熱闘ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ’95 || Takara 1996
Original Post Date: September 16, 2019
King of Fighters ’95 was the second annual installment in SNK’s most prolific series of fighting games. A crossover fighter that draws from various SNK franchises, it is famous for its team-based fighting system, pitting two teams of three against each other. New to the ’95 edition was the ability to choose your own team members from the character roster in its entirety, unlike the ’94 original where all teams were pre-determined.
The Nettou version of KoF95 stays fairly faithful to the arcade original, albeit with a reduction in roster size – there are a total of 18 characters, including the two bosses, and a secret character in the form of a cameo appearance by Nakoruru of Samurai Spirits fame, exclusive to this version.
The gameplay will feel familiar to any Neo Geo fighting enthusiast. Like the last few entries in the Nettou series, the strength of your punches and kicks is determined by the fierceness with which a button is tapped.
KOF’s famous rage meter makes its return here, serving as a bar that fills up as damage is taken, allowing for a single usage of your Super attack when filled. Alternately, the meter can be charged up by holding A and B together, when your opponent is at bay.
Pressing down along with A and B will perform an evade, not unlike the dodge seen previously in Nettou Toushinden. Once again, when your health meter is low enough that it begins flashing, your fighter’s desperation attacks can be performed with little consequence.
In addition to the iconic team battle mode, you may also choose to play the game in single mode, restoring it to the more common one-on-one, three-round formula. This equates to a much longer single-player experience but is a nice option if you only wish to learn a single character.
The off-putting aspect of Nettou KOF ’95 is that the combo potential has taken a significant step back from previous installments, thanks in part to the heavy pushback after landing a jump-in. It is a fun portable fighter regardless, but unlike its direct predecessor in the form of Nettou Toushinden, it doesn’t quite transcend its source material.