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The King of Fighters 2003
  PS2FightingJPN  
  opened by paleface at 02:08:32 04/12/17  
  last modified by paleface at 22:02:44 04/12/17  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Fighting; loc=JPN]
           
Having come back to this (and older KOF games in general) after a good long time away, I have some thoughts to add to my comments on the North American version (see entry 762).
 
The difficulty level is easier than in most of the low-res KOFs--except for 2001, that one is silly easy. But difficulty 4, which would clean my clock after a few fights in KOF 98, say, here is way too easy most of the time...
 
Until you run into that stupid hard Kusanagi mid-boss in Arcade and Team (like Arcade, only with no mid-round character switching), and maybe Single Play (I didn't get that far in single play, um well it was hard somehow : p) modes--suddenly the AI can just counter everything you even think about doing (darn that flaming uppercut), starts juggling you around like a bean bag, etc. Huh.
 
So the screwed up difficulty curve makes those maisn modes kind of not fun for me. Then there's not one, but two, Survival modes--Team (but with switching) and Single--and that would be great, only their difficulty curve is even worse, kinda: the fights are just foolishly easy for a long time, and then suddenly you get to a boss rush section and uh yeah well that bosses aren't so easy. Who wants to fight bosses in Survival mode? At least, before you've already beaten all the regular characters? Not me. : P
 
Fortunately, the Practice mode in 2003 finally gets the important stuff right: you can set it so that it basically plays Endless random team battles vs the CPU, switching the characters of the losing team (you can have it switch both teams if you want, and there are other options too), and even switching to a new stage each time. So that's pretty much endless fun, so who needs any other modes anyway.
 
Two slight complaints there, though. First, unlike in other modes, you can't restrict Practice mode's random stage selectgion to just the 2D versions of the stages, so it will mix in the 3D ones as well. They aren't horrible, at least, and they don't make the whole screen feel weird and different as in, say, KOF98UM, so it isn't that bad, but if I had my druthers I'd just leave them out entirely.
 
Second--and this applies to the whole game except for Team mode--I really don't like the character switching. It's a rip-off of Capcom's Marvel vs. Capcom series, except pointlessly, since switching a character out doesn't allow them to heal while they're sitting on the sidelines. Yeah, in theory you might want to use switching to protect your first character, since they're the "leader" who gets an extra, two-gauge-consuming super duper move, but...those don't really seem all that hot to my limited comprehension. And yeah, maybe it would come in handy to switch to preferable character match-ups, but since the opponent can just switch out as well, then, uh, that advantage may not last so long. And finally yes you can spend a super stock to switch out and in with a combo move...but learning complicated combos is not my thing, so that's a bit lost on me.
 
So anyway I'll just play endless vs CPU in Practice mode and ignore the character switching, and that's pretty good fun. The game plays really fast--maybe a bit too fast for my wrist to be completely happy about it, but maybe I'll just get better and learn to cope...or something. : P
 
  paleface 22:02:44 04/12/17 [relations updated]
           
Forgot to mention, the reason I wasn't fond of Single Play mode was that while you only have one character, you still have three-characters-worth of health bars--all for that one character, to be ticked away bit by bit in a very long single-round match that just feels way too much like work. : P
 
The reason Practice Mode is so playable is that, while, like pretty near all SNK fighting game practice modes, you only get to play a single round per "match," matches in 2003 only last one round anyway, so you do get a full three-on-three character match. (Another SNK fighter that works this way--and which I also enjoy most in Practice Mode--is NeoGeo Battle Coliseum: see entry 1001.)
    
references:
· The King of Fighters 02/03 (PS2)
· Neo*Geo Battle Coliseum (PS2)

 
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