Game: Kizuna Encounter - Super Tag Battle System: Neo Geo / Arcade Emulators: Kawaks, Nebula, Mame, or any other NeoGeo emulator This 1996 SNK release is the followup to 1995's "Savage Reign". With this, SNK seemed to put forth a lot more effort, and it shows, topping Savage Reign in almost every category. 10 characters, eight old, two new, are selctable, and the two bosses, King Leo and Jyazu, are selectable via a code(see further down). The two new characters, Rosa and Kim, are much better selections than the two characters they replaced from Savage Reign, Nicola and Carol. This time, however, you can select 2 fighters for battle. Depending on the characters you select, you may even have an extra, one v one fight against your partner if you beat the game. The graphics in this game are much better than in Savage Reign. Overall, stages have a darker atmosphere to them, giving the feeling of a more sinister storyline (even though there really isn't much of one) Character sprites are still large, and the zoom effect is carried over from SR as well. Control-wise, Kizuna encounter is simple, but very effective. A punches, B kicks, and C is for weapon attacks. C is also used with the joystick forward or back for throws. Pressing A+B together activates the "sway move", to avoid an enemies attack, while keeping you close enough for a quick counter. You can also press forward with A+B to circle around your opponent for a back attack. Combos and special moves in battle seem to flow fluidly and frequently for most characters, and each character has a wide variety of moves at their disposal. The D button this time is used to tag your partner into battle, but you may only tag characters when you are in the appropriate "zone", marked on the ground by a red or blue box. If you are taking a beating, and not near your designated tag zone, you could be in for even more punishment. In using the tag feature, I guess SNK decided to drop the two-tier level play that was found in Savage Reign. While the two-teir gameplay was fun, if I had to chose between it, and tag-play, I'd choose the latter. I like the sound in Kizuna Encounter better as well. It's a bit crisper sounding, and gives more of a "get into and kick the crap outta somebody" feel, to me at least.The sound effects are also improved over SR. Thankfully they kept in Mezu's and Gozu's "Fist of the North Star" voice effects. One other thing I want to mention, is the difficulty of the bosses. While King Lion in SR was no pushover, he is NOTHING compared to the likes of King Leo, and the end boss, Jyazu. In my opinion, King Leo is actually harder thatn Jyazu. His attacks are swift and deadly, and his combos can drain life in a flash. If you want to actually use these characters in the game, do the following: -On the character select screen, move to cursor to Mezu then highlight the following characters in this order- Mezu, Kim, Rosa, Gozu, Rosa, Kim, Mezu, Gordon, Joker, Eagle, Hayate, Chung, King Lion & Gozu. Now press D. You should listen Jyazu's laugh to confirm the code, now select Gozu and press Up to reveal Jyazu or select King Lion and press Up to reveal King Leo. Note though that if you choose either King Leo or Jyazu, you will not have a partner. Overall, this game is a blast to play, and kicks it's predecessor in every way. No Neo Geo fan should skip playing this game at least once, and once you do, it may become an underrated favorite. I highly recommend any fighting game fan try this game as well! Control: 9 Gameplay: 9 Graphics: 8.5 Sound: 7.5 Overall: 8.5 Grade: B Overall I give it a thumbs up!