So-so entry re-joins the ranks
Hamster have blown the dust off of another retro King of Fighters release, preparing it for launch for a new generation of platforms, namely the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
The King of Fighters 2001 was made during a very troubling time in SNK land. With the original studio having closed due to bankruptcy, development of KoF 2001 fell to Korean outfit Eolith, with help from some of SNK’s now-former employees. What results is a series entry that has some interesting ideas, but is neither here nor there in the bigger picture.
KoF 2001 retains the use of “Striker” characters, and now allows players to balance out teams of four into personal configurations (for example, four fighters queued up for battle, or two fighters and two strikers, or any other combination you choose). This is definitely a unique idea, but doesn’t really pan out in principle, and isn’t a patch on the “Ratio” mode of Capcom vs SNK 2, which was released the same year and is a superior title by far. 2001 is also remembered for its terrible “goofy” artwork, which was actually replaced with new designs when the game was ported to PS2.
We do get some fun new stars in the way of Korean cutie-pie May Lee, fencing specialist Foxy and The People’s Elbow dropping fan-favourite Angel. The best thing about KoF 2001, however, is the way it brings to an end the interminable NESTS saga and its “clones, clones and more clones” deus ex machina. I’d recommend this purchase for completionists only.
The King of Fighters 2001 is available for download today on PS4 in Japan and on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch worldwide, priced at around $8.