Title : Art of Fighting
Publisher : Takara
Genre : Fighting
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1993
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10-$12
Fighting games never really did it for me when I was younger. When I first started playing the NES, they were all pretty much garbage, and I just ended up frustrated as hell. The games, for me anyway, we're impossible unless you set the difficulty at the lowest setting. Maybe I just sucked, which is highly likely because I never was any good at those games. I was the kid that mashed buttons. I admit it, because it was the only way I could win.
Then came along Fatal Fury and the Art of Fighting at the arcades. Which kicked my arse EVEN MORE. Ha, I bet you thought I was going to say i actually did well at this game. Well, ironically enough I played better at this game than I did any other fighting game. Due to the extreme difficulty of this game, you actually felt accomplished when you beat the crap out of an enemy.
Like most fighting games, you are presented with a pretty generic story that is used to fluff up the fact that you're just jumping from match to match to test out your martial arts skills. In this case, you play as Ryo who needs to rescue his sister from Mr. Big in some plot to manipulate them into using their Extreme Style of martial arts for his own purposes. At least, i thin that's what it's about. I'll be honest, I tend to skip past the cut scenes in fighting games.
You can choose from either Ryo Sakazaki or Robert Garcia in the single player mode, but if you choose the two-player mode, you'll have the option to pick from any of the eight characters you face throughout the game. Except for the bosses, you have to use the glorious cheat codes for that.
The matches are what you would expect from a fighting game. It's best two-out-of-three. The characters you play as also have their unique fighting styles and abilities, which really lends to the customization on how you want to play in the two-player versus mode (which is where all the fun is at). As usual, you have a basic punch and kick attack, and a move that allows you to throw your opponent. But that's not all folks.
You've got a button where each character has it's own individual taunt to antagonize your opponent. It's not as fun to use in the 1 player story mode, but it's insanely irritating to use against your friends. Just spam the taunt button and drive you friends crazy. That's what I do. It's also effective in draining the spirit gauge of an opponent, which brings me to my next point.
Below your health meter, is that very spirit gauge I spoke of, which when filled allows you to perform special moves. Basically these moves are capable of dealing massive amounts of damage to your opponent, so the best bet is to let it fill up so you have the maximum amount of damage dealing potential.
After beating each opponent, you'll have the opportunity to try your luck in one of three bonus stages. A bottle cut, where you'll need to swipe your massive fists of fury through a number of glass bottles. An Ice pillar smash where you need to break through a number of blocks. And finally a super death blow initiation stage where you'll eventually learn how to use this during battles if you complete it.
The point of the bonus stage is really just to increase your spirit gauge and learn the "death blow" so you can use it during the rest of the game. They're all pretty easy to accomplish, and it's all about timing.
Let's go back to the difficulty level of this game. Now, in terms of how hard it is, the AI is going to be kicking your arse. A lot. Luckily, it's not as difficult as it was in the arcade, which I find to be the case with most ports. After all, arcades want your money. The real difficulty with this game is the ability to pull off special moves.
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time, keep on gaming!