Bitmap Books have teamed up with SNK to brings fans an amazing visual history for The King Of Fighters series
Image: Bitmap Books)
The King Of Fighters: The Ultimate History
Bitmap Books have an amazing talent for creating brilliant visual homages for some of the most loved retro titles in video game history.
This time around they have set their sights on creating a visual celebration for the legendary series The King Of Fighters. SNK’s The King Of Fighters is a long-running fighting games series that began in 1994 on the Neo Geo MVS arcade hardware.
The game was sort of SNK’s first crossover fighter as it featured characters from other games such as Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury.
It became SNK’s main fighting games series in the year 2000 after the release of the final Fatal Fury game, Garou: Mark of the Wolves.
Since then The King of Fighter series has gone from strength to strength racking up a total of fifteen main entry games, several spin-off titles and even crossovers with other fighting game heavyweights such as Street Fighter.
It’s safe to say that The King Of Fighters has cemented itself as one of the best fighting games series with its ever-growing legacy.
This is why Bitmap Books were met with such adulation when they announced they would be collating this illustrious history into one of their amazing books.
The King Of Fighters: The Ultimate History looks to be the biggest visual celebration of the series’ legacy, which comes in two editions, the Standard and All Star.
We were lucky enough to take a look at the Standard Edition book before preorders go live on 9th May.
Those who are able to pick up one of the All Star Editions will be treated to an amazing electronic slipcase that includes a series of touch panels on its fascia, which when pressed, play in-game sound effects.
Fans will also receive a set of A4 prints featuring artwork from various KOF games and a postcard illustrated by Eisuke Ogura.
To top it all off the prints come in a white invitation envelope, complete with an imitation seal from The King Of Fighters 94.
The book is huge measuring 210mm × 297mm and features an astonishing 544 pages. It is protected in a strong hardback cover featuring a splendid illustrated image of Kyo Kusanagi.
It is held together by a sewing binding which is perfect for double page reading whilst also ensuring quality. Bitmap Books have also included a bookmark ribbon that matches the turquoise colour scheme of the spine.
The King Of Fighters: The Ultimate History starts off with a brief introduction to the book and the King of Fighters series.
But it is after this when the fan service begins as the next load of pages is filled with interviews and great quotes from the likes of Takashi Nishiyama, Masaaki Kukino, Masanori Kuwasashi, Toyohisa Tanabe and more.
There are more intimate one on one interviews conducted by Bitmap books towards the end of the book which are a fascinating read that will give fans of the series a real insight into how the game came to be and the challenges the directors faced.
The interviews are decorated with dazzling images of characters, levels and gaming art which acts as a visual commentary for the interviews.
The main feature of the book is the images and Bitmap Books has really gone all out here with an abundance of art from each of the games showcasing graphical changes throughout the years.
I especially love the character art section as it didn’t just include the artwork itself but lots of information I didn’t know about each character.
There is a pleasant mix of character conception sketches, pixel character models and promotional art.
Fans will be really impressed with the quality of the images, especially the older pixel art which really leaps off the pages.
The colour scheme of black, white and turquoise worked well with the colours really complementing each other without being overbearing.
As the book is picture focused I found that the sizing and the positioning of the captions were adequate as they gave all the images breathing room while still being easy to read at the same time.
Verdict 5/ 5
The King Of Fighters: The Ultimate History is like having a historic museum on your bookshelf.
Each page is packed with stunning imagery and excellent information that brazenly celebrates this gaming series.
This is a must-buy for fans of the game and a great purchase for video game enthusiasts.
The King Of Fighters: The Ultimate History can be ordered from Bitmap’s Books website from 9 May