|Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior||Stories||Gallery|
Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior, originally released in Japan as Ryuuko no Ken Gaiden (
One of the game's biggest selling points was the game's motion capturing system, allowing 2D sprites with fluid and believable animations. It is one of the few games that also doesn't have an arcade perfect transition for the Neo Geo CD, as it has slightly shrunken sprites and different shades of the color palette. However, it also featured voiced win quotes for each character and endings for Sinclair and Wyler.
This game is also the only one in the series to have a short CD drama.
A translation of the official story given by SNK is as follows:
Half a year has passed since the events of the "King of Fighters" tournament. Robert Garcia worked on improving his will power and trained in the Kyokugenryu dojo everyday. On his way to his date with Ryo's sister, Yuri, Robert roars up his beloved AC Cobra and takes an easy cruise along the coastline with opposing traffic. Just at that time, a man throws himself on the road in front of him.
Robert whirled his steering wheel to stop the cutting car and shields the pedestrian from the impact. What flew from the man was a woman's traveling bag. A girl, who ran up to Robert short of breath, came to retrieve it. "(Gasp, gasp) My bag... you saved it, didn't you? Thank you so much."
"Oh, so this is your bag then? So that guy then must've been a pickpocket. It's good that you got it back in one piece."
"Yes. I really don't know how to thank... Oh? That pendant..."
The girl, who spotted Robert's old pendant, wore a matching one around her neck.
"The same one as mine. Why do you..."
"When I was a child, I received it from a wealthy friend of mine. Before he left for America, he gave it to me so that we would never forget one another."
"Huh, that must mean that you're..."
"Yes, it's me, Robert. Freia Lawrence. Have you forgotten me?"
"Of course I haven't. It's just that you're different, Freia. You used to bully me around a lot. Your father doing well?"
"My father... he's dead."
"Sorry... didn't mean to upset you..."
"No, it's all right. I'm actually heading to Glasshill Valley. Wyler, one of Father's friends, is waiting there for me."
"Hmm, and why is that?"
She explained to him the reason why she needed to go to Glasshill Valley. Her father was an archeologist who seemed to have made a rare discovery in South America. In order to properly examine it, he teamed up with Victoria, a biologist and Wyler's father. They soon became best friends during their time together. However, as the research delved farther into its experiments, Freia's father wanted to discontinue their studies. The reason was simple: it was too dangerous. Since his views conflicted with Victoria's insistence to proceed, he left the laboratory with the project data. At the same time, he felt that he betrayed Victoria and regretted it for the rest of his life.
"As it's my father's final wish, I am going to return this research data to Wyler."
"Looks like you've got quite a load on your hands. Yeah, I should go and see Wyler too. Thinking about it now, it might not be too bad to say hello for old time's sake. Even if Glasshill Valley is nowhere near as dangerous Southtown, there still might be trouble. I think this calls for a bodyguard and I'll gladly fill the spot for you!"
Thus, Robert and Freia head to Wyler's mansion in Glasshill Valley.
"Ah, crap. I should've phoned Yuri first..."
The story switched focus from the Sakazakis to Robert Garcia. Garcia disappears to search for an old childhood friend, Freia Lawrence, and he tracks her to Glasshill, Mexico. Freia is wanted by the game's boss character, Wyler, to complete a powerful elixir that was created by his and Freia's fathers. The drug affects users in a similar manner as the potion in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
SPIRIT SYSTEM, PROVOCATION AND ULTIMATE K.O.
Much from its prequels had incorporated the Spirit System wherein spirit decreases due to special techniques but can be recovered by keeping your distance from your enemy. You can also tempt opponents to come to your area by provoking them, significantly depleting their spirit. Strategy combined with fighting creates a new chapter in head-to-head matches. Besides normal punches, kicks, and throws, each character has several death blows in their arsenal. These techniques deplete a portion of the player's spirit gauge. If ever the spirit level drops below green, these techniques dwindle in power and range considerably. Spirit can be recover slowly or by standing in place to charge it. Beware, you are very open to attack while charging!
In AOF 3, each character has unique arrays of special moves and Super Death Blows! These moves are strictly particular to the required remaining strength and level of the Rage Gauge in order to be usable, but marvel at their devastating results once you pull them off against your unsuspecting opponent!
You can also insult opponents to break away their spirit gauge. However, you are also open to attack while doing so. Strategic timing of taunts will enable you to gain control over the match once you had crippled you opponent from using his special techniques!
A new rule imposed in this game is the Ultimate K.O., wherein a fight can be terminated at once! If your opponent has less than 10% strength left, finish him off with a Super Death Blow. Knocking him out in that manner wins you the whole match, regardless of how many wins the opponent had or the number of rounds you need to win the match. Violent battles can never be this tense!
The new characters added to the roster are:
- Note 1: In Ryo's Story Mode, Sinclair fights in the Bar Santana stage.
- Note 2: When Wyler is chosen in Story Mode, Robert takes on Boss' role (by obvious reasons).
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Neo Geo AES version a 5 out of 10. They lambasted the game for its poor balance, with their biggest complaint being the new Ultra-Cool Attacks, since they are easy to execute, cannot be blocked, and deal a massive amount of damage. They further criticized that the game lacks originality and innovation, failing to distinguish itself from the deluge of 2D fighting games coming out at the time.
A reviewer for Next Generation saw no problem with the game's balance but concurred that it is "too similar to every other 2D fighting game on the market". He gave the Neo Geo AES version three out of five stars. According to Famitsu, the Neo Geo CD version sold over 20,877 copies in its first week on the market.
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