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Old 03-17-2003, 09:30 PM   #116
Icarus4578
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,550
The second cheap-fest

Art of Fighting 2 - Neo Geo - Rating 5
Is it just me? Are the fighters over at SNK all supreme masters at fighting games? It seems that way to me; put AoF2 on easy and it's one of the hardest fighting games I've played in my life, easily! (Ahhh.... how bitter the irony. ) You have to get down every pattern for every opponent and exploit repetitious patterns in order to even stand a chance. Not only that... you get 4 chances to win (8 if you include the 2P side); no unlimited continues. Good luck.
In the first AoF, Kyo and Robert defeated Mr Karate and unmasked him, only to find out it was Kyo's father (and Karate instructor) Takuma Sakazaki. He explained in the AoF ending that he was forced to do this because of a man called Geese Howard (along with Mr Big) who kidnapped his daughter Yuri (Kyo's sister). Now, instead of there being just Kyo and Robert selectable in the arcade (story) mode, there are 12 fighters to select from, each with their own story. Obviously Kyo and Robert are selectable, but now so are Yuri, Takuma, Lee, King, Mickey, Jack, John, and two newcomers: Eiji (an agile ninja) and Temjin (a mongolian fighter). Mr Big is back, and this time if you beat everybody without losing a round you can fight Geese Howard (AKA one tough SOB). If you make it to Mr Big you can play as him (and save to the memory card). The bonus stages return and this time they changed the 'strength training' to a mini action/fighting game where you beat thugs that keep coming out of the screen.
The game control is basically the same as the first AoF, only this time there's even more of an emphasis on the special meter. About 70-80% of your focus is going to be on yours/your opponent's special meter. It depletes as you use special moves and you can refill it by holding A+B to charge (and leave yourself open to attack until you disengage it). Taunting is done with D button and it depletes your opponent's special meter. Like the fighting games on Neo Geo Pocket you press a button to do a quick attack and hold one to do a strong attack. Love it or hate it. The super specials are so ridiculous to pull off that I don't see how they can be effective. The controls are not my favorite fighting game set-up, to say the least. But once you get the hang of things you'll feel a bit less agitated.
As expected, the 178-MEGS are utilized to create massive characters that animate well and they've improved the backgrounds, plus there's the familiar zooming in and out of the screen. There is much graphic joy to be found here, but if you've been spoiled by such games as SFIII and Guilty Gear X you won't be particularly impressed. The music is done rather well throughout the game, though I enjoy the tunes from AoF1 much more (especially on the Takara translated SNES version, if you can believe that). The sound effects and voice samples are usually well done, with some sounding displaced and distant. For example, defeat Mickey and hear his lame distant (amusing) whine.
This is definitely not a fighting game everybody is going to enjoy. I can only recommend it to diehard SNK/AoF fans who don't mind a ridiculous challenge. Is it better than AoF? In some ways it is. Then again, how hard is it to improve a fighting game limited to two selectable characters?

Last edited by Icarus4578; 03-13-2004 at 11:42 AM.
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