Attention, jaded modern gamers: put down your Soul Calibur 5 and Tekken Whatever discs. Put away Virtua Fighter and Dead or Alive (shame on you, there could be kids watching). If you want some bona-fide classic fighter action, a legend has just dropped onto the Google Play Store to satisfy your need for over-the-top martial arts craziness. The King of Fighters, the original entrant in Neo-Geo’s storied franchise spanning nearly twenty years, is now available on the Google Play Store. It comes via the G-Gee platform, which previously published the equally classic brawler Double Dragon.
If you’ve never heard of The King of Fighters, you’re not alone – in the western hemisphere the primary rival to Street Fighter was always Mortal Kombat. But in Japan (where 2D fighters flow like milk and honey) SNK’s rival was always trading spaces among fans and critics for the top spot. The franchise has spawned dozens of sequels over the years, but the version on the Google Play Store is a port of the original that appeared in arcades in 1994. For more than a decade, SNK released yearly updates to the game Madden-style, tweaking gameplay and characters into a finely tuned and balanced game engine.
Of course, the frantic action of a 2D fighter doesn’t really lend itself well to a touchscreen. So owners of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play will be glad to know that the game supports the phone’s slide-out keypad natively. Other early reviews in the Google Play Store are positive, with the exception of Galaxy Nexus owners – looks like the game might have some issues with Ice Cream Sandwich. You can download it now for a paltry $4.99, though you might want to save a couple of bucks for bandaging your blistered thumbs. Oh, and sorry, fighter fans: there’s no word on when Capcom will get around to releasing Street Fighter in the States.