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The Path Of The Warrior: Art Of Fighting 3/ Art Of Fighting: Ryuuko No Ken Gaiden
© 1996 SNK Corporation
Review by Kitsune Sniper

The final game in the series, Art Of Fighting 3 shows what the aging Neo-Geo hardware can do.
Unfortunately, that didn't help it much at the arcades.

The star of Art Of Fighting 3 is Robert Garcia and Ryo Sakazaki is diminished to second fiddle, in a very different story to the usual AOF fare. No one but Ryo, Robert and Yuri appear in this game.

Story: 8
This time around, Robert has left, and no one knows where he is. There is a rumor that he is in Mexico, so Yuri and Ryo go to investigate. Robert was looking for a childhood friend named Freia, but he is not the only one looking for her... This is the background for The King Of Fighters '96, and Robert comes sporting his new outfit.

But strangely...there's no story in the arcade version. The home version has extra dialogue before the fights when you're using Robert or Ryo, but the Arcade version does not. Why? Who knows. They probably forgot.

Graphics: 10
This is by far one of the most graphically detailed games on the Neo-Geo. All of the characters are finely detailed, all of the backgrounds are well drawn, and the animations have an extremely high frame rate. Also, SNK used motion-capture technology to create the character animations, and it shows. This game does not fall short of animations?! Did I mention that it has animations for everything?

The scaling problem that was present in the past games is here as well, but SNK did its best to minimize it.

Gameplay: 9
The controls have been tweaked enough that you feel like you're playing a 'Virtua' game [like Tekken 3, Virtua Fighter, Street Fighter EX]. This means that you must use joystick combinations to fully use your character. The result gives you complete control over your character's moves, and this adds to the replay value of the game.

Now for the bad part...
The game suffers from heavy "SNK-itis". This means that the game, when set to a high level, turns nearly impossible to beat. Wyler, the final boss, is already very difficult at Level 4, and at Level 8 he reminds me of Omega Rugal from KOF 95... hard as hell! That is the only reason I don't grade it with a 10.

I thought that they couldn't improve on Art Of Fighting 2's music, but SNK proved me wrong - AOF3 sports great music, though some are remixes from other in-game locations. The ending medleys are well done, and stand out from the rest for being slow, yet beautiful to the ear.

Overall: 9
This game missed perfection by a bald frog's hair. The game can hold your attention, and it has become a classic all by itself. It's a true shame that SNK has left this series to die.