King of Fighters 2006

As far as characters go, KOF 2006 sports an even mix of old and new faces. Fan favorites like Terry Bogard, Iori Yagami and stick-wielding Billy Kane return alongside more recent fighters like Rock Howard and the obnoxiously cute Mignon Beart. There are, of course, a few new scrappers along as well, including Nagase - a sort of techno-ninja girl with little round glasses and a froggy alternate costume - and Luise Meyrink, a weirdly pretty butterfly lady.

Old or new, all of the fighters look great and animate smoothly - which, to be fair, is more than you can say for their 2D counterparts these days. There's also plenty of laughably over-the-top boobular jiggling, which should please every last longtime fan of half-dressed ninja Mai Shiranui.

And hey, if you need extra reassurance that publisher SNK Playmore hasn't forgotten its fans, consider that one of the bonus game modes has you punching out the jumping tank from Metal Slug. We're not sure yet if it's an unlockable character, but the thought of stomping the game's effeminate bosses under our giant steel treads is irresistible.

Rounding out the package are a ton of unlockable costumes and bonus modes, which should hopefully cushion some of the inevitable fallout over the shift to 3D. In any case, we're looking forward to seeing how this shapes up for its stateside release in August.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.