The King Of Fighters: Dream Match 1999
|a game by||SNK|
|Editor Rating:||7.5/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||6.7/10 - 3 votes|
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|See also:||The King of Fighters Games|
It was like KOF 94 was the dawning of a new age for SNK, after having ripped off Capcom year after year. Since then, SNK's been busy porting their flagship fighting game to other consoles with dubious results. In a strange bout of deja vu, I got the same feeling after playing KOF DM99: SNK finally got it right with the Dreamcast version. Even if this is just KOF 98, there's not much here to complain about--unless you're a real stickler about the series. The backgrounds are now a mixture of 3D objects and 2D backgrounds, and depending on what you prefer, this can be good or bad. Overall though, the graphics look brighter and more vibrant. Unfortunately, the higher resolution of the Dreamcast has also made the sprites in KOF look a little dated by today's standards. Another complaint is that unlike the cartridge soundtrack, the music is now redbooked off the GD-ROM so that it has to reset in between rounds. Most importantly, KOF DM99 competently lives up to its KOF 98 counterpart in the gameplay area. The Neo-Geo Pocket Color support was also a surprising highlight for me. Your R-2 characters can actually learn new moves by downloading data from your Dreamcast VMU. If you're a fan of the KOF series, DM99 is a must-buy. Besides, what other fighter is actually more stylish than the cats in KOF?
This series is starting to show its age. Although it still has that nostalgic old-school feel, KoF DM 1999 really should look a lot better (at least a Street Fighter III level of graphical quality). But even though the sprites are small and the frames of animation are too few, this game should tide over fans of traditional 2D fighters until SFA3 comes out. DM 1999 has tons of characters and that old-style gameplay that requires skill, not memorization, to master.
What we have here is an old-school 2D fighter for old-school fighting fans. As you'd expect, control is spot-on and you get an enormous collection of characters to choose from. But then we're talking SNK characters--who don't have quite the cachet of Capcom's stars--so you gotta be ultra-hardcore to get excited about this thing. The gameplay is just what you'd expect; the same Street Fighter-inspired moves work for each fighter.
If you're not a hardcore fighting game fan, you're probably best steering clear of KOF. While it's a more than competent port of a more than competent game, the underlying fighting engine is really starting to show its age, and to be honest--it doesn't look like a Dreamcast game. The controls are solid (even if the moves list is predictable) and the character design is fine, but this will always be a 'niche' franchise, and it's not for everyone.
Download The King Of Fighters: Dream Match 1999
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
As it is, the King of Fighters series has always brought SNK's superstars together in one convenient package. Although you won't find any characters from Metal Slug or Samurai Shodown in a KOF game, you will find the cream of the Fatal Fury-Art of Fighting-crop standing alongside the original KOF combatants. Now, with the Japanese release of King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999, you get the best of the past three incarnations of the series, plus some Dreamcast-exclusive features that make this the best installment of the series without a doubt. Although this isn't the "true" KOF '99 (it's more like a KOF '98: Special Edition), fans will easily forgive SNK for attaching the "1999" to the title.
To begin with, 38 fighters are available from the get-go, with alternate versions of some opening up after you've reached certain criteria. All of your King of Fighters' favorites are here. Stalwarts to the series like Kyo Kusanagi, Joe Higashi, Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui, lori Yagami, Robert Garcia and Billy Kane return along with newer characters like Heavy D, Lucky Glauber and Kyo-wannabe Shingo Yabuki.
While previous non-Neo-Geo installments of the series were of varying quality (Saturn versions usually being pretty good, PlayStation versions, err, usually not so good), the Dreamcast proves more than capable of handling the lush, speedy 2D visuals of SNK's premier franchise. Instead of the usual 2D bit-mapped backgrounds, SNK has seen fit to enhance these BGs with 3D elements, while still retaining the famous SNK "feel." Boats, islands, locomotives all move about in the backgrounds, while the characters with their "realistic" shadows romp around in the foreground. The short of it is that the overall look feels a lot more complete than the series ever did before. The action is fast and smooth, with almost no slowdown and the newer characters are extremely well-animated. Loading times are also kept to a minimum due to the large amount of onboard RAM and the 12X GD-ROM drive.
Perhaps the coolest new feature, graphical tune-ups aside, is the link-up capabilities between the Dreamcast and the Neo-Geo Pocket Color version of King of Fighters R-2 (see sidebar). With all the usual modes present (team battle, single battle, versus, survival, training, etc.), this might be the fighting game purist's ultimate wish. Strongly rumored to be arriving in the U.S. at the Dreamcast's launch, The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 could give Marvel vs. Capcom a run for its money.