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The golden age of 2D fighting games may be a memory in the annals of videogame history, but thanks to the efforts of companies like Capcom, Sammy, and the venerable SNK, the fire still burns. This two-disc compilation rekindles the flame of mid-90's arcade fighting game era and offers up two heaping servings of nostalgia at a very reasonable price. Fans of the genre, KoF, or SNK should feel very lucky right about now.
Regardless of its presentation, The King of Fighters 2000/2001 contains two solid ports of two great 2D fighting games, and the two-disc compilation retails at a very reasonable suggested price of $40. This is definitely a step in the right direction for a company that had previously released most of its games on prohibitively expensive arcade hardware--hardware so expensive that some "fans" feel justified in illegally pirating NeoGeo games rather than purchasing the actual games as they were meant to be played.
King of Fighters 2000 and 2001 are both pretty good games. They are fun, interesting, huge, and have considerable depth within the gameplay. But I find reality frustrating enough to not want to pick up a game that threatens to compound that frustration further. Video games should be fun, even if they are very difficult.
For the $40 price tag, King of Fighters 2000/2001 is still a pretty good bargain for aficionados and fans of the franchise. Though neither one of them are strong as the '94 through '97 installments, they're still very good when compared to more recent combat titles like Budokai 2 and Bloody Roar 4. Even if their graphical qualities and production values do leave a lot to be desired.
Overall, despite the limitations of the older port titles, the package is a good value for any 2D fighting fan. Finally having one of the better fighting series available on a newer console, as well as getting two games for the suggested retail price of $40 makes this game a great release for the company that won’t die. While not a mind blowing title, the decent gameplay means that we can probably look forward to future titles from SNK, maybe a update on one of its other series, a new Samurai Showdown or a Fatal Fury (we are already getting a newer Metal Slug).
KOF 2000's 35-fighter lineup is slightly outnumbered by 2001's 40-fighter roster, but several characters share all-too-familiar move sets. By today's standards, these games probably won't mean much to gamers who grew up on the combo flow-charts of Tekken and Soul Calibur, but these King games are nevertheless very playable thanks to responsive controls and intuitive easy-to-execute moves. If you're a diehard fanatic of 2D fighting games, take the Fun Factor up a notch.
First the negatives: This is not as good as Guilty Gear X2 and maybe Capcom vs. SNK 2, and is so complex and steeped in tradition that it's not the best introductory package for someone wholly unfamiliar with The King of Fighters. That said, The King of Fighters 2000/2001 is a solid package for anyone who's familiar with the genre and is looking for some more decent 2D fighting on the cheap. Until I go nuts and buy all the expensive Neo-Geo carts, The King of Fighters 2000/2001 will do just fine.