is coined by witnesses as "the King of the Monsters 2 Colossal Confrontation."  The programmers seemed to settle on the less spectacular and much more vague "The Next Thing."  But enough story... How does it fare?




What a difference a year makes!  The graphics in KOM2 are a great improvement over the original.  The monsters are much larger, much more detailed, and full of life.  The aliens, humans, and bosses are also very colorful and detailed.  Screens full of chaos, movement, and colors with no slowdown!  The lack of slowdown is a nice feature for such an early Neo cart (then again, the original was also very good in this area).  Seeing the especially large final boss throw himself effortlessly across the screen (as smooth as a figure-skater) will undoubtedly impress.


The levels are also better than before.  Scrapping the more realistic look of the original, KOM2's level come off as more cartoony and colorful.  Not to break with tradition, SNK's sense of geography is very, umm, creative in creating the caricatured levels.  Among others, the White House has a Space Shuttle launch pad behind it, there are two Sphinxes, and yes Terry Bogard fans, Mt. Rushmore is still located near the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. 



Great clarity, excellent volume, more dynamic scoring.  However, while the music and sound effects superior in the technical aspects, the tunes just aren't as catchy as the first.  The original King of the Monsters had six incredible themes that really gave each monster a personality.  The music in KOM2 is varied and pleasant; and a few of the songs (the Grand Canyon stage and a few boss tunes) are notable, but it just doesn't have the same overall effect.



Here's where the game both improves and comes apart.  Here are the changes, grouped into good, neutral, and bad/terrible.  


The Good:

The Neutral:

The Bad:

The Terrible:

Holy Bejesus!  And he moves faster than you do!


Replay Value:

If you have a home cart version, a few episodes of playing your best -only to get spanked by the King will burn you out.  If you have the opportunity to play MVS or CD, you'll still burn out pretty quick after finally sending the bad boy to hell -Besides, there are only three characters to beat it with.




What more can I say?  KOM2 is mixture of pain and pleasure.  There's enough of the original to keep you interested and playing, and some of the new stuff is fun and interesting (There's a nice buzz that comes from throwing the Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, or Space Shuttle at your opponents).  Then again, the serious gameplay problems really intrude on fully enjoying the game.  You'll find yourself interested enough play though some fine early levels, only to get totally bogged down and demoralized in the final boss ridden stage -only to be topped by the ludicrous King Famardy.  There is no experience quite like it, for better or for worse.  


Making the major changes that SNK did was quite a gutsy risk on the part of the programmers.  Sometimes such risks really pay off, other times they can seriously crash and burn a potential franchise.   Unfortunately SNK's brave attempt at bringing the KOM series to a new level ended it.  Solemnly, I wave goodbye to lost hopes and lost potential.  SNK could have at least taken KOM into the fighting game genre, but it didn't.  And a much more inferior game, Primal Rage, stepped in to take its place. 




-SNK discovered another "King of" franchise...


DIFFICULTY: HARD, damn hard!

Not likely...


Bobak!: made his fortune playing the horses, then lost it all playing god.  It's a long story...


More Reviews of This Game:

by Kazuya_UK - Courtesy of Kazuya's


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