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The King of Fighters
The King of Fighters '94 - poster.jpg
Cover artwork of the Neo Geo CD version of The King of Fighters '94, the first game in the series.
Genre(s) Fighting
Developer(s) SNK Playmore
Publisher(s) SNK Playmore

The King of Fighters (ザ·キング·オブ·ファイターズ Za Kingu obu Faitāzu ?), officially abbreviated KOF, is a series of fighting games by SNK Playmore (formerly SNK). The series was originally developed for SNK's Neo-Geo MVS arcade hardware, which served as the main platform for the series until 2004, when SNK retired the MVS in favor of the Atomiswave arcade board and will move the series to the Taito Type X2 with the release of The King of Fighters XII. Ports of the arcade games and original The King of Fighters games have been released for the Neo Geo CD, Neo Geo Pocket, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, N-Gage, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, and Wii.




Main series

A battle in The King of Fighters '95

The first game in the series, The King of Fighters '94, was released by SNK in August 25, 1994.[1] The game featured characters from SNK's previous fighting game series Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting, as well as original characters (including characters from older games such as Ikari Warriors and Psycho Soldier, adapted for a versus fighting game). The success of the game lead SNK to release yearly installments of the series and numbered the games for the year they were released. The King of Fighters '95, was released on July 25, 1995, with several ports being released the next year. In addition to adding new characters, this game also began the first story arc of the series titled "The Orochi Saga". KOF '95 was also the first game in the series that allowed the players to create their own team of three members, out of any character in the game.[2] The King of Fighters '96 was released on July 30, 1996. The game establishes the second part of "The Orochi Saga" and improves the gameplay of the series as well. Depending on the playable characters in a team, an exclusive ending will be played.[3] The King of Fighters '97 was released on July 28, 1997 and this game concluded "The Orochi Saga" story arc.[4] The King of Fighters '98 was released on July 23, 1998 and unlike the previous games of the series, it did not feature a story. Instead...the game was promoted as a "Dream Match" game that allowed players to choose most of the characters available from the previous titles, including ones that were supposedly dead. SNK refitted the Dreamcast version and renamed it The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 with an extended cel animated introduction and 3D backgrounds.[5]

In July 22, 1999, The King of Fighters '99 was released, which introduced a new story arc known as "The NESTS Chronicles". The game introduces several new characters into the series, as well as the rule of a fourth member being added to each team and that a new tactic is introduced in this game as well. The tactic would be that a specific person from a team would be an assistant called a "Striker" and that this person would be able to aid the team for a few seconds in combat. The Dreamcast version was titled The King of Fighters: Evolution. There are several improvements in the game such as new strikers (featuring a few characters from previous KOF titles) and better animation.[6] The King of Fighters 2000 was released on July 26, 2000 and that this game is the second part of "The NESTS Chronicles". KOF 2000 adds a few new playable characters and a couple of Strikers (most of them being from previous KOF titles and other SNK titles as well such as Metal Slug and Kizuna Encounter).[7] The King of Fighters 2001 was released on November 15, 2001 and ends "The NESTS Chronicles" plot started in '99. Due to some economical problems that SNK had at the time (which lead to their inevitable bankruptcy), the Korean company Eolith helped in the development of the game.[8] The King of Fighters 2002, released on October 10, 2002, was created to reunite old characters from previous KOF games and featured no story, similar to KOF '98. It was also developed by Eolith.

A new KOF story arc called the "Tales of Ash" starts in The King of Fighters 2003, released on December 12, 2003. It allowed the players to change characters while playing, but the number of team member was reduced back to three. SNK, now SNK-Playmore, returned to KoF development in this entry.[9] By 2004, SNK abandoned yearly releases of the series and numbered future games in a more traditional manner;[10] the first main series game released as such was The King of Fighters XI, released on October 26, 2005.[11] The King of Fighters XII, the latest game is expected to be released in July 2009. KOF XII will use newly-drawn 2D sprites on detailed 2D backgrounds. Producers informed that the game is one hundred percent hand drawn.[12] It is to be a storyless gathering of fighters, similar to KOFs '98 and 2002 before it.

Other games

The King of Fighters '94 was remade and released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 as The King of Fighters '94 Re-Bout in Japan. This version has several new features like hi-res graphics, online play, team edit, a playable Rugal Bernstein, and the addition of Saisyu Kusanagi.[13] A remake for KoF '98 titled The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match was released in Japanese arcades on March 18, 2008 and later on some video game consoles expanding the character roster and improving the graphics.[14] A remake for KoF 2002, titled The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match has recently been released for the PlayStation 2, on February 26, 2009 in Japan.

In 2004, SNK produced the first 3D installment of the series, KOF: Maximum Impact. The game and its two sequels revises much of the backstory for characters and settings from previous games. The producer of the Maximum Impact series, Falcoon, stated that the Maximum Impact games are in a different continuity from the original series of games.[15] Another spin-off video game, The King of Fighters Neowave, was released for the X-Box, PlayStation 2 and Arcade during 2005 and 2006. Like KOF '98 and KOF 2002, Neowave has no storyline and is considered a "dream match" game. The game is a gathering of numerous characters from previous installments, including dead characters like Mature and Vice from KOF '96 and the New Face Team from KOF '97. The character artwork was done by Tomokazu Nakano.[16] Two video games were released for the Game Boy Advance titled The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood and The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood respectively, featuring characters from KOF '99 and 2000.[17][18] A role-playing game was also created exclusively for the PlayStation under the name of The King of Fighters: Kyo, adaptating a manga with the same name.[19] An N-Gage version of the Game Boy Advance game was released in 2005 titled King of Fighters Extreme which added Bluetooth multi-player.[20]

Three pachinko slot games were developed for the series. The first, The King of Fighters, is based on the Orochi storyline and second, The King of Fighters 2, is based on the fights between K' against the NESTS organization.[21][22] The newest one, Maximum Impact, was released on January 19, 2009 and it focuses on the series' 3D titles. None of these were released outside Japan.[23] Six games for Japanese mobile phones have also been developed. While a few of are fighting, others are mini-games like Volley Ball and quizzes.[24]

Several characters from the series appear also in cross-over video games. Neo Geo Battle Coliseum is a 2 on 2 tag team fighting game for the Atomiswave arcade board. Along with the KOF, characters from other SNK video games also star there.[25] Capcom also produced a series of similar crossover fighting games with SNK. The SNK-produced fighting games of this crossover includes the Dimps-developed portable fighting game SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium for the Neo-Geo Pocket Color in 1999 and SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos for the Neo-Geo in 2003 The games produced by Capcom includes Capcom vs. SNK in 2000. It was followed by a minor upgrade, Capcom vs. SNK Pro ; and a sequel titled Capcom vs. SNK 2, both released in 2001. All three games were produced for the NAOMI hardware as well.


In addition to the remakes of individual games such as Re-bout, Ultimate Match, and Unlimited Match, SNK Playmore has released compilations of their KOF games. Two KOF compilations were released in Japan for the PlayStation 2 as part of the Neo Geo Online Collection. The first compilation, The King of Fighters Orochi Hen (ザ·キング·オブ·ファイターズ -オロチ編- ?, "The Orochi Compilation") features KOF '95, KOF '96, and KOF '97, the three games comprising the Orochi story arc. The compilation features a Color Edit mode that allows the player to create a custom color palette for every character in each game, the choice to play each game with original and arranged soundtracks, and an online versus mode which supporting the MMBB service.[26] The second compilation, The King of Fighters NESTS Hen (ザ·キング·オブ·ファイターズ -ネスツ編- ?, "The NESTS Compilation"), features the original Neo Geo versions of KOF '99, KOF 2000, and KOF 2001, as well as the corresponding Dreamcast versions of each game. It has the same features as the previous compilation, but with online support available only for the Dreamcast games in the compilation.[27]

A separately produced compilation titled The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga was released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Wii in North America, the PAL region, and Southeast Asia. This compilation has the same lineup of games as the Japanese Orochi Hen, along with KOF '94 and KOF '98, although the extra features are different, with an added Challenge Mode where the player must win certain matches against the CPU in KOF '98 under specific conditions and a Media gallery featuring listenable tracks from each game and a collection of official illustrations.[26]

Plot and characters

The titular King of Fighters tournament originated from SNK's previous fighting game franchises, Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting. While The King of Fighters series features characters from both series, it does not follow the same continuity, but takes place in an alternate universe.[28]

The first game in the series, KOF '94, centers around a black market arms dealer named Rugal Bernstein, who hosts the well-known fighting tournament to lure worthy adversaries into his trap so that he can kill them and turn them into stone statues, adding them to his collection of defeated martial artists. In addition to previous established fighting game stars Terry Bogard and Ryo Sakazaki, the game introduces a new hero, a young Japanese martial artist named Kyo Kusanagi, who serves as the lead character in the early KOF games. In KOF '95, Rugal, having survived the previous tournament, host a new one with the intentions of seeking revenge against his adversaries. KOF '95 introduced Kyo's rival Iori Yagami to the series and was the first game to mention the presence of the Orochi clan, which would serve as the central plot element in the following two games in the series. The tournament in KOF '96 and KOF '97 are hosted by a woman named Chizuru Kagura, who seeks to recruit allies (particularly Kyo and Iori, who are descended from the Three Divine Vessels along with Kagura herself) to fight against the Orochi clan. The Orochi storyline concludes in KOF '97, while the following game in the series, KOF '98, is a "Special Edition" with no plot development.[28]

KOF '99 introduces a new story arc involving a mysterious corporation known as NESTS, which seeks to create an army of genetically altered fighters. The game would introduce a new lead character named K′: a fugitive from NESTS who was genetically enhanced with Kyo's DNA. The two following games in the series, KOF 2000 and KOF 2001, continue the NESTS storyline, with each game further unraveling the mystery of the organization. KOF 2002, like KOF '98 before it, is a "Special Edition" of the series with no particular plot.

KOF 2003 begins a new storyline focusing on another new lead character named Ash Crimson: a young man who seeks to possess the powers of the Three Divine Vessels for his own unknown agenda. The tournaments from KOF 2003 and KOF XI would be host by "Those From the Past": an organization of inhuman warriors who try to break the Orochi seal to take its powers so that they can give it to their shrouded master.

Related media

Comics adaptation

During 1995 Tatsuya Shingyoji authored a manga adaptation of The King of Fighters '94. It was serialized in Shōnen Ace from Kadokawa Shoten and was collected into four tankōbon volumes. They were released from February 10, 1995 to December 1996.[29] There is also a spin-off manga story based on the adventures of the characters from The King of Fighters '96 entitled, The King of Fighters: Kyo. It was authored by Masato Natsumoto and published by Kodansha in two tankōbon volumes during 1997.[30] Ryo Takamisaki also developed another adaptation from KOF 96 during. Shinseisha published the series in three tankōbon compilations from June 1996 to February 1998.[31]

A manhua adaptation of KOF titled The King of Fighters: Zillion was created by Andy Seto. Hong Kong artists, Wing Yang and King Tung produced further manhua for the games, starting in The King of Fighters 2001 through 2003 along with the Maximum Impact series.[32] Both authors also made a sequel, The King of Fighters 03: Xenon Zero (拳皇 XENON ZERO), to conclude the 2003 tournament. Another manhua series is King of Fighters RX Project '00 (拳皇RX) is a three-volume manhua series that was officially sponsored by SNK-Playmore Hong Kong. The NESTS saga version was illustrated by Ricky. It covers the fight against NESTS primarily focused in the 2000 tournament.

Film and animation

During August 2005, a short series based upon KOF entitled The King of Fighters: Another Day was announced. It debuted at the year's Tokyo Game Show about a month later. Production I.G produced the title as an original net animation. There are a total of four episodes, each about 10 minutes in length. It has since been released as a bonus DVD, packaged with KOF: Maximum Impact 2 (The King of Fighters 2006 in the US).[33] A live-action movie of The King of Fighters has been scheduled for a 2010 release, i.[34][35]


SNK has released a series of CD soundtracks known as SNK Character Sounds Collection or SNK Sound Character Collection (SNKサウンドキャラクターズコレクション). There are eleven volumes altogether and each one focuses on a single character. The CDs have different versions of the characters themes, as well as quotes. Most of the albums' covers are illustrated by Masato Natsumoto.[36] The Band of Fighters, shortened as BOF, is a character image band that is formed with Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, Terry Bogard, Nakoruru, and Athena Asamiya.

Dengeki Bunko and Pony Canyon have released several Drama CD from the series. Some of them are direct adaptations of several video games from KOF '94 to KOF '00. Another CD is Iori Yagami Original Drama The Setting Sun and Moon ~ Prologue (八神庵オリジナルドラマ 夕陽と月〜プロローグ〜), which is centered around Iori Yagami. The drama originally aired on Game Dra Night and Neo Chupi and then released by Pony Canyon CD on July 7, 1999. The guidebook The King of Fighters Perfect Reader includes the bonus CD Drama KOF: Mid Summer Struggle. There are two stories on it, one which is serious and one that is a parody focused on KOF '03. The scenarios were developed by Akihiko Ureshino and BoHyou.

Other merchandise

In December 2006, Sabertooth Games released a King of Fighters 2006 collectable card game set along with Samurai Shodown V for its Universal Fighting System (UFS) game. Other games like Street Fighter and Soulcalibur III are also included into the series. Character starter packs were released for Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui.


In an interview with veteran developers of the series they claim that their prototype version for KOF was going to be a side-scrolling beat 'em up titled, Survivor. In this version, it would only use core characters from the Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury series, specifically allowing players to play Robert Garcia and Terry Bogard for location testing. However, the idea was quickly abandoned after the debut of Capcom's game with similar gameplay, Final Fight. Since they were attached to the idea of the two series cross-over, they eventually agreed to make their idea into a fighting game. Characters from Ikari Warriors and Psycho Soldier games were also added in spirit of other gaming genres considered for their final product. The concept of a three-man team was one of the ideas kept from the side-scrolling version.[37]

The first games of the series were only available in Japan with the exception of The King of Fighters '95 which saw a US release on the PlayStation and a European release on the Sega Saturn in 1996. However, in 1999 when SNK was expanded to North America, the games were released also there.[38]

See also


  1. ^ "The King of Fighters '94 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  2. ^ "The King of Fighters '95 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  3. ^ "The King of Fighters '96 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  4. ^ "The King of Fighters '97 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  5. ^ "The King of Fighters '98 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  6. ^ "The King of Fighters '99 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  7. ^ "The King of Fighters 2000 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  8. ^ "The King of Fighters 2001 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  9. ^ "The King of Fighters 2003 Official Profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  10. ^ "King of Fighters skipping 2004". GameSpot. 2004-12-23.;title;7. Retrieved 2008-09-04.  
  11. ^ "The King of Fighters XI Official Profile" (in Japanese). King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  12. ^ Niizumi, Hirohiko (2008-09-18). "King of Fighters XII knuckles up next year". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-09-19.  
  13. ^ "King of Fighters '94 Re-Bout". Game Spot. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  14. ^ "The King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match official website" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  15. ^ "SNKプレイモア&FALCOON氏 独占インタビュー記事" (in Japanese). 格闘ゲーム総合サイト FFL 〜Fighters Front Line. Retrieved February 27 2008.  
  16. ^ "Game Spot: The King of Fighters NeoWave". Game Spot. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  17. ^ "Game Spot: The King of Fighters EX". Game Spot. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  18. ^ "Game Spot: The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood". Game Spot. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  19. ^ "Game Spot: The King of Fighters Kyo". Game Spot. Retrieved 2008-08-04.  
  20. ^ "King of Fighters Extreme Review". Retrieved 2009-04-30.  
  21. ^ "The King of Fighters" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Retrieved 2009-01-11.  
  22. ^ "The King of Fighters 2007" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Retrieved 2009-01-11.  
  23. ^ "The King of Fighters Maximum Impact" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Retrieved 2009-01-11.  
  24. ^ "KOF Mobile" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Retrieved 2009-01-11.  
  25. ^ "Neo Geo Battle Coliseum". SNK Playmore. Retrieved 2009-01-03.  
  26. ^ a b "KoF Collection Orochi Releases dates". Game Spot. Retrieved 2008-09-21.  
  27. ^ "The King of Fighters NESTS". Game Spot. Retrieved 2008-08-21.  
  28. ^ a b "The King of Fighters 2000 Glossary of Terms (waybacked)" (in Japanese).  
  29. ^ "The King of Fighters '94 (manga)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-01-17.  
  30. ^ "The King of Fighters: Kyo (manga)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  31. ^ "The King of Fighters G (manga)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-01-17.  
  32. ^ Shiroi, Eiji. "Remembrances of KOF: An Interview with Eiji". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved January 18 2008.  
  33. ^ "The King of Fighters: Another Day (ONA)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-07-28.  
  34. ^ Plunkett, Luke. "Nobody Ever Learns ~ Gordon Chan Directing King Of Fighters Flick". Kotaku, the Gamer's Guide. Retrieved February 27 2008.  
  35. ^ Frater, Patrick. "Chan takes on 'King of Fighters'". Film Festival by Variety. Retrieved February 27 2008.  
  36. ^ "SNK Character Sounds Collection Volume 1 ~ Kyo Kusanagi - VGMdb beta". VGMdb. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  37. ^ Akihiko Ureshino, ed (September 20, 2005) (in Japanese). The King of Fighters Perfect Reader. Nikkei Business Publications. pp. 136~137. ISBN 4-8222-1711-6.  
  38. ^ SNK Playmore. "The history of SNK". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-09-11.  

External links


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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The King of Fighters R-1

Developer(s) SNK
Publisher(s) SNK
Release date October 28, 1998 (JP)
Genre Fighting, 2D fighter
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Age rating(s)
Platform(s) Neo Geo Pocket
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

This article is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Stubs are articles that writers have begun work on, but are not yet complete enough to be considered finished articles.

The King of Fighters series
Main series
The King of Fighters '94 | The King of Fighters '95 | The King of Fighters '96 | The King of Fighters '97 | The King of Fighters '98 | The King of Fighters '99 | The King of Fighters 2000 | The King of Fighters 2001 | The King of Fighters 2002 | The King of Fighters 2003 |The King of Fighters XI
Maximum Impact
Maximum Impact | Maximum Impact 2
Spin-Offs, Updates & Compilations
The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood | The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood | Neowave| The King of Fighters R-1 | The King of Fighters R-2 | The King of Fighters Kyo | Compilations/Updates | The King of Fighters: Another Day
Adelheid Bernstein - Alba Meira - Andy Bogard - Angel - Ash Crimson - Athena Asamiya - Bao - Benimaru Nikaido - Billy Kane - Blue Mary - Bonne Jenet - Brian Battler - Chae Lim - Chang Koehan - Chin Gentsai - Chizuru Kagura - Choi Bounge - Chris - Clark Steel - Duck King - Duo Lon - Eiji Kisaragi - Elisabeth Blanctorche - Foxy - Gai Tendo - Gato - Geese Howard - Goenitz - Goro Daimon - Heavy D! - Heidern - Hinako Shijou - Hotaru Futaba - Igniz - Iori Yagami - Jhun Hoon - Joe Higashi - Jun Kagami - K' - K9999 - Kasumi Todoh - Kim Kaphwan - King - Krizalid - Kula Diamond - Kyo Kusanagi - Kyo Kusanagi 1 - Kyo Kusanagi 2 - Kusanagi (Cloned Kyo) - Leona Heidern - Lien Neville - Lin - Li Xiangfei - Lucky Glauber - Luise Meyrink - Magaki - Mai Shiranui - Maki Kagura - Malin - Mature - Maxima - May Lee - Mignon Beart - Miu Kurosaki - Moe Habana - Momoko - Mr. Big - Mukai - Nagase - Ninon Beart - Orochi - Oswald - Ralf Jones - Ramon - Reiji Oogami - Robert Garcia - Ron - Rugal Bernstein - Ryo Sakazaki - Ryuji Yamazaki - Saisyu Kusanagi - Seth - Shen Woo - Shermie - Shingo Yabuki - Shion - Sie Kensou - Sinobu Amou - Soiree Meira - Takuma Sakazaki - Terry Bogard - Tizoc - Vanessa - Vice - Whip - Wolfgang Krauser - Yashiro Nanakase - Yuki - Yuri Sakazaki - Clone Zero - Original Zero

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