Fighting action in a classic format has been done often, but rarely done with the kind of thorough treatment that you'll find in each game included in The Orochi Saga
. Along with The King Of Fighters '94, '95, '96, and '97
we have the grand collection of The King Of Fighters '98
. The last game carried a subtitle "The Slugfest" and was intended to be a battle royale for fans of the previous games. More than 50 characters are playable in The King Of Fighters '98
, giving players dedicated to various fighters from previous titles a chance to build their dream team. The team concept in The King Of Fighters
remains a defining feature. Rather than simply battle against an opponent on the strengths of one fighter, you'll have three fighters at your disposal. The idea of strength in numbers might come across, but that's not quite how it works. Each fighter on the team has a chance to defeat as many opponents as possible, or be defeated. Once a fighter is defeated, The King Of Fighters
works a bit like a tag-team, bringing in the character you've designated as your second choice. The challenge presented to players in this game is to learn the moves, strengths, and weaknesses of three characters, especially noting how a particular team may do better or worse against other teams.
While playing a match, you'll have to pay attention to at least two things. One is the timer; when it runs out you'll win or lose based on the damage you've taken or dished out. The other thing you'll need to monitor is your health bar. Once it runs out, you're finished. Continues help make the game more accessible, especially as you try to learn effective strategies against more advanced fighters. Each game includes a training option, giving you a way to face off against an opponent that won't fight back. Testing your moves against the CPU is fine and well, but you'll really love playing The King Of Fighters against a human opponent. The "enter anytime" style of play used here makes it simple for a second player to join. The only mode outside the arcade versions of each game in The Orochi Saga is Challenge. This is the gateway to the long list of special media mentioned earlier. Challenge Mode works a little like Microsoft's Achievements. The difference is that instead of linking challenges to normal gameplay, you'll be playing The King Of Fighters under special conditions. One example is a battle where all damage indicators are disabled and where you can't see the timer. Winning a battle under these conditions earns you a nice long list of locked art and music for the game. Hard to say whether Challenge Mode is a device for improving replay or if the replay value is more in the limitless amount of action you'll find solo or with a friend in the five different games collected here in The Orochi Saga.