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Art of Fighting (Japanese: 龍虎の拳, Hepburn: Ryūko no Ken, lit. "Fist of Dragon and Tiger") is a fighting video game trilogy that were released for the Neo Geo platform in the early 1990s. It was the second fighting game franchise created by SNK, following the Fatal Fury series and is set in the same fictional universe as a prequel to the Fatal Fury series. The original Art of Fighting was released in 1992, followed by two sequels: Art of Fighting 2 (龍虎の拳2, Ryūko no Ken 2) in 1994 and Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior (ART OF FIGHTING 龍虎の拳 外伝, Art of Fighting: Ryūko no Ken Gaiden) in 1996.



The Art of Fighting series was also the first fighting series to allow players to perform a "super attack". In the original Art of Fighting, the player's character can learn a super attack (dubbed the super death blow) by completing one of the game's bonus rounds (this technique is available by default in the 3rd game). All three games also feature "Desperation Attacks" that can only be performed when the player's health is low and the life bar is flashing.

The series also introduced graphical scaling into the fighting game genre: as the characters move towards each other, the camera zooms in to maximize the level of detail. Character sprites in Art of Fighting change as the fight progresses to become more bruised and cut as damage is taken.

The game's story is set a year after the original in 1979. Geese Howard, a rising star in South Town's criminal underworld, summons all 12 fighters both veterans and newcomers to the city for a martial arts tournament, "The King of Fighters". Geese was the final boss and series original antagonist of SNK's other related fighting game franchise Fatal Fury, whose story took place two years after the events of Art of Fighting 2 where the late Jeff Bogard had been murdered by the hands of his former Hakkyokuseiken sparring partner Geese, which sparks the revenge of Jeff's adoptive sons Terry Bogard and Andy Bogard to fight in Geese's next King of Fighters tournament which takes place a decade later in 1991. The events of all three Art of Fighting sagas is canonically a prequel trilogy to the Fatal Fury series.[4]

Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior (ART OF FIGHTING: Ryūko no Ken Gaiden, in Japanese: ART OF FIGHTING 龍虎の拳 外伝) was the first game in the series (and the first SNK fighting game) to use motion capture for its animation,[9] often being noted as some of the best sprite-work SNK has produced. It features a new cast of characters with the exception of Ryo and Robert. Yuri Sakazaki is seen in the game, but only as a side character in Ryo and Robert's story mode.

The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Neo Geo AES version a 5 out of 10. They lambasted the game for its poor balance, with their biggest complaint being the new Ultra-Cool Attacks, since they are easy to execute, cannot be blocked, and deal a massive amount of damage. They further criticized that the game lacks originality and innovation, failing to distinguish itself from the deluge of 2D fighting games coming out at the time.[11] A reviewer for Next Generation saw no problem with the game's balance but concurred that it is "too similar to every other 2D fighting game on the market". He gave the Neo Geo AES version three out of five stars.[12] According to Famitsu, the Neo Geo CD version sold over 20,877 copies in its first week on the market.[13]

Some of the Art of Fighting cast have continued appearing in other SNK fighting games (particularly in The King of Fighters series, which the titular tournaments, as it mentioned above, canonically and chronologically beginning during the events of Art of Fighting 2) since the last game in the Art of Fighting series was released. In the same way that Geese Howard appears as a secret boss in Art of Fighting 2, Ryo Sakazaki appears as a secret boss in Fatal Fury Special and Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition. Unlike the battle against Geese in Art of Fighting 2, the battles against Ryo in both games are depicted as a "dream matches" and do not occur in the series' storyline.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, some elements from the Art of Fighting series appear as downloadable content; specifically, two music tracks from the series appear (and can be played on the King of Fighters Stadium stage), Ryo Sakazaki makes three cameos in the game (as a background character in King of Fighters Stadium, as a spirit, and as the basis for a Mii costume), and Yuri Sakazaki and King both have background cameos in King of Fighters Stadium.

Art of Fighting was the first fighting game by SNK to feature the character designs of former illustrator Shinkiro, who would go on to do the character designs for the later Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters games.

John Crawley (ジョンクローリー) is a martial arts instructor, and with his brutal and aggressive fighting style was known to his friends as "The Madman" and "The Killing Machine". He enters the tournament to win the prize money and test his skills. In the first AOF, Crawley has longer hair. By the time AOF2 occurs, his hair is cut shorter. In John's AOF2 ending, the US Military attempts to recruit him to rescue the President's canary, but John refuses. Although it is not mentioned in the game, John seems to be assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Independence, since a large "62" is visible on the ship's island.

Takuma Sakazaki (タクマサカザキ, Takuma Sakazaki; also written as 坂崎 拓馬, Sakazaki Takuma) is Ryo and Yuri's father who left them prior to the first Art of Fighting, though as the master and creator of Kyokugenryu Karate, he has taught both Ryo and Robert at a young age, with Yuri becoming his student later on after the first game. Takuma appears as the final boss of the game as a masked warrior named Mr. Karate (Mr.カラテ, Misutā Karate), having taken Yuri as a hostage. Before being defeated by Ryo and Robert, Yuri stops them, revealing his identity. It is later revealed that Takuma was forced to work for Geese Howard and that his right-hand man, Mr. Big, kidnapped Yuri to put him under control. In the SNES port, Takuma Sakazaki reveals himself as the unwilling killer of Jeff Bogard, stating he wouldn't have eliminated him but Geese had already taken Yuri hostage. In Art of Fighting 2, Takuma rebels against Geese and Mr. Big by fighting in their King of Fighters tournament, but retreats due to the several injuries he has.

Sinclair (シンクレア) is a mini-boss of sorts. She has a flashy sword fighting style reminiscent of Indian swordsmanship combined with black magic. She apparently works for Wyler, but acts like is setting a trap for him to stop his plans. Like Wyler, Sinclair does not have an ending sequence: completing the game only yields the staff roll. Unlike Wyler, she can be thrown, but cannot use throw moves herself. She has only appeared in Art of Fighting 3 thus far.

Art of Fighting 2 (龍虎りゅうこの拳けん 2ツー) was released in 1994. The second installment in the Art of Fighting series series added the "rage gauge"; similar to the "spirit system" of its predecessor, it limited the use and effectiveness of special attacks. This game is also notorious for its difficulty with it being referred in many fighting circles as having some of the toughest opponent A.I. in a fighting game at the time.

If you were one of the many gamers who played the game on its original release in 1994, then you now have the opportunity for a nostalgic trip down memory lane. If you are a newcomer to the title, ACA NEOGEO ART OF FIGHTING 2 still has plenty to offer.

This type of mental-energy offense and defense gives Art of Fighting 2 a uniquely enjoyable spin on the fighting-game genre. Further adding to the strategy required to win, an attack will become stronger or weaker depending on exactly when the button is pressed. And even if a player is thrown, defensive action is possible with the timely press of a button. All of this adds up to an intense and nail-biting fighting-game experience not found anywhere else.

Yeah, as soon as the third game comes out on VC however long that may be, I'll be getting it. the early NeoGeo fighting games aren't too great with only the King of Fighters series and Samurai Shodown series being exceptions. They really pick up about 97 onwards with pretty much any fighting game on the NG released around that time or later being enjoyable in most cases. I think KoF02 may be an exception, I didn't enjoy that.

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What can I say, Neo fighting games keep getting better and better. The graphics and sounds are unbelievable. The moves are also quite impressive The computer plays very cheap, performing damage and charges you can't do. There's a lot of technique to this one and I recommend it. Now if SNK could get that price a bit more reasonable. Hmmmm. By the way, look for a lot of hidden moves, too! 041b061a72

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