One of Los Angeles’ own game publishers, Altus, has squeezed in one last game before the end of the year. The King of Fighters 2D fighting series is nowhere as glamorous as those from Capcom nor notorious as Mortal Kombat but, its arcade roots ensure that SNK’s flagship has fans. As most of the game arcades have gone the way of the drive-in theater, it remains to be seen how long many of the classic games can go without a serious reimagining. With an industry that has been remarkably volatile in its short existence, in the race for scarce discretionary spending, nostalgia is unlikely a winning horse. Has anyone seen the new Commodore 64 in their local big box stores?
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 received a lot of criticism from purist over what was perceived as a dumbing down. There are no such issues with the comparatively nondescript fighter, King of Fighters XIII. Capcom’s MvC 3 is filled with iconic comic book and videogame characters and is therefore almost forced to offer an accessible product. King of Fighters is really just about fighting and has no obligation to the casual fans of pop culture icons. That being said, there is still some fun to be had here for just about everyone. You might even be able to convince a non-gamer or two to give it a shot.
King of Fighters XIII features a roster of over 30 hand-drawn fighters from which each player picks three fighters in arcade mode. The story mode locks you into picking from set teams where you can change only the order of appearance of the team members. The game does not let you change characters during the match, favoring a last man standing approach. The teams do include representatives from SNK’s Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting, but considering the format and lack of much personalization, even 30 fighters seems a tad light.
Starting up the game, players are faced with a lengthy list of a menu beginning with a tutorial for those who need some help with the controls which, as with most fighting games, isn’t difficult to start playing but will require quite a bit of dedication to master. The list continues with Arcade mode, Story, Versus, Practice, PlayStation Network, Replay, Gallery, Mission, Customize, Player Data, PlayStation Store and Options. A long list like that is unlikely to endear many casual fighting game fans to the title.