- The King of Fighters
"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 Atomiswavearcade 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 Boyand Game Boy Advance, N-Gage, Sega Saturnand Sega Dreamcast, PlayStationand PlayStation 2, and Xbox. One of the most recent games in the series are "" series.
The first game introduces
Kyo Kusanagi, a young Japanese fighter who is the heir of the ancient Kusanagi clan, who wield pyrokinetic powers. Kyo represents the Japanese team with his best friends, a Shootboxer named Benimaru Nikaidoand a Judomaster named Goro Daimon. The trio goes into the 1994 KOF tournament and find themselves facing off against many strong opponents. Kyo and his friends win the tournaments and find themsleves meeting the host of the events: a powerful criminal named Rugal Bernstein, who wants to find worthy opponents to kill so that he can turn them into statues in order to remember his ruthless victories but is defeated by Kyo. In the 1995 KOF tournament, Rugal reappears alive and attempts to kill Kyo and his friends by using a deadly power from an entity known as Orochi: an ancient eight-headed demon who was sealed by the three ancient artifacts of Japan. However, Rugal is unable to control the power from within his body and dies. In this game, a Iori Yagamialso appears aiming to kill Kyo and destroy all his clan as a revenge from all his clan.
In the year of 1996, a new tournament is organized by the heir of the Yata clan,
Chizuru Kagura, who wants to gather Kyo and Iori in her team to seal the Orochi demon as their clans made in the past. During the 1997 tournament, it is revealed that a few of the fighters are connected to Orochi through their own cursed blood, but do not follow him suffer from a curse that turns them into psychotic killers who'll attack anybody that's near them. During the '97 tournament, a group known as the New Faces team learn of their past as being three of Orochi's Four Heralds and decide to awake Orochi. Kyo and Iori decide to join Chizuru to stop them and although they succeed in stopping them, Orochi is able to revive through the use of his Heralds' sacrifice. Joining their forces, Kyo, Iori, and Chizuru defeat and seal Orochi once again, but in the process, Kyo and Iori disappear from within the aftermath of the battle.
The story would later continue in "
The King of Fighters '99", which would introduce a new story arc known as the NESTS Chronicles. A syndicate called the NESTS cartel organizes a new tournament so that they can obtain energy from the fighters to use for their data and weapons. The syndicate also kidnaps Kyo right after his battle against Orochi so that they could use his DNAto create a large number of clones to use as agents, though Kyo manages to escape during the process. One of the agents, K', betrays the NESTS cartel so that he can seek his own stolen past. Other notable characters introduced in the story arc includes Maxima, a half-man, half-cyborg who helps K' out and Whip, a military mercenary who helps the Ikari Warriors investigate the syndicate. Throughout the NESTS Chronicles story arc, K' and the rest of the fighters battle against many enemies, which includes a clone of K' named Krizalid, NESTS' second-in-command named Zero, and the leader of NESTS named Igniz, who sought to gain the power of the fighters so that he could become a new god to the people of Earth.
The most recent story arc in the series is the Tales of Ash story arc, which focuses on a strange and mysterious fighter named
Ash Crimson. Though he's supposed to be the 'hero' of this story arc, Ash's true agenda is unknown and that his actions are often put in both question and suspicion by those who either fight or work with him.
The first game in the series, "
The King of Fighters '94" was released by SNK in August 25, 1994.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof94| title=The King of Fighters '94 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] The game was originally designed to be a dream match of characters from the company's various arcade titles, particularly " Fatal Fury", " Art of Fighting", " Ikari Warriors" and " Psycho Soldier". The game 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.cite web | url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/thekingoffighters94rebout/similar.html?mode=versions| title=King of Fighters '94 Re-Bout| publisher= Game Spot| accessdate= 2008-08-04] On January 7, 2008, the game was made available for download on the Wii's Virtual Consoledownload service, for a price of 900 Wii Points.cite web | url=http://wii.ign.com/objects/142/14226737.html| title=King of Fighters '94 Virtual Console| publisher= IGN| accessdate= 2008-08-04] The success of the game lead to 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. This game allowed the players to create their own team of three members.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof95| title=The King of Fighters '95 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] " The King of Fighters '96" was released on July 30, 1996. The game establishes a new story arc regarding about the main antagonists of the series. Depending of the playable characters in a team, an exclusive ending will be played.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof96| title=The King of Fighters '96 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] " The King of Fighters '97" was released on July 28, 1997and ended the Orochi arc.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof97| title=The King of Fighters '97 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] " The King of Fighters '98" was released on July 23, 1998and unlike previous games it did not feature a story; instead, the game allows players to play with most of characters available on previous ones, including ones that were supposedly dead. SNK refitted the Sega Dreamcastversion renaming it "The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999" with an extended hand-animated introduction and 3D backgrounds.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof98| title=The King of Fighters '98 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] A remake titled "Ultimate Match" was released in Japanese arcades on March 18, 2008and later on some video game consoles expanding the character roster and improving the graphics. [cite web | url=http://game.snkplaymore.co.jp/official/kof98um/ps2/index.html| title= The King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match official website|language=Japanese| publisher= SNK Playmore| accessdate= 2008-08-04]
July 22, 1999, the real continuation of the story " The King of Fighters '99" was released. The game includes several new characters with some ones of the previous ones being secret ones and the addition of a new member to each team, being the fourth an assistant named "Striker". The Sega Dreamcast version was titled "The King of Fighters: Evolution", there are several improvements such as new strikers and better animation,cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof99| title=The King of Fighters '99 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] " The King of Fighters 2000" was released on July 26, 2000, with the addition of several new character that would only work as Strikers.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof2000| title=The King of Fighters 2000 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] " The King of Fighters 2001" was released on November 15, 2001and ends the new plot started in 99. Due to some economical problems of the company SNK, the Korean company Eolith helped in the development of the game.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof2000| title=The King of Fighters 2001 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] Like 98, " The King of Fighters 2002", released on October 10, 2002, was created to reunite old characters from the games. A new story arc is started on " The King of Fighters 2003", released on December 12, 2003and allowed the players to change characters while playing but the number of team member was reduced to three.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof2003| title=The King of Fighters 2003 Official Profile | publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] By 2004, SNK abandoned yearly releases of the series and numbered future games in a more traditional manner; [cite web | url=http://www.gamespot.com/news/6115589.html?tag=result;title;7| title=King of Fighters skipping 2004| publisher= GameSpot |date=2004-12-23| accessdate= 2008-09-04] the first main series game released as such was " The King of Fighters XI", released on October 26, 2005.cite web | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/history/history.php?num=kof2003| title=The King of Fighters XI Official Profile |language=Japanese| publisher= King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website | accessdate= 2008-08-04] " The King of Fighters XII", the latest game is expected to be released at the end of 2008. "KOF XII" will use newly-drawn 2D sprites on detailed 2D backgrounds. Producers informed that the game is one hundred percent hand drawn. [ [http://kotaku.com/362913/holy-crap-king-of-fighters-xii-is-100-percent-hand-drawn Exclusive: Holy Crap, King of Fighters XII Is 100 Percent Hand Drawn ] ]
In 2004, SNK produced the first 3D installment of the series, "". 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 canon from the original series of games.cite web | url=http://ffl.sakura.ne.jp/topic/nikki_h17-m04.htm | title=SNKプレイモア＆FALCOON氏 独占インタビュー記事 | work= [http://ffl.sakura.ne.jp/index.htm 格闘ゲーム総合サイト FFL ～Fighters Front Line] | accessmonthday= February 27 | accessyear=2008 |language=Japanese] Another spin-off video game, " The King of Fighters Neowave", was released for the X-Box, Play Station 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.
Two video games were released for the
Game Boy Advance, adaptating several characters from the KOF 99 and 2000 with the name of "The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood".cite web | url=http://www.gamespot.com/gba/action/kingoffightersexneoblood/similar.html?mode=versions| title=Game Spot: The King of Fighters EX| publisher= Game Spot| accessdate= 2008-08-04] [cite web | url=http://www.gamespot.com/gba/action/kingoffightersex2/tech_info.html| title=Game Spot: The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood | publisher= Game Spot| accessdate= 2008-08-04] A role-playing game was also created exclusively for the Sony Play Station under the name of "The King of Fighters: Kyo", adaptating a manga with the same name.cite web | url=http://www.gamespot.com/arcade/action/thekingoffightersneowave/index.html| title=Game Spot: The King of Fighters Kyo| publisher= Game Spot| accessdate= 2008-08-04]
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 Atomiswavearcade board. Along with the "KOF", chararacters from other SNK video games also star there. 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 ' for the Neo-Geo Pocket Colorin vgy|1999 and ' for the Neo-Geoin vgy|2003 The games produced by Capcom includes "" in vgy|2000. It was followed by a minor upgrade, "Capcom vs. SNK Pro" ; and a sequel titled " Capcom vs. SNK 2", both released in vgy|2001. All three games were produced for the NAOMI hardware as well.
manhuaadaptation 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.cite web |last=Shiroi | first= Eiji | url=http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/comment/remember_kof.php?num=6| title="Remembrances of KOF: An Interview with Eiji" | work= [http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/index.html King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website] | accessmonthday= January 18 | accessyear=2008 ] There is also a spin-off mangastory based on the adventures of the characters in " The King of Fighters '96" entitled, "The King of Fighters: Kyo". [cite web|url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/manga.php?id=5171|title=The King of Fighters: Kyo (manga)|publisher= Anime News Network|accessdate=2008-08-08]
During August 2005, a short
animeseries based upon "KOF" entitled "" was announced. It debuted at the year's Tokyo Game Showabout a month later. Production I.Gproduced 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).A live-action movie of "The King of Fighters" will begin shooting in the first quarter of 2008.cite web |last=Plunkett |first=Luke | url=http://kotaku.com/gaming/nobody-ever-learns/gordon-chan-directing-king-of-fighters-flick-262022.php | title=Nobody Ever Learns ~ Gordon Chan Directing King Of Fighters Flick | work= [http://kotaku.com/ Kotaku, the Gamer's Guide] | accessmonthday= February 27 | accessyear=2008 ] cite web |last=Frater |first=Patrick | url=http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=Cannes2007&jump=story&id=1061&articleid=VR1117965243&cs=1 | title=Chan takes on 'King of Fighters' | work= [http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=cannes2007 Cannes Film Festival by Variety.] | accessmonthday= February 27 | accessyear=2008 ] In December 2006, Sabertooth Gamesreleased a "King of Fighters 2006" collectable card game set along with " Samurai Shodown V" for it's 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 Bogardand 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 uptitled, "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 Garciaand Terry Bogardfor 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.Cite book | year=September 20, 2005 | editor=Akihiko Ureshino | title=The King of Fighters Perfect Reader | pages=136~137 | language=Japanese | publisher=Nikkei Business Publications, Inc. | id=ISBN 4-8222-1711-6]
The first games of the series were only available in Japan with the exception of KoF 95 which saw a US release on the Sony Playstation in 1996. However, in 1999 when SNK was expanded to North America, the games were released also there. [cite web |author=SNK Playmore |title=The history of SNK |url=http://www.gamespot.com/features/6089278/p-17.html|publisher=GameSpot | accessdate=2008-09-11]
* List of characters in "The King of Fighters" series
* "" and
* "SNK vs. Capcom" series
Days of Memories"
* [http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/index.html The King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website]
* [http://snk.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page SNK Wikia]
* [http://kingoffighters.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page The King of Fighters Wikia]
* [http://www.planet-snk.de/?p=search&searchbase=articles&search=*King+of+Fighters The King of Fighters Series (Planet-SNK)]
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