The King of Fighters ’95 Review

The King of Fighters ’95 (Available on PlayStation 3 & PSP)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1 to 2
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK
Release Date: July 19th, 2011

Parent Talk: King of Fighters ’95 is rated T for teen because of alcohol, mild suggestive themes and violence.  It’s a 2D fighting game with minor blood effects and some exaggerated physics on the female characters.  Teenagers should have no problems playing this game.

Plays Like: Any 2D fighter.

Review Basis: Played through the online mode on the PS3 and finished the arcade mode.

Details: PS3 version is $8.99 and PSP version is $6.99.

What’s This About: This is the second iteration of the King of Fighters series and the beginning of the Orochi saga.  The story revolves around Kyo and the aftermath of the defeat of Rugal from ’94.  Iori Yagami makes his first appearance in this game and becomes the main Kyo’s main rival.

What It’s Remembered For:

  • Team editing.  This became a staple of the series from this game forward.  Players can select three different characters and switch in and out any characters they want.
  • Here comes a new challenger.  KoF ’95 also introduced a sub-boss with Kyo’s father, Saisyu Kusanagi.
  • The USA team from ’94 was replaced by the Rivals team.  This allowed Iori to really shine.
  • Your @$$ belongs to us!  KoF ’95 is a very difficult game and is often called cheap because the AI seems to know exactly what move you’re going to do at any given moment.  This is certainly one of the most challenging games in the series and not for the faint of heart.
  • Power before death.  When a player is about to die their health bar flashes red allowing them to perform a Super Special move as a last resort.  I’ve won many matches thanks to this ability.
  • Fantastic sprites and 2D backdrops.  For being released in 1995, the graphics hold up remarkably well today, especially some of the backgrounds they’re just plain awesome.

Any Improvements?

  • Take the fighting with you.  If you download the PSP version you can bring the King of Fighters with you anywhere you go.  That’s something I used to dream of in…1995!
  • Network play with full voice chat support.  The PS3 version allows players from all over the world to compete against one another.  This is where the game really shines.  Our experience with the servers was mostly positive, although a few matches suffered from lag.  Make sure you pay attention to the signal strength indicator.
  • Hidden characters unlocked with no need for additional input commands, making a total roster of 26 playable characters, each completely unique.  That’s what I love about The King of Fighters series, the characters aren’t just copies of one another.
  • Region selecting.  You can play through the game using the Japanese version of the game, but with English dialogue.  This means Mai gets a little more bouncy, although I could have sworn there was blood in the Japanese version, which appear to be MIA here.  Either way, an added bonus for AES fans.
  • Move lists.  Press the select button and you have access to all the various special moves.  Talk about handy!
  • Save states.  Just like what you’d find on an emulator, if you feel like saving you now have that option.
  • Improved visuals.  You can play in the original Neo Geo AES/MVS mode or you can enhance the graphics so they’re smoother, fill the image to your screen, etc.  No matter what you do, the art design remains top notch and everything looks great in HD.

Bottom Line: Who Should Download This?

For the hardcore SNK fans, this is a no brainer.  It’s worth it to have a portable version, but the PS3 version is clearly the winner thanks to online play. If you’re trying to go through the entire KoF series, take note that this one will kick your butt up and down the street.  For those who are into the retro scene, you just can’t ask for more.  At $9 this game is a steal considering the AES version goes for around $80 on eBay, and that doesn’t include the $800 for the modified Neo Geo AES.

Casual fans may have a hard time getting into the old-school fighter because it’s missing a lot of key features like rolling dashes and characters that were introduced later on.  The high level of difficulty may also be a little too demanding for the casual crowd.

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