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January 22 2019

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  GBA - The King of Fighters EX2 : Howling Blood - ©Playmore 2004 (Review 2)

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Game Stats
2 Player link up with link cable & 2 cartridges

One on One Fighter

32 Megabits
Further Info:

The sequel to KOF EX Neoblood on the GBA

Reviewed By:
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Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 1 - by Kyo Takagen


King of Fighters EX 2: Howling Blood is a sequel to King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood, which was released a year prior, to poor reviews. Howling Blood is closely based on the King of Fighters 2000 system, as can be seen from the similarities in the backgrounds. This game is very hard to get. I had to order mine off eBay and it shipped from Pakistan. Anyway, on with the review!


During the game I found the gameplay to be quite well done. Hit detection was very tight and so was response time. The number of characters (21 plus one unlockable) is adequate, considering the size of the GBA cartridge. I found some of the moves could be abused, though such as Iori's Dark Thrust and that sometimes, the computer would just crouch waiting to be hit. Also, I would have liked to have seen more of the usual that is, moves, characters and the like. But, the GBA's cartridges are small so you can't really expect that much. There are some different modes, Story, Versus (link cable required) and practice. Nothing really special but it is enough. Also, it seems that there is a time attack mode that can be unlocked. There are also a number of difficulty settings. There is also a player ranking system that (as the name suggests) judges how well your character did and assigns them a rank. The boss is horribly cheap, having only two moves which he throws at you when you are trying to get up. Very bad show old bean.

All in all I was pleased by the gameplay, even after the minor flaws.


Being on the GBA the gameplay is at a disadvantage right from the get go. I found that although the button layout worked half-decently, I barely ever used the low power kick (which was assigned to the L-button). Also, I found that during combos, I was reaching sometimes and that when I would call a striker, the bottom of the GBA was hit my thumb on a nerve that would cause it to go numb (not a fun experience). Anyway, with time I learned not to screw my thumb over so much, but I think they could have thought of this before hand. There is also another way of configuring the controls, based on how hard you hit the buttons but I didn't find this precise enough. Also, I found that because of the repeated circular motion the screen on the GBA would get smudged (this probably doesn't happen with a GBA SP). In conclusion, I found that the controls in this game aren't suited to the GBA. I found the button layout especially irritating and I was really having to reach for the triggers.


I was very happy with the graphics that they packed into this cart. The characters are very nice looking and the specials are very, very fun to pull off just to look at them. Even the flash/pause before each special is nice. I found the only letdown in this area was the static backgrounds (with the exception of the sandstorm level). I would have like to see some animation but alas that is what you get for such good character models. What I would have liked to see are some cinematic's or an opening but this was limited to pictures upon completion and characters talking.


The music/sound is pretty good in this game. Some of the character's moves are nicely done and the music is pretty catchy. I actually found myself humming some of it after playing (Yes, I am a geek). A let down though, is that there are only about three or four songs that are just shared throughout each stage.


The presentation isn't bad but it's nothing really spectacular. No openings and lack of an ending/ comprehensible storyline or back story deter from the nice looking menus and theme music.


I really like this game and has probably been one of my most played GBA games. The fighting is fairly complex and it has held my attention for a long time (at least until my arcade is ready). Again, improvements could have been made with more moves, characters, animated stages etc. but all in all this is a very good game and is definitely worth looking into. This is not a Neo Geo game and has been marked based solely on the GBA's capabilities.

Graphics: 9/10 (considering the GBA's capabilities.)
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Controls: 6/10
Music Sound: 8/10

Overall: 9/10

Okay, so the breakdown doesn't match the overall. I find that the controls are minor and so is sound. I found the gameplay and graphics were more important.

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