It’s 1994 and arcades explode with 2D fighting games that seek to dethrone the technical and graphic marvel that is Street Fighter 2, one of Capcom’s many masterpieces. In another sector of those same rooms, a group of people crowd in front of a machine, amazed at the rapid combination of lever and buttons that culminates in a fatality. Mortal Kombat is the new member of a family that is already looking for new members.
In 2022, one of the great names of the fight returns – Share!
SNK, for its part, captivated the audience with its brutal repertoire: Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury (created by Takashi Nishiyama, director of Street Fighter 2), in the first you could only play with two characters and in the second with three in story mode, but that didn’t stop players from dropping hundreds of coins every day to try to finish them.
La cuna de The King of Fighters
Fatal Fury introduced an innovative mechanic for the genre at the time that allowed fighters to move between two planes to dodge attacks, on the other hand Art of Fighting dazzled with incredible zooms that, at certain moments of the encounter, showed sprites truly gigantic for the time.
But that year 1994 would also present a title with which the structure of fighting games would be broken again. Today it is common for us to see titles in which we find ourselves fighting for teams, without going any further than the great Dragon Ball FighterZ, but in those years when Sega and Nintendo fought to the death for control of the video game market and Senna gave his last laps in Formula 1, this was unthinkable and in that scenario the first King of Fighters arrives that used not only characters from the aforementioned Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting but also from other SNK franchises like Psycho Soldier and Ikari Warriors.
The game, in turn, incorporated a good number of characters with everything and their stories that would become great favorites of the public, such is the case of Iori Yagami and Kyo Kusanagi who would later take a central role in the first story of the franchise. . The title was so successful that it would become an annual saga with constant innovations.
If there is success, let it show
The King of Fighters ’95 featured the famous “Orochi saga” that would extend until the ’97 edition. incorporated the possibility of customizing the teams of fighters, something that was not possible in the first part of the game. The 1998 version had no history and is, to this day, the most beloved among IP fans, perhaps because it is a sort of compilation of characters from previous versions with a truly exquisite roster of fighters. From this edition, in fact, several versions were released such as The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 that would see the light in the beloved Sega Dreamcast with various improvements or the modern The King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match Final Edition. This scheme of dismissing a story with a title of the type mash up it would be repeated in the 2002 version, which also has no plot arc.
Already in The King of Fighters ’99 a new story begins with the “Nests Chronicles” and a new tactical option is incorporated that allowed another member of the team to jump into action for a few moments to help in the fight. This story arc continued until the 2001 version, the year in which the Korean company Eolith took over part of the development of the IP after SNK declared bankruptcy.
With The King of Fighters 2003, the “Tales of Ash” saga began and one of the most important changes in the franchise arrived, which was the ability to change fighters during battles and not just when defeated. In addition, in this installment, SNK would once again have full control of the development and would focus on a new era of its ownership by abandoning the annual releases and adopting a Roman numeral that continues to the present. This is how The King of Fighters XI would arrive in 2005, The King of Fighters XII in 2009 and The King of Fighters XIII in 2010.
The great absentee
The generational leap that, unfortunately, was not present on Xbox, was The King of Fighters XIV, released for PS4 and PC in 2016 and 2017 respectively and marked the arrival of the full 2.5D to the IP. The game had 16 teams with three characters each, most of them already known from the saga and 8 DLCs which added a whopping 58 fighters. As is often the case in these types of cases, the change did not please everyone, which was to be expected considering that classic 2D graphics were part of several generations. Thus and throughout the game it was able to obtain a good score between critics and players.
After many and varied delays, The King of Fighters XV will arrive on February 17 and, after a mysterious suspense, it was confirmed that it will arrive for Xbox unlike its predecessor. Will he be able to revive fans’ love for the franchise? Perhaps, the advantage of the current scenario is that the fighting games are not many and the stage is free for a well-made production to take all the applause. Glory may well stay on SNK’s side, come February, we will see how the story ends that today is rich among all the main editions of the IP and its multiple spin-offs.
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