September 21, 2007 - The King of Fighters series has been around as long as videogames themselves, or at least that's the way it seems. In reality the series has only been in existence for the past thirteen years, and it has been SNK Playmore's bread and butter ever since its creation. The series began as a 2D fighter, as all fighting series did, but made the jump to the third dimension in 2004 under the Maximum Impact moniker.
Now King of Fighters is staring its umpteenth installment right in the face with Maximum Impact Regulation A, a conversion of the arcade game that was so popular overseas. While the game has been out for quite some time in Japan (July 13 to be exact) we recently got a look at the retail version at Tokyo Game Show, no doubt on display in hopes of finding a home with a publisher stateside.
By our count the roster of characters spans an amazing 41, but that's pretty much standard in the world of King of Fighters. Unlike the past Maximum Impact titles, Regulation A brings the classic three-fighter setup to the third dimension for the very first time. Think of Regulation A as a blend between the classic 2D fighters, in which players selected three combatants to do battle one after another, and Maximum Impact series which brought the cool factor of being able to move to the foreground and the background as well as side to side (though you can't really do it at will, just with the flow of the action).
The actual gameplay is what you'd expect from the series. Basically you do combat against another trio of warriors until either set has been defeated. It's essentially last man standing, just under a different name. The roster of fighters that you'll be choosing from has been slightly altered in Regulation A, but not as much as diehard fighting fans might have hoped - though with 41 characters, you'd assume they've basically exhausted their creative facilities for character creation. Basically two characters from past KoF games are included this time around in the form of Blue Mary and Ash Crimson. While I wasn't aware of this, KoF gamers weren't exactly huge fans of Armor Ralf so he's been removed in favor of the two relatively new recruits.
The game modes that you can expect to find in Regulation A are Time Attack, VS. Mode, Network Match (playing online), Practice, and Jukebox where you can customize the characters' voice just a bit as well as tweak the music tracks. There's also a slightly different story mode to the game, but don't expect to be enthralled by new dramatic overtones, chances are it'll be standard KoF fare.
As we said earlier, the game has been out for more than two months in Japan, but that didn't stop a healthy number of Japanese gamers lining up on the Tokyo Game Show floor to play the game against willing participants. We will say that there certainly were more vacant kiosks in Microsoft's booth running on Xbox 360 hardware. Simply more evidence as to why the PS2 is the most popular videogame hardware in history. Rest assured, if KoF: Maximum Impact Regulation A does make it into the United States you'll be the very first to know about it (well, second, since we'd be telling you, but you get the point).
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