Art of Fighting is the second fighting game recreated by SNK, and one of the precursors to the King of Fighters series, along with Fatal Fury. The SNES version is a port of the original Neo Geo arcade version of the game.
The Art of Fighting series is a prequel to the Fatal Fury series; however, when the plots of both were combined to create the background for the King of Fighters series, the timeline was changed so that both were set around the same time.
In Art of Fighting, Ryo Sakazako and his training partner and friend, Robert Garcia, fight through a series of opponents in order to face Mr. Big, who has kidnapped Ryo's sister, Yuri. Mr Big has been offended both Ryo and Ryo's father, Takuma, who've refused to work for him. After defeating Mr. Big, Ryo or Robert face Mr. Karate and the game ends in a cliff-hanger in which Yuri defends Mr. Karate, while about to reveal his identify.
Characters include: Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Ryuhaku Todoh, Jack Turner, King, Lee Pai Long, John Crawley, Micky Rogers, Mr. Big and Mr. Karate.
Art of Fighting has both a single player and a 2 player vs mode. In the vs mode, each player can choose from any of the 8 available fighters. In the single player story mode, only Ryo and Robert are playable.
The game features some interesting features new to fighting games, including a super move that can be learned from completing a bonus round in which you have to perform the new move five times after being shown it. Another unique move is the desperation attack, which can only be preformed when the player is low on health. The game features a spirit gauge that is used to perform special attacks - the gauge slowly refills over the battle - and a taunt attack, which drains the opponent's spirit gauge.
A big graphical feature that Art of Fighting introduced to the genre is sprite scaling. The feature created an effect where the characters and backgrounds would get smaller so that more of the screen could be displayed when characters move away from each other.
The SNES version of the game featured an extended ending which removes the cliff hanger and more closely tied the game's story to the story of Art of Fighting 2. In the SNES game, the English localization was censored. Locations had their names changed (Mac's Bar was changed to Mac's Cafe), the No Smoking sign in Todo's stage was removed and the player can no longer expose King's bra without the use of a special or super move. The driving scenes were also removed.
Art of Fighting was followed-up with 2 sequels for the Neo Geo. Art of Fighting 1 is available in many different forms now: it's part of the SNK Classics Collection for Wii and PS2, the Art of Fighting Anthology for PS2, downloadable on Wii Virtual Console and the Neo Geo Station on PS3. Characters from Arti of Fighting along with another SNK series Fatal Fury formed the cast for the King of Fighters series.