Game Review

Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Third time's a charm?

Art of Fighting sprang onto the Neo Geo arcade scene in 1993 and brought with it several innovations that would become a staple of future Neo fighting titles. For one thing the game featured huge character sprites, some spanning nearly the height of the screen. It also introduced the now famous SNK zoom system that would keep the game zooming in and out based on the proximity of the two fighters.

The Art of Fighting series has always had one common denominator — the gameplay system has always been simple and efficient. Art of Fighting 3 is no different. Its simple PUNCH, KICK, STRONG MOVE, and TAUNT system is still in effect and just seems to make everything work quite well together. Perhaps SNK was trying to do something Street Fighter II didn't do when it put the game's mechanics system together, but either way, it offers up a very playable experience that fighting game fans of just about any skill level can get into.

Not to be mistaken, there is depth to Art of Fighting 3. Even with the simple gameplay engine, there are plenty of combos and throws to make use of. Even with the simple punch and kick system, you can still string together combination attacks to take your opponent down, not to mention sidestepping and hitting your foe when they're prone on the floor — a common feature of 3D fighting games in years to come.

There's not a lot of fluff to the Art of Fighting package, but whether you choose to go it alone or take on an opponent, there's plenty of challenge to be had. The story mode is simple, so don't expect a lot of flashy animations and cut-scenes, but you'll get enough to keep you plugging along as you make your way through the game's various fighters.

The improved responsiveness is a nice touch up to an already intriguing fighting game. Art of Fighting has always been about big fighters and intense action, but the smoother touch displayed here — along with the easy-to-access gameplay — make for a much more enjoyable experience. SNK would continue to smooth things out in later fighting game releases, but it's nice to see that they put some time into getting this third and final release in the Art of Fighting series right.

Visually, there's a lot to like in Art of Fighting 3. The same huge character sprites that the series is so well known for are all intact, but this time the developers were able to improve the animations and give the backdrops a bit more life and detail. The zooming function is still impressive and when you take into account the amazing backdrops, it really adds a nice graphical dimension to the experience that fans of the series should appreciate.

There are plenty of great synthesized rock tracks in the game, as any fan of the series will obviously expect. The voice announcer is decent, but it's the individual character voices that start to grate on your ears after awhile. It's nothing too detrimental to the overall experience, but it is one facet of the game that leaves you'll wish SNK had given a bit more attention to.


Art of Fighting 3 does take some chances, but still doesn't deviate too far from the tried-and-tested gameplay the series has featured in past releases. The visuals are impressive and everything is smoother and more responsive than ever, but it's probably not as big a step up as some might expect given the fact that it's the third and final release in the series. While still certainly not up to the standard of King of Fighters '98 or Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Art of Fighting 3 still represents the pinnacle of a series that really took SNK into the same playing field as Capcom — something the developer constantly strived for.

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User Comments (13)



SheldonRandoms said:

The Invincible Dragon and Raging Tiger, are back, to fight again...........

I always enjoined the art of fighting games, and even though this is the last one in the series, at least some of the characters returned in the King of Fighters series.



retro_player_22 said:

Sadly this is the only Art of Fighting game that I actually like, the first two games were kinda so-so at best.



masterLEON said:

The animation of the huge sprites was superb on this, the last of the series. Only Garou would be better, albeit smaller, when it came out late in the Neo Geo's lifespan. They even used Ryo's and Robert's sprites from here as a basis for their sprites from KoF '96 onwards.



CanisWolfred said:

Definitely a big improvement as I recall, and I'll pick it up sooner than later, but it's still not that great.



gojiguy said:

This game has some of the slickest animation in fighters. I'll pick it up soon.



Zodiak13 said:

I remember laying these on my Neo Geo, and I always sucked at these type of fighting games. being that I was one of the only people in town w/ one, everyone came over to play. The AOF series never interested me, and less so now. It's amazing how I feel like I wasted a lot of money on that console, because it never was that much fun to me, and it cost a lot of $$$!



sinalefa said:

Loved the first two but i could never get into this one. I feel this one took a risk that did not pay off. They removed all the characters but the main two, something that capcom would do in sfiii. Personally i did not like any of these newcomers, unlike sfiii and garou.

I wish snk playmore would return to this and fatal fury



misswliu81 said:

@sinalefa i wish the same as well, but sadly under the current SNK, it would never happen.

D4 enterprise need to keep bringing the neo geo games on the wii and/or wii U V.C.



Dpullam said:

I like how they review games that have been released before. I don't always check reviews from years ago to get answers for certain games so this helps to give a good idea of said games. Also because I have never heard of this game either. I'm just not really into fighting games all that much besides Super Smash Bros.

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