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Page 1:
Intro
Characters

Page 2:
The King of Fighters '94
The King of Fighters '95
The King of Fighters '96

Page 3:
The King of Fighters '97
The King of Fighters '98
The King of Fighters '99

Page 4:
The King of Fighters 2000
The King of Fighters 2001
The King of Fighters 2002

Page 5:
The King of Fighters 2003
The King of Fighters NeoWave
The King of Fighters XI

Page 6:
The King of Fighters XII
The King of Fighters XIII

Page 7:
Game Boy
Neo Geo Pocket
Game Boy Advanced
Mobile Games

Page 8:
KOF Maximum Impact
KOF Maximum Impact 2
KOF Maximum Impact Reg. A

Page 9:
Quiz King of Fighters
The King of Fighters Kyo
Battle de Paradise
King of Fighters Online
KOF Sky Stage

Page 10:
KOF Another Day (Anime)
Movie
Manga / Comics
Crossovers

Back to the Index


Nettou The King of Fighters '95 / The King of Fighters '95 - Game Boy (1996)

Japanese Cover

American Cover

Now, honestly, the 16-bit systems weren't powerful enough to handle the King of Fighters games, so what chance would the wimpy Gameboy have? As expected, not much, although developer Takara sure tried. Nettou King of Fighters 95 (also released in the USA as plain ol "King of Fighters 95") manages to squeeze sixteen playable fighters, but they're all about a centimeter high and almost impossible to distinguish from one other. All of the characters are presented in a cute super deformed art-style, but none of this shows up in the actual game. Not only is the fighting clumsy, but the fights tend to last forever, since attacks do practically no damage. Nakoruru from Samurai Shodown shows up as a hidden character, but otherwise this one has absolutely nothing going for it.

Oddly, Takara's SNK ports for the Game Boy were among the games that made best use of the Super Game Boy's palette capabilities. When playing on a SNES through the device, the title and character select screens appear more colorful than would have seemed possible. In game, different colors are assigned to the various status bars. The main screen still has to make do with four colors, but at least the characters are colored differently to make them more easily distinguishable. Finally, two player mode is supported by using two SNES controllers, other than most games who lost their multiplayer capabilities on the Super Game Boy. But well, it's still playing a Game Boy fighting game on the SNES, finding two people who'd even want that wouldn't be easy...

Quick Info:

Developer:

Gaibrain

Publisher:

Takara

Director:

Hirofumi Kasakawa
Akihiko Kimura

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Urban Fantasy


Nettou The King of Fighters '95

Nettou The King of Fighters '95


Nettou The King of Fighters '96 / The King of Fighters: Heat of Battle - Game Boy (1997)

Japanese Cover

European Cover

This is pretty much the same as the earlier Gameboy title, except with a new roster to match KoF '96. Many of the regulars are swapped out for that extra variety, and Mr. Karate shows up as a hidden character, but otherwise, it's once again entirely unremarkable. It does make even more effective use of Super Game Boy palettes than its predecessor, and features different borders depending on certain variables. Takara's two games certainly are among the best fighting games for the classic Game Boy, but you know what they say about the one-eyed being the king in the country of the blind...

Nettou The King of Fighters '96 has been released in Europe as The King of Fighters: Heat of Battle in Europe, but it's quite a rare cartdridge, while the States somehow managed to carry on without getting the game. There's also a ROM floating out there called "The King of Fighters '97", which is just a pirate hack, combining characters from 95 and 96 into one game.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Gaibrain

Publisher:

Takara

Director:

Hirofumi Kasakawa

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Urban Fantasy


Nettou The King of Fighters '96

Nettou The King of Fighters '96

Nettou The King of Fighters '96

Nettou The King of Fighters '96


The King of Fighters R-1 - Neo Geo Pocket (1998)

Japanese Cover

After seeing how well King of Fighters worked on the Gameboy (which is to say, it didn't), SNK took an entirely different approach to handheld fighting games for their own Neo Geo Pocket. Instead of trying to replicate the characters of the original versions, they took a look at the super deformed artwork from the Gameboy versions and applied the style to the fighting itself. Everyone has drastically out-of-proportion heads and limbs, but it actually makes it possible to see what they're doing, because the characters are pretty large (this holds true for every Neo Geo Pocket fighting game, of which there are many, and all of them are pretty good.) There are only two face buttons on the system, so the type of attack you execute is determined by how long button are pressed (as it was on the Game Boy, too.) This may seem awkward, but it works out pretty well, and the gameplay flows together nicely.

King of Fighters R-1 is more or less a translation of King of Fighters '97, although it only features 14 characters. Still, most of the more popular characters made it, and there's even a lot of music from older titles, replicated in the NGP sound chip, which sounds significantly better than the Game Boy songs. There aren't any voices, but each character announces their taunts before battle with a text window on the bottom of the screen. Although the game was only released in Japan, it will set itself to English when played on an American system. A fine effort overall, if only outclassed because its sequel, King of Fighters R-2, is actually in color.

Quick Info:

Developer:

SNK

Publisher:

SNK

Producer:

Takashi Nishiyama

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Sidekicks
Urban Fantasy


The King of Fighters R-1

The King of Fighters R-1


The King of Fighters R-2 - Neo Geo Pocket Color (1999)

Japanese Cover

The King of Fighters R-2 is the Neo Geo Pocket Color version of KoF '98. The biggest advancement over its predecessor are the color graphics, although like many NGPC games, the coloring on the sprites is a bit sparse. The character roster is almost exactly the same, with fourteen selectable characters, although they've dropped Kim and Chizuru in favor of Saisyu and Kasumi. However, there's a brand new "Making" mode, which allows to pick one of your favorite characters and upgrade them with various skills by playing through a story mode. There's a whole ton of them to find, which run the gamut from power-ups to weapons like guns. Too bad none of the other KoF's implemented such a solid single player mode. It can also be linked up to the Dreamcast version of KoF '98 to stuff more quickly. Once again, it's just as solid as R-1, although it has the benefit of receiving an official American release.

Quick Info:

Developer:

SNK

Publisher:

SNK

Producer:

Takashi Nishiyama

Director:

SCLAP

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Sidekicks
Urban Fantasy


The King of Fighters R-2

The King of Fighters R-2


The King of Fighters EX: NeoBlood - Game Boy Advance (2002)

Japanese Cover

American Cover

The first Game Boy Advance King of Fighters uses KoF '99 as its base, with music from KoF 2000. You'd barely notice it though - all of the music consists of very poor replications, almost as if it was using the original Game Boy synth. The rest of the sound effects don't fare any better - any of the samples that haven't been taken out entirely sound awful. A crappy aural presentation is to be expected from a portable game, but the rest of the title doesn't hold up particularly well, either. The animation is pretty awful, and the hit detection is off. Worst of all, the AI is also dimwitted. Someone who's never played a King of Fighters game before might not notice some of these issues, but they're very apparent to vets.

The roster is limited to sixteen characters, along with four Striker-only characters. Iori is the sub-boss and Geese is the new main boss, which is pretty atypical for a King of Fighters game. There's also a single all-new playable character, a schoolgirl named Moe Habana. KoF EX was ported by Artoon, whose accomplishments include... well... Blinx the Cat. They're not a terrible studio, but they aren't exactly known for their 2D fighters. In spite of its numerous flaws, KoF EX isn't a total waste, and while it's a pain to use the shoulder buttons to attack, it's still a bit easier to play than a six-button Capcom game like Street Fighter Alpha. It was also released in the US for a budget price of $15, which wasn't a bad deal at all.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Marvelous

Publisher:

Marvelous (Japan)
Sammy (World)

Producer:

Shigeki Takeuchi

Director:

Hiroto Saiki
Yoji Ishii
Takahiro Sasaki

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Sidekicks
Urban Fantasy


The King of Fighters EX: NeoBlood

The King of Fighters EX: NeoBlood


The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood / The King of Fighters Extreme - Game Boy Advance / N-Gage (2003)

Japanese Cover

American Cover

King of Fighters EX2 is a massive improvement of the original GBA title. The animation is smoother, the gameplay feels less broken, and the roster is quite a bit larger. New characters include karate expert Reiji, goth schoolgirl Miu, and crazy pink-haired Jun, along with a crazy little kid named Sinobu who appears as the final boss. All of the artwork is done by Hiroaki, and it helps create a unique identity for a game that would otherwise be seen as just another portable translation. Still, a majority of the game is based off of KoF 2000, including the backgrounds and the music. The sound quality is still pretty off compared to the Neo Geo versions, but again, it's a big step up from the older games. Though it still feels a bit too scaled down (and one wishes they'd just resurrect the super deformed gameplay of the Neo Geo Pocket Color games, because it simply suited the scale better) KoF EX2 is probably the best handheld fighter on the system, and is definitely worth checking out.

The GBA version was published in America by Atlus (Acclaim was going to handle it until they went under) and was later ported to the N-Gage under the title "King of Fighters: Extreme". Naturally, playing a fighting game with those unresponsive buttons isn't a great experience, and the vertically oriented screen just makes matters worse.

The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood

Quick Info:

Developer:

Marvelous

Publisher:

Marvelous (Japan)
Atlus (US)

Producer:

Shigeki Takeuchi
Yoshihisa Ohbuchi

Planner:

Takashi Hamamura

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Sidekicks
Urban Fantasy


The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood

The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood



Mobile Games

SNK Playmore has been pretty prolific with their mobile titles in general, especially in Japan. Naturally, try as they may, fighting games just are just terrible on cell phones. The first release, The King of Fighters Mobile, is just a scaled back version of the Neo Geo Pocket Color games. Another one of them, The King of Fighters M-2, uses every key on the keypad to jump, block, attack, and special moves, and the controls make them ultimately worthless. When Eolith held the rights to the franchise, its daughter-company M-Dream produced three mobile versions of King of Fighters 2001 (featuring only three characters and one single stage each), but those were only available in Korea.

That doesn't mean that SNK hasn't exploited the King of Fighters property anyway. In Japan there were games like The King of Fighters Mahjong, The King of Reversi, and a card game called The King of Millionaire. There are also two volleyball games - The King of Fighters Volleyball, which includes six different characters, and SNK Beach Volley - GAL's ATTACK, which naturally focuses on the ladies. There's also SNK Gal's Open - Cutey Shot, which is a golf game.

But perhaps the most interesting is the Days of Memories series, a dating simulation that consists of numerous episodes. Each brings together girls from several SNK games, including titles like Samurai Shodown and The Last Blade, and lets you try to woo them. One episode even puts the player in the shoes of a girl as she attempts to woo the male characters. All of them are awful, of course, but some of the artwork is decent, and the concept in and of itself is hilarious. Some of the episodes have also been compiled and published on the DS.

Alongside the more serious iPhone ports of The King of Fighters XIII, SNK Playmore also released a silly app called The King of Fighters Encounter, where you can let characters fight automatically against people met through Street Pass, and level them up when they win.

China has also gotten its share of exclusive KoF mobile games, although it is not known how official those are - Xin 2011 Quan Huang uses art from Unlimited Match despite the number in its title, while the backgrounds are snatched from Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Quan Huang 97 Caozhi Jing is a weird action RPG where you run around on a map as Kyo and beat up copies of Team Orochi (the subtitle is the Chinese reading for the Characters that make up the name of Kyo Kusanagi).

The King of Fighters M-2

The King of Fighters Volleyball

The King of Fighters Encounter


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro
Characters

Page 2:
The King of Fighters '94
The King of Fighters '95
The King of Fighters '96

Page 3:
The King of Fighters '97
The King of Fighters '98
The King of Fighters '99

Page 4:
The King of Fighters 2000
The King of Fighters 2001
The King of Fighters 2002

Page 5:
The King of Fighters 2003
The King of Fighters NeoWave
The King of Fighters XI

Page 6:
The King of Fighters XII
The King of Fighters XIII

Page 7:
Game Boy
Neo Geo Pocket
Game Boy Advanced
Mobile Games

Page 8:
KOF Maximum Impact
KOF Maximum Impact 2
KOF Maximum Impact Reg. A

Page 9:
Quiz King of Fighters
The King of Fighters Kyo
Battle de Paradise
King of Fighters Online
KOF Sky Stage

Page 10:
KOF Another Day (Anime)
Movie
Manga / Comics
Crossovers

Back to the Index