|Ryuuko no Ken is known around these parts as "Art of Fighting," one of SNK's older and weirder fighting game series. This collection includes straight-up ports of all three games in the series. As in the rest of the NeoGeo Online Collection volumes that I've seen so far, the ports include arranged soundtracks, button remapping, and sprite color editing all in the sorta fancy front-end, but no progressive scan support, which is a shame.|
Once you pick a game from the front end, you shoot straight into the ROM. These three games had English language options, which is keen for getting the humor out of all those great old SNKgrish win quotes.
The AoF series started off kinda rough, with only eight fighters in the first game, only two of which were selectable in single-player. A lot of these losers didn't last long in SNK's character galaxy--chumps like the fat thug "Jack," for instance. Moves are pretty basic, with specials doing way too much damage.
The second game plays much like the first, if I remember correctly, with perhaps a bit more polish in the moves. There are more characters, many of whom were again one-hit wonders, but this time the sprites have been super-sized. They're really big! El giganto!
The third game was a distinct departure. SNK hyped how they rotoscoped the character animation for super smooth and realistic-looking action. And it does look pretty good in motion for the most part, although the downside of rotoscoping is always that the motion is realistic, yes, but also mundane, and even stodgey--although stodgey control is in keeping with the two previous games, so hah! They got pretty loopy with some of the characters, too (and there still aren't that many of them).
I can't claim to be a fan of the AoF series, but it's nice to have good ports of them in a handy collection like this, if only to go back and chuckle at the wacky characters and their one-liners.