The King of Fighters: Destiny (CG Series) Episode 1 and 2 Review!

Posted in Action Adventure, Fighting Games, Game to Movies, Gaming, King of Fighters, My Stuff, TV on August 11th, 2017 by thelonegamer

The KOF Saga retold in slick CG!

A nice tie-in surely to the release of King of Fighters XIV on Steam is the new CG anime, The King of Fighters XIV: Destiny. The series will supposedly run for about 25 episodes, released first for free streaming on Steam and then apparently on SNK’s King of Fighters Youtube channel.

The story begins with a prologue talking about the Orochi, an ancient evil that was sealed away by three powerful clans (including Kyo’s Kusanagi clan). The story then picks up ten years prior, where ice cream vendor and father Jeff Bogard is killed by his rival Geese Howard for a mysterious scroll. His sons, Terry and Andy (who apparently looked like a very young Lee Chaolan back then) swear vengeance on their father’s murderer. Fast-forward to the present, where martial artist Kyo Kusanagi and his friends, Judo expert Goro Daimon and somewhat comical Benimaru Nikaido head off to join the upcoming King of Fighters Tournament, leaving behind Kyo’s father, Saisyu, in the lurch. Arriving in America, their paths soon cross with other KOF characters- Terry Bogard, Yuri and Ryo Sakazaki and Geese’s henchman, Billy Kane.

It seems that this series will mix in all the storylines of the various heroes- the team of Terry, Andy and Joe Higashi (which was already told in anime form years ago), the story of the King of Fighters Tournament and whatever shady dealings will be behind that, the Art of Fighting series and more. How they’ll handle all those heroes and villains should be interesting to see.

The CG animation of the show is pretty good, with fairly well-done fight scenes and generally slick-looking production values. The characters mostly look as they usually do in the games and artworks, which should please fans. So far the brisk pace, clean animations and a somewhat light-hearted tone make this a pleasant watch. Hey, it’s FREE so why not? I must admit, I may end up purchasing KOFXIV on Steam after a few more episodes.

The King of Fighters: Destiny is can be watched free on Steam or Youtube. Episodes feature Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.

Episode 2 is right here!

Gamespot Previews the Neo Geo X Gold

Posted in Arcade, Fan Service, Fatal Fury, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown on October 19th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Neo Geo X Gold… hopefully it won’t cost a fortune.

If you’re a fighting game fan, you surely know about SNK and their range of cool fighting games- Samurai Shodown, Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, King of Fighteres… Younger gamers might not remember the Neo Geo- aside from being the arcade unit system, it was actually sold and available as a home console… a VERY expensive console that few really got into.
Well, here’s a comeback of sorts for SNK and the Neo Geo library- the Neo Geo X Gold is a pretty hefty system that includes a docking station/console and a portable handheld/controller. Once again, this is more about nostalgia and authentic arcade look and feel than anything else- these games aren’t exactly cutting-edge.
Sadly I won’t be getting this. I’ve already got all the portable gaming goodness I need (more on that soon), and neither the Neo Geo X or even the PS Vita looks to be something I need to get through the day. Still, heck- you could spend 200 dollars on worse thing…

The Fighting Game Story Mode: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Action Adventure, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII, Mortal Kombat, My Stuff, PS2, PS3, PSOne, Retro-gaming, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur 5, Soulcalibur IV, Streetfighter, Streetfighter X Tekken, Tekken, Tekken 6, Tekken Blood Vengeance, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, Xbox360 on September 22nd, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Soul Edge’s PS Intro: Always start a story with a rousing opening!

Ah, the Fighting Game genre. It’s certainly my most favorite of all videogame categories- my most beloved guilty pleasure in gaming. I’ve been playing fighters since I got into this hobby, from Streetfighter II on the Super NES to today’s Tekken 6 and Mortal Kombat remake. Many get into these games for the simple pleasure of owning someone else- the unabashed satisfaction of proving your dominance in the most blatant and base way possible- by sheer physicality or superior skill. Really, in the end, fighting games do of course boil down to a simple equation most eloquently shouted out by bloodthirsty masses in Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome- Two men enter, one man leaves. Well, sometimes Two women, or two THINGS. You get the picture, right?

Anyway, I think it’s a mark of a fan of these games themselves and not the sheer act of fighting that despite it being sheer gravy, that I put great importance on an aspect of these games that most often is glossed over- The Story.

Fast Tube by Casper

The Fight- and The Story- is All.

Why is all this fighting going on, anyway? Who’s the ‘good’ guy? Who’s the ‘bad’ buy? What’s at stake? Should we care? In all seriousness, it does add to the enjoyment of a story that we know the backgrounds of each and every single character in a fighting game’s often voluminous roster of Playables, and to follow their blood-slogging climb to the top of the tournament ladder. Drama, comedy, horror, evil, good, jealousy, courage… all encapsulated in what basically is about two guys hitting each other until one goes down and stays down.
Hell, if man going mano-y-mano with one’s fellow man didn’t make for good drama, then Homer’s Iliad wouldn’t have been certified a classic since the freakin’ Ancient Greeks. But hey, wouldn’t the Iliad make for a damn awesome fighter?

Fast Tube by Casper

MK didn’t always have great production values for it’s cutscenes…

This is probably something that fighting games spearheaded apart from other games- no longer did players fight to reach the end just to see a high score- they wanted to see an ENDING- something that couldn’t be quantified into any single number- but the satisfaction of reuniting your electronic avatar with his family, missing sibling or long-sought-after prize of revenge. Or a meeting with his country’s premier!

Fast Tube by Casper

Congratulations, comrade!

Anyway, relating a Fighting Game story has been done in various ways since the beginning. For the most part, the easiest and most expected way is the simple End Cutscene. Streetfighter II did it back in the day, rewarding the player’s victory over M. Bison with a bunch of screens with minimal animation and text. So effective was this that every game afterwards seemed to follow that same template- the ending was the reward, the narrative carrot dangled before the combatant. From SNK’s many brawlers like King of Fighters to Samurai Shodown to the original Mortal Kombat to every 90′s wannabee Streetfighter, it was all there in varying degrees of campiness.

Fast Tube by Casper

Your usual, run-of-the-mill Story Mode ending.

Of course there are a few games that didn’t bother to tell their story- the most significant being Sega’s Virtua Fighter series. All semblance of narrative was placed firmly outside the games, in arcane literature or dictated by actual game tournaments. In many ways, I think, that’s why VF has never found a certain closeness to gamers, with the most hardcore fans of this particular brawler more invested in game mechanics, frame counts and simple gameplay.

Fast Tube by Casper

Virtua Fighter’s Intro hints at a deeper story behind the fighters.

A benefit or detriment? Well, let’s just say that the fan support for VF, while rabid, is perhaps the smallest of all the big fighting game franchises. That’s not to say that the Virtua Fighters don’t have a story- it’s there, certainly, but just not being told as much. Perhaps when we are given a trail to follow and care for, perhaps that’s when VF will bloom to the emotional masses.

Fast Tube by Casper

A Tekken CG Ending waaaay back in the PSOne days.

As game technology and CG animation got better, ending cinematics became slicker and more elaborate. Perhaps the series that most surely chronicles not only it’s characters’ personal sagas but also visualizes the gradual leap of graphical and animation quality is Namco-Bandai’s Tekken series- from the very basic and simple end cutscenes of the first Tekken on the original Playstation, the cinematic cutscenes have raised the bar with every installment afterwards.

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Despite being an unpopular chapter, Tekken 4 placed more emphasis on story than most other installments in the franchise.

The series has now the reputation for these eye-catching cinematics, with perhaps the culmination of that reputation being the somewhat controversial Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie- perhaps the most complex cutscene yet for a fighting game.

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Tekken 6 endings are gorgeously animated, but the stories told range from the cool to the downright silly.

Ironically, Tekken 6′s Scenario Campaign is actually a very different way of telling the game’s story, albeit the mode proved unpopular with some players. I actually found this a very engaging and enjoyable mode, though perhaps it could do with some improvements.

Fast Tube by Casper

Mortal Kombat’s Story Mode is Epic in so many ways.

But CG visual quality isn’t the end-all and be-all of Fighting Game storytelling- Mortal Kombat proved this with it’s 2011 remake’s quite revolutionary Story Mode. It may have been a bit of a gamble on paper- a long and involved story told in real-time, in-engine graphics, visualizing the whole MK saga from the beginning to the future and back to the present, running many, many hours long and throwing the player into the boots of various warriors. But ultimately, it WORKED. Gamers got into the story, they loved it and acclaim for this way of doing the till-then tired Story Mode was pretty much universal. The one best thing about MK’s Story Mode? It showed one thing that other games always get wrong- The Ending is NOT the Story.
Mortal Kombat showed us that it was all about seeing the fighters’ tales unfold, seeing plots twist and turn and end up in outcomes we didn’t see coming and snowball to something we fear/await/dread was entertaining and kept us going hour after hour, through every fight till the very end.

Of course, MK isn’t the only fighter to have a long and involved Story Mode- just the most visible and perhaps the one boasting the highest production values. Truth be told though, 2D fighter Blazblue has a very involved and complex Story Mode as well, though told mostly in text or voice-driven static cutscenes but boasting multiple endings and paths, sometimes dictated by your victories or defeats.

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Blazblue’s anime-style storytelling makes for many hours of battle, voice-acting and battling voice-acting.

Dead or Alive Dimensions on the 3DS was able to summarize it’s entire enigmatic decades-long saga with it’s rather long but entertaining main Story mode (. The upcoming King of Fighters XIII will also boast a Story mode bursting with replay value for multiple playthroughs when it arrives later this year on consoles.

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The Soul Calibur series often featured interactive endings, where a button press could change the outcome.

Going back a bit, Namco-Bandai’s almost ill-fated Soul Calibur series has had a past filled with exceptional story modes. The original Soul Blade on PSOne had interactive endings where you could change the outcome of your fighter’s fate with a fast button press. Soul Calibur III had a Tales of Souls mode which boasted multiple paths and alternate endings- it encouraged multiple playthroughs so you could see all the possible endings and cutscenes, or unlock a very challenging boss encounter.

Sadly, SoulCalibur IV dropped many things from the previous installments, many of them conceivably fan favorite aspects that were sorely missed. Gone were the multi-aspect Story Mode and explorative minigames, in their place a generic Story Mode with a repetitive and generic cutscene and rather enigmatic endings. The Tower of Lost Souls, a challenging ladder game, proved to be more frustrating to many players than anything else. Perhaps the result? SoulCalibur IV was almost the last game in this long-running series, apparently only saved from the brink of oblivion by fan requests and support.

And so, what have we learned from all this? One important thing.

The Best Story Modes should be about The Journey, NOT the Ending. It’s about a story that’s compelling throughout, not just a prize waiting after all that’s said and done.

But would other fighters learn from this example? Only future fighters will tell. Or, perhaps, the next wave of fighters will.

Fast Tube by Casper

Soul Calibur IV’s Endings looked great, but the overall storytelling left much to be desired.

Soul Calibur V, set for release in First Quarter 2012, looks to have a Story Mode that hopefully has been influenced by recent games. Though we’ve yet to get any solid information on the gameplay, we’ve seen screens showing a map screen, which should bode well for the chance that this won’t simply be a series of fights leading to one ending. At the very least, cutscenes and a pathways chosen by the player may be included, and hopefully challenges and encounters that add and encourage replay- something the series is not a stranger to, as we’ve seen.

With the future of this fan-supported fighter perhaps lying in SCV’s performance, I’m hoping they make the story something that really gets players involved and wanting more of this Tale of Souls and Swords for years to come.

Fast Tube by Casper

Soul Calibur V, set 17 years after the last game, looks to have a story more dramatic than ever before.

With the current resurgence of Fighting Games as a popular genre in gaming, there will surely be more emphasis on the Story Mode. Thanks to Mortal Kombat’s high-profile success, we may expect even more epic storytelling to come from beat ‘em ups in the years to come. Hopefully we’ll see the Fighting Game story evolve into something truly enjoyable and interactive for gamers, so that our favorite fighters continue on and have their Tales Eternally Retold.

King of Fighters hits the iPhone!

Posted in Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Gaming, iGaming, iPhone, King of Fighters, Mobile Games on July 6th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fluid animation, sexy action on iOS, SNK-style!

SNK Playmore’s team battler, King of Fighters, has just hit the Apple appstore, preceding the full-size console version by several months. The game features an initial lineup of 14 fighters (with apparently 6 more to be added in October). Included on the roster is Mai Shiranui, the bouncy ninja who missed the bus to KOFXII, and Billy Kane, who has recently been confirmed to be headed for the console versions of KOFXIII later this year.
Play modes include 3-on-3 Team Battle, 1-on-1 Single Battle, Endless Survival Mode and Training Mode. Wireless Play will be supported via Bluetooth. From the vid of the game, this new brawler looks pretty impressive, sporting the same fluid animation as on the arcade and console versions. It’s a proper 2D fighter that should look all the more impressive on HD retina screens. Check it out for yourself at Adriasang.

KOF iOS should be out in most appstores now- I’ll be sure to grab it tonight (even if it IS a pricey $7.99). A review should come soon afterwards once I bust a few heads.

SNK Dilemma Panics Fighting Game Fans

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII on January 22nd, 2011 by thelonegamer

Here’s to more Mai and Bouncy Beat ‘Em Ups for Years to Come.

This past week, some events occuring within Japanese gaming company SNK-Playmore got gamers up in a tizzy. When it came to light that the producer of the King of Fighters series had left the company some time ago and that the new President had ideas of dissolving their videogame division and just concentrating on Pachinko and figurines, gamers were certainly up in arms. SNK wasn’t just some game company. It was one of the icons of the fighting genre as well as other great gaming titles. Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown… and the whole Neo Geo vintage collection… would they all just go to the bargain bin?

Granted, SNK has never been the same since their first fall from the heights that led to the creation of the current SNK-Playmore. In their glory days, they had their own (albeit overpriced) console, tons of arcade hits and fans in their legions. These days, titles are fewer, and good ones rare. The last Samurai Shodown was a disgrace, and KOFXII was regarded by many as incomplete. KOFXIII looks to correct that, but with the troubles at the company, would it even reach gamers outside the arcade? Petitions were started, and some even tried to approach other fighting game gurus (such as Capcom’s Ono) to perhaps step in and get SNK titles if the worst happened.

In the end, SNK apparently answered the issue with a message that indeed, they will continue to create games for years to come. So worry not, Mai Shiranui fans, there will be more bouncy brawling coming. I myself can’t picture the fighting game genre without SNK’s titles in there, so this is really a relief. So perhaps now I’ll give KOFXIII the time of day.

Nah, I’ll just wait for the next batch of SNK fighters instead.

About That King of Fighters Movie…

Posted in Fighting Games, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters on September 15th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Legend of Chun-li, Dragonball Evolution… and now…. THIS!

I’ve seen BAD game-to-movie adaptations. Heck, I make it a point to see these things. I slogged through crap like Mortal Kombat Annihilation, Legend of Chun-li and Dragonball Evolution. But even those junkers had something in common- if you squinted, they actually had traces or smidgens of the source material in them. NOT SO with the wondrously horrific travesty known as The King of Fighters live-action movie.

The characters look, act and feel nothing like their in-game counterparts, sharing only the tiniest of details (as in, WOW! Rugal has one red eye!!! Just like in the games!!!) that only perhaps hardcore fans would get. Terry Bogard is switched from a streetfighter to a CIA agent (and a middle-aged looking CIA agent at that) who only wears his trademark cap for a moment towards the end… and no, there are no Power Geysers or Rising Tackles to be seen anywhere. That’s just the start. The movie features everything from bad, bad, BAD acting, a laughably confused and moronic script, silly special effects, awkward fight scenes and even more bad acting. MAN what was Ray Park thinking?

Anyway, if you’re feeling a bit masochistic, check out the vid above from Youtube’s The Switcher for the best way to see this piece of crap- trimmed down to 10 minutes and edited to highlight just how hilariously stupid it is. Or just do something more productive and slightly less painful- like getting a root canal. Moving on…

35 Minutes of King of Fighters XIII?!

Posted in Arcade, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII, PS3, Xbox360 on June 2nd, 2010 by thelonegamer

Let the vid load first, then go grab some chips and soda. It’s a long one.

Now playing on ebtvjp’s Youtube Channel is the King of Fighters XIII Player’s Guide- a more than half-hour long vid with tons of gameplay footage from SNK-Playmore’s upcoming 2D fighting sequel. Thankfully unlike many such vids, the vid is mostly all gameplay, with no annoying commentary or dialogue to grate on the ears… just lots of KOF fighting, looks at the new characters and stages, and that’s it. You’d be hard-pressed to find any other vid with this much goods on KOFXIII than this special gameplay feature, so check it out.

King of Fighters XIII New Promo Trailer

Posted in Arcade, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII, PS3, Xbox360 on May 31st, 2010 by thelonegamer

The plot thickens!

SNK-Playmore just released a new spot for their upcoming fighter sequel, King of Fighters XIII. Some story scenes, lots of fighter artworks flashing around, and the promise of anti-hero Ash Crimson’s just desserts being thrown about.
With quite a few new additions, including a truckload of newcomers, such as the original KOF female team of Mai Shiranui, King and Yuri Sakazaki, as well as the K’ Team with, well, K’, Maxima and Kula Diamond. Vice returns as well to rejoin her teammate Mature.
Also new are some really flashy-looking Neo Max super attacks, which seem to fill the whole screen with impressive pyrotechnics. A Color Edit feature and Story cutscenes rounds out the game.

KOFXIII seems to be the game that the previous placeholder XII should have been. This looks like something for 2D fighting fans to look forward to. More as we get it.

Check out the King of Fighters XIII Arcade Intro!

Posted in Arcade, Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII on April 8th, 2010 by thelonegamer

The End of the Ash Crimson?

Here’s the exciting, if extremely brief- intro attract cinematic from the upcoming arcade brawler King of Fighters XIII. While the previous KOF was a bare-bones kit, this seems to be very much plot-heavy, with the finale of the current Ash Crimson saga in its sights. So far the double-dealing androgynous anti-hero has had his way… but that may change. So what does the intro show? A lot of so far unknown characters who probably won’t actually appear in-game, although the end boss is probably one of those sinister robed dudes. The intro probably also shows off some characters who’ll be playable in the game’s final roster. This is expected out in Japanese arcades later this year, with a console release being a no-brainer. More as we get it.

King of Fighters XIII Artworks, Screenshots

Posted in Arcade, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII on March 26th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Adriasang has just posted a pretty hefty gallery of King of Fighters XIII screens and character art. As reported earlier, newly-debuted in KOFXIII are the classic girls’ team of Mai Shiranui, King and Yuri Sakazaki. So far it seems that everyone from the previous chapter has returned and raring for more fighting.

According to news, this latest upcoming chapter in SNK-Playmore’s premiere beat ‘em up will be making up for the lack of narrative in the previous game. KOFXIII will bring to an end the Ash Crimson story arc, so fans of the effeminate double-dealing charge fighter get ready for some comeuppance or big reveals. Anyway, check out the big bunch of lovely artworks and screens here.