Among the many fighting games owned and developed by SNK, The King of Fighters has dominated the company’s history.
It is one of the best-known and most sustainable franchises in the world, and its influence extends across the entire gaming industry.
This issue is currently under discussion due to the relative lack of new content and the aggressive competition from other companies such as Street Fighter and Tekken.
But ten years after the release of the original in 1994, it was one of the most popular games in arcades and fighting games.
Thanks to a cult team balancing system and stable gameplay over the years, the series has gained a dedicated and passionate fan base that still plays and discusses it online today.
Join me as I take a look back at more than 25 years of history of King of Fighters to see what has worked and what has not, and what I hope the future of one of the most iconic franchises in the games will take shape.
15. The king of the star fighters (2018)
KoF All-Star is a mobile title available for Android and iOS that allows players to create their own fighters, form teams of legendary characters and tackle hordes of thugs in a side-scrolling format.
Although the gameplay isn’t necessarily bad, especially since the KoF first thought about how to beat them, the game lacks soul.
Simply put, it’s a handful of money, like many other Gacha games with strong names everywhere.
14. The king of warriors: Heavenly Phase (2010)
One of the most unique KoF games in the history of the franchise – Sky Stage, the game of shooting from hell with a bullet from top to bottom, as well as the influential Japanese Touhou or classic arcade raids.
The player controls one of the many cult characters in the franchise, such as Kyo Kusanagi and Mai Siranui, who fire energy projectiles at enemies while blasting and dodging other enemy attacks.
The game is ridiculous and completely pointless in Coffee.
But it can be fun and for many it must have been the entrance to the kind of hell of the ball.
13. King of the Fighters 2001
At the time of the annual update of the KoF franchise, the year 2001 was one of the least visible publications in terms of the development of the series.
It was developed by Eolith for slot machines and was released a few years later for PS2 and other systems.
Although the gameplay has remained virtually unchanged from the previous version, the team system has been adapted so players can choose which of the four characters on each team will be a fighter and which will only be an attacker.
It may not have been a revolutionary game, but the visual effects have been greatly improved. And since this is the first release since SNK went bankrupt a year ago, we should probably be grateful that the series still exists.
12. Ice fighter 97
Available worldwide for neo-geo CDs and slot machines, KoF ’97 is probably one of the most popular franchise games and contributes significantly to its growth.
Not only the visual presentation and the special motion system have been renewed, but also the New Faces team, which has replaced the somewhat boring American sports team of KoF 94′.
In addition, some favorite characters have been added to the game, such as Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona, evil and wild versions of their usual brothers.
11. King Hunter 96.
Although 97 was a solid game, it was also somewhat experimental and directionless, probably due to the bankruptcy of SNK and the takeover of Eolith.
It is very popular with many fans of hardcore fighting games because it is a KoF with the fastest combination and the most general style of play, just like SSB Melee in his own series.
The list has been significantly expanded from the previous version to 30 characters, with the addition of Kasumi Todo, Leona Haidern and many other emblematic characters still in use today.
10. King of warriors 2003
Developed by SNK Playmore, KoF shines in 2003 with its tag team fighting system, similar to the system used in Marvel vs. Capcom.
Many fans complained that this made the series a little more universal, but overall it was well received.
Other changes that made this game special were the addition of a super special move for the game leader and the overall quality of the sprites used for each of the 37 fighters played.
9. King of the Hunters XI (2006)
The first KoF game with a new numbering system was KoF XI, which was originally only available in the arcades, but was released on PS2 a year later.
This was accompanied by an updated soundtrack, numerous scenes and additional characters such as Babe Mai Shiranui’s favourite fan.
The game can be described as an improved version of KoF 2003, with an improved combination system and the ability to change characters in the middle of the combination to continue the attack.
8. King of warriors XII (2009)
The real changes in the franchise came a few years later with the release of KoF XII on PS3, which completely abandoned the classic Sprite style, which had remained largely unchanged since 1996.
It has been replaced by a new, visually stunning design, halfway between 2D and 3D.
This effect is achieved by the use of highly detailed sprites that simulate 3D through the intelligent use of light and shadow.
The result is simply a work of art. It’s certainly worth a try if you have time to evaluate the enormous changes.
7. Ice fighter 99
But the novelty is not always that good, and KoF XII is far from the best quality of the series.
A good example of this is the KoF ’99, which changed the series forever by adding attacker matches, allowing the fourth team member to take part in 3-on-3 battles, enter at certain times of the battle and carry out one of his special attacks.
6. King of the fighters 2000
Although the KoF 2000 is not that innovative, it takes the wings of its predecessor, develops and refines the attack system and introduces other well-known series such as Metal Slug.
These additional characters, as well as many older KoF games, added up to 50 attackers and created a game list of 36 playable characters.
Due to the bankruptcy of SNK and the departure of many developers from the company in the middle of the development cycle of the game, it came out with many bugs and other inconsistencies.
It has prevented it from becoming one of the best games in the history of the franchise, but it is still quite high on my list.
5. King of warriors XIV (2016)
The latest KoF franchise record seems to indicate a new direction for the series, abandoning many of the earlier traditions.
This includes the use of 2D sprites, which are replaced by 3D models of the characters and background.
It introduces new players into every KoF game, and the list of characters is simply huge – 50 characters divided into classic 3-person teams.
It may not be the most memorable record in the series, but with its flexible playing style and balanced characters, the game promises a bright future for the franchise.
4. King of fighters 95
Although this is not the first game in KoF’s history, KoF 95 is the game that really matters to the majority of viewers.
As if the year 94 was just a prototype of what was to come in the future, the 95th takes everything that was felt in the original and polishes it strongly.
It offers the opportunity to build teams, and the list of 26 characters was varied enough to attract many different people.
It’s also the first record in the series with Iori Yagami, who has become one of the most popular characters in the KoF and one of the most famous faces in games in general.
3. Hunting King XIII (2010)
And just like KoF 95, the improved version of 94, KoF XIII is an advanced product that has evolved from its predecessor.
It retains the same beautiful graphic style as the XII and enhances it with even more detail and finesse.
Not only that, but also the fact that it adds to a few remaining characters from the previous record (e.g. dear Mai Shiranui).
Despite the fact that the gameplay is certainly top-notch and well-balanced, both for casual and competitive games, the game really shines with its style and visual effects… among the best ever seen in fighting games.
2. The King of Warriors (2002)
To prove that you don’t have to be balanced to enjoy the game, we have the KoF 2002, probably the least balanced game in the entire series, and at the same time one of the best KoF, which the fans call the best KoF ever.
The truth is most of us aren’t hardcore combo masters with muscles in our thumbs.
It appeared at the height of the popularity of the franchise. Which means that in the battles at the time they were played, in fact all…
Of course, it’s not just about popularity and the value of nostalgia.
There were a lot of interesting things in the game, including a fascinating and easy-to-use combination system and, most importantly, a huge number of 48 characters.
1. Fighting King 98.
It’s often very difficult for developers to know what works and what doesn’t when they release a new game. Over time, this often leads to mistakes and disappointment among the fans.
Anyway, if they do the right thing, maybe something beautiful will be born.
That was also the case with the ’98 Fighter King, my choice for the best game in the Café.
This name can be described as an amalgamation of everything that worked for its predecessors, including a list of characters representing the biggest stars of previous editions.
Instead of a hyper-complex combat system with countless special movements and technical skills, ’98 is a minimalist approach that focuses on refining the basics to perfection.
He became the gold standard by which his successors are measured. And this proves once again that simplicity is sometimes better.
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