Name: The King of Fighters 1996
Release date: 1996
Reviewed by: Bata-kun
It has been a year since Rugal bit the dust. The host this time around does not have any evil intention of some sort. She actually is looking out for a certain type of evil. Her name is Kagura (Yata) Chizuru. (The name change was done to hide from the evil's shadows, as her twin sister was killed by a certain someone.)
As usual, I better say what's in and what's out. However, before I do that, I have to introduce the new team line-ups. A lot has changed since last year.
Shujinkou/Hero - Kyou, Beni and Daimon (No changes here.)
Garou Densetsu - Terry, Andy and Joe (No changes are here as well.)
Josei no Kakutouka/Ladies - King, Mai and Kasumi
Kyokugen - Ryou, Robert and Yuri
Psycho Soldier - Athena, Kensou and Chin (No changes here.)
Ikari Senshi - Leona, Ralf and Clark
Tae Kwon Do - Kim, Chang, Choi (This is the last team to not have a change.)
Orochi Assassins - Iori, Mature and Vice
Boss - Geese, Krauser and Mr. Big
Host - Chizuru
Final Boss - Goenitz
As for the changes, I might as well start off with Yuri's case. Yuri was forced to leave Mai and King and join this team because Takuma needed time off. Also, if Yuri didn't take his spot, he would take away her credit cards. Hidoi desu yo! =P
Now that Yuri's gone, Mai and King was in need of another member and King got out Tod Kasumi, a friend of hers. For those that don't know, Kasumi first appeared in "Ryuuko no Ken III" and she's also the daughter of Ryhaku, one of the first characters you fight in the first game of that series. Other than that, not much else is said.
Leona is Heidern's adopted daughter and it will be left like that for now. Since Rugal is gone, Heidern had no need to be part of the team anymore and he just needed some r & r, as he lets his adopted daughter join the team instead. As for Iori's case, if you saw his ending from last year, you'd know what I mean. If you don't know, Mature, Rugal's secretary, was in 1994 and you should have seen a picture of her. Same goes for Vice, his secretary's secretary last year. (They're part-American, part-Japanese and part-French, part-Japanese respectively if I had throw in guesses on what they are.) Their job actually was to spy on Rugal and they did that.
I already mentioned Chizuru's case. As for Goenitz (that someone who killed Chizuru's sister), he sent Vice and Mature to spy on Iori because he has so many connections with Orochi. He nearly killed Ky before the tournament started and now, Kyou has a different fighting style. (I think Goenitz could be part-Japanese and part-Russian because of some connection with his move list.)
So, what's in and out? In are rolls, recovery rolls, rolls following a block, taunt cancels, straight bonuses, runs, air blocks, special introductions, guard crushes, Super Desparate Moves looking like Super Desparate Moves, three types of jumps, a team relation chart for edited teams and so much more. Out are dodges, dashes, long projectiles for certain characters and a few characters. The reason why teams like the Kyokugen team have fireballs as long as a fireball done with a depleted chi bar in the "Ryuuko no Ken" series is because with this, there will be less fireball matches and this is a good idea. Of course, there are ways to get around with it. Hee hee!
Art - 10
Yes! This is the push I needed. The backgrounds look good, especially the ones in Osaka. I like how the characters charge up this time around.
You can easily see that some people have stance changes like Andy and Yuri. Also, more sprites have been added. It's easy to know that this is easily SNK's best effort of this series up to this point. Before I forget, the "Ryuuko no Ken" element guys love is gone and it had to be done.
There's not much to complain about here. Even though there are two pairs of teams that share backgrounds with different touches, that's okay because they did fit anyway. Also, some people complain about the life bars looking funny, but for some reason, I was able to see them well. Oh and even though each character has three win poses, they're set to each victory number, but seeing how fights end, I can see why this was done.
Story - 10
Yes! We finally get answers to this mess Rugal started last year. That's good.
Audio - 10
This game has one of the best fighting game soundtracks ever. Ever! You have old themes in here like "Big Shot" (Terry's "Real Bout" theme) as the theme song for the Hungry Wolves team. You also have new songs like "Esaka?", easily my favorite Hero's theme song. Oh and I looove that spiffy Psycho Soldier theme song.
Once again, people have new samples and they keep getting better and better. Kyou's taunt feels more sassy this time around. The new characters seem fine as well. Although Robert's new samples are okay here, I like his old ones more. The sound effects are there and there's nothing wrong there.
Control - 10
Yay! The ridiculous motions for the moves are no more. Gone are the days when I pull the Tornado Kick for King if I wanted to pull off the Illusion Dance. Add in the extra fundamentals and you have a better game overall. Oh and for anyone who didn't catch on the chart, to put it in simple terms, if you have a team of say Mai, Kasumi and Chizuru, Mai and Kasumi are obvious, but Chizuru will bail out your other teammates half of the time and vice versa.
Fun - 10
Kyou's new style impresses me and even though his Orochinagi is only okay compared to the ones of the past, he's still a good character. Some people don't like the new changes, but I am liking them and in some cases, they have helped me evilly. Ha ha ha! Seriously, the one evil element is Goenitz. Sure, there are ways to beat him, but overall, he is a harder boss than Rugal.
Life - 10
A bigger roster, a new element added here and there, man, so much has been added overall.
Overall - 10
"The King of Fighters 1996" may be an unusual game, but it certainly is one of the most memorable in my opinion. It has a lot of changes and they're for the better pretty much. So, if you can still find this game, give it a whirl for old times sake.
The new elements are flat out cool and I love the music.
I want to kill Goenitz literally.
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