King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga
Excessive load times and weak multiplayer take some shine off of this King's crown.
Say what you will about the Neo-Geo and its glut of fighting games, but some of them were fun to play. Take the King of Fighters series, for example. Here, you select three fighters for an elite team, meshing their styles together into one collective unit to win the tournament. If you remember these games, you might want to take interest in SNK's The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga for PSP. Although a few technical flaws keep it from greatness, it's still an above-average retro collection that fighting fanatics will enjoy.
The Orochi Saga covers five King of Fighters games, spanning from 1994 to 1998. These games don't differ much, outside of a couple of technical features and additional characters. However, it's fun playing through three-on-three teams in the tournament. The characters come from various SNK games, including Fatal Fury and older releases such as Athena and Ikari Warriors. The fighting styles vary, and some moves complement the fighters' personalities. We can never get enough of the lovely Mai Shiranui and her fire attacks.
Newcomers to King of Fighters will be happy to know that Orochi Saga contains a training mode. Here, you can learn the tricks of the trade, including counters, taunts and supers. There's also an easily accessible move guide for each of the characters, just in case you forget how to perform a throw or Choi Bounge's blade spin. The games also closely resemble their older Neo-Geo counterparts, as far as graphics go. The characters animate well, even though their sprites look noticeably older than those in more recent games.
Unfortunately, King of Fighters suffers from loading problems as well as delayed sound effects; it's a bit strange hearing a character call for a fireball attack a few seconds after he or she threw it. The game also stutters on occasion, due to quick loads in the middle of a match-up. The matches themselves also take a little longer to load than the ones in the Wii version, although the game is far from unplayable.
All five games support AdHoc multiplayer, so you can play against a fellow PSP owner. However, the fights take some time to set up. Furthermore, the matches are too slow to enjoy. Just stick with single player.
Despite the multiplayer letdown and technical issues, King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga has a lot of bang for its buck. There are five games to choose from and several dozen characters to learn and master. The controls aren't bad, even with the awkward PSP directional pad. The presentation, for the most part, stays true to the Neo-Geo roots, and the game has options galore for pro players and rookies alike. If you're all about the old school, consider this your enrollment. Otherwise, skip this Saga and stick with Tekken: Dark Resurrection.
What's Hot: Old-school 2-D gameplay, helpful training mode and easily accessible move lists, graphics and sound are Neo-Geo quality, five KOF games to choose from.
What's Not: Loading times put us to sleep, two-player games take forever to set up, delayed sound effects , no remarkable differences between the five games.