It's mostly suited for card-carrying King of Fighters fans, though the addition of solid online play makes the Xbox version of the game considerably more appealing than the PS2 original.
- Fast, combo-heavy gameplay
- Features a good number of classic SNK characters
- Solid online play exclusively on the Xbox.
- Characters lost some personality in translation to 3D
- Balance is pretty suspect.
SNK's venerable King of Fighters fighting game series started more than 10 years ago, and it has seen a new installment each subsequent year ever since it started. Given KOF's obvious staying power, and given that SNK's NeoGeo hardware--home to King of Fighters for all these years--is ancient (yet timeless, like any classic console), it's not surprising that the company would make an effort to update the series to become, well...more like other modern fighting games. KOF: Maximum Impact is the first fully 3D game in the series, which might have seemed like a fundamentally exciting transition at some point long ago, but today this doesn't seem all that remarkable. Luckily, KOF: Maximum Impact plays pretty well, and it features many recognizable characters from the series along with pretty much all their signature moves. The result is mostly suited for card-carrying King of Fighters fans, though the addition of a solid online play component makes the Xbox version of the game considerably more appealing than its PS2 predecessor.
Ask any fan of SNK's fighting games what they like so much about those games, and one of the most common answers you'll get would be that those games have a tremendous amount of personality. Despite the limitations of the NeoGeo hardware, SNK's artists and animators managed to create some interesting and memorable characters for its fighting games, which is partly what kept so many players coming back year after year. Many SNK fans rued the company's early attempts to transition from 2D to 3D, because so much of the nuance and detail in the character designs got lost in translation--as did, more importantly, a lot of the depth and complexity of the action. Years have passed and 3D technology has gotten a lot better. The potential exists, perhaps, for a 3D game to capture both the personality as well as the precision of a 2D fighting game. Unfortunately, KOF: Maximum Impact is not such a game.
SNK fans will recognize the characters, moves, and animations here as being clearly suggestive of the series' 2D roots, but it's just not done with the same pixel-perfect flair. The graphical details between all the different characters are missing, so you'll recognize them because of their clothes and special moves, not because of their faces. Actually, probably the best thing about KOF: Maximum Impact--and to the game's credit, this is facilitated by the transition to 3D--is that all of the characters feature alternate outfits, which, in some cases, are pretty wild. After all these years, SNK fans will appreciate seeing characters like Iori Yagami or Mai Shiranui in something other than their signature attire. Furthermore, with the exception of some occasional fits of slowdown during flashier super moves, KOF: Maximum Impact runs nice and fast. Ultimately, the 3D graphics on display--which are mostly just for show, since KOF: Maximum Impact basically plays like a 2D fighting game--definitely aren't bad, and they look a little cleaner than they did on the PS2. The characters look awkward when they're standing still and while emulating the fighting stances of their 2D counterparts. However, the characters do look better in motion, and they look quite good in the disappointingly rare event that you get to see them up close.
It's been more than six months since KOF: Maximum Impact landed on the PS2, but the extra time evidently gave the developers some room to make key adjustments and additions to the Xbox version of the game. Apart from the inclusion of online play, the most notable change from the PS2 version is the addition of a Japanese language option. By default, you'll still hear all the characters speaking in English, but you can go into the options menu and make them speak Japanese just like they always have. The English-speaking soundalikes for some of SNK's classic characters aren't that bad, but still, these characters' original voices have been as distinctive as their moves and appearances. The rest of Maximum Impact's audio is forgettable, mostly consisting of bland guitar rock (representing a missed opportunity to bring back some memorable King of Fighters character themes) and serviceable sound effects.
- Player Reviews: 1
- Game Universe:
- The King of Fighters '99 (PS, NEO, ARC, NGCD),
- The King of Fighters 2001 (NEO, ARC, DC, PS2, PC),
- The King of Fighters 2002 (ARC, NEO, DC, PS2, XBOX),
- King of Fighters: Maximum Impact (PS2, PSP),
- The King of Fighters 02/03 (PS2, XBOX),
- The King of Fighters NeoWave (ARC, PS2, XBOX),
- The King of Fighters '94 (ARC, NEO, NGCD),
- The King of Fighters '95 (PS, GB, ARC, NEO, SAT, NGCD),
- The King of Fighters '96 (PS, ARC, NEO, GB, SAT, NGCD),
- The King of Fighters '97 (NEO, PS, SAT, ARC, NGCD)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
2 Players Online