13 July 2006

To Be the King of Fighters

I guess most of you have heard of Street Fighter, but have you also heard of King of Fighters? It is also a fighting game, and it has been around almost as long as Street Fighter. Of the two, I like King of Fighters better. They have a new version out almost every year, and I began playing the game in 1996 with the King of Fighters '95 on the Game Boy. I then progressed to '96 on the same platform, and when I got a Playstation 1, I migrated.

It was also a favourite game among my classmates, and so we would play regularly. I began to be quite adept at it, and I continued playing the series until the King of Fighters '99. I stopped right about then because the next versions were only released for the Playstation 2.

Fast forward to this year. Thanks to the wonderful technology of emulation, I was able to play all the games in the series on my laptop. I invested in a cheap USB gamepad and it has brought me countless hours of fun beating David to a pulp. I am still best with the '99 version, but am able to hold my own ground in other installments.

Last week as I was walking past the notice boards I saw the announcement of a King of Fighters 2002 tournament. My heart skipped a beat. A competition! It's strange that the college allows such videogame events to be organised, but I couldn't care less. This is the time for me to shine! I have been playing this series for a decade, and it is time for me to face off against other challengers.

The only problem is that I'm not very good at 2002. My forte has always been '99, and when I loaded 2002 into the emulator, I was faced with a very different (and more complex) fighting system. I won't bore you with the details, but the short story is that I had one week to prepare for the competition. And with my packed schedule, it is much harder than you think.

So yesterday I went for the competition. There were 4 prizes, and all I could hope for was not to be eliminated in the first round. Before the competition started we could warm up, so I did. Things didn't look good. The controller's right direction key wasn't very sensitive and so I couldn't do many of the command moves at all. This was certainly a handicap for everyone.

A total of 11 players turned up, and the elimination round was definitely nail biting. Luckily, I comfortably beat my competitor so I moved on to the next round, where a matrix style was used. Again, it came down to a tie and so I had to fight for my place in the semi finals. The stars seemed to shine on me as I breezed into the Final Four.

It was a nerve-wrecking match. For those who have never played this game, each player has 3 characters in a team and we are supposed to defeat all 3 of the opponent's characters. I started off badly but I managed to gain some ground. Finally we were both using our last characters and our life was just as short. One kick was all that is needed to proceed to the finals. We quickly stood far apart to catch our breaths for a moment and assess the situation. I was on the "wrong" side of the screen as I couldn't use my special moves. I took a deep breath and proceeded cautiously. The timer was ticking and I needed to give him that one hit first. My eyes were also tired so I couldn't think clearly. As I went in for the attack my opponent blocked it. I was getting ready for his counter-attack so I quickly blocked. Unfortunately my mind blanked out for a milisecond and I saw that bastard bend down and sweep the floor, thus killing me. A wave of frustration swept over me - how could I have let that chance pass by so easily?

But I maintained my respectful face and shook the victor's hands anyway. I then had to play one more game to decide if I should be in the 3rd of 4th place. I won the match, but not by much. My competitor wasn't very professional as he kept using floor sweeps. It's not illegal, but it sure was annoying. The finals wasn't very exciting as I kinda guessed who would be victorious. In a way, I didn't felt jealous because I lost to both of them earlier so they had earned their spot. The event ended with the winners being handed mock cheques. I got RM20.

There are only two complaints I have - the controller and the LCD projector. Every four seconds, the screen will flicker and disorient the players. In fact, I blamed this for not seeing the floor sweep that ended my progress. And if the controllers have been more responsive, you can be sure I won't be exiting so early. As it stands, I couldn't use my preferred formation and that could have been a factor.

Gosh, I'm so tired now that my grammar is all messed up. I have no regrets for being the 2nd runner up, and in my golden years I will remember King of Fighters as one of the games I am good at.


William said...

I was invited to the Sony PS2 Tekken 3 mini tournament some years back and I got my ass whipped REAL bad by kids 10 years my junior. I used my favourite character Nina, but I couldn't execute the moves properly. They combo-ed me to death at the first heat. Humiliating.

Btw, I hate KOF!!

ZemieN said...

Of course you hate KOF. All Tekken players hate KOF coz they can't get used to executing the command moves. With Tekken, everything is just simple directions and buttons (except combos).

I liked Nina too, but nowadays my Paul will make you cry like a small boy. Care for a game?

William said...

I'm an old geezer by video game standards. You'll probably wipe the floor with my ass.

joshua said...

OMG can we have one week of UN-nerdy posts?

just kidding... but I am mean, everybody knows it.

R2K said...

Just visiting!

William said...

@Josh: There's nothing nerdy about video games. People play all day, forget to bath, lose verbal skills, create fansites, join in forums, do cosplay, no social life.... oh yeah, you're right..

edy said...

wow mr shawn.....i didnt know the MAN himself can play these games... *shocked!*... anyway.. congrats.. :)

Innocent^^Guy said...

i didn't either edy...haha i love KOF too..but i dun own a ps so i get to play them sometimes only...haha..

Skyler said...

I used to play KOF. '99 and either 2000 or 2002 (I forgot which) were my favourites.


ZemieN said...

Eew! A girl! Playing KOF!



Hehe just kidding :P

I was really hoping to see some girls turn up at the competition. It would be funny to see some chick kick all the dude's ass in KOF.