Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ryuuko no Ken (Art of Fighting)

SNK / Hudson Soft
Arcade CD-ROM

Maybe this is an example of what low expectations can do for a game that, in reality, isn't all that great. I expected very little from this fighter, as I'd always thought its characters seemed terribly generic. And the fact that I wasn't particularly thrilled with Fatal Fury 2 made me skeptical of the purported quality of its hailing-from-the-Neo Geo kin. Well, AoF's graphics aren't as impressive as FF2's, and its characters aren't as cool as Terry Bogard's crew, but I have a strong preference for its actual fisticuffs, and I get a kick out of its goofy plot. In fact, it plays well enough and has proven amusing enough to rank among my favorite fighters for the PCE.

Story Mode has you choose one of these two dudes to ride around town and batter people with.

The combatants are pretty large to begin with...

...but they're rendered gigantic once they approach each other and the game "zooms in" on them. It's a gimmick, but a very cool one, and the Duo pulls it off pretty darn well.

The bonus rounds aren't very exciting. Hit the button at the right moment, or mash said button as rapidly as you can.

Loading screens like this one appear between matches and remain up for what seems like an eternity--the only real downer in an otherwise extremely enjoyable fighting game.

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