Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle

REVIEWKizuna Encounter is considered the sequel to Savage Reign, even though it obviously has a completely different name. (This is probably because Savage Reign pretty much flopped during the era of rampant "me too" 90's fighting games). Kizuna Encounter brings back all of the characters from the original Savage Reign and adds 3 newcomers: Kim Sue Il, Rosa and Jyazu.


Gordon... your chest needs a haircut.


Like Savage Reign, Kizuna Encounter plays like a variety of SNK fighting games. I'd say the gameplay is most comparable to Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown, and King of Fighters. Unlike Savage Reign, Kizuna Encounter allow players to choose 2 characters to form a team and swap them on the spot. In addition to the Tag-Team gameplay, new defensive maneuvers have been added to the original gameplay formula, including Dodging / Rolling. In terms of gameplay speed, Kizuna Encounter plays a bit faster than Savage Reign and is arguably more fun.

The roster of 12 characters is rather small, but the large character sprites and hard-drawn 2D backgrounds create a pretty unique aesthetic. Characters who are "tagged out" also appear in the background during battles - a cool visual element borrowed from the likes of KOF. While most characters returning from Savage Reign fall into the realm of "weird" in terms of their designs... newcomers like Rosa and Kim Sue Il add some much needed "coolness" to the game. 


Where are your muscles, Tung Fu Rue?


Kizuna Encounter
was one of those obscure mid-90's fighting games that never quite took off. The bizarre, and arguably uninspired character designs, along with the "mix-up" of SNK graphical & gameplay elements that have been done before (and arguably better), weren't enough to make Kizuna Encounter really "stand out" from the crowd. The Tag-Team gameplay and decent combo system is one of the game's strong points... but the truly epic X-Men VS Street Fighter was already doing it better several months prior (and was taking all the money from hardcore fighting game crowd). I know I didn't have any extra change for Kizuna Encounter in 1996. Maybe if SNK was able to throw the roster of AOF / AOF2 into the mix (which wouldn't make sense with Kizuna Encounter's timeline but would work aesthetically), maybe Kizuna Encounter's roster would've been more attractive.




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Page Updated: September 12th, 2023
Developer(s): SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Platform(s): Arcade, NeoGeo, PS2, PS4, Xbox One, Wii VC, Switch
Release Date(s): Sept. 20th, 1996           Arcade
Nov. 7th, 1996
June 21st, 2007              in Fu'un Super Combo - PS2
June 28th, 2011              Wii Virtual Console
Dec. 20th, 2016              in Fu'un Super Combo - PS4
Jan. 10th, 2019             Switch / XB1 /    PS4
Characters Sho Hayate, Kim Sue Il, Rosa, Gordon Bowman, Chung Paifu, Gozu, Mezu, Joker, Max Eagle, Nicola Zaza, King Lion, Jyazu

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Savage Reign, Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 4, Ninja Master's, Fighters History, World Heroes, Power Instinct 2, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Golden Axe: The Duel, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, Galaxy Fight

Gameplay Engine

 7.0 / 10

Story / Theme

 6.5 / 10

Overall Graphics

 5.0 / 10


 6.5 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 6.0 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Art Direction

 6.0 / 10


 4.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 4.0 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 5.0 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 5.0 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 5.5 / 10


 4.5 / 10


 6.0 / 10



Final Words:

Kizuna Encounter's tag-team gameplay was halfway decent for the time... but neither the roster or the gameplay could hold a candle to the likes of X-Men VS Street Fighter, released around the same time. Aesthetically, Kizuna Encounter didn't quite stand out amongst most other 2D fighting games of the era, and seemed "dated" upon its release.

There are still some charming aspects of Kizuna Encounter, with large 2D sprites and nicely detailed hand-drawn backgrounds worth checking out. However, neither the gameplay or roster could really stand on its own. Even so, Kizuna Encounter is an "interesting" SNK fighting game that's worth a look for SNK / Arcade historians.

On the bright side, several characters from this series eventually crossed over to future SNK fighting games, including: The King of Fighters XI and Neo Geo Battle Coliseum - where they were given brand new sprites & animations. This was no doubt a pretty cool fan service for old school players who actually remember this obscure game.

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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