Although various takes on the retro-revival have proved extremely profitable, such successes generally feed off the nostalgic sentimentality of marginally older gamers, with the most popular examples (the Famicom mini-series) harking all the way back to the 80s.[ For the benefit of our younger readers, the 80s was a time when the world was a bit like GTA Vice City.]
So when we are presented with a game thatís over four years old, itís difficult to know how to treat it. Itís not really old enough to get dewy-eyed about, but itís certainly not fresh enough to be called a new release. Thatís why we approach the news of SNKís PS2 double pack King Of Fighters 2000 and King Of Fighters 2001 with some trepidation.
The King Of Fighters series, as it nears its tenth anniversary, is indisputably one of the finest of its type. However, SNK Playmore is about to release King Of Fighters 2003 (belated itself) and King Of Fighters: Maximum Impact in Japan, so we wonder if there is the potential for this rather stale double whammy to sell well in Europe. Ignition Entertainment, which has rights to distribute other SNK classics like Metal Slug to European fans, should really be rewarded for the noble task it performs: and it may not get its just desserts on this one. After all, the most devoted fans will probably have import versions lurking somewhere in their collections already.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things in the gamesí favour. For starters, it only costs £19.99 Ė for Xbox or PS2. Secondly, both titles are fantastic, if quite similar. And finally, for many this will actually be the first chance to ever play a King Of Fighters game, ten years after the originalís release. Itís had numerous Japanese outings, particularly on NeoGeo and Dreamcast, but the series has never been established on home consoles in Europe. Finally, it has arrived. Letís hope that the delay doesnít detract from the impact that this release genuinely deserves to make.
King Of Fighters 2000 & 2001 will be hitting the shops this November. If sales are respectable, we can expect to see a European release of King Of Fighters 2002 & 2003 (also with cut-price potential), King Of Fighters í94 Anniversary remake and, of course, the 3D Maximum Impact in the near future.