In the mid-nineties, 2D fighting games were slowly losing their popularity. 3D was starting to catch on, and it looked like 2D was on its way out. Companies that created 2D fighters needed a gimmick to keep gamers popping in their quarters. This is when SNK and Capcom thought up something new. Why not turn to professional wrestling, and make a tag-team fighting game? This inspiration lead to SNK’s 1996 game, Kizuna Encounter.
Kizuna Encounter is the sequel to SNK’s equally lesser-known game Savage Reign. Even though I have never played the original Savage Reign myself, from what I’ve seen and read of Savage Reign, many of the first game’s characters are included. One unique aspect of Kizuna Encounter is its introduction of tag-teams into the 2D fighter. Many games throughout the years have used this type of gameplay (The King of Fighters series, and Capcom’s Vs series, among others), but Kizuna Encounter was one of the firsts to introduce mid game tagging, if not THE first.