To the spirit of a fighter


(GIF image stolen from somewhere on! I actually needed a bit of help translating the advice dog – ‘FOB’ = “fresh off the boat” – a reference to displaying “contemporary East Asian youth cultures” in this instance πŸ˜‰ Oh and ‘AH’ is Arcana Hearts.)

There’s an article forthcoming on my full thoughts on Street Fighter IV, but I think it’s a summary enough to say for now that I’m no longer playing or following the game very much at all. However as long pre-supposed here on agoners, the main reason for the excitement around SF4 was not SF4 itself, but its position as a flagbearer for the return of the 2d fighting game scene in general. And what a return it has been! πŸ™‚

The years of having nothing fighting game wise to play, and/or no-one to play against have ended, and now the pendulum has swung the other way with veritable a glut of good fighting games, and XBox Live and other competition generally always available. And not to mention the excellent joysticks and controllers now available, neatly solving all my joystick issues, are also mainly thanks to SF4.

The trouble now is finding the time to play them all, and deciding which to play and which to dedicate my real ‘serious’ gaming time to as well. Perhaps the advice dog can help?

This past few weeks have been especially mad with both Garou: Mark of the Wolves & The King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match being released to XBox Live Arcade.


I’d never had the chance to play Garou at all before, but it seems to be a really great engine and really fun to play so far. It appears to be pretty much the ‘Street Fighter 3’ of the Fatal Fury series, set after the other games, with only a single returning (much older) character, with vastly improved graphics & animation and even technical additions to the game engine centering around just-defense, a kind of parry. I’m intrigued to actually find out more about where some of these characters come from too, although many are of pretty obvious parentage/heritage. This game on it’s own just a couple of years ago would’ve had me immensely excited & playing it night after night. Now it’s practically lost in the sea of fighting games.

Too many great characters & games!

The King of Fighters 98 Ulitimate Match, as well as being an appropriately long-winded title, actually lives up to it’s billing. Another game I’d never got to play, I was really shocked at how amazing it is. I really lost touch with KOF beyond 97 & one of the contributing factors was constantly having my favourite characters removed or having their moves changed beyond all recognition. But KOF98UM is a glorious return to form for me!


Virtually every one of my favourite characters or moves are back & in the form I used and loved them – it’s almost like meeting old friends again. πŸ™‚


The only huge let-down with both SNK games is that the netcode & Live interface is almost tragically poor. The input lag is worse than even SF4, and at times even worse than older XBox titles like 3rd Strike. This is such a terrible shame really, as it will really put a shelf-life on both of these titles as it will hamper any attempts at “serious play” for me, because I don’t have any similarly passionate local competition. The one saving grace for them is that, like SF4, it is possible to cancel out of fighting high-ping opponents altogether. But the odd awful game still seems to occur.

Still, it’s such a pity that something much better wasn’t done with these great games that would’ve had so much potential online. It still absolutely astounds me that no fighting game has ever managed to “get it all right” in terms of its online interface, given how many years systems like XBox Live & GGPO have been around.

The next couple of months will also bring us Marvel Vs Capcom 2 to Live Arcade, and hopefully a PAL release of King of Fighters 12, both of which will hopefully involve further attempts by the same companies to better their online fighting experiences, so there is some hope at least. Oh and I’m certainly not forgetting SSF2T HD Remix! Taken as a whole package, including the netcode, HD Remix is still the best fighting game around, and one I cannot ever foresee leaving behind.

There are also yet more games that are leaving a bitter taste of absence for me though. Both Virtual On Oratorio Tangram and BlazBlue are games I’d love to be playing and would be hugely excited about. However VOOT is awaiting a decent twin stick controller to be available to me – in the UK – before it actually becomes worth playing! But at least Hori are planning to manufacture one in Japan, so I have some hopes I’ll be able to pick up one and get a chance to play this game online (although it apparently suffers from the same netcode failings as the SNK games.. *sigh*). BlazBlue is incredibly frustrating for me, thanks to my old enemies: Region lock-out disks, and No PAL release whatsoever. Now this situation has occured before – for one of my potential favourite XBox 360 games, All-Pro Football 2k8, which was why I’d originally purchased an NTSC American 360 Elite… however when it RROD’d on me, I was left with a fixed PAL UK model instead, so I’m now unable to play 2k8. The same has happened with a few other games, notably Japan-only ones though (like Super Robot Wars XO), and now its the case with BlazBlue too. This is always a pretty irritating state of affairs, but it causes RAGE GAUGE levels of annoyance when you can actually ‘see’ your friends on your XBox Live friends list playing it!

It just brings home how utterly retarded and ass-backwards region lock-outs for non-global release games are – they are literally just refusing to take my money, pointlessly. As long as it gets released at some point though, I won’t be too upset, as I do have plenty enough other games to be playing. πŸ™‚ So in some ways this is a good time for it not to be released. But the problem is that when it does eventually come out in the UK, I’ll be hopelessly behind the learning curve compared to the top players (not that it’s at all certain I’d ever be competitive at it anyway!), and I’ll be really upset if we don’t get an equivalent collectors edition set as the USA and Asia got, because the idea of Β a tutorial DVD included with the game is one of the things that particularly drew me into potentially getting into this game much more seriously than I otherwise would. I’m also irritated by the total lack of information on this, because I’d be quite tempted to try and get ahold of another NTSC 360 if this game isn’t going to receive a PAL release sometime soon.

Anyway, I don’t want to grumble too much, because the main point of this post was just to sayΒ “yay, I was right!” when it comes to the rejuvenation of the 2d fighting game scene – there’s never been so many great reasons NOT to play SF4!


5 thoughts on “To the spirit of a fighter

  1. I haven’t had the time to sink my teeth into KOF98 yet, but I’m very excited a having the chance to do so.

    I was utterly obsessed with KOF95 back in the saturn days and I’ve never really had anyone around who’s shared that obsession since then.

    Now I have a decent pad and (slightly wonky it may be) netplay, all I need is time and I’m in fighters heaven.

    and while it doesn’t even warrant a mention in your post (due to it’s filthy third dimention and redonculus mash happy juggle silliness no doubt), I’m rather looking forward to Tekken 6 dammit.

    I just hope they don’t pull a tekken 4 on me…
    That game got so much wrong it hurts.


  2. I’m afraid I’ve never enjoyed any Tekken, although I played all of them up to T3Tag then gave up. But their heritage with me is even worse than that; I’ve never liked any Namco beat-em-up much ever. They seem utterly clueless as to what makes a good fighting game. Hint to Namco: It isn’t the size of the movelist. Their high point was Soul Calibur 1 I reckon back on the DC, and even that wasn’t really that great. I got totally burnt with Soul Calibur 4 as well recently which was generally rubbish & showed Namco hadn’t improved anything but the graphics…
    That said, I am keeping an eye on Tekken 6 – it goes in with Mortal Kombat vs DC really (which I’ve still not got, but may well one day when if I saw it very cheap and I had some time to play it) – as I’m interested in anything that’s a fighting game at least. The fact it isn’t only on a stinking Sony system does deserve a lot of praise & support, and the new co-op and 1P stuff does look good! Here’s hoping Namco finally get something right…

    Continuing on the positive note!!.. King of Fighters 98 challenge! You’re on any time πŸ˜€ Asobi wa owari da! Anta ja moe ne na? .. GO TO HELL!!!
    (I learnt way too much Japanese from KOF too… :P)


  3. Yeah, as much fun as I’ve had with the tekken series, It’s virtually impossible to defend t as a serious fighting game.
    (especially with Steve in Tekken 5, He is just stupid if you know what you’re doing)

    KOF night? oh you’re so on. I’ll let you know when I’m free next.

    That reminds me, I noticed that in todays Microsoft UK mailout they had an august 29th release date for KOF12 πŸ˜€


  4. This does neatly tie in with this article though πŸ™‚ If there wasn’t anything else around other than Tekken 6, I’d probably be very excited at the prospect any kind of Vs Fighting, even Tekken!

    KOF98UM.. KAKATEKOI whenever you get the chance then πŸ™‚ Although maybe Kim will say “Akuwa yurasan!” to you… I doubt it though. πŸ˜‰ You do know Kim can see into your heart; using truth, justice & the Korean way, and know whether you’re truly evil or not?

    KOF12.. eep! Don’t get my hopes up like that! The trouble is the source. That XBL newsletter is written by none other than the thrice-damned “Aceybongos”, a total idiot by any other name. He’s said many LIES before in this newsletter, last pertaining to HD Remix which got me very upset as you can imagine. So until I see KOF12 UK release on pre-order from some more reputable outlet, I’ll keep doubting. Notably neither amazon or shopto have it listed.. and 28 Aug sounds suspiciously like a typo of the USA release date of 28 July.. hmm.. *sheds another tear for BlazBlue too*


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