Sunday, January 13, 2013

KOF Finales: '98

Judging by the bubbles, blue color, and aquatic sounds, I’d say this takes place underwater.

Somewhere down there, there’s a tub ringed with skulls, and apparently somebody has a major ouchie that causes the tub to fill.

Interesting symbols.

The blood flows through the cracks of the room and concentrates in one area, flowing life into something that bursts out of what I assume is the floor.

Didn't I see this in Hellboy?

What could this mysterious monster possibly be?

Yes, Omega Rugal is back in a brand new form.  For the first time in the series, you get to fight Rugal in a quality King of Fighters game against a semi-fair AI.  They practically make a homage to the fight from the first game by both having the fight take place in the sunken Black Noah control room and playing a new version of the original final boss music.

His moves have gotten a bit of an upgrade.  Omega Rugal has ditched the Kaiser Wave in favor of two much more powerful attacks.
The first is an electric barrier he can form around his body before firing it straight at you.  It’s pretty much impossible to jump over, it absorbs all projectiles, and even when guarding against it, a significant amount of health is chipped off, and that adds up quickly.  If timed right, dodge rolling past them is an option, but it’s best not to risk it, because their size makes them difficult to avoid.  He can easily keep you in the corner firing the things.
The second is a common shonen speed move in which he dashes past your character and they take a dozen hits one second after he reaches the other side.  True to form, there is very little time to react to it.

Also, the genocide cutter’s back, and it hits three times instead of once (though it does about as much damage as in previous games).  Thankfully, the sugar-high kid with the button seems to be absent in '98.  Rugal spams the genocide cutter with absolute priority whenever you get within its range, but this time he can miss.  It's not likely he will, since he waits until you attack at close range, but it can happen.

Boom!  Counter!

Even with the continue bonuses, and even at a low difficulty setting, this boss is hard hard hard!  Omega Rugal's attacks are overpowered and he’s abnormally good at guarding.  Like Goenitz, fighting Omega Rugal takes a lot of strategy alongside raw skill.  Memorizing his AI patterns and watching for brief moments of telegraphing his attacks is key, as is finding vulnerabilities to exploit.
For example, although his electric barrier covers his body, it can’t protect him from a lot of attacks that unleash a combo after the first hit connects, as long as it’s done before he shoots it.  There are also moves that strike from above, bypassing the barrier, so if you get the unlimited super stocks bonus, you can win easily with the right character.  Hell, Iori’s maiden masher has him slither along the floor, completely avoiding the barriers even after Rugal shoots them!  So, once again, Iori dominates.

But even taking everything I've stated to heart, it is nigh impossible to beat him on the first try unless you’re extremely (by no exaggeration of the word) good.  Chances are you’ll likely have to win by keeping him at bay after getting the health bonus to time him out.  If someone can beat Omega Rugal on the lowest difficulty setting, they’ve already proven themselves a strong player in my eyes.  He is the ultimate test of skill.

After your eventual, triumphant victory, Omega Rugal executes one more callback to the first game.

Somebody set us up the bomb.


After the detonation, the credits display a scrapbook of sorts, showing what I assume are memories of the characters in their off-time during the Orochi Saga.  I have to question some of the artwork on the pictures, but for the most part, they look great.

Stick around to the very end of the credits, and you’ll get a special image depending on what combinations of characters you’re using.  There’s the usual combination of teammates…

But you also get images for using more specialized combinations of characters.  For example, this one is shown if your team consists of Kyo, Terry, and Ryo:

Trying out different combinations adds a lot of replay value, and since King of Fighters 98 is such an excellent game, there’s no reason not to play through it again and again.  It's a great way to end such an important part of such an excellent franchise.

1 comment:

  1. I fucking hate Omega Rugal in this game XD
    The only thing worse then him is Omega Rugal in KOF 2002 UM(his CHEAPEST version by far)