Welcome to another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games! Every Tuesday join Cyril as he reviews the best (and worst) retro releases for the week.
This week we make up for lost time. Over the last two weeks Defunct Games has been on vacation (due to technical difficulties), so I've been holding The King of Fighters '95 back until we have something to pair it with. Sadly, Nintendo has decided to not release new Virtual Console games. That doesn't mean that this is the end of the Virtual Console, but it has been three weeks since Nintendo actually updated their classic game download service. The good news is that we FINALLY have a review of The King of Fighters '95. Unfortunately it's coming weeks late. But that's what you get when you read This Week in Defunct Games!
The King of Fighters '95 (SNK)
[ Virtual Console - 900 Points/$9 - Neo Geo - 1995 ]
What Is It?
By now you know the story; The King of Fighters is the merging of two of SNK's biggest fighting game franchises. It's a dash of Art of Fighting and a little of Fatal Fury, all mixed together with a few new characters and players from other non-fighting game genres. This combination has worked for more than fifteen years, which is why I should be excited about The King of Fighters '95 hitting the Virtual Console. The problem is, this Neo Geo game came out mere months after the first game, not giving SNK enough time to drastically change the franchise. It's been two years since Nintendo uploaded The King of Fighters '94, and in that time we've seen a brand new sequel and newer installments hit other consoles (such as The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match for the Xbox Live Arcade). In comparison this game feels quaint. With so few games hitting the Virtual Console it's a shame that Nintendo wasted a week with a good port of a so-so fighting game.
Does It Still Hold Up?
It's hard to go back to The King of Fighters '95. This was a time before SNK had really perfected this franchise. The characters feel fine and there's a fair amount of fighters to choose from, but fans of the series will have a hard time going without some of the newer gameplay additions. What makes this worse is that we know that Nintendo will eventually release The King of Fighters '96, which is a much better installment. There's nothing technically wrong with The King of Fighters '95, but it isn't the highlight from the game's 16 year history.
Is It Worth The Money?
Fighting game fans will no doubt embrace a new arcade-perfect port to play around with (especially if they paid the big bucks for the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom arcade stick), but I say you should hold off. Fans of the series are better suited to search out the Xbox Live Arcade game, as it features online gameplay and a fresher list of characters. There are also a few King of Fighters compilations that are worth tracking down. The price is too high for a game this limited. Hopefully this means that we'll start seeing newer King of Fighters games on the Virtual Console ... assuming Nintendo decides to start supporting the system again.