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Monday, August 15, 2011

The King of Fighters '99 Millennium Battle (NEO4ALL) Review

Original release:
July 22, 1999

Game details:
1-2 Players
Standard controller
VGA box

The following game was not officially released for the Sega Dreamcast. It is emulated sing NEO4ALL RC-3 developed by chui. This is an evaluation of the emulation of the game, as well as the game itself.

Using Team RDC's release you can play this game as though it is a commercial game with only a brief loading screen.

Emulation
This is a very well emulated game. Speed is critical in a fighting game, and while I have never played KOF 99 on any sort of official hardware there didn't seem to be any loss of speed. There is a bit of slowdown when a particularly elaborate special move is pulled off, but you either blocked it or you didn't, so it's not going to ruin your play at all. There are loads between rounds, but they aren't frustratingly long and again, won't ruin your experience.

Gameplay
I consider KOF to be the Madden of fighting series. They're updated yearly (or used to be) and rarely introduce sweeping changes. This isn't to say that Capcom doesn't milk Street Fighter for all it's worth, but each new number iteration brings several changes to the core formula that keeps things fresh. KOF doesn't really do that; it doesn't make it a bad game, but it never quite reaches the height that it probably could. That being said, this is a solid game that does bring a few changes to the KOF mechanics. One of the new features present is strikers which work similar to the Marvel vs. Capcom games. It's sort of a strange thing to have in a more serious fighting game, and you won't be using it a lot. There are some new countering mechanics, which to an occasional KOF player as myself don't really change the game a whole lot.

The roster has been scaled back from KOF 98, but to me that doesn't necessarily come off as a bad thing. There's not a striking variety of character types in the game, so it serves to make it a bit easier to get a feel for all of the different characters and where your advantages will lie. Speaking of the roster, from my play time with the game, it seems to be quite balanced. There are some characters who are certainly overpowered (looking at you, Whip), but that happens in just about any fighting game.

Storyline
I'm not really the person to ask on this. I know that KOF has more of a story than most other fighting games, but it didn't mean much to me. I do know that 99 kicks off a new storyline, but that's about all I can say. Not terribly relevant to the game.

Graphics
The graphics are adequate. Some of the stages have impressive detail and some of the characters are very well animated (Whip again). This game isn't going to drop jaws, but you're not going to think they put no effort into the game either. The graphics fall squarely in the area of mediocre.

Sound
This is an incredibly mixed bag. Some stages have pretty cool music, some are straight out of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Overall, disappointing.

Conclusion
This is probably going to be the same for most KOF games that are reviewed here; it reaches for greatness, but doesn't quite attain it. You'll enjoy the game, but there are far better fighting offerings on the Dreamcast.

8.0/10

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