Art of Fighting (originally Ryuuko no Ken) was another venture by SNK in 2D fighting released in 1992. The first game, like the first Fatal Fury, featured only a limited number of playable story characters (two) but the other characters were selectable in versus mode. It is also one of the first 2D fighters to use camera zooming when the players moved to opposite ends of the screen. The story (a prequel to Fatal Fury) is set in 1978 in fictional South Town and follows Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia as they attempt to find and rescue Ryo's sister Yuri. Many years earlier Ryo and Yuri's father disappeared and Ryo has been taking care of her ever since. Ryo and Robert scour South Town and fight several adversaries until they confront Mr. Big, a henchman for upcoming crime boss Geese Howard, and the mysterious Mr. Karate. The first (Neo Geo) game ends in a cliffhanger as the identity of Mr Karate is not revealed until Art of Fighting 2. The Super Nintendo version had a complete story where you find out immediately that Mr. Karate is really Takuma Sakazaki and that (according to the SNES story) he is responsible for the death of Jeff Bogard (per Geese's orders) as Geese was unable to defeat Jeff. Art of Fighting has the first real super move and also features the desperation move first used in Fatal Fury 2.
Art of Fighting 2 was released in 1994 and featured almost all of the original cast (Todoh was missing) and sported three new playable characters and one secret character. The story picks up one year after AOF 1 with the revelation that Mr. Karate is Takuma Sakazaki, the father of Yuri and Ryo. Yuri Sakazaki is now training in the ways of Kyokugen Karate. There is a tournament taking place, The King of Fighters. It promises fame and fortune to the winner. Ryo and Robert are invited to compete along with several other individuals that they are very familiar with. The final (secret) boss is revealed to be none other than a young Geese Howard.
Art of Fighting 3 was released in 1996 and was the last game made in the series. The game used all new hand drawn sprites and features some of the best looking and smoothest animation of any hand drawn 2D fighting game. The focus of the story has shifted from the Sakazaki's to Robert Garcia as he spends the game helping an old childhood friend, Freia Lawrence. The only returning playable characters are Ryo and Robert however Yuri Sakazaki makes a small cameo in Robert's ending. There are eight new playable characters with Kasumi Todoh being the only one featured in the King of Fighters series from AOF3.
King of Fighters
As the Art of Fighting Trilogy is a prequel to the Fatal Fury series, the characters are shown unaged when they are used in the King of Fighters series. The rivalries from the other series still exist, but dates are not used other than the years (up until 2003 that is). The following AOF characters are featured in the King of Fighters series:
Several area's from the AOF series have been featured in the King of Fighters series (as well as the character's making a cameo in the background).