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October 23 2017

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  The King of the Fighters '95 - ©SNK 1995





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Game Stats
Other:
Players:
1 or 2 player

Type:
One On One Fighting

Size:
250 Megs
Japanese Name:

The King of Fighters '95

Released On:

Home/MVS/CD


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
- The King Of Fighters: Maximum Impact (PS2)
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- King of Fighters 2002 (Neo Geo)
- Metal Slug 5 (Neo Geo)
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- Matrimelee (Neo Geo)
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Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 2 - by Boombada


Introduction:

After the great King of Fighters '94, I was really looking forward to this one! I had very high hopes for it, and thankfully I wasn't disappointed. While it might not be a totally new game (how many sequels are?), it is still very enjoyable, and a definite step up from the last game.

At first glance, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of new stuff in KOF '95. There are still 8 normally selectable teams, which means 24 fighters altogether. However one of the first things you will notice is that the old USA Sports team has been removed, as most people didn't like them very much in KOF '94. In their place comes a great new team that consists of Billy Kane (Geese's henchman from Fatal Fury), Eiji Kisaragi (the Ninja from Art of Fighting) and a new character Iori Yagami (Kyo Kusanagi's deadly rival).

One of the most important changes to this game (and probably the first thing you will notice) is the "Team Edit" option. Team Edit allows you to select any three characters to make up your own team, instead of being stuck with set combinations of characters, like in KOF '94. Quite why SNK didn't include this option in KOF '94 remains to be seen, but at least we have it now!


Character Roster:

As I mentioned above, there aren't many changes to the character line up from KOF '94, but here is a full rundown of all the teams that are in the game:

Japan Team

This team is once again made up of Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru Nikkaido and Goro Daimon. All three characters have learnt a couple of new special moves and have had a couple of tweaks to their normal moves.

The Japan team stage is set in front of the Neo Geo Land arcade in Japan. A very cool stage and I like hearing the crowd cheer when someone gets knocked down, although the music is a little on the cheesy side. It isn't too bad, but it was something of a disappointment for me, especially after the GREAT music this team had in KOF '94.



England (Womens Team)

The sexy womens team is back, consisting of King, Yuri Sakazaki and Mai Shiranui. As with pretty much all the characters, they have had a few moves tweaked/added, but there are no real surprises here.

This team fights inside Kings bar - this is a nice looking stage that features a lot of cameos from other SNK characters like Duck-King. As with the Japan stage I am not a big fan of the music though... it isn't too bad, but can get a little annoying after a while.



USA (New Team)

The only new team in this game, and also a very good one. Billy Kane (the pole wielding guy from Fatal Fury) is here, along with Eiji Kisaragi (the cool Ninja from Art of Fighting). My favourite member of this team has to be Iori Yagami though, who is one of SNK's coolest ever characters... and an enemy of Kyo Kusanagi!

The USA stage has to be one of my favourites from this game. It is set inside some sort of chemical factory and looks very good indeed, with a hell of a lot of detail to it. The laid back music on this stage is superb too - who'd have thought that a saxophone could sound so good in a fighting game? :-)



Italy (Fatal Fury Team)

The Fatal Fury team is back, but with a few new tricks up their sleeves (e.g.: Terry now has his Power Dunk move). The Fatal Fury Team is once again made up of Terry and Andy Bogard as well as Joe Higashi. Again, exactly what you would expect, but still very cool.

Their stage on this game is another of my personal faves! At the start of the fight the fighters jump off the pier and into the water in the foreground. One thing that I always liked about this stage is that whenever Terry throws off his hat, instead of it just landing on the floor like it normally does, it actually floats off on the water... the same goes for King when she throws her handkerchief down. I thought this was a nice touch, and it shows that SNK are the kings of small graphical details :-) The Fatal Fury Teams music is also good - very catchy!



Mexico (AOF Team)

The Kyokugenryu team from Art of Fighting... not a lot has changed here since 1994, but that doesn't stop them from being a cool team :) Their lineup consists of Ryo and Takuma Sakazaki, and Robert Garcia.

The AoF team's stage is also great! At the start of the fight you are on an elevator that is moving upwards, meaning that for the first few seconds you are in a very closed in space. When the elevator reaches its destination, the stage opens up properly. This stage looks very nice and the dramatic music that plays on it really adds a lot to the atmosphere.



China (Psycho Soldiers Team)

Chin Gentsai, Athena Asimaya and Sie Kensou all return to the Psycho Soldiers team, and they bring some good new moves with them (e.g. Athena's Psycho Sword).

The Psycho Soldiers stage looks very nice. There are some waterfalls in the background, and every now and then water shoots down in the foreground (in front of the fighters). The music on this stage is also pretty good, but I do prefer the Psycho Soldier theme tune that was used in KOF '94.



Brazil (Ikari Warriors Team)

Heidern is once again joined by Ralf Jones and Clark Steele on the Ikari Warriors Team. None of the members of this team have a great deal of new moves, but they have been tweaked a little bit. Another minor difference is that Clark and Ralf now have different standing poses; in KOF '94 they both looked the same, but now they are slightly different.

Their stage is set on top of a bridge quite high up, with a crashed plane in the background. Apparently this stage is taken from the Ikari Warriors game. One nice little detail is that when you hit someone with a powerful move (like a throw), rocks fall from the top of the screen. As far as the music goes, this stage is one of my least favourites... I like it more than their music from KOF '94, but it still gets on my nerves after a while.



Korea Team

Kim Kaphwan is back, along with Chang Koehan and the annoying Choi Bounge. I really like Kim (he's one of my favourite characters actually), but I never really understood why he was paired with Chang and Choi. Admittedly, those two have grown on me over time and I don't mind them now, but I've never been their biggest fan. Thankfully we have the team edit option in this game, which solves the problem ;-)

This stage is set out in a field, which appears to be a training ground for the team (there is some martial arts equipment in the background). This is quite a dark and moody stage; there is a tree on fire in the background and it is also raining. The music here isn't too bad either; it is not the best track in KOF '95, but it's perfect for this stage and is definitely better than their KOF '94 music.



Sub Boss: Saisyu Kusanagi

With the surname "Kusanagi", there are no prizes for guessing who this guy is related to. That's right, this is Kyo's father, who was thought to have been killed... but it seems he has been resurrected (and brainwashed) by Rugal. Predictably enough, he plays like a supercharged Kyo, and can be quite hard to beat when you have the game set to a higher difficulty. Still a cool character though.

His stage is set inside some kind of missile base, and looks fairly cool. The music on his stage is also quite good, and it suits this boss encounter perfectly.



Final Boss: Omega Rugal

Yep - Rugal is back, and badder than ever. Omega Rugal has some new powers, along with Cyborg implants (see his arm), although for some reason I don't find him as hard to beat as in KOF '94 (some might disagree though). Omega Rugal is a bit crazy too - check out his win pose where he makes cuts across his chest with his metal fingers. Like I said, he's crazy! :-)

Rugal's stage is practically the same as Saisyu's, although while you are fighting Rugal, the elevator platform you are standing on begins to move upwards. A very cool place to fight, with some great music that suits this final fight of the game very well.





Gameplay:

As I mentioned at the start of this review, KOF '95 does seem almost identical to KOF '94 initially... and for the most part, it IS very similar. But after playing it for a while, you will notice many subtle changes, as well as the extra special (and normal) moves that have been added. KOF '95 is basically a more finely-tuned version of KOF '94... which is not necessarily a bad thing!

One new move that was added to this game is the sidestep attack. In the first game you could dodge certain attacks by pressing the A and B buttons together; this move is still present in KOF '95 and you can now perform a quick hit by tapping an attack button while performing this maneuver. It isn't the most useful move in the game, but it can be handy every now and then (although it doesn't do a great deal of damage).

You can also do quick counter attacks in this game. When your power meter is full and you block an attack, you must quickly perform the motion for a special or super move... if timed correctly, the move will come out quickly and have more chance of hitting your opponent. This is definitely something you will need to learn if you want to master the game!


Graphics:

Graphically, the King of Fighters '95 is definitely better than its predecessor. The first thing you will notice is that the stage design is improved - while the first KOF had some good backgrounds, some of the ones in this game are super good for a 1995 game. The ones that stand out for me are the USA stage (excellent detail), The AoF teams stage (very dark and moody) and also the Fatal Fury teams stage (very bright and colourful). All the backgrounds are very nice though, and feature SNK's usual attention to detail.

The presentation of the game is also very good and everything has a more polished feel to it than in KOF '94. Although the animation on the characters is still a little stiff and not as good as in certain other games out there, if you compare it to KOF '94 you will see some quite big differences... especially in the standing poses of many characters (as an example, see Terry). Some characters aren't animated quite as well though; Kyo, for instance, looks as if he has a few frames of animation missing compared to some of the others. It isn't terrible though, and you will probably forget about it after you have been playing the game for a while. The KOF series has never really been famous for its animation anyway.


Sound Effects & Music:

When I first played this game, I didn't think that the music was as good as in the first KOF. However, after some extended play time I definitely started to appreciate it a lot more. Although a few stages (such as the Japan or womens team stages) have music that could have been a little better, most of it fits in perfectly. Although I miss a few tracks like the Japan Team's theme from KOF '94, I still think SNK did a very good job on the music for this game.

The sound effects have also been improved a bit. In particular, the hit noises for when you land a punch or kick and also the noise for when an attack is blocked have changed. Although I didn't have a problem with the old sound effects, these ones certainly sound a lot better than they did before. The voice actors for the new characters are also very good; I like Iori's voice actor in particular - you gotta love his evil laugh when he wins a fight. Some of the voices for the returning characters has changed slightly too - for instance, Athena's voice got a little more annoying to some people ;-)


Overall:

At first glance, The King of Fighters '95 seems like only a small improvement on the first one really. While this is true in many ways, after you have played the game for a while you will start to see all the little changes that SNK made all over the place. While we would have to wait until King of Fighters '96 before we got any massive changes, KOF '95 is still the ultimate "old-school" KOF game, and if you prefer this style of game over the more modern fighters, then you may just think that this is the best in the series (I know a few people that do).

Whatever your preference, this is still a very enjoyable game and one that any KOF fan will enjoy just as much as '94 - if not more, particularly as they included the much needed team edit option. If you own a Neo Geo and have '94 already then you will definitely want to pick this one up... hell, any Neo Geo owner should have EVERY King of Fighters game in his collection really, although this is coming from a big fan of the series ;)


Graphics: 7.5/10
Sound: 8/10
Game play: 8/10
Replay Value: 8/10

Overall Rating: 8/10



Outside Links:
Related Reviews:

Reviews @ Neo-Geo.com:


Review by Kensou
Review by TBA

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