Thoughit was never released on the American PSX, Real Bout Special is easily one ofthe best 2D fighters for the PSX... or anywhere. Up until the past couple ofyears, gamers avoided 2D fighters for the PSX like the plague, because the awfulgameplay due to the system's lack of RAM. Spending a few bucks more, they boughtthe import Saturn versions which were much more accurate translations of thearcades. After the somewhat weak conversions of King of Fighters 95, 96, SNK gotserious about the PSX. They changed the format of the game a bit, taking outsome things and adding others, most noticeably the inclusion of a new characternamed Alfred, and the return of Geese Howard, as well as some visually stunninganimation sequences. The result was the superb Real Bout Special.
RealBout Special sports some of the cleanest looking fighters in a PSX game, withalmost no noticeable missing frames of animation. The characters move fluidlythrough every punch, kick, and special move. The special attacks are downrightimpressive, easily rivaling those of Street Fighter Alpha 2 and 3. Thecharacters are big, and full of life. Their backgrounds are lavishly animated(snow falls in the Korea stage, amid dozens of training fighters) and reflectthe characters' personalities rather well.
Nomatter how pretty it looks, the most important thing in any fighting game incontrol, and Real Bout Special has it in spades. There is virtually no responsetime - the instant you hit the button, your character performs the move. Only afew of the Desperation Moves are cumbersome to execute (i.e. Geese's RaisingStorm), and after a little practice, you'll have them down in no time.
Overall,I was extremely impressed with Real Bout special. It's wide variety of fighters(21) and wonderful gameplay kept me playing for hours. Though the menus are inJapanese, this is a fighting game, so being bilingual is not essential. The loadtimes are very minimal, especially in comparison to the Neo Geo CD version ofthe game. Real Bout Special will be a delight for SNK fans who are tired of badconversions, fighting game diehards, and Fatal Fury fans alike. Definately filethis one under keeper.