Art of Fighting 2

STORY:  "Mr. Karate, the undefeated martial artist, was revealed as Ryo's missing father, Takuma Sakazaki. 10 years ago, he knew that Ronnet's death was intentionally planned by someone. Fearing that the rest of his family would be targeted if he stayed, he disappeared. However, 10 years after Ronnet's accident, he learned that an organization had targeted his daughter Yuri. Learning that Mr. Big was behind this, Takuma was forced to work with him. However, Mr. Big's ambitions were foiled by Ryo, Robert, and King's revolution, the latter being one of his former subordinates. Yuri and Takuma safely returned home.
A year after Yuri's kidnapping, while Ryo was training in the mountains, he received a letter. The letter was an invitation for a new tournament in Southtown. Fighters from every corner of the town were gathering there. It was a test to decide who was the "strongest"... a tournament for the chosen and for the real fighters. The strongest of the strong, each aspect applies to the dragon and the tiger. Southtown would be split in twain by their instincts.
However, this event was only the beginning for a certain man filled with ambition. "King of Fighters"... the birth of a man's legend and the prologue for an even greater story." Art of Fighting 2's story is set a year after the original. Geese Howard, a rising star in Southtown's criminal underworld, calls fighters to the city for a new tournament, "The King of Fighters".

Finally, tackle story mode with ALL characters!

REVIEW:  By 1994, SNK was gaining popularity in the arcade business. They were also trying its best to keep up with Capcom's ever evolving Street Fighter 2 series, now with Champion Edition, Turbo, and Super editions dominating the arcades. Interestingly enough, SNK elected not to join the trend and simply "rehash" the original Art of Fighting recipe.

Instead, SNK actually created a true Art of Fighting sequel from the ground up, presenting all new backgrounds, redrawn character sprites, brand all new stages... pretty much the opposite of what Capcom was doing. It was a bold move to start practically from scratch, and hardcore fans definitely appreciated the effort. AOF2 introduced the "Rage Gauge" which works similarly to the Spirit Gauge of the original game. 


Robert: "Please don't mess up the car!" (That's a different game.)

As a fan of the first Art of Fighting, I was pleased with most of AOF2's gameplay updates and the game's new features. Thankfully, this time, all characters are selectable in the regular Arcade / Story Mode. Furthermore, each character now has their own unique storyline and specific interactions with other characters. Having such unique character-specific dialogue in a fighting game was definitely innovative for 1994, and in most cases, enabled some of the characters to become more fleshed out. On the other hand, there were some laughably bad translations, as well.

All of the fighters from the first AOF made their return, with the exception of Ryuhaku Todoh who mysteriously went missing. New characters Eiji & Temjin attempt to balance out the roster, and for the most part they succeed at doing so. Takuma is also playable for the first time (which was pretty epic if you were familiar with the storyline of the first game). Worth mentioning, the computer AI of AOF2 is actually very difficult. While the game now caters to 2-player battles, enjoying the single player story mode can actually be frustrating sometimes. 

Brother versus sister... a fighting game first!

While most returning characters are easily recognizable, many of them have acquired brand new appearances in AOF2. For example, Mickey & John got haircuts, and Lee Pai Long now fights in a pretty generic Kung-Fu robe (and looks fat). These design updates worked in a few cases, but unfortunately not in others. If you ask me, a few returning characters in AOF2 don't quite look as "cool" as they did in the original game. I get the same feeling when it comes to stage designs and BGMs (besides Yuri's awesome theme). In some ways, the "heart" of the original AOF isn't quite there... or it at least, the mood and feel of the game changed more than I expected it too. In any case, AOF2's all new hand-drawn backgrounds are visually impressive for the time.









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Page Updated: March 7th, 2024
Developer(s) SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Artwork By: Shinkiro  
Eiji Shiroi
Platform(s): Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, SNES, Wii VC, PS2, PSN, PS4
Release Date(s): Feb. 2nd, 1994               /   Arcade
May 11th, 2006
               PS2 - in Art of Fighting: Anthology
May 15th, 2007
               PS2 - in Art of Fighting: Anthology
July 28th, 2008               Wii Virtual Console
Sept. 4th, 2017                PS4 - in Art of Fighting: Anthology
Characters Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Jack Turner, Lee Pai Long, King, Mickey Rogers, John Crawley, Mr. Big, Takuma Sakazaki, Yuri Sakazaki, Temjin, Eiji Kisaragi, Geese Howard

Featured Video:

Related Games: Art of Fighting 3, Art of Fighting, The King of Fighters '94, Fatal Fury Special, Fatal Fury 2, Fighter's History Dynamite, Kaiser Knuckle, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Street Fighter 2, Capcom Vs. SNK

Gameplay Engine  7.0 / 10
Story / Theme  8.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.0 / 10
Animation  6.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  8.0 / 10
Innovation  8.5 / 10
Art Direction  7.5 / 10
Customization  5.0 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  5.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  7.0 / 10


7.3 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version 


Final Words: Art of Fighting 2 offered some of the same unique elements found in the first game, but still didn't quite match up to Capcom's SF2 series in terms of gameplay responsiveness, character roster, and popularity. Sad to say, even though AOF2 offered more actual "new" content than the newer iterations of Street Fighter 2, SF2 still dominated in the gameplay and "fun" department... and was far more successful.

The phenomenon and competitive hit, Super Street Fighter 2, came out the same year as AOF2, so one could say that a lot of AOF2's potential was snuffed out by the latest incarnation of SF2... especially if your arcade had that those shiny "tournament style" 4-8 arcade cabinets next to each other. (Quite an impressive sight, back then). For any stand-alone fighting game arcade cabinet in 1994-1995, that setup (usually packed with an enthusiastic crowd) was surely intimidating.

I'm sure most arcade managers would've rather spent their cash on an "instant moneymaker" like SSF2 over the lesser known Art of Fighting 2. On that note, seeing an AOF2 arcade cabinets in America back then was actually kind of rare (at least in my experience). In the end, I definitely respect SNK for sticking to their roots and offering an impressive amount of 100% "new" content in Art of Fighting 2 (instead of just recycling sprites and backgrounds from the first game). I think most SNK fans have a special place in their heart for AOF2.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
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