If you're a fan of fighting games, it's a great deal to get the combo pack of The King of Fighters 2002 and 2003. There are tons of characters, tons of stages, and quite interesting fighting action.
First, the gameplay. This is traditional 2D fighting where you move left and right across the screen, bashing your opponent down to zero health. Different characters have different moves and techniques. You can choose three characters to tag-team between, using each character's advantages as appropriate.
The graphics aren't of course as great as modern releases. The characters are cartooney and rather jagged on the edges. The backgrounds are mostly static, with random little movements to add some life. There are an interesting variety of them, but they are not nearly as fantastically detailed as modern games are.
The sounds are very simple. Bash. Slash. A repetitive musical score plays along with you. It has a very arcadey feel to it.
But really, you don't get this game to have a cutting edge experience. You get it for the fun history of this series, and for the down and dirty arcade fun of button mashing. You don't even really notice what the background is when you are setting up for a tag-team in for the ultimate kill.
They have a nice mix of male and female characters, something I always appreciate. I do have to say that the females seem to fall into two categories - precocious girl or big-breasted bouncy babe. I suppose sometimes progress comes slowly.
Also, the pacing is a bit uneven. You can go through several matches without any problem at all - and then slam into an enemy that seems completely unbeatable. It would be nicer for younger players especially if they ramped up the difficulty at a consistent level.
Still, this is a great combo pack to really appreciate what The King of Fighters is all about. You can probably pick it up at a discount, so grab a copy, have fun playing for hours and hours with your friends, and get to know the characters before the next version comes out!
Buy The King of Fighters 2002/2003 from Amazon.com