Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Didn't I just get done talking about how 2D fighters on the Game Boy Advance were actually pretty darn good, all things considered? I don't know if it's just because I played a lot of bad games in this genre back in the Game Boy and Game Boy Color days, but the GBA offerings of my acquaintance have largely left a good taste in my mouth. And then Paul in Whittier, CA goes and sends us, along with Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper, this Playmore monstrosity right in the same shipment! Seriously, they were rubberbanded together with some Dragonball game that I didn't get to yet because Sailor Moon took precedence, dammit. But here's King of Fighters EX 2 Howling Blood, which sounds like a horrifying medical condition. Our three heroes, chosen from a field of 21 (pretty darn respectable for a portable game) set off on their quest to... well, motivations vary wildly between combatants but the general gist is that this Baron von Munchausen (no, seriously, his name is Munchausen) is planning on bringing series baddie Leopold Goenitz back to life, and anyone know's familiar with the whole Orochi saga (and I'm fairly certain there's at least one of you out there) can tell you that's a bad idea. So they take up arms, and legs, and in certain cases creepy Freddy Krueger gloves or giant balls and chains. The team-based 3-on-3 standard of the King of Fighters series is maintained for this outing, as is the decidedly awesome practice of leaving downed combatants where they lie for future rounds. Just so you can show 'em, "That's where I kicked your friend's butt! Right there! I'm making a pile!" The GBA has four buttons available, and really that's all the KoF series ever needs, though you've got some weird combinations like calling out an ally as a striker with L+B (which would be both light kick and light punch) or rolling with R+B. Fortunately, there's also a two-button setup available which feels a bit more optimized for the GBA's controls. The actual gameplay feels just as fast and high-flying and complex as you'd expect a King of Fighters title to feel, though certain situations have left me questioning the collision detection. You can't just dash past huge dude throwing a massive chunk of iron at you. Life doesn't work like that, friend. Anyway, once you finish the main storyline you're rewarded with, that's right, an SNK Boss! In this case, it's this punk kid who's got way too many quick attacks with way too much range. Good luck trying to whittle him down. I know that if I were fighting an SNK boss in a public place on a portable system, I'd probably frighten passersby with my strings of expletives and wild gesticulations. These are the issues you run into when you finally have a decent representation of King of Fighters on a portable system. Also: not having a link cable present when you find another soul who appreciates pocket-sized brutality. That is another issue.