Monday, May 13, 2013

King of Fighters Retrospective: Do not buy King of Fighters 12!

Every really long-running game franchise has that one flop; that one game that was clearly rushed out, nobody likes, and is damned to overstocked bargain bins anywhere they’re sold.  For Spyro, it was Enter the Dragonfly.  For Tomb Raider, it was Angel of Darkness, and for Sonic, it was the 2006 game.

The King of Fighters 12 is King of Fighter’s embarrassment that, like the examples above, should have never been released.  Do not buy this game.  Buy The King of Fighters 13.

Looks great.  It isn't.
The King of Fighters 12 got quite a lot of hype when it first came out back in 2009, probably because it was the first King of Fighters game to be on next-generation consoles.  SNK had to overhaul everything and make all-new detailed character sprites instead of recycling the ones they had been using for so many installments before.  If you look around the internet at old articles and forum posts, you can see just how hyped people were.  Some made their own retrospectives and SNK even made a website giving tidbits on every character that had been in the main KOF series thus far (not including strikers) and official backstories for every game.  It was going to be the ultimate King of Fighters game for the new age!

Then it came out and people saw it for what it really is.  Do not buy this game.  Buy The King of Fighters 13.

It’s not that the game itself is bad per se.  It looks, sounds, and plays great (more detail will be in the KOF 13 post), it’s just that everything else is lazy and half-assed.  The easiest way to describe KOF 12 is that it is the beta version of King of Fighters 13.  A demo disc, if you will.... A demo disc they thought they could sell at full price.

First and foremost, the character selection is pathetic, especially by King of Fighters standards.  They got most of  the most popular and important characters in there, but where’s Yuri, King, K’, Shingo, and Maxima?  They’ve been staples since their introduction!

The answer to that question is they’re all in King of Fighters 13, except for Shingo, but in KOF 13, Shingo is absent for story reasons.  King of Fighters 12 doesn’t have a story at all, so there is no reason for him not to be in it!

You read that right.  No story.  There isn’t even a boss for the game.  The arcade mode is only a time trial that has you fighting randomized teams with only a single generic ending from our old TV friends from ‘97.  They couldn’t even manage the simplest and core part of a King of Fighters game!

Do not buy this game.  Buy The King of Fighters 13.

The only new character The King of Fighters 12 introduces is Raiden, from Fatal Fury, who previously appeared in Capcom vs. SNK 2, but since he and every other character is also in The King of Fighters 13 (the good game), he’s not a notable draw.
That's not even going into the radical character redesigns, but I'll get to that in the next post.

You know your game has a problem when a game from 1997 has a stronger character selection than your game that’s had a decade of establishment and on an HD system!


In an unexpected move, almost all character themes were taken out too, like in KOF 97.  The soundtrack is still good (certainly better than ‘97’s generic background music), but it takes flair out of what few characters there are.  There aren’t even that many stages either, unlike, say, The King of Fighters 13.

Do not buy this game.  Buy The King of Fighters 13.
Congratulations.  Now you don't have to play the game.

As if the putrid frosting on this insult of a game, King of Fighters 12 was localized by Ignition Entertainment.  For those of you who don’t know who Ignition is, these are a few of the games they’ve localized:

Lux Pain, a game heavily criticized for its horribly translated script.
Obscure: The Aftermath, a low-budget game that was ultimately forgotten and not hard to find in a bargain bin.
Arc Rise Fantasia, a game heavily blasted into the ground for its incredibly laughable English voice acting that’s so bad you can’t even believe they were serious.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, a game that was well-received, but only because of its fun gameplay and visuals.  The localized script was criticized by those who know even basic Japanese for being oversimplified and, at times, inaccurate, so much so that the more accurate, rewritten English script for theVita version was celebrated.

King of Fighters 12 continues Ignition’s terrible track record with some truly terrible English voice acting.  It’s confusing enough as to why they even decided to have English voices in the first place.  The King of Fighters has always told its stories through images and text, so players didn’t necessarily need to know what they were saying in battle.  Atlus, the good company that published the good King of Fighters game, didn’t even bother with English voice acting in 13.

But if you’re going to have English voice acting, it needs to be done right, and doing something right is not Ignition’s strong suit.  All of the voices are stale.  There are only a few actors voicing multiple characters and not a single one does the Japanese voices justice.  The most noteworthy actor in the bunch is Jeff Manning, mainly known for being the Super Smash Brothers Brawl announcer, who is not suited for delivering energized lines for hot-blooded characters like Ralf and Shen.  Thank goodness the Japanese voices are an option, because I doubt anyone can stand the awkwardly-delivered English lines.

They honestly kept this in the English version...

Do not buy this game!  Buy The King of Fighters 13!  KOF 13 has everything KOF 12 has, except more and better, with the exception of a few stages and the soundtrack, but even then the stages of the two games are either similar or outright the same!

King of Fighters 12 does not deserve to be acknowledged.  It has no reason to exist.  It does not continue the story, it does not offer something another KOF game can’t, and charging even 20 dollars for it is highway robbery!  It baffles me that SNK even released this game in the condition it was in!  It is a demo disc!

If you want to play it (you don’t), you have nothing to worry about.  King of Fighters 12 can be found in large quantities in game stores everywhere because nobody wants it!  Most gamers are probably too busy having a blast with The King of Fighters 13 to even give 12 the time of day.

What really grinds my teeth is that this game, for a lot of people, may have been the first King of Fighters game they ever played, and those people might have assumed this was the quality to expect and wrote it off as a crappy game franchise!  The King of Fighters is an excellent game series!  KOF 12 has no place in it!

Maybe it's a curse of having a subheading with only one syllable.  If that's the case, we shouldn't have to worry about this ever again.

Do not buy this game!  Buy The King of Fighters 13!

In volume 2 of my King of Fighters 2003 comic, there's an ad for The King of Fighters 12 with the tagline "The King of Fighters is ready for the next generation!"  To my horror, that was not supposed to be an ironic joke and to my knowledge, SNK has not been sued for false advertizing!

It's best we just forget this whole thing and move on to something worth writing about.


  1. LOL ... I knew something was wrong with this game!

    1. Any King of Fighters fan knows there's something horribly wrong with it.