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October 23 2017

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  The King of Fighters 2003 - ©SNK 2003 (Review 3)





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Game Stats
Other:
Players:
1 or 2 player

Type:
One On One Fighting

Size:
Megs
Japanese Name:

The King of Fighters 2003

Released On:

Home/MVS


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:


Cloudvii
No Other Reviews Yet!


Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 1 - by Raiken
Review 2 - by Boombada


Introduction:

Oh my It's the 10th KOF in the order, or the 16th if u count the pocket ones ;) .


After SNK death and the last KOF made by it's Staff (KOF2000) , Eolith really returned the series miles back :( , specially with KOF 2001. But let's forget about past, SNK is back and the old glory revives :) .

*1st look:

Incredibly , Neo Geo refuses to die easily, KOF is on Neogeo for the 10th time, and I thought that was a bad idea, But Still SNK has much to offer in it's bag.


System and Gameplay:

Finally SNK left the Striker system and returned to the original 3 on 3 team system, so do you think that's boring? Just hear the Rest ;) .

Now you can Tag in the match, with your 3 fighters, and believe me that results in a very fast tactic full match. On the select character screen your first choice would be the leader of your team and his 2 partners. Leaders have an advantage over normal fighters, which is that only leaders can use Super desperation moves, While partners can't use them but still they all can use normal desperation moves. To tag you just have to press bc, or cd depending on which character you want to play with.

You can make some double combos or may triple too ;) , just make do your first fighter combo and press qcf+bc or cd (again depending on which character you want), you'll replace characters and you can still continue with another combo if your opponent hasn't recovered yet:) .

All matches are of 1 round and have a normal time of 60 seconds only, believe me it's enough to beat all the 3 characters, as this is the fastest KOF game ever, I mean it's really fast that you must be a great timer just to defend DMs!! To perform a normal desperation move you'll need 1 power bar, but to perform a super one, you'll need 2 power bars. So where you happy that you have got a ready 1 power bar in "SNK VS Capcom : Chaos"? Be happier, because this time you have 3 ready power bars!!!


Roster:

SNK just continue amazing me and other hungry fans, you just have to think of any kind of fighters and you'll find more than one of them from grapplers to shotokans, and from charging buttons fighters to Kungfu techniques users. All with the best designs, returning characters and new ones.

A) Regular teams :

New hero team :

Ash Crimson, Duolon, Shenwoo.
Ash is the new hero and that's what makes me angry. Just take a close look at him and you'll see what I mean, he is just too feminine to be real. I mean even Benimaru looks like a man beside him, but still That guy is dangerous and his moves remind me a lot of Guile from "Street Fighter". Ash has got some green flames too! Duolon is cooler and has one of the best new SNK designs, and his moves reminds me of Lin, and yes they are connected . Shenwoo is so goofy and powerful at the same time, with a Joe Higashi smell for me. He even hits himself sometimes :p .

Fatal Fury team :

Terry Bogard, Joe Higashi, Tizoc (The Griffon).
What? Andy isn't here. Actually I rarely use him (almost never). But Andy's rocks in terms of style and personality, he is a respectable opponent too.
Terry is here, but wow, he has changed his costume to Garou's one :) . He has some of his old moves but he lost some :( , but still he can kick butts. Joe Higashi didn't change much, and that's not a bad thing :) . Tizoc, he is the same from Garou, but hey at last SNK added Garou characters. Tizoc is a good grappler to say the least, he is deadly at close range. In my opinion Tizoc is the most powerful grappler ever created and can dominate if used correctly.

Art of fighting team :

Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Yuri Sakazaki.
What's KOF without Ryo? Anyway that was the main idea of KOF, collecting different players from different games. Still Ryo owns easily anytime ;) . I still use that guy, but I really want SNK to give him some more attention, ala new SDMs, poses, win quotes, etc.
Robert has changed his costume too this year, and his new one is perfect, SNK's heads aren't empty after all (/remembers Bao). Robert now is cooler but still he didn't change his moves, nearly. He got some older ones but no new ones deserve mentioning.
So Yuri's back to her brother, that's my favourite AOF team after all. Yuri has slightly changed or updated moves but nothing serious, but you must check her new sprite, which very well animated and is the cutest design of her so far (I have a problem with Yuri ^^" ).

Ikari warriors team :

Leona Heidern, Ralf Jones, Clark Steel.
I just want them to die :( . No I don't hate them, but sometimes Ralf and Clark don't give me a chance at all. And with the tag new feature they are more powerful now, but still a good plan can wipe that team in no time. Thankfully Ralf's SDM is back (not just a special attack in KOF 2002) You know exactly what move i'm talking about :p . Other wise there is no massive change to this team.

Korea team :

Kim Kaphwan, Jhun, Chang.
That was the last thing I'd ever expected to happen to the Korean team. I mean, anyway SNK surprised me when they took out KIM in "KOF : Neowave". So the poor Choi is out and believe me that's a good thing, because the C-C union always means "Cheapness". Just look at Choi in KOF 2002, he dominates with no effort. My dream Korean team would be : Kim , Maylee , Jhun.

Females team :

King, Mai Shiranui, Blue Mary.
That's the best you can get for the female team. King's back, Mai still is a beautiful nightmare and Blue Mary is a respectable fighter to say the least. This team is for combo maniacs, and King's speed is the key. You can do some outstanding show if you are playing a dummy (I guess). My matches with this team are one of the games I like best, you know when you are very excited (Same goes for Females team and Master's team in KOF98).

High school girls team :

Athena Asamiya, Hinako, Malin.
No way, Athena left the Psycho soldier team (Yeah :D ). Actually when I knew that the game will be 3 on 3, I was happy Bao will leave us, but now I'm very very happy that Chin and Sie Kensou are gone, just don't wake me up if it's a dream :p . Athena again has a new costume, but no big changes again, she got toned down a bit from 2002 though.
But her partners needs some details, Hinako is for sure a failed project, you can't just put a slim little girl and try to convince the players she's a Sumo player!! I mean She don't have a single Sumo move, may be just the intro pose. And I haven't found any guy who likes Hinako even slightly (I'm not talking about how cute she is since that's a different story ^^" ). Anyway she didn't change since her old incarnations. And here we move to a perfect new design : Malin . Malin is supposed to be Athena's friend in high school (along with Hinako), she has got pretty good unique fighting techniques. And I'm sure this girl will be my new fighter in the next KOf's ;) .

Esaka team :

Benimaru Nikaido, Goro Daimon, Shingo Yabuki.
I thought Shingo will join Saisyu, but SNK answered me with "KOF:Neowave". Benimaru has another new sexy design reminds me of jungles :p , I just want to know if Beni really knows that many ppl make fun of him or not ;) ? Goro is back for more Judo lessons, I was never a fan of Goro, and I will always think he is a very boring design, but still I don't hate him. Now check this out ;) , Shingo can now now wield flames!!! Yes, he can not as Kyo of course, but that's a good start anyway :) . I've always liked Shingo because he is a normal guy whom you can find anywhere. Shingo is now much powerful than ever was and he isn't the Dan of KOF now. Nice team overall.

Outlaw team :

Billy Kane, Gato, Ryuji Yamazaki.
SNK I love you badly. This team is just one of the best in KOF 2003, Why? Just read :) . Billy Kane has got his costume from "Fatal Fury : Wild Ambition" which rocks. No great development was made to his moves too. Gato, another character from Garou and one of my all time favourites is there and that's bad news for button mashers, who will be punished badly with ultra Kungfu unbeatable skills. You can't just mess around with an expert Gato player, Gato has got his DMs from Garou but his SDM isn't exactly a SDM it's kinda like a combo opener or a semi counter mode. Ryuji Yamazaki Has got his costume from "Fatal Fury : Wild Ambition" too. He is still the blood maniac we all have feelings for (ranging from hatred to adore), he is one of the designs that you can never forget, even if you don't like him.

K' team (Old hero team) :

K', Maxima, Whip.
And I thought K' was very thin for a hero lol, Ash proved my fault. K' has got slight changes plus he got toned down, but the most important change is a new DM move. While Maxima, and Whip hadn't got the remarkable update K' had.

B) Single entries :

Iori Yagami :

That guy never gets enough from Kyo, he sure have a big psychological problem :p . He enters the tournaments one after another just to get rid of Kyo and again he fails every time. No I'm not hating him. On the contrary, I like Iori much and again he is one of my all time favourites. Iori got a new SDM where his flames turn to crimson colour as Kyo's flames (For longer period than in KOF 2002). Iori seems to be controlling his power more than before, and I think SNK is doing this for the sake of storyline. Iori is usually my last fighter in my team, as he can turn everything upside down :D .

Kyo Kusanagi :

And here is the legendary hero of KOF. Kyo has been changing to an arrogant guy since KOF 99 in my opinion. But what can I do he is my favourite KOF fighter :) . Kyo has got his third costume, which is by far the coolest one. But the best thing is that at last Kyo returned to full power, after they began to weaken him since KOF 99. He now have the best DMs and SDMs he ever had. The Orochigami has returned to it's KOF 98 speed, and he got the KOF 2000 charging DM, plus his coolest 14 hit SDM :) . Of course Kyo is the leader of my Team.

C) Bosses :

Strangely There are many bosses here, that's kinda like KOF 97.

Kusunagi :

Here we know more about his story, after his sudden appearance in KOF 2002. Kusunagi still fights like KOF 95 Kyo. You fight him after your third match and believe me that's a wonderful match to have :) . His match decides your last match boss too so be careful.

Gate keepers team (I gave them that name) :

Chizuru Kagura, Maki Kagura.
Depending on a certain condition you will fight them. They are both the same, And again this match is so powerful, but sadly it usually end so fast :( . Chizuru and Maki have the same moves (At least that's what I think because every thing happens fast in that match :p ). And same costume too but with slightly different colours. And you are welcomed with a good remix of Fairy theme.

Adelheid :

That's Rugal's Son for sure. He fights you depending on that certain condition. And his moves are really similar to his father's. That guy can turn things upside down anytime, even if his health tends to zero :D . His costume looks like his father too but he is really a good design . SNK should make him playable with his Sister (Rose) next KOF.

Mukai :

The main boss of the game. He has some strange techniques with stone power and something like that :p . He is a typical "HAHAAA" boss for me, Like ppl who think they are the best and want you to believe so till you know he isn't that big threat. In my opinion Adelheid is more difficult than him.


Sound/Music: 8/10

First of all that's NeoGeo, so don't expect CD quality music. But still SNK always surprises me with their almost perfect sound tracks for their games. Unfortunately this game isn't one of them :( , most of the music pieces are suitable for the fight, but most of them are easily forgotten when you finish playing. But there were some good ones : a) The new hero team theme was ok for me . b) Kusunagi's theme which is a kinda remixed Esaka . c) Chizuru's theme : another remixed Fairy .

B) Sound effects :

The same usual expected ones. Nothing spectacular but also not bad.

C) Voice acting :

Voices are clear enough to hear what are they talking about, but again, I can't understand japanese :p . Or you end up trying to understand the broken english of Billy kane :p .


Graphics 9/10

Again , remember this is Neogeo .

A) Sprites :

Most of sprites were redrawn, to give a good feeling, some where drawn from scratch while others where updated greatly. Look at Malin and Shenwoo to know what I mean with "drawn from scratch", and look at Kyo and Billy Kane to know what's meat by Updated. Some of the old characters have new sprites too, like Yuri with her new pose or Robert. But others weren't edited that much like Yamazaki (But you should check his awesome waiting psychotic pose) and Gato whom I think was ported from Garou directly and that's not bad of course.
Unfortunately some of the animation kept as usual, like Mai's and Iori's (Where are the bouncy effects of mai :p ?).
But still this is the best KOF in terms of sprites.

B) Stages :

There are many stages and are full of details, some are average while others rock. There are always a lot of details around you and some cameos here and there. My favourites would be the Skyscrapers one, the small sea port one and the Skynoah. My least favourite would be the one with huge statue and the train one (while they are better than most KOF 2002 and SVC Chaos stages). Again this is the best KOF in terms of stages (Even better than KOF99).

C) Artwork :

SNK made some good job here but some bad too :( . First of all the official artworks are bad (I just can't stand Falcoon for some reason). The in game artwork is perfect , but for they made some funny looking females (Mai) and a weird kidish Kyo (Still Kyo's isn't that bad , at least his official artwork is worse).
but the endings and cut scenes are all cool and have great work in them. And I really need to see the upcoming cut scenes of the next KOFs on newer systems with more palettes used.



Overall: 9/10

This KOF announces the return of SNK powerful games . If you still go to arcades you should play this. This game is a master piece and is by far the best KOF game ever(In my eyes). Check the ports too they offer online gameplay ;) and 3D stages and other features (While I prefer 2D stages anytime).

Story : 10/10
Gameplay : 10/10
Roster : 10/10
Sound : 8/10
Graphics : 8/10

Overall : 9.2/10




*Last thing : Go play it now , that's an order :p .


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