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Things are looking up for KOF XIII

Even though SNK Playmore no-showed this year's E3 (which means that The King of Fighters XIII also no-showed this year's E3), judging from the videos that the company is putting onto its YouTube channel, things are looking up for the next game.

I'm not completely sold on the EX cancel system, which works for both "regular" special attacks and also for desperation moves. Some cancels seem a bit too abusive and much too damaging in the demonstration videos, and hopefully they'll be tweaked to at least have some kind of damage scaling on successive hits, but on the whole, what I've seen of the game so far (which is admittedly little outside of YouTube videos) looks a lot better than the unfinished mess KOF XII was. So I'm cautiously optimistic.

I'm also very impressed from what little I've seen of our old buddy Hwa Jai, who originally debuted as a computer opponent many years back and has never been a fully playable fighting game character until now. For those who say that he's clearly a ripoff of Super Street Fighter IV's Adon, I give you two counterpoints that aren't really counterpoints. One, actually, he's been a ripoff of Adon since 1991, when Hwa Jai first debuted in Fatal Fury for the Neo*Geo (while Adon debuted in 1987 in the first CPS1 arcade version of Street Fighter as a computer opponent). Two, another character like Adon? That's not a bad thing. That's a GOOD thing.

Matter of fact, Hwa Jai's default three-man team (the KOF series still groups characters into teams of three characters which you can mix and match...or not) consists of himself, Kim Kaphwan, and Raiden (also known as Big Bear). So this will probably be the first time I've played an unedited team on the regular in a KOF game in many, many years.

Again, don't let me down please, SNK Playmore. Thanks.

The King of Fighters XIII (13) emerges



Not exactly a lucky number, but anything's better than last year's KOF XII.

While XII was all about redrawing huge character sprites and backgrounds from scratch, it shipped as an unfinished game seriously lacking in features and online play.

I'm hoping XII was basically a modern-day KOF '96 that was rushed to market unfinished, but followed by KOF '97, which was an excellent game that actually implemented everything that didn't make it into the previous game.

Don't let me down again, SNK.