The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact - PS2

Got packs, screens, info?
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Beat 'Em Up
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: SNK Soft. Co.: SNK
Publishers: Ignition Entertainment (GB)
Released: 4 Mar 2005 (GB)
2004 (US)
Ratings: PEGI 12+, ESRB Rating Pending


If there’s one company that to this day remains practically synonymous with dedication to 2D gameplay, it must be SNK. Though the original company went under in 2001, it has since been reborn as SNK Playmore, and has already brought versions of the King of Fighters series to the PlayStation 2. Despite the success of 3D fighting games like Virtua Fighter, Dead or Alive and Tekken, there is still a devoted community of 2D beat’em up enthusiasts, and without doubt the biggest players in this arena are, and always have been, Capcom and SNK. Curiously, neither company has had much success when attempting to get a piece of the 3D market. Capcom’s EX versions of their Streetfighter games have never garnered much attention or praise, while SNK’s efforts at 3D versions of their Fatal Fury and Samurai Spirits franchises were met with ridicule.

Now, whilst still remaining very much committed to continuing their line in 2D fighters, SNK Playmore have decided to have another bite at the cherry, this time using their most hallowed and celebrated IP, King of Fighters. It’s also the first time that a King of Fighters game has been made specifically for the PS2. Enter King of Fighters: Maximum Impact.

Players can choose from one of 20 characters, rendered for the first time in beautiful 3D, and dressed in their original costumes, or in a new set designed by legendary SNK artist Falcoon. All the original favourites are there: Kyo, Mai, Terry, Iori and some new characters besides. Gameplay changes from previous incarnations with the addition of dodging, and fights are now set in 3D arenas with walls that you opponent will bounce off if you throw them at them. The action is a lot more focused on chain combinations than in previous versions, and this, along with some fast animation, makes the game run faster than you’ll have seen a traditionally slow 3D fighting game run before.

As you’d expect from SNK, there’s a 3-on-3 Battle option, One-Player Story mode and VS mode. But there’s also a new game mode in the form of Challenge mode, featuring 40 challenges, where instead of fighting against the clock, the player must knock down their opponent five times, for example, or win without blocking. It’s via this mode that many of the extras in the game are unlocked. On top of that, there’s Profile mode, which has character biographies and allows you to inspect the 3D models close up. All in all, it’s a very competent package, and 2D purists and 3D fans alike would do well to check out its fast and accessible gameplay.