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King of Fighters Extreme Review

Developer: Hudson Publisher: Nokia
Release Date: January 31, 2005 Also On: None

King of Fighters Extreme is little more than a port of a two-year-old Game Boy Advance game. While some might see that as a shortfall, Hudson Soft tweaked and added enough to King of Fighters EX2 to warrant playing through the game again.

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King of Fighters is easily the second most popular 2D fighting game behind the Street Fighter series. Luckily, Hudson Soft stuck with the familiar King of Fighters and did not dumb down the game for a mobile platform. King of Fighters Extreme consists of teams of three competing against each other one at a time until one of the teams is eliminated.

Extreme is a port of an already good game and is improved over the Game Boy Advance mainly because of the additional buttons available. Instead of using insanely long button combos or awkward button combinations, Extreme utilizes almost every key to simplify the more monotonous tasks. Tagging in another character is done by pressing 2 and performing the super moves are done by pushing 9, for example.

The career mode does not last long and does not reward you with anything much, but that is not to say that it is unenjoyable. Mixing up different combination of characters to discover their strengths and weaknesses adds a lot of replay value and is half of the fun of the game.

The biggest addition to this game, and the biggest draw, is the inclusion of multiplayer play over Bluetooth. The response time is extremely fast and there is absolutely no lag to speak of. If you want a game to play against someone else on your N-Gage and are sick of playing Ashen and Ghost Recon, King of Fighters was made for you.

Though it is a near perfect port of EX2 from the Game Boy Advance, one major thing goes wrong. The framerate cannot keep up on the N-Gage. Part of having a great 2D fighting game is keeping a fluid framerate and when one chugs along at 15 frames per second it is hard to consistently pull off combinations. It is a shame that most of the fluidity of the game is lost because of framerate issues that could have been dealt with more development time. After some playing time it is easy to get used to, but it is still an unfortunate consequence of the crisp graphics.

Even with the framerate issues the graphical presentation is very good. All of the characters animate nicely and the arenas look very crisp. The sound is great as well; music that fits perfectly and SNK even included voice samples. Also, though it rarely happened to me, I have heard reports of some unit’s sound going in and out constantly. It is nothing much to detract from the playing, but it does pull you out of the game for a minute.

King of Fighters Extreme was good enough to get me hooked on the game and interested in the series. It is entertaining playing through the campaign mode but clearly comes into its own when paired up with another device over Bluetooth. This is the perfect example of what the N-Gage was designed for and it is a pity to see it released in the twilight of the system’s life. If you are a fan of fighting games, definitely pick this one up, you could do much worse.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 7.3
Written by Chris Review Guide