SAN JOSE, Calif.--At a hotel a few blocks away from GDC, SNK showed off a small sampling of its upcoming wares. One of the titles on display was The King of Fighters NeoWave, a conversion of its Atomiswave arcade game of the same name. The game is another entry in SNK's long-running fighting series and features a hefty cast of more than 40 characters. We had a chance to try a work-in-progress version, which let us get a feel for how the conversion is looking.
If you've played the arcade game, or any of the King of Fighters games really, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from KOF NeoWave. It's a proper old-school SNK fighting game that lets you pick a team of three fighters to take on all comers, and it features a nod to the groove system introduced in the Capcom vs. SNK titles that came out. There are three fighting styles to choose from--supercancel, guard break, and max 2--each with its own unique attributes, such as your ability to perform superattacks and blocks.
As far as modes go, the game features a somewhat bare-bones offering that includes single-player and versus options that are spiced up considerably, thanks to the inclusion of Xbox Live multiplayer support. When you can't get friends over to physically play, you can simply kick their butts over the Internet and then marvel at your prowess via an online leaderboard.
Overall, the presentation is looking good. The visuals are sharp, offering 480p support and featuring the pleasing mix of 2D and 3D elements in much the same way as the Capcom vs. SNK games did. You'll take control of detailed sprites, which maintain that unique SNK look, and you'll duke it out against some plush 3D backgrounds. Little touches, such as the way the backgrounds switch time of day in between matches, are nice elements that give the action some polish.
Based on what we've seen, The King of Fighters NeoWave is looking like a solid arcade conversion. Fighting fans should be pleased by its visuals and control, as well as its Xbox Live support. The King of Fighters NeoWave is currently slated to ship next month for the Xbox.