Developer: SNK Playmore Noise Factory
Played on: Playstation 2
King of Fighters: Maximum Impact is SNK’s tenth anniversary special product: a 3D version of its popular fighting game franchise. Being 3D, this means the game is more combo-dependent ala Tekken and Virtua Fighter, a somewhat drastic departure from the old school gameplay because here the combos involve button mashing than usual.
Since this is an SNK product, this means that the new characters are overpowered to the point of being completely broken and yup, sure enough the new main characters, the creepy twin brothers, Alba (looking like a drag queen) and Soiree (looking like a steroidal version of the cowboy from The Village People) have overpowered moves with obscene priority. I can win just by getting Soiree to launch his low kick again and again. No other characters can chain their low kicks like Soiree. Alba has this horrific projectile that covers the whole are before him from top to bottom, making it completely safe to abuse and even better when used to finish off a combo. There is this annoying little girl character, Mingnon, whose attacks are insanely powerful and she has an infinite combo in the corner that even a monkey can discover (just keep tapping those buttons!). She also has an annoying voice and she speaks in third person.
The other characters aren’t bad. Some characters will be familiar – Leona, Yuri, Ryo, Kyo, Mai, Terry, and Iori – but their translation to 3D have varying success. Leona’s moves are harder to connect given that characters are faster and they can see Leona’s moves coming from a mile away, but she has kicks and punches with good speed and good priority. Terry is a monster with his charge attacks. On the other hand, Mai has great speed and combos but she does too little damage to be useful. Yuri is underpowered, I find, although as usual it is always great to use her to slap my opponents silly.
It’s still a playable, if silly game, until I meet the final boss, Duke. He can launch into super moves infinitely and his attacks span the whole screen with ridiculously destructive effect. Playing against him is pretty much a waste of time because he is too powerful. One mistake or one whiffed move on my part and I’m toast.
All in all, a broken game with mild entertainment value but frustration sets in too quickly for its own good.