CGRundertow THE KING OF FIGHTERS XI for PlayStation 2 Video Game Review

Uploaded by CGRundertow on 17.12.2011

I’ve mentioned before, I came kinda late to the whole King of Fighters party. I get
that there’s separte sagas of about three years apiece, and that these make up a long
and storied history... but take it from my perspective. I was introduced to this nonsense
with Maximum Impact 1, and yes, I already hear your collective screams of “UR DOIN
IT RONG.” Bear with me. That was my entry point to this backstory, with the Meira brothers
and Duke and later Nagase and Luise and the rest. Yes, I missed out on the largest part
of the plot. And that kinda comes to a head with this King of Fighters, released in Japan
in 2006, which isn’t KOF ‘06, it’s XI. Which isn’t 2011, just... XI. Does your
head hurt yet?
To fill you in on the story... y’know what? You can go ahead and play the 10 Kings of
Fighterses and 10 Fatal Furies and Mark of the Wolves and... what, three Arts of Fighting?
And Samurai Showdown, and you get the point. There’s some kerfluffle about the Orochi
Seal, and some stupidly overpowered boss character is using it to their own evil ends. As three
of the 33 characters available from the start, your job is to investigate said kerfluffle
by beating down anyone in your way. Simple, right?
And here’s where the madness begins. Guilty Gear XX was complex enough with just the original
and two flavors of X before it. This King of Fighters rides on the back of the more
than two dozen games before it, so there’s a whole system of desperation moves, guard
cancels, guard evasion, saving shifts, quick shifts, super cancels, dream cancels, enough
to make Solomon revolve in his grave. And if you’re new to this particular system,
it can be a bear just to try to digest it all. Sure, you can flail through with a random
team of your favorite four-letter words. But sooner or later, some SNK boss is going to
roll up and Tommy Lee Jones you back to reality, Agent J. Fortunately, a challenge mode gives
you a perfect opportunity to practice roll recoveries, throw breaks, and get practice
against some of the bosses, while unlocking not only the bosses but some of the more egregious
exclusions from the roster, including Mai, Robert Garcia, and Geese Howard.
Also when you inevitability when you bite the dust, here’s where the game takes a
bit of pity on you, in a shrewd move for the arcade industry: your reward for plunking
in another quarter (or, given that this is the PS2 version, deigning to press the start
button) is a power boost for the upcoming rematch. You can either knock down the opponents’
health by a quarter right off the bat, begin the match loaded with for special attacks,
or turn down said pity and prove that you can do it the hard way. Your choice.
My primary issue, though, is that - compared to contemporaries like the Guilty Gear series,
the sprites look kinda dated. I know there was a lot of frustration regarding the recycling
of Darkstalkers-era graphics in the Marvel Vs. Capcom series; I hoped that in 2006 we
could do better. And it’s upsetting, because the UI itself pushes a much more modern aesthetic,
with a robust sound palate. Chances are, if you’re the kind of fan who’s already put
countless hours into sussing out the plot of this monstrous undertaking, you’ve already
got a copy. If you don’t, prepare to get very, very lost while enjoying a decent fighter.
Besides, with re-releases and virtual console ports, how hard can it be to amass twenty
four or so of the older games so as to get a clue?