A conversion of the 1992 Neo Geo game, Art of Fighting is based around two main characters - Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia who set out to find Ryo's kindapped sister. Gameplay consists of standard 3 rounds one-on-one beat 'em up action with a spirit gauge that is combo charged for special attack power (think Street Fighter II's Hadōken). Every couple of stages you also get the chance to increase your stats a little by playing one of three mini games. These are fairly simple and usually involve a bit of timing or button bashing.
If you thought Street Fighter II was an ambitions project for the PC Engine, then they must have been mental when they tried Art of Fighting. Those large sprites and full screen scaling of the Neo Geo...how can the humble Engine cope with that? Well with the help of the extra power given by the Arcade Card, they actually pulled it off in quite an impressive manner. Sprites are massive, well coloured and animated, holding up very well to the original. And believe it or not, they even got the scaling in as well! OK, so it's not real scaling, but it uses a very clever technique that squashes the graphics up a bit to give that impression. The effect can be a little jarring at first, but you have to give them a lot of credit for even trying it.
As this is a conversion of a pretty well-rounded beat 'em up, gameplay is solid and feels much more, how can I put it, 'proper' than games like Martial Champion. Now I've never been a big fan of one-on-one fighting games, so I admit that I do find it a bit frustrating, even on the easy setting, although no doubt beat 'em up lovers will be in their element. It does suffer in comparison to Street Fighter II in some respects - most notably variety. In Art of Fighting, you get to choose from only 2 characters and all the levels are played out in a specific order. Beat 'em ups are fairly linear by nature, and this type of game design only serves to compound the problem. However it makes up for that in other areas and your thumb will never be as sore as this in a long while.
MAX HEALTH: On the high score table, enter your name as ".SD". Then go to the character select screen, hold SELECT, push UP or DOWN to toggle the Haow-Ken mode, hold RUN then use UP or DOWN to alter your life bar.
MINI-GAME: Put in a non-Arcade Card to bring up the opening sequence, reset the machine with SELECT+RUN, and repeat. After the third time, the 'Daikon Cut' mini-game will appear.