The King Of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga


The Orochi Saga contains five games from the King of Fighters back catalogue in one tidy package. The titles range from the King of Fighters ‘94 to the King of Fighters ‘98 and were all originally released between the mid to late 90’s. For those people that never had the chance to own the rather expensive Neo Geo a bit of background may be necessary. The King of fighters is a 2d fighting game similar to Street Fighter, containing a collection of characters from other classic SNK fighting games. The biggest difference being that it has a three on three tag fighting system essentially meaning that to excel you must learn the moves of three different characters rather than just one. This also means that the fights do not consist of the traditional rounds. As soon as a character is beaten the next character is tagged in and when all three characters on a team are beaten the fight ends.

This may seem like a rather simple addition but it does in fact add a whole new strategy to the way in which you play. You can also select the order in which your team fights meaning that thought needs to go into when you play your favourite fighter. The early games in the series allow you to choose from preset teams whereas the later games give you more freedom in creating your own team built from a more comprehensive selection of characters.

01

Presentation is nice using a circular menu to allow easy access to any of the five games, bonus content and the challenge mode. As a collection it would be nice if it contained some history of the franchise and explanations of the evolution of the games. While fans will no doubt already understand the subtle changes to the games through each evolution newcomers will have to search elsewhere.

Anyone new to the series though will be glad of the inclusion of the training mode. Although not entirely comprehensive it does a good job of teaching the move sets. Whilst training simply select move list and a list of all of those characters moves will pop up on screen. From here u can see the inputs needed for each move, watch a demo of what the move should look like and also have the inputs put on screen for you to follow.

03

Another new inclusion is the challenge mode consisting of challenges of various difficulty with the completion of each unlocking bonus content for the game. The content unlocked consists mainly of art work and music but is a good way of helping you learn about the fighting system and gives something else for lone players to play through besides the regular arcade mode.

The quality of emulation varies slightly between the PSP and Wii versions though. The Wii version runs all of the games perfectly whereas the PSP struggles with loading times and the occasional stutter during fights. With this being a compilation rather than a remake there have not been any tweaks to either the visuals or the music both remaining faithful to their original incarnations. This means that the PSP is a little kinder on the graphics due to its diminutive screen size shrinking all the pixels.

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Controls are fundamental to 2d fighting games and are another area that separate the two games. Each version uses the same setup but it’s the devices themselves that can change the feel of the game, I will add that this is a preference of the user rather than a fault of the game itself. The Wii version allows a multitude of control options including the Wiimote, Wiimote and nunchuck, Classic pad or Gamecube pad. I personally found that the classic pad preferable due to its layout and larger d-pad. It should also be noted that the classic pads analogue stick with its notches separating the diagonals is also very useful for the kind of quarter circle moves common in this kind of game. The problem I have with the psp controls is that I have never found either the dpad or analogue stick precise enough to consistently make the movements required of a fighting game.

With the series not evolving greatly between ‘94 and ‘98 though the question remains that it may have been better to create a collection containing a mixture of SNK’s 2d fighters. But for either fans or newcomers to the series this compilation does precisely as it set out to do by creating a competent collection of the early King of Fighters games.

PSP

Hi-Score:-challenge mode, training mode

Lo-Score:- loading times, control issues

Final Score:- 6 out of 10

Wii

Hi-Score:- Emulation, controls and new modes

Lo-Score:-lack of variation between the games

Final Score:- 7 out of 10

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