When it comes to fighting games, SNK Playmore has made some of the most popular and well-known franchises. From games like King of Fighters and Fatal Fury, many of the most well-known series, characters, moves, and even game mechanics in the fighting game genre have come from SNK games.
And even though the King of Fighters and Fatal Fury series are two of the company’s most popular, there are still some fighting games that fans and people who like fighting games think are their best. For fans of fighting games, which SNK fighting games do you think are the best?
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, Dreamcast
Since Street Fighter 2 is so popular, it makes sense for other fighting game developers to try to catch up with their own versions. One of these games was Breakers, which came out in 1996. It has some similarities to Fatal Fury at the time, but there are still clear differences. For example, back steps and dashes are different for each character, moving while standing after a fall is possible, and a power gauge can be filled with special actions.
Even the story seems to be based on Street Fighter 2. This time, Sho Kamui takes part in a Fighting Instinct Tournament, or FIST, to get stronger. He meets both friends and foes, as well as Lee Dao-Long, who is his rival. Even though it has some elements from Street Fighter 2 and doesn’t have a very interesting story, Breakers is still fun to play because it has a good understanding of how games work.
King Of The Monsters (1991)
Platforms: Neo Geo AES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Wii, PS2, PSP
Fans often think of the best fighters in the world fighting in an arena when they hear the term “fighting game.” This trend is turned on its head, though, by SNK’s King Of The Monsters, in which the whole country of Japan is used as a fighting arena.
At its heart, King of the Monsters takes place in a futuristic 1996 Japan. Players take on the role of one of six monsters and fight in six cities to prove they’re the best. A lot of the characters in this show are based on well-known monsters from kaiju and tokusatsu. For example, Geon is like Godzilla, Woo is like King Kong, and Astro Guy is like Astro Boy (a large superhero like Ultraman)
Art Of Fighting 2 (1994)
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, PS2, SNES, Wii, PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Prime Gaming
The first Art of Fighting gave fans characters like Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, who went on to become popular SNK characters. However, it was Art of Fighting 2 that gave fans more memorable characters, like Yuri, who left their mark on SNK as a whole. Its story takes place a year after the first game. Geese Howard is once again putting together a new “King of Fighters” tournament with the best fighters in the world.
Art of Fighting 2 already follows many of the usual rules for fighting games, like two-out-of-three matches, different fighting styles, and special moves. Spirit Gauge is a new part of the series. Special attacks use up Spirit Gauge, which makes the player weaker over time. Taunting is also a tactical move that can be used to lower the opponent’s Spirit Gauge even more.
Samurai Shodown 2 (1994)
Samurai Shodown 2 came out only a year after the first game, but it is a masterwork of the game’s new mechanics. A lot of new characters were added, but the old ones were still there. There were also more moves, better response controls, and even the option to break a character’s weapon temporarily and make them fight without one.
The game takes place a year after the first one. A new threat, the vengeful spirit Mizuki Rashojin, wants to cause destruction all over the world for no reason. People who fought Amakusa in the first game will have to work together to stop this threat from another world.
Fatal Fury: King Of Fighters (1991)
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, SNES, Sega Genesis, Wii, PS2, PSP, Wii
Fatal Fury: King Of Fighters was the first game in the Fatal Fury series. It was also the first game to feature the fictional “King Of Fighters” tournament, which later became the series’ namesake. At its heart, the game is the first time Terry and Andy Bogard and the scary Geese Howard appear on the scene.
Fatal Fury follows the usual rules for fighting games, but it also has a joystick with eight directions and three attack buttons that do different things depending on the combo and the direction. Fatal Fury’s two-lane battles are one of its best parts. Players can switch between the foreground and background lanes to change the setting of their fights.
The Last Blade 2 (1998)
Platforms: Neo Geo, PS4, PS Vita
It’s not often that SNK makes a fighting game with weapons, but The Last Blade 2 is a good one. The Last Blade takes place a year after the first game. It is about a “Messenger from Afar” who helped bridge the gap between life and death. The game also talks about how the characters will interact with the mysterious Hell’s Gate, which was once controlled by the Sealing Rite but is now open because Suzaku went crazy in the first game.
A lot of the gameplay from the first game is still in this one. Characters can choose between two ways to fight: Speed Mode, which focuses on chaining moves that can end in a Super Move or a Speed Combo, or Power Mode, which increases damage and gives you access to Super Desperation Moves and Super Cancels. The game also has a deflect system that, if used at the right time, can leave opponents open to counters.
The King Of Fighters 13 (2010)
Platforms: Arcade, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, PC
SNK made The King of Fighters 13, which is arguably one of the best KOF games for newer consoles, by building on the success of The King of Fighters 12. The game takes place during yet another King of Fighters tournament, and players soon find out that its organisers are Those From the Promised Land, a mysterious group that wants to take the power of the sealed demon Orochi. The story of Ash Crimson, another mysterious flame user, comes to a close in the game as well.
The King of Fighters 13 is a huge improvement on its predecessors in terms of how it plays. It added more characters and changed them into three-person teams. It also brought back old game modes and added new ones. These include EX Mode, which turns Super Moves into Super Special Moves, and Hyper Drive Mode, which lets players use Drive Cancels as many times as they want, which opens up new ways to make combos.
NeoGeo Battle Coliseum (2005)
Platforms: Arcade, PS2, Xbox Live Arcade, PSN
Since SNK is known for making fighting games, it was inevitable that it would make a fighting game with all of its best characters. This is exactly what NeoGeo Battle Coliseum did in 2005. Its official plot takes place in 2017, when the WAREZ Conglomerate wants to take over the NeoGeo World. In the process, it made the NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, which was where Yuki and Ai, who worked for the government undercover, had to go.
Characters from 11 games like The King Of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Art Of Fighting, Samurai Shodown, and more are in the game itself. Battle Coliseum is played with two teams of two against two other teams of two. This isn’t a typical fighting game. Instead, it’s a survival mode where players have to kill one enemy after another for as long as they can in 300 seconds. Then, based on how well they did, the players will have to face a boss.
Platforms: Neo Geo
There aren’t many isometric shooters, and none of them looked as beautiful and retro as SNK’s Viewpoint. The game is played from an isometric point of view and has beautiful graphics, but it’s not just all about looks. The careful way this game is played means that you have to start using every part of the planescape to keep your single ship out of danger. You have to keep the screen clear of enemies or you’ll get swarmed, and you have to keep shooting at the big boss on the screen.
Still, the game is a technical marvel, even if Blazing Star and Metal Slug are better known. Play Viewpoint to see how and why SNK was such a big deal at the time: it likes to think and do big things.