It’s really nice of SNK to not only give us a totally free character for the King of Fighters XV but also a rather substantial amount of content to go with him. Not only are you getting a very popular character in Omega Rugal, one of SNK’s most notorious bosses from the King of Fighters series, but you also get a new Boss Challenge mode where you get to face off against a souped up version of the character. Also, beating the Boss Challenge mode will unlock several items like a new costume for Omega Rugal, a brand new stage and a new background tune! Honestly, this is really big of SNK to do this and I hope other fighting game companies take their lead and do the same in the future.
Of course, this does mean I have the opportunity to look through everything SNK is giving us. How does Omega Rugal stand up against the rest of the cast? Does the Boss Challenge live up to the hype of the entire SNK Boss Syndrome expectation? Is Omega Rugal’s additional costume worth going through the hardship of the Boss Challenge mode? Are the new stages and background music any good? Well, let’s go take a look at each of these points individually!
The first thing I do want to talk about is the Boss Challenge mode as, besides the new character, this was the content I was looking forward to the most. I have heard the legends of SNK Boss Syndrome and how the previous bosses from other SNK fighters and the King of Fighters series in general were notoriously overpowered and difficult to beat. I was wondering how I would stack up. Would I throw my controller through the wall in frustration because of how cheap this version of Omega Rugal is? I was expecting to spend around an hour figuring out tactics and finding a way a cheap way to defeat him.
I figured it out in 15 minutes.
I can’t help but feel a little cheated by this. I was expecting to truly get irate with how impossible Omega Rugal was going to be from the Boss Challenge. Instead, I was immediately able to figure out a glaring weakness in his moveset and exploit it as long as I had the right character. It turns out I wasn’t alone in my disappointment as most pro players were able to beat the Boss Challenge in the same amount of time it took me or less.
Considering they were straight out using skill instead of cheap tactics, it does show SNK did tone down SNK Boss Syndrome this time around. I know some people still think he’s difficult but, from what I’ve seen, he’s still very beatable. That’s both a good and a bad thing. A lot of people, such as myself was expecting to go through hell and, while not a cakewalk, he wasn’t all that challenging. It’s still a good confidence boost for scrubs like me and you do get some additional stuff for beating him. So, yeah. It’s a fun mode and he can be tough if you don’t cheap him out… but it doesn’t change the fact the Boss Challenge mode can be overcome by even a scrub such as myself.
I guess we do have to talk about how Omega Rugal looks, both in and out of his DLC costume. I do like the garish fishnet shirt as it fits his attitude. It shouldn’t work but, since he’s so confident he can pull it off, it works. I don’t get the loose suspenders, though. I do like the red glowing eye and how it integrates into one of his special attacks as he can shoot a laser from out of it. I also love he has a mustache and I’m just a smidge disappointed it’s not long enough to twirl around his finger like a cartoon bad guy.
His DLC costume, however, is hilarious looking! I mean, the metal shoulder pads over the royal looking bathrobe is a little too much, isn’t it? He also is wearing metal forearm guards and there’s a cut cable attached to his back! I guess he’s supposed to look like some kind of cyborg now but he looks more like a preschool kid designed his DLC costume while watching an episode of the Power Rangers! It’s just too over the top and makes him looks childish instead of menacing.
Let’s now touch on the actual meat and potatoes of this DLC meal: Omega Rugal as a character. Despite his reputation, I don’t see him as a top tier character. He’s high up on the list but I don’t see him being a purely dominating character. He has some really good long-ranged normals, up close, both his heavy attack do 2 hits, making it easy to hit confirm them. His overhead command normal is kind of weird, though, as he does an initial strike first before doing the overhead move, making really observant players block appropriately when they see the first hit connect.
His regular special attacks are rather lackluster if you don’t use any meter. His Reppu Ken is a low projectile which is good for pushing opponents away as well as hitting crouchers. It’s negative on block, though, so it can be dangerous to use up close. His Violent Ray is the opposite as it’s plus on block but can only high opponents who are standing, limiting its use. It can be great for opponents who are jumping at you, thinking of going over a Reppu Ken, so mixing between the two might be a necessity. His Dark Barrier reflects all kinds of projectiles, even EX versions. The light version also comes out very fast and has good range, making it good for ending combos wherein you want to push your opponent away.
Of course, the jewel of his special attacks is the fabled Genocide Cutter. This is a superb move as it seems fully invincible throughout the attack animation, comes out almost instantly, does a lot of damage, is an excellent anti-air and a really good combo ender. If the Genocide Cutter does have a weakness is that you can’t really use it to extend the combo. You can tack on his Desperate Ray Super Combo if you’re quick enough as it hits opponents who are lying on the ground but I don’t think it’s worth the meter.
Things are a little bit different if Omega Rugal does have meter, however. Once he does and you’re willing to spend it, that’s when he can get downright scary. I didn’t talk about his Violent Rush earlier because it doesn’t seem all that useful usually but, if you power it up with some meter, this becomes an excellent attack as it pops the opponent into the air, leading to all kinds of juggle shenanigans. The EX version can whiff at a certain distance and Omega Rugal will appear behind his opponent so you can’t just throw it out there willy-nilly. The EX Dark Barrier, if it hits an opponent, will cause a crumple state, enabling you to continue the combo. Even his projectiles, especially in the corner, can be dangerous if powered up with some EX meter.
This does mean Omega Rugal would be suited for more of the anchor of the team as the other team members need to build up the meter for him to be useful. I know SNK had to tone him down so as they wouldn’t outright ban him from future King of Fighters XV tournament play. However, I do think they went a little too far nerfing him. He’s still strong, especially with meter, but not as fearsome as I thought he would turn out.
The new stage, Strange Plateau, doesn’t fit with the Omega Rugal bundle. It is a gorgeous stage, I will admit. All the glowing background lights and the eerie glow lends a lot of atmosphere but it has no significance to Omega Rugal, in my opinion. It looks more like the area where Team Sacred Treasures got together and re-sealed Orochi in the ending of King of Fighters XIV. A more fitting stage would have been the Sky Noah, Rugal’s flying fortress from the very first King of Fighters game. The opposite can be said for his theme songs, which is unlocked when beating his Boss Challenge mode. I’ve heard SNK and the King of Fighters games have been known for their memorable songs and this one is a really good one. Not all that memorable but it does have really good beat and does get the blood pumping. I guess I was expecting something a little more grand and dramatic but it’s good nonetheless.
What do you think of the Omega Rugal DLC bundle for King of Fighters XV? Let me know in the comments section below!