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King of Fighters 2006

You just can't please some people. First, new-school fighting fans complained that SNK's King of Fighters series was stuck forever in 2D. Then when King of Fighters: Maximum Impact took the series into the third dimension at last, they didn't like that either. Hopefully, everybody will be happy with King of Fighters 2006, due out this summer.

Granted, we barely know enough to tell whether or not the second foray into 3D will please anyone at all. In Japan, KOF2006 is merely known as Maximum Impact II, so it's fair to assume that most, if not all, of the 20 fighters that appeared in the original will reappear, especially considering that the character roster has nearly doubled to 38. Some of those characters are hidden and must be unlocked, but you can still expect to see shiny, rendered versions of favorites like red-capped Terry Bogard, the fireball-spewing Kyo Kusanagi, and busty Mai Shiranui.

But the name change is ominous for fans of the traditional 2D fighters - this is the first entry in the series to feature a year and 3D graphics, and the Maximum Impact storyline was independent of the main annual plotlines. Is SNK shifting the focus of its star fighting franchise? And if it does, will anyone care, as long as pretty people keep beating the hell out of each other? We'll know more as we get closer to the summer release window; until they, enjoy the sexy screens.

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