The new King of Fighters game is coming out this year, and that is something that I’ve been looking forward to since KOF14 was announced. So I asked Robin Ek if I could submit this article to TGG´s homepage (Robin said yes), and share some of my thoughts on King of Fighters in general and 14, in particular. As well as my history with the franchise, and that is where we’ll start.
So, here´s a little history of the game series. King of Fighters is the first true crossover fighting game ever. As KOF combined the main characters of “Art of Fighting”, “Fatal Fury”, “Ikari Warriors” and “Psycho Soldier”, along with a few original characters. KOF also introduced a three-person team. Meaning that unlike most fighting games, you had to win three out of five rounds. Nevertheless, when one character got defeated, the next character stepped up. So you never had to fight the same character more than once when you won.
On a personal level though, my history with King of Fighters is a bit interesting compared to some others, maybe. To start, I had actually never heard of the King of Fighters series until I read a fanfic “Dark Present, No Regrets” and its companion fanfic “Reliving the Past” both by Rippen Drakuzz (search if you want to, neither one has updated in over 12 years). Interestingly enough, shortly after that, I found “King of Fighters 99” for the PS1 and a few months later. I found King of Fighters 95 for the PS1 as well.
I would not be able to play King of Fighters 96, 97 or 98 until a few years later on the Playstation 2. By that time, I had played the far improved King of Fighters 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and XI on the same system. It’s not that the older ones are bad, but they feel far too stiff compared to the later titles, in my opinion, on them. However, I will always have a soft spot for 95 and 99 on the PS1 due to one reason. The PS1 control scheme was set up to make the game easier to play. There was an option so that newer and younger players who couldn’t do complex button combinations, could simply press the shoulder and trigger buttons to perform special moves. Don’t think it made the game too easy, the final boss in both games would make you hurt horribly just because they could, it’s why the Trope is called “SNK Boss Syndrome“.
I suppose that brings up my next point, King of Fighters 14, more specifically this character (Angel, as seen in the picture down below).
The character that I’m talking about here is Angel, pronounced Ahn-hehl, which is the Spanish pronunciation of the word, her fighting style is a mix of Muay Thai and Professional Wrestling.
Not kidding about her mixing in professional wrestling, she’s basically the female version of The Rock. Heck, one of her moves is a counter-stance that grabs the opponent out of the air and then slams them into the ground before doing the Rock Bottom on them (she appears at 0:48). Coincidentally, she also has the largest chest of any female character in the King of Fighters universe at 92CM.
Why do I bring all this up? Well, one of the things that disheartened me with learning her in King of Fighters 2001 (and every KOF title past KOF 2001). Was the fact that she was a very complex character to learn. And I was (at the time) a beginner when it came to linking moves together (I would later learn that it´s the core and spirit of the KOF series, so it´s a really important to master that aspect of the game). While I’m much better now, I still think back to how complex her moves were to chain link together and grimace. I want to use her in KOF 14, but I worry that she would be very hard to learn (Kind of long, but you can see how her moves can be difficult to string together).
So, my bringing this up is because she is very much an expert-level character, not one for beginners or intermediate players. I’m hoping that in King of Fighters 14 Angel’s style is easier to use (that it´s not dumbed down or toned down, but easier to utilize). Well, let me give you an example of what I mean. As I was saying, SNK could either add a slightly larger window to link moves conjointly than other characters, or the ability to auto-chain some of her moves together.
Expert-level players will still find ways to chain her moves together in ways that will make my head spin (simply type in a quick Youtube search for some King of Fighters 13 championship videos, and just watch those fighter’s chain-link moves together). In the matter of fact, it´s doubly impressive since some of the moves are charge-based moves. Ultimately, in the end, it is SNK’s decision to do what they want to do with her. However, I am hoping for an easier time with Angel this time. I mostly stick with King, Iori and Terry in most games.
One last thing to say about “King of Fighters 14”, there are 50 characters and no DLC planned at this time. Even if all 50 were returning characters, which they aren’t, that’s not even half of the rather large King of Fighters roster that exists. And those’re just the KOF 14 main games. It doesn’t include any of the side games or the Maximum Impact games, nor does it include the alternate versions of character. As Rugal,Iori,and Kyoand Kyo and Ralf, all have an alternative version that plays similar, but differently. In fact, thanks to the events in “King of Fighters XI” Iori has two alternate play styles/versions of himself, go figure.
And, you know what? Even though SNK has stated no DLC is planned, I’m making a top 20 list of DLC characters that I’d like to see show up at a later date for King of Fighters 14. I put them in order of least likely to far more likely. To be fair, some of these characters are dead, but hey. Being dead didn’t stop Vice and Mature from being in “King of Fighters 14”.
20. – Maximum Impact characters – because Lien, Alba, Meira, Duke, Lily Kane and the others who appeared there need more screen time, and I’d like to see their stories get concluded at the very least.
19. – Broken versions of characters – Mr. Karate II, Wild Wolf (we got him in KoF XI), Serious Mr. Karate (KoF 13), Nightmare Geese, Omega Rugal and Armored Ralf – because fair isn’t in SNK’s blood.
18. – Former bosses – Rugal, Krizalid, Zero, Original Zero, Igniz, Mukai, Magaki, Shion, Dark Ash – A vast majority of them are dead, both Original Zero and Igniz died in space, and Dark Ash was erased from the timeline due to the events of King of Fighters 13. But, hey, being dead isn’t stopping Vice and Mature, so why not?
17. – Rock Howard – Very far-fetched due to the fact that Garou is unlikely to get its sequel and finish the storyline with Rock. And because of that, it´s not very likely that we will get to see Rock in any future King of Fighters titles (Rock is a part of the King of Fighters 2006/Maximum Impact 2 roster though).
16. – May Lee – She appeared in King of Fighers 2001 along with Angel, and since Angel came back, why not her?
15. – Hinako – Because she should have been around, and she wants to be a sumo wrestler despite being very under-sized for it.
14. – Malin – More Ninja Assassins who fight with Yo Yos! Seriously, she fights with Yo Yos and mallets. She’s awesome.
13. – Eiji – More awesome ninjas, plus he was the first Ninja in SNK’s history. He’s only been in King of Fighters 95 and XI.
12. – Kasumi – Her style is very control-based and counter-heavy, if you know what you’re doing with her, she can be extremely brutal indeed.
11. – Krauser – Geese Howard, his half-brother, is in King of Fighters 14 and Krauser hasn’t been used since KoF 96.
10. – Heidern – Because he’s an awesome old guy and hasn’t been around since 2001.
9. – Momoko – A psychic capoeira fighter? I’d like to see more than just what we got in King of Fighters XI.
8. – Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona – because why not? Other than the fact that they’re faster, stronger and tougher to stop, not much. The last time they were seen was King of Fighters 97.
7. – Garou characters – Gato, Hotaru, B. Janet, and others would be nice to see again. Gato, Hotaru, and B. Janet were in King of Fighters XI at least.
6. – Yamazaki – That laugh is needed again
5. – Heavenly Kings – Hey, if Vice and Mature are back, again, why not?
4. – Adelheid – He’s only been in two games, needs more, plus it would be nice to see him try to atone for his father’s actions.
3. – Whip – K’ sister, who uses a whip and a gun to fight, should be around more often.
2. – Vanessa – Because fu** C. Viper, I want the original hot MILF secret angent who can box in ways that would make both Dudley and Balrog green with envy.
So, whom would be my #1 KOF character to bring back? Well, Blue Mary of course! Terry Bogard’s love interest and a really solid all-around grappler. So, that’s my DLC wish list, granted a good chunk of it is nothing more than wish-fulfillment, but, again, King of Fighters has a huge roster of characters, well over 100.
With that said, what´s your take on KOF 14 so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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