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  • 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.

Didn't I just get done talking about how 2D fighters on the Game Boy Advance were actually

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