Portable Review

King Of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood


From time to time, a game comes out that causes me to stop everything I’m doing and refocus my attention on it completly. KoF EX2 is just that sort of game. Achieving Master Orochi with every character in order to unlock Sinobu and the other modes is a task unlike any challenge I’ve recieved in a fighting game previously. Seriously, I’ve bought at least 4 GBA games since I bought KoF EX2 and I find myself ignoring those games completly for “just one more round” of KoF.

From the moment you boot up the cartridge, you’ll feel that SNK put a lot of work into this game. That’s a big step up from last year’s offering. Visually, you’ll be blown away when compared to the first game in this GBA series. The animation is top-notch, giving you a near arcade-like feel to the game. Likewise, the control has gotten a huge facelift. Every move comes off exactly as you would hope it to. The overall quality of this production is incredibly high.

Unfortunatly, there are some marks against the title. Small as they may be, they deserve mentioning. While the animation is smooth, if there’s too much going on at once, this game will slow down like it was on the SNES. That’s expected to some degree, but sometimes it can get so slow that it’s nearly unplayable. A good example of this would be if Kyo does his Max special while Iori does his dragon punch-like move. The processor just doesn’t seem to be able to handle it all at once. As soon at the animation is done, the game picks back up to speed. As I said, it’s a small matter – one that’s worth dealing with to have a game of this callibur on the go.

Wait, there’s more. This game features an awful selection of modes right out of the gate. You can unlock different options by defeating the game with each character of a team. These options range from toggling the story on/off to Endless mode to Time Attack. For the player with friends, you can link up in one of two modes: Team VS and Single VS. Coming from the company who made MotM, however; I was hoping for some extras along the lines of what that game offered. In MotM, I found myself playing the mini-games much more than the game itself when I was by myself. An option like this would have added so much more depth to the game. Perhaps they just wanted to keep with the KoF thing. If I remember correctly, the NGPC KoF games didn’t have extras like MotM. At any rate, it would have been nice.

Speaking of versus play, this function seems to be the focus of KoF EX2 rather than just an after-thought. I appreciate that as the game doesn’t become unsynchronized like a few other fighters seem to on this system. One of the best things this game has to offer in this department is that it allows you to see what command type your opponent is using. This comes in handy since there are a few things possible with the different button setups. Most annoyingly, there is the setting “2 Button A” which functions much like the EX mode from Capcom VS SNK. Basically, a direction and the R button will do a special move while a half or quarter circle back or forward and the R button will do super arts. For all of you who don’t quite understand this concept yet, it means 0 charge time for characters like Choi. Charge time is about the only thing keeping those characters from being total bulldog chars. It takes some serious adjustment to fight someone who’s good with the easy button controls and a charage character as you never know when a charge move will come out of nowhere.

Overall, I would say that this is one of the top fighters for the GBA. If you’re a fighting game nut like I am, this is worth the purchase. Furthermore, if you were ever wondering more about the Orochi story, this game picks up somewhere between 97 and 99. It’s pretty much the story that 98 should have had.

-Originally Posted by Bloodspoor


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