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Art of Fighting 2
  
     
  
STORY:  "Mr. Karate, the undefeated martial artist, was revealed as Ryo's missing father, Takuma Sakazaki. 10 years ago, he knew that Ronnet's death was intentionally planned by someone. Fearing that the rest of his family would be targeted if he stayed, he disappeared. However, 10 years after Ronnet's accident, he learned that an organization had targeted his daughter Yuri. Learning that Mr. Big was behind this, Takuma was forced to work with him. However, Mr. Big's ambitions were foiled by Ryo, Robert, and King's revolution, the latter being one of his former subordinates. Yuri and Takuma safely returned home.
 
A year after Yuri's kidnapping, while Ryo was training in the mountains, he received a letter. The letter was an invitation for a new tournament in Southtown. Fighters from every corner of the town were gathering there. It was a test to decide who was the "strongest"... a tournament for the chosen and for the real fighters. The strongest of the strong, each aspect applies to the dragon and the tiger. Southtown would be split in twain by their instincts.
 
However, this event was only the beginning for a certain man filled with ambition. "King of Fighters"... the birth of a man's legend and the prologue for an even greater story." Art of Fighting 2's story is set a year after the original. Geese Howard, a rising star in Southtown's criminal underworld, calls fighters to the city for a new tournament, "The King of Fighters".
 

Finally, tackle story mode with ALL characters!

 
REVIEW:  By 1994, SNK was gaining popularity in the arcade business. They were also trying its best to keep up with Capcom's ever evolving Street Fighter 2 series, now with Champion Edition, Turbo, and Super editions dominating the arcades. Interestingly enough, SNK elected not to join the trend and simply "rehash" the original Art of Fighting recipe.

Instead, SNK actually created a true Art of Fighting sequel from the ground up, presenting all new backgrounds, redrawn character sprites, brand all new stages... pretty much the opposite of what Capcom was doing. It was a bold move to start practically from scratch, and hardcore fans definitely appreciated the effort. AOF2 introduced the "Rage Gauge" which works similarly to the Spirit Gauge of the original game. 

 

Don't mess up the car!  (That's a different game.)

 
As a fan of the first Art of Fighting, I was pleased with most of AOF2's gameplay updates and the game's new features. Thankfully, this time, all characters are selectable in the regular Arcade / Story Mode. Furthermore, each character now has their own unique storyline and specific interactions with other characters. Having such unique character-specific dialogue in a fighting game was definitely innovative for 1994, and in most cases, enabled some of the characters to become more fleshed out. On the other hand, there were some laughably bad translations, as well.

All of the fighters from the first AOF made their return with the exception of Todo. New characters Eiji & Temjin attempt to balance out the roster, and for the most part they succeed at doing so. Takuma is also playable for the first time (which was pretty epic if you were familiar with the storyline of the first game). Worth mentioning, the computer AI of AOF2 is actually very difficult. While the game now caters to 2-player battles, enjoying the single player story mode can actually be frustrating sometimes. 
 

Brother VS sister.

 
While most returning characters are easily recognizable, many of them have acquired brand new appearances in AOF2. For example, Mickey & John got haircuts, and Lee Pai Long now fights in a pretty generic Kung-Fu robe (and looks fat). These design updates worked in a few cases, but unfortunately not in others. If you ask me, a few returning characters in AOF2 don't quite look as "cool" as they did in the original game. I get the same feeling when it comes to stage designs and BGMs (besides Yuri's awesome theme). In some ways, the "heart" of the original AOF isn't quite there... or it at least, the mood and feel of the game changed more than I expected it too. In any case, the new hand-drawn backgrounds are pretty solid for the time, graphically (check them out below).
   

  
                        
   

Page Updated: July 26th, 2014
Developer(s) SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Artwork By: Shinkiro     (poster art)
Eiji Shiroi 
  (character art)
Platform(s): Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, SNES, Wii Virtual Console, PS2
Release Date(s): Feb. 2nd, 1994     (/ Arcade)
May 11th, 2006
     ( PS2 - in Art of Fighting: Anthology)
May 15th, 2007
    ( PS2 - in Art of Fighting: Anthology)
July 28th, 2008
       (Wii Virtual Console)
Characters Ryo, Robert, Jack, Lee, King, Mickey, John, Mr. Big, Takuma, Yuri, Temjin, Eiji, Geese

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Art of Fighting, Art of Fighting 3, King of Fighters '94, Fatal Fury Special, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Street Fighter 2
  

Gameplay Engine  7.0 / 10
Story / Theme  8.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.0 / 10
Animation  6.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  8.0 / 10
Innovation  8.5 / 10
Art Direction  7.5 / 10
Customization  5.0 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  5.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  7.0 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

7.3 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version

 

Final Words: AOF2 presented some of the same unique elements found in the first game, but still didn't quite match up to Capcom's SF2 series in terms of gameplay, character roster, and popularity. Sad to say, even though AOF2 offered more actual "new" content than the newer iterations of Street Fighter 2, SF2 still dominated in the gameplay and "fun" department, and was far more successful.

The widespread hit that was Super Street Fighter 2 came out in the same year as AOF2, so one could say that a lot of AOF2's potential was snuffed out by the latest incarnation of SF2... especially if your arcade had that "tournament style" 4-8 cabinets next to each other. (Quite an impressive sight, back then).

Furthermore, I'm sure most arcade managers would've rather spent their cash on an "instant moneymaker" like SSF2 over the lesser known AOF2 any day... so seeing AOF2 in arcades was actually kinda rare. In the end, I definitely give respect to SNK for sticking to their guns, and offering a lot of "new" content with their sequel to AOF
~TFG Webmaster
 


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