The Legacy of Art of Fighting

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Well, here we are at the end of Art of Fighting week. I hope you enjoyed the history and reviews and today we’ll end with a short post about what this series contributed to the genre. If you read the previous entries this week, then you can come to the conclusion that Art of Fighting may not be a great series but it is an intriguing one and it did things other fighting games didn’t.

The Art of Fighting series was the first series to try to have a dialog heavy storyline. It wasn’t a fighting tournament like the other games in the genre at the time. The second game would go with this format but the first and third game have a narrative that followed the personal agenda of the characters, especially the first game.

This series also introduced desperation moves. The first game had a move for Ryo and Robert called the Ryuuko Ranbu. This was the first fighting game to have a special move that was above the others. This can be seen as the first super move. Super moves wouldn’t truly start being used until Super Street Fighter II Turbo, which was released a couple of years later. The other characters in the game would receive their own desperation moves later in the series.

Probably the biggest contribution the series gave to fighting games is the Spirit/Rage/Chi bar. It goes by different names but the premise to limit the amount of special moves you can do is why super moves have a chargeable bar. Many fighting games have these bars in order to do other moves such as Super Combos in Street Fighter, an X-Ray attack in Mortal Kombat or a powered up attack like in Samurai Shodown. All of those systems originated from the Art of Fighting games, name change notwithstanding. Call it a super bar, a rage gauge, or a power gauge, it was originally the Art of Fighting’s spirit bar.

Despite all these innovations, for some reason, Art of Fighting has been seen as a secondary fighting series. The characters from the games achieved true success as part of the King of Fighters series. Ryo however, has been actually mocked by Capcom as a rip off of their own Ryu character from Street Fighter. In response, Capcom actually created a character named Dan as a mockery of Ryo. He’s completely worthless, as all of his moves are lesser copies of Ryu and Ken’s moves. His fireball is like Ryo’s when his spirit bar is completely depleted, which is to say it travels maybe an inch, obviously taunting the spirit bar system. Dan’s uppercut attack lacks range, like Ryo’s (because real fighters can launch themselves 10 feet forward). Dan’s flying kick attack also is relatable to Ryo’s, although a bit different. It’s true Ryo and Ryu share a similar name and karate gi but their respective games are quite different. I personally think AoF doesn’t deserve the slack it sometimes gets.

I think I’ve mentioned it in everyone of my previous posts this week but I highly recommend you pick up the Art of Fighting Anthology collection on the PS2. It gives you all three games in the series and it’s super cheap. It’s cheaper than the games by themselves on the PSN and Wii Virtual Console. The series deserves your time, especially if you’re a fighting game fan or SNK fan. This series is just different from other fighters. Other games, you can say it’s similar to Marvel vs. Capcom, or Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat or Guilty Gear. Art of Fighting stands on it’s own as a unique fighter. But that’s just me. What do you guys think? Do you enjoy them? Have you not heard of them before this week? Comment and let me know how you think the Art of Fighting games have stood the test of time.

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