KOF: Maximum Impact 2 / The King of Fighters 2006
STORY:  Many contended that the illegal fighting tournament in Southtown was sponsored by the gangland syndicate "Mephistopheles" to achieve the annihilation of their rivals and procure some operating capital. After its "King" Duke suffered defeat at the hands of Alba Meira in the finals, he and his organization vanished from Southtown. Meanwhile, the media, firmly under Duke's control, released a fusillade of sensational exposes based on information from confidential sources regarding their former oppressors. In spite of this new torrent of "information," almost no one knew that an even larger entity had been pulling Mephistopheles' puppet strings.

The truth behind the "Addes" organization name was only known throughout the dark recesses of the underworld. No one really had an inkling as to what this organization was truly about. Now, another of Addes was to reveal a new battle royale. Invitations in white envelopes were sent to the world's mightiest, who will find the call to the battle by Addes irresistible. As stated in Alba Meira's private novel by Akihiko Ureshino on the official KOF Maximum Impact 2 site (which serves as an official follow up to the story of KOF Maximum Impact 2) Alba was in fact the one who defeated Jivatma and Luise. Soiree was kidnapped as a result of that and Alba has not seen him since then.

KOF: Maximum Impact 2 character selection screen.

Known as The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2 in Japan, King of Fighters 2006 features 24 initially playable characters as well as 14 unlockable ones (including the final boss), making for a grand total of 40 playable characters... An impressive number even for a series known for rather large character rosters. In addition to a generously enhanced character roster, KOF 2006 shows off significantly improved animations, graphics, gameplay mechanics and overall presentation over the original KOF: Maximum Impact. SNK, known primarily for their 2D titles, actually managed to deliver their best 3D fighter to date.

KOF 2006
features a great line-up of SNK characters, each with a robust (and sometimes humorously confusing) moveset. Characters retain most of their attacks from their most recent movesets, and were each given some brand new ones. Many of the new moves (and super moves) look badass, to say the least, and are presented quite nicely thanks to the game's smooth animation (which can be fully appreciated during a K.O., as the camera slows down during the last strike of the match). The camera also does an epic 360 around the final attack if you manage to finish with a "Super Special Move"... nice touch!

The majority of attacks are done with a lot of justice, and look as painful as any KOF fan would expect. The overall transition of animation from 2D to 3D was actually done much better this time around than in the original Maximum Impact. Additionally, some of the original Maximum Impact character designs were fleshed out more and look better in MI2. Even some classic characters have slightly updated appearances, giving some of the designs a much appreciated breath of fresh air. In general, KOF veterans have more "exaggerated" features in terms of their outfits in MI2. Some of the reworked costumes (designed primarily by Falcoon) seem a bit overdone, not to mention a few of the bizarre alternate costumes.


KOF like you've never seen it before.

As with the first Maximum Impact, the pace of the gameplay is definitely fast and takes some getting used to. If you've ever put any time into a 2D version of KOF, you'll most likely feel right at home playing KOF2006 due to the speed of the game. On the flipside, any seasoned 3D fighting game player might find this game to be a bit too fast-paced at first. The core gameplay is all about cancels... you can cancel normal moves into special moves, special moves into other special moves, and then into super moves. The system is intuitive and it's rather easy to start creating some cool-looking combos. There are some cheap combos that can be abused in high-level gameplay, but the game does seem to reward patience and skill for the most part. On the downside, there are some sickeningly overpowered characters in the game, including (but not limited to): Hyena, Jivatma and Armor Ralf. Some would argue that those 3 characters in particular should've been left off the roster... but SNK sort of made up for it with awesome cameos by Hattori Hanzo of Samurai Shodown and Fio Germi of Metal Slug, both fighters offering cool (and balanced) movesets inspired by their original series.

With the addition of a brand new "Counter" system and a tweaked wall game, KOF: MI2
's gameplay should not only please veteran KOF fans, but perhaps even attract some new players to the series as well. One of the things that killed the PS2 version of the first Maximum Impact for me was definitely the horrible English voice acting... and yes, English voices are back by default in MI2. But rejoice KOF fans, after a quick trip to the Options menu, you can now select Japanese voices and hear the KOF fighters as they were originally intended. When the Japanese dialogue is turned on, the characters of KOF 2006 scream their special moves with spine-tingling emotion and enthusiasm... and Viola, the "magic" of the series is back.

Billy Kane giving Terry a whopping... like old times.

KOF 2006
also features buckets and buckets full of unlockables... notably, TONS of costumes (possibly the most unlockable costumes in any fighting game to date). On the downside, some costumes are quite ugly, absurd, completely unnecessary, borderline disturbing, and in many cases have terrible color schemes. Others are pretty decent though, and the "cosplay" alternate outfits based on other SNK characters are quite entertaining for longtime SNK fans. You can also unlock some cool new stages, mini games (including a battle with a Metal Slug tank), and various missions. For a console fighting game of this era, King of Fighters 2006 is a decent package.

Dueling the classic SNK fighters against each other in 3D, with a solid gameplay system (for the first time), is definitely satisfying for the old school fans. However, the overall character selection is a mixed bag. In my opinion, the veteran KOF'ers like Kyo Kusanagi, Terry Bogard, Rock Howard, or Billy Kane are all incredibly fun to use (for those of us who know their moves by heart). However, some of the newcomers just don't quite live up to the veterans in terms of originality, personality and fighting style. Although the newbs aren't all that bad, I would've much rather had the ability to use even more of my old favorites like Vanessa, Yamazaki, Joe or Gato for example.  

Metal Slug tank battle in KOF? I see no problems here...






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Page Updated: February 10th, 2024
Developer(s): SNK Playmore
Publisher(s): SNK Playmore, Ignition Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 2, PSN
Release Date(s): April 2006                     
Sept. 2006
April 15th, 2015
Characters Alba Meira, Lien Neville, Soiree Meria, Nagase, Luise Meyrink, Chae Lim, Mignon Beart, Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, Terry Bogard, Ryo Sakazaki, Ralf Jones, Clark Still, Yuri Sakazaki, Athena Asamiya, K', Kula Diamond, Kim Kaphwan, Mai Shiranui, Maxima, Rock Howard, Leona Heidern, Seth, Billy Kane, B. Jenet, Duke, Wild Wolf, Nightmare Geese, Ninon Beart, Richard Meyer, Hyena, Lily Kane, Mr. Karate, Armor Ralf, Jivatma, Hattori Hanzo, Fio Germi, Classic Kyo

Featured Video:

Related Games: KOF: Maximum Impact, KOF: Maximum Impact MANIAX, KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A, Street Fighter EX, Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, Final Fight: Revenge, Kenichi, KOF '94, KOF '94: Re-bout, KOF '95, KOF '96, KOF '97, KOF '98, KOF '98: Ultimate Match, KOF '99, KOF 2000, KOF 2001, KOF 2002, KOF 2002: Unlimited Match, KOF 2003, KOF XI, KOF XII, KOF XIII, KOF XIV, KOF XV, KOF EX Neo Blood, KOF EX2 Howling Blood, KOF R1, KOF R2, KOF Collection: Orochi Saga

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.5 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  8.0 / 10
Innovation  7.0 / 10
Art Direction  8.0 / 10
Customization  8.0 / 10
Options / Extras  7.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  9.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  7.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.5 / 10
Characters  8.0 / 10

7.9 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version     


Final Words:

As an SNK fan who picked up the original KOF: MI and was mostly disappointed, I'd be the first one to tell you that MI2 was a big improvement. One of the first questions I ask myself when rating a "new" KOF game is: "Did they get Iori's laugh right?" Well, good news is they actually did get it right this time around. With better graphics, more moves, way more characters, and Japanese voices... now feel like I'm playing a 3D KOF game, rather than some scary "Americanized" bootleg version (see my original KOF: Maximum Impact review, if you dare). 

Gameplay flaws? Despite a few overpowered characters & broken combos, KOF: MI2 is playable and pretty fun if you give it a chance. The gameplay is simple and intuitive for any KOF veteran. There is some weird slowdown during gameplay, but honestly it looks kinda cool sometimes... lol. A personal favorite slowdown moment of mine comes during a 20-hit Iori combo, causing epic slow-mo in all the right places (makes the combo hurt that much more). Good stuff SNK. 

An even more comprehensive roster and less silly alternate costumes would've let fighting game players take Maximum Impact 2 a bit more seriously... but for what it is, MI2 is a decent evolution of the series and worth checking out at the very least. Actually, no KOF fan should miss out on MI2. When all it said and done, SNK packed a ton of fan service into the game and offered a decent PS2 fighting game. KOF: MI2 was succeeded by one more sequel, KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A... which only released in Japan.
~TFG Webmaster | @FIGHTERS_GEN  

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