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October 18 2017

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Kizuna Encounter

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  The King of Fighters 2002 - ©Playmore/Eolith 2002 (Review 1 Page 2)
Music & Sound Effects

If you were disappointed by the aweful techno music that Eolith saw fit to inflict on the last KOF game, you should be (mostly) very happy when you hear the music in this one. Most of the tunes are very much "old-school" KOF - many of them are perhaps not quite up to the standard of music in the older KOF games, but it is still a VAST improvement on 2001.

In single player mode, each stage actually has its own music this time around, instead of it being based on the team/opponent you are facing. The only exception is when you progress to the last fight before Rugal - in this fight, the team you are facing will have their own unique music, which is made up of remixes of older SNK stuff. These remixes also get played in 2 player VS mode as well, where the music that plays does usually depend on the team that you are using, like in previous KOF's.

Some of these remixes sound quite good, although a few could have been better... they actually managed to mess up some of my favourite KOF tunes in fact. "Tears" for instance (Kyo's theme from KOF '99) still sounds ok, but very strange compared to the original version - the main guitar part just sounds too loud/powerful. It's not all bad though; some of the highlights include a remix of the Psycho Soldier theme tune, as well as a great remix of "Let's go to Seoul" from Fatal Fury 2 (this is used for the Korean team). The standard stage musics are all new tunes and most of them are good, especially on stages like Japan (see below).

There's not a great deal of suprises when it comes to the sound effects and voice acting in 2002, as most of it is the same as always. There are one or two changes to the voice actors/samples however, which is very noticeable on a couple of characters. Kyo's voice actor for instance doesn't quite fit with the character, while Rugal has a new voice actor who sounds good. It takes a little time to get used to these changes (although there aren't many), but after playing the game for a while you probably won't notice it too much.

Overall the soundtrack of KOF 2002 is a mixture of good and bad - but most of it is good however, and a HUGE step up from KOF 2001.

Music Samples:

Here's a couple of small samples of remixed music in the game - for some other samples, see the stage descriptions below. Right click the links if you want to save them to your HD.

Listen to "Psycho Solider" Remix - 44 seconds, MP3 format, 692k

Listen to "Let's go to Seoul" Remix - 33 seconds, MP3 format, 585k


Music & Sound Effects

Thankfully the stages in KOF 2002 have also been much improved over KOF 2001's (mostly) very poor ones. A lot of the stages also change as the fight progresses, which isn't anything we haven't seen before but is still a nice touch. You will also notice that many of these stages feature numerous cameos from other SNK characters... it's just a shame that some of them didn't make it as playable characters. (we want Eiji Kisaragi dammit!!!! ;)


Netherlands



A very nice stage, which features some sheep in the background with the letters "KOF" on them, as well as a small one holding a banner with "'02" written on it... cute :). The lighting on this stage changes from the middle of the day to early evening after a couple of rounds too, which is a nice touch.

The music here does fit in very well with the backdrop, but it is far from the best music KOF 2002 has to offer.


Japan



This is one of the best stages in the game. It looks very pretty and has lots of little details in it, like many people cheering the fight on (and a few cameos thrown in for good measure, including Eiji Kisaragi and Geese Howard!). The stage also changes three times if you have a fight that lasts more than three rounds - it goes from daylight, to early evening, and then to night time. It might not be as good as some of the other backdrops we have seen in the past, but I think it is still one of the better ones.

Finally, the music in this stage is pretty awesome - every time I hear it I just wanna kick some ass in the game (it's pure KOF stuff). This is definitely one of my favourite pieces of music from any of the more recent King of Fighters games, although it's not quite up there with tunes like Esaka/Tears etc.

Listen to a sample of this music - 40 Seconds, MP3 format, 631k


China



Again, a very nice looking stage. After the first round, the doors in the background open up and you can see more of the background outside. After another couple of rounds it starts to turn dark. Once more there are quite a few cameos on this stage - You can see Xiangfei and Hon-fu in the background, as well as Lee from Art of Fighting among others.

Music on this stage is fairly good, although it isn't a catchy tune that really sticks in my head after I finish playing the game, unlike some of the others.


Mexico



Mexico is quite a cool location to fight at and there's a fair few appearances from other SNK characters in the background here - there's King and Duck-King, as well as Tizoc from MotW, to name a few (when are we going to see some MotW fighters in KOF?). This is another stage that changes from daytime to early evening and then night time as you go from round to round. It reminds me of KOF '97 too, with its TV style presentation; there are "Mexico-TV" banners as well as TV screens in the background.

I must admit, this stage probably has some of the weakest music - it is very repetitive and it gets a little annoying after a short period of time. It's funny though - even this is better than pretty much any of the music in KOF 2001 ;)


Korea



This is a nice stage, but maybe a little bland. I like the way this stage changes though - when it gets to night time you can see all the lights on the skyscraper in the background turn on. There's also a cameo from Jhun, who appears to be talking to someone on his mobile phone.

The music here is probably my second favourite stage music in the game - just like the Japan stage it is pure KOF stuff and really matches in well with the action.

Listen to a sample of this music - 33 Seconds, MP3 format, 512k


Cambodia



From what I have read, this stage is supposed to be set in Cambodia. It is quite an average background really with not much at all going on - apart from some lightning flashes in the sky and a cameo from Kim of Kizuna Encounter fame. Nothing changes on the stage between rounds either - it probably would probably have looked better if it started to rain or something later on in the fight, as seen in the courtyard stage of KOF '99.

The music here is a heavyish guitar stuff - it's good and quite dramatic, but not one of the best tunes in the game.


Italy



You fight on an elevator that is outside the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy - the elevator starts moving upwards after the first round. There are cameos of Wolfgang Krauser and Mr. Big (AOF) on this stage... for some reason they disappear right into the background later in the fight and are actually at the top of the Tower. Finally, it is worth noting that the seventh stage you fight on will always be Italy, even if you already fought there earlier on in the game.

This is another stage that doesn't really have music that stands out (for me anyway), but it does its job adequately I guess.


Mid-boss Stage



The sixth fight is always on this stage and against one of the Nest's team (Kula, K9999 or Angel). It is probably the worst looking stage in the game, and is basically the same as Italy, except in the dark and without the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background. The same music as the Italy stage is also used here because the Nest's team does not have its own music track.


Rugal's Stage



Rugal's stage is quite nice and fits Rugal's character well. It is nothing really out of the ordinary though and it doesn't change as the fight progresses (although you only need to defeat Rugal in one round to win). I do like the music however, it suits the stage and character perfectly.



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