OK, today, we take on the interesting position of defending the first Art of Fighting game.
First and most importantly, it's not good enough to be worth spending money on. I would say that, however, for its time, it was actually a pretty interesting fighting game and could be halfway fun to play.
First the backstory. Ryo Something and Robert Whatever, two tremendous Ryu/Ken ripoffs, set out to find Ryo's sister who has been kidnapped by some mysterious guy for no apparent reason.
So they brawl their way through the town, assaulting random strangers until they finally find someone who happens to know what's going on.
In single player mode, you can only play as Ryo or Robert. In two player mode, however, you can play as any of the other enemies in the game.
It's pretty much Street Fighter style down to Ryo and Robert's special moves, but there's a few unique twists to the game. First, the view zooms in and out depending on how far the fighters are from each other. When they're right up close, the sprites are pretty huge, taking up most of the screen.
Hardly graphically impressive now of course, but at the time it was pretty neat to look at. The characters faces also gradually turn into ground hamburger as you beat on each other, which is actually more of a disgusting feature now that I think about it.
The fighting action is a bit clunky, with somewhat iffy hit detection and the computer AI repeatedly spams special moves harder than a kid who just got the latest issue of Gamepro in the mail.
However, in two player mode it's actually not that bad. I think it's significantly smoother than Fatal Fury, SNK's other major fighting game of the time (which is usually more highly regarded).
The background art and the music are both pretty good. I think the soundtrack is by the guy who later did all the King of Fighters games, as it has the same style and you can hear early versions of some of the songs that later went on to be remixed in KOF.
It also has typically excellent bad SNK transration, which is the other consistent thing you can expect from them along with good music and nice background art.
Oh and this was also the first game to institute the trend of blowing King's clothes off with special moves. So it has historical importance.
Art of Fighting MUGEN Remake
Art of Fighting anime