First Exams
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KOF XII Spotting!

Recently while scoping out the local establishments in Chinatown (NYC), I ventured into the historic Chinatown Fair arcade to see what new cabinets were on the menu. Much to my satisfaction, there was a lonely King of Fighters XII cabinet sitting idle while the regulars pounded away at each other on the adjacent BlazBlue and Street Fighter 4 machines. I can’t tell you why no one was occupying the new entry in SNK’s long running brawler, but I was happy. It gave me the oppertunity to spend some brief face time with the new title, without being forced to faceoff against any real competition.

I played mostly as Terry and Joe, and mixed up my third pick to experiment a little.  The game only sports a roster of 20 characters (22 in the console version), which is a bit of a disappointment, but I suppose this is the price we pay for new sprites. The general gameplay was snappy and responsive. Unfortunately I was pretty unaware of stuff like the new critical counter system at the time, and since the poster explaining the gameplay above the cabinet was in Japanese, none of that was immediate apparent.

I didn’t spend much time with the game, due to the inflated prices on these newfangled HD cabinets, but I did put a few bucks in to the machine in an attempt to familiarize myself with what’s new. It doesn’t really help much that I haven’t really given the franchise much attention in the last few years, but I was generally pleased with the experience.  The sprites and backgrounds are lush and detailed–although the pixel stepping is unfortunately apparent when the game zooms in on the action. Despite that singular flaw, the game is still quite beautiful, even next to the sharper BlazBlue.

It’s hard to form really deep impressions of a game with such brief exposure to it, but I can tell you that I am looking forward to the home release next month. With BlazBlue now shipping for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3, and a new King of Fighters right around the corner, it’s a good time to be a fan of 2D fighters.

If you’re in Manhattan and you have the oppertunity, head down to Chinatown Fair and check out their new wares. There’s a stand up DJ Max Technica just begging to be played too!

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