Art of Fighting 3: The Path of The Warrior


 
STORY:  In Art of Fighting 3, the storyline changed focus from the Sakazaki family to Robert Garcia. Robert disappears to search for an old childhood friend, Freia Lawrence, and he tracks her to Glass Hill, Mexico. The game's boss, Wyler, seeks Freia to complete a powerful elixir, which was created by both his and Freia's fathers. This drug affects users in a similar manner as the potion in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
 

Heeey, where's the rest of the gang? :(

 
REVIEW:  The third and final installment to the Art of Fighting series introduced an entirely new cast of characters. The only returning characters are the 2 main protagonists of the series, Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia. AOF3 highlights all of the elements that defined the Art of Fighting series in the early 90's. One again, the series is given a graphical overhaul, with brand new character sprites, backgrounds, and effects. Upon arrival, AOF3's character sprites were among the largest and most impressive 2D video game sprites to date, showing off uncommonly fluid animation for such large characters.

Following in tradition with the prequels, AOF3's visuals really "make a statement" when compared to many other 2D fighting games. The elaborately designed, hand drawn backgrounds are moody and mesh nicely with the large characters. The background scrolling effect used in the first two games also makes its return and is notably smoother as well. In addition to featuring the largest character sprites, AOF3 also presented some of the smoothest animation ever seen in a 2D fighting game to date.
 

Kasumi represents that Todou-style!

 
Art of Fighting 3's
gameplay was also taken to the next level, featuring a brand new combo system and some new mechanics. Like in the prequels, the Spirit Bar limits the use of special moves, as each special will decrease the meter. As each character's "spirit energy" drains, their special moves gradually appear weaker and take off less damage. Spirit energy can be recharged by holding down specific buttons, but recharging leaves players open for attacks.

An Ultimate Knock Out is now possible, occurring when players finish their opponent when 10% or less of their life remains. This allows them to perform a Desperation Move, which results in an Ultimate KO that immediately leads to winning the whole match, not just the single round. AOF3's new combo system is probably the best the series has seen to date, and speeds up the gameplay quite a bit. Overall, AOF3's gameplay is probably the deepest and best of the series.
 

"Gimme your lunch money... tubby."

 
Although most of the moves and animations look excellent, some of the "collision detection" actually doesn't make much sense. For example, Robert's spinning backfist "launches" the opponent straight up into the air. That's a technique that should simply knock down or stagger your opponent, not send them flying 10 feet into the air.  Otherwise, the fluid movements of the characters and the variety of moves they can perform is impressive.

In my opinion, AOF3's "new generation" roster is slightly disappointing, since many fan favorites are missing in this installment. Furthermore, the newcomers don't quite manage to "take the place" of some of the classics. As a whole, AOF3's roster doesn't have the excitement or lasting appeal that the original cast did. Seriously, that character selection screen in particular has a particularly "lonely" vibe about it.   Kinda depressing, actually. This is probably the biggest downside of AOF3... but if you can get past some of the generic designs, their fighting styles and animations aren't terrible.
 

 

Page Updated: September 4th, 2013
Developer(s) SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Platform(s): Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, PS2
Release Date(s): Mar. 12th, 1996  (Arcade, Neo Geo)
May 11th, 2006 
( PS2 - in Art of Fighting: Anthology)
May 15th, 2007 
( PS2 - in Art of Fighting: Anthology)
Characters Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Rody, Kasumi Todo, Wang, Lenny Creston, Karman Cole, Jin Fuha, Sinclair, Wyler

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Art of Fighting, Art of Fighting 2 , King of Fighters '96, Samurai Shodown 4, Kizuna Encounter, World Heroes Perfect, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Street Fighter EX, Street Fighter Alpha 2, X-Men VS Street Fighter
  

Gameplay Engine  7.0 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.5 / 10
Animation  9.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  8.5 / 10
Innovation  7.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.0 / 10
Customization  4.0 / 10
Options / Extras  5.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  8.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  5.5 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

7.8 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version

 

Final Words: More heart seems to have went into AOF3's quality animation & graphics, rather than character designs this time around. Personally, I'd rather go back to AOF or AOF2 for the character roster(s) and nostalgia alone. AOF3's roster really doesn't define what the series is all about, and feels pretty barren at times. 

AOF's trademark "sluggish" feeling of the gameplay is still evident in AOF3, but there are some cool aspects to enjoy. While not the all-around best of the series, AOF3 definitely isn't a game you should miss. In 1996, it really was a "groundbreaking" 2D fighting game, visually at least.

No doubt, Art of Fighting was a respectable fighting game series by SNK, and it went out with a bang. The Art of Fighting series might be dead, but thankfully, many of the classic characters have crossed over to many other fighting games over the years. 
~TFG Webmaster
 


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