Kizuna Encounter, the sequel to Savage Reign, is a big improvement on the original. Almost everything that was bad about the original has been put right, which means that this time around we get a kick ass game.
The main feature of this game, as you may have guessed from the title is the tag option. You now pick two fighters and at any time during a battle you can tag in your partner by moving into the highlighted tag area and pressing the D button. Your other character then rests up in the background and slowly recovers some energy. This is a very cool feature and makes the game play a little like X-Men Vs Street Fighter by Capcom.
Another change is that unlike the first game there is now only one plane of battle. For those unfamiliar with Savage Reign, you could jump from the bottom of the screen to the top. Although having two planes to fight on was kind of fun in the original, it could be annoying at times so it doesn't matter and it probably wouldn't have worked very well in a tag battle anyway. The controls have been improved too and everything feels much better than before and it is now possible to do some pretty decent combos to cause serious damage to your enemy.
Graphics & Sound:
The graphics have been given a big overhaul too and look far superior. The characters are big, decently animated and look great, although I still think that the design of some of them is stupid (Like the Joker who is annoying), but there are some cool new fighters who I like a lot. Rosa is one of my favourites and you can even make her top come off if she loses… which CAN'T be a bad thing now, can it? (apologies to all female readers!) The stages that you fight on look excellent with lots of attention to detail put into them. There are also little opening animations to introduce these stages, such as the elevator on the skyscraper stage. Much better than Savage Reign!
The sound has been suitably improved as well, with better sound effects and music. The music still isn't brilliant though. Some of it sounds O.K., but most of it is very forgettable and I hoped that it would be lot better. Savage Reigns music sucked on the whole and this is easier on the ears than that was.
If you enjoyed playing Savage Reign, then you will love this. In fact, if you hated Savage Reign, then you should still try Kizuna Encounter because a lot of things have been changed and it is infinitely better than before. There are only a couple of problems I have with it, like when one of your characters loses all of his/her energy the match is over. In my opinion you should have been able to carry on with your other fighter if they have some energy left, like in X-Men Vs Street Fighter. Also, the boss called King Lion, is amazingly cheap (like most of SNK's bosses) and you need to be twice as cheap to be able to beat him. Its funny, because you sometimes fight him early on in the game and he is a walkover, but when you get to the last fight, he is VERY tough to defeat. It doesn't hurt the game as much as the bosses in Kabuki Klash did though... (see that review for more info)
Apart from these faults, Kizuna Encounter Super Tag Battle is a very worthwhile addition to the Neo Geo fighting game ranks; so don't hesitate to give it a try if you have the chance! The home cart is pretty expensive though (forget about the English version, believe me!), so MVS is the way to go on this one if you can! ;)
Game play: 8/10
Replay Value: 7/10
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