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The King of Fighters '95 (Game Boy) artwork

The King of Fighters '95 (Game Boy) review


"It's 1995, a new year, a new contest. The host of this year's King of Fighters contest, Rugal, has sent out invitations, to last year's participants as well as newcomers, in hopes that they'll all join in the upcoming tournament. All seems well on the surface, but the contest is actually just a ploy by Rugal to capture, brainwash, and turn the best fighters into his own personal soldiers. Give this man the person of the year award, ladies and gentlemen! "



It's 1995, a new year, a new contest. The host of this year's King of Fighters contest, Rugal, has sent out invitations, to last year's participants as well as newcomers, in hopes that they'll all join in the upcoming tournament. All seems well on the surface, but the contest is actually just a ploy by Rugal to capture, brainwash, and turn the best fighters into his own personal soldiers. Give this man the person of the year award, ladies and gentlemen!

Ok, so it's not 1995 anymore. But that doesn't mean you can't go back and play The King of Fighters '95 again. Just make sure you're playing the original, and not this squashed down and totally screwed up portable version by Takara, ok? The game wouldn't be so bad, actually, if it weren't for the difficulty, which is completely off the wall from the get go.

I haven't played this game in years, and upon trying it out recently, I remembered why. After looking through the game's fifteen contestants on the selection screen, I picked the cap wearing Terry Bogard (which is like the equivalent of picking Ryu when playing a new Capcom fighter for the first time), and went on to fight my first match against Mai. This is where everything went straight to hell. I punched, kicked, and performed all his familiar moves like the Burning Knuckles, Power Wave, and the Power Geyser, but none of those attacks put a dent in the voluptuous ninja. This woman was literally impenetrable, you'll be lucky just to be able to sneak one hit in. And if she pushes you into a corner, then it's all over, which is what exactly happened in this match. I couldn't escape, Mai would go nuts and repeatedly use all her special moves on me nonstop like an annoying button masher. You know a game has problems if you can't even get pass the first friggin round using actual fighting skills.

So I lost the match, picked the kick-boxing Joe Higashi, and tried again. But this time, I stumbled upon a certain tactic that would help me bring down the arrogant A.I.: use a projectile attack, watch her dodge, and then throw her while she's still stuck in the idle animation; repeat, repeat again, and repeat some more. I know it's a cheap technique, but it's the only way you'll ever get a chance to defeat ANY of the fighters in KoF'95 (it even works on the two bosses, pathetically).

Being ecstatic about finally getting beyond the first round after all these years, I was excited to see what the rest of the game would be like. Unfortunately, there wasn't much. The other fighters were as cheap as the first, which forced me to use the same methods against them as well. Yes, it gets very repetitive after the first match, and the fact that you'll have to do this over the span of fifteen rounds, it'll get old fast. Joining in on this repetition is the same generic tune that'll play in every round, as well as the backgrounds that repeat at a frightening rate. There's four total backgrounds, but at least two of those constantly repeat every other round; and it doesn't help that two of those are fighting arenas that almost look identical to each other.

The only thing I do like about this version of KoF'95 is how the developers managed to maintain each character's distinctive look and feel. Despite being squashed down to miniature versions of themselves, you can easily recognize each and every one of the fighters. Most of their moves and signature poses have also been translated quite well, like Terry's fierce and fiery Power Geyser and Joe's tornadic Screw Upper. And then there's Kyo's flammable hand and Yuri's butt spanking taunt intros that livens up a fight; well, as lively as a Game Boy game can get. Hell, Mai's "bounce" even made it in here. All of these little quirks makes the game somewhat enjoyable since you'll feel like you're fighting against fighters with different personalities and not just half-assed attempts of their arcade counterparts.

But it's not enough to make you wanna play through the entire game. Granted, there was this amusing sequence between Saisyu and Rugal (the bosses) arguing with each other at the end of the game, begging me to pick one of them as a fighter; but even that's not worth fighting for. The fact that you can't even play through the game fairly and have to resort to dirty tactics to get by is enough to avoid The King of Fighters '95 entirely.

Rating: 3/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (February 14, 2005)

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