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King of Fighters 02/03 Review
game: King Of Fighters 2002/2003
two star
posted by: Matt James
publisher: SNK NEO GEO
developer: SNK Playmore
date posted: 12:31 AM Thu Oct 27th, 2005
last revision: 11:10 PM Wed Oct 26th, 2005

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Click to read.SNK has been spiffing up and releasing a bunch of their old titles. Recently I reviewed the Metal Slug 4/5 set that came out. This time around it is King of Fighters 2002/2003, two classic fighters. There has been a big fan base for these games and they are squeezing a few more pennies out of them. I almost feel irreverent reviewing these games but I have to tell you I am not impressed.

I am sure that fan boys could give me a laundry list of reasons why these games are great and ten years ago I bet that list might have been relevant. Today though, I don\'t think so. I have no nostalgic attachment to King of Fighters, I admit, so to me this was just like playing Street Fighter games on the Super Nintendo, except that it is 2005 and that is no longer fun.

I do appreciate why fans would like the game. I spent a good chunk of my time last year playing the old NES Zelda games on my Cube and had a heck of a time. I also know that a lot of people would have thought it was pretty lame. That is how I felt about King of Fighters. Like Metal Slug, I think that this is a real decent game for the people who really want it. They translated the games nicely for the X-box. The most important thing they did was add Live options and some pretty nice ones two.

Both games can be played online. As arcades slowly disappear from the American landscape, this is a great way to keep the old traditions of Arcade fighting alive. Only now instead of merely challenging whomever wanders into the arcade that day (or most likely just your friends who accompanied you) now you can fight people all over the world. Since most of the people who grew up playing these sort of games have now grown up, grown apart, and spread through the globe this gives them a chance to get together again with one of their favorite games. I know for me and the games I enjoy this would be perfect. Most of the friends I gamed with in school are all far away. We rarely get to hang out anymore, much less game. Anybody looking for this kind of experience with the old school games they loved will find King of Fighters 02/03 quite satisfactory. Even better than simply putting your initials in, these games will keep track of a number of your statistics. It will break them down by friends\' stats, weekly stats, monthly stats, and even stats for each game mode. Furthermore, the online portion is easy to navigate and find matches. People will be pleased with this portion of the game. Unless of course if you play like me, then it is just a reminder of how sucky you are.

I tried to get into the mind set. There was a time I enjoyed these games and like I said, I am able to go back to certain older games and enjoy them. Why not King of Fighters? Maybe it is because these are repackaged and slightly beefed up. When you play an emulator you expect it to be exactly what it was years ago. However, when you pay $39.99 for an update you expect more. When they redid Resident Evil for the Game Cube they put some serious heart into it. When I started up King of Fighters I just looked at the graphics and kinda laughed. I might as well have just plugged in an old SNES. There were probably some slight graphical tweaks but nothing that impressed me. $39.99 is a reduced price point but not reduced enough for me. On the other hand, there may be some purists out there who want the game to appear exactly as it did years ago. Nevertheless, this game doesn\'t really offer that either, with its many insignificant tweaks.

The breakdown is probably obvious by now. If you are a fan of the King of Fighters series and feel the nostalgia will make these games fun for you, then you are probably right. There are a ton of characters to play, lots of difficulty settings (8 seems like overkill to me, but ask any Ninja Gaiden fan--too many is better than not enough), and it plays well on the X-box. Bringing this game online was an excellent addition for the fans and makes it more than a renter. For anyone with no special place in his or her heart for the old SNK games then it is a safe bet you should pass on this title. I was able to play through to the last battle without even losing a match on the default setting, first time out. I am sure I am not even better than mediocre at the game either. A single rent and all your curiosity will be stilled. Trust me though, if you didn\'t already plan to buy a King of Fighters title for your Xbox, you don\'t even need to rent it.

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