Review #1 by Lord Azathorth
I finally secured in my grubby little hands an import copy of another SNK fighter, The King of Fighters '96. Was KoF '96 worth the wait? Maybe. Is it an accurate arcade port? Depends on how you look at it.
KoF '96 is a PSX copy of SNK's Neo Geo fighter. Like the previous '95 version on the PSX, you pick three fighters and tackle other teams of three, with 2 bosses to defeat after all the teams are done in. Fighters are composed of previous SNK games, most notably; Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Ikari Warriors, and some older SNK titles. New to '96 is the return of bosses Geese Howard, Wolfgang Krauser, and Mr. Big from Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, and Art of Fighting respectively. Other changes include Ryo's father leaving the AoF team, Yuri now takes his place. A new original female character fills in for her spot in the "female" team. The army commander from the Ikari Warriors is gone, with a new female soldier in his place. Iori, a member of the "rival" team from '95, is left to fight with two new original female vixens, as Billy Kane and the AoF ninja take five on this outing. There are a total of 29 characters,(27 and 2 hidden).
The main thing you will notice immediately from this the game is the load time. The pre-fight load is extremely long, there's a short load in-between each round (background data), and for the winning pose there is another load period. If you have played KoF '95 this is no stranger to you. It even seems a little longer in this version. The team battle mode is almost rendered useless, because after each character is defeated another loads. Yeech.
Modes included are: Team Battle, Team Vs Battle, Single Battle, Single Vs Battle, and Survival; all of which were included in KoF '95. You can configure your L & R buttons to act as special moves, or as multi-button presses like taunt, power charge, ect. One small thing that annoyed me was there was no option to turn the victory screens off, which was available in '95. Anything to help shorten load times would be good for me.
The game looks, plays, and sounds just like the arcade. The music and sounds are some of the best available. Backgrounds are lush and vivid, with minute attention to details like the TV screens in the Osaka stage. The stage introductions are incredible, and the character intros are not to be missed. Mr. Big holds my award for best intro in a game yet! The gameplay is a carbon copy of the arcade, all of my combo's and supers rolled off just as easy on the PSX.
So the question to ask yourself is, "Are you a KoF fan?" Only if you can answer yes to this would I recommend purchasing this title. The horrendous load times severely hamper this title. A carbon arcade port plus mucho load time is what we have here. I personally enjoyed it, but then again I really liked '95 on PSX. There is little or no Japanese text on this title, and what little there is can be changed to English in the option menu.