The King of Fighters '97

STORY:  The KOF '96 tournament drew to a close with an incident that occurred right after the tournament's end. The incident itself and the subsequent accident it caused were officially reported as the result of terrorist activity by an unknown group, but the details concerning the identity, motives, and subsequent whereabouts of the terrorists remained a mystery.

In spite of this incident, however, the KOF '96 tournament was an overwhelming commercial success. A few months after, the event triggered a fighting craze and various large corporations, expressing interest in the fad, offered to sponsor subsequent tournaments, leading to a demand for an eagerly awaited KOF '97. The fad reached all over the globe and in no time KOF '97 came into being.

With the decision to hold the tournament, fighters began to gather at various venues for the preliminary matches and approached the tournament with various motives, some came to test their abilities while others entered for wealth and fame. Word of the tournament came through all forms of the media, and fans from far and wide gathered to witness the white-hot preliminary battles. Concomitant to the preliminary matches, came the construction of various KOF stadiums throughout the world. Naturally the anticipation for the KOF '97 tournament exceeded historical precedent and it soon became obvious to everyone that the current tournament, as with the previous one, would reach a remarkable climax.

What team will win the tournament that the eyes of the whole world will look on and wear the KOF crown of victory? And does an incident similar to the unexpected accident of last year's tournament threaten to mar the festivities? All of the world's attention is focused on this year's tournament. KOF '97 is here!

Incredibly memorable stages, music, and characters.

A series staying in the fight against a very competitive line-up of fighting games in the late 90's, KOF is back yet again with King of Fighters '97. Along with quite a few new additions to the roster, the fourth installment to the KOF series introduces the "dual mode" play system, allowing players to choose from either "Advanced" (based on KOF '96) or "Extra" (based on KOF '94 & '95). Advanced Mode allows for a faster, offensive play while Extra Mode allows for a more defensive, special-intensive play. This new gameplay option, along with the returning ability to customize teams, allowed players to play exactly how they want to.

Welcome back Billy Kane. Osu!

Now with more gameplay and team customization options than ever, KOF '97 was already the best KOF game to date. On top of new gameplay and character tweaks, the character order selection, Versus screen, and pre-fight interactions also breathed new life into the graphics engine. Colors and character sprites seem brighter and more vibrant than in past games, and the stage designs are some of the most energetic to date. KOF '97's artwork and soundtrack also helped the game stand out from the crowd. 

Yo... it's Disney World!!!


Page Updated: February 14th, 2019
Developer(s): SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Artwork by: Shinkiro
Platform(s): Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, PS1, PS2 (in KOF: Orochi Saga), PSN, PS4, PSVita, Sega Saturn, Wii Virtual Console, iOS, Android, Steam
Release Date(s): July 28th, 1997        ( Arcade)
Mar. 26th, 1998      ( Saturn)
May 30th, 2007
       ( PSN)
Sept. 6th, 2011        ( Wii VC)
Feb. 9th, 2012          ( Wii VC)
Mar. 8th, 2012         ( Wii VC)
Nov. 13th, 2013       (iOS, Android)
April 2018                   (PS4/Vita/Steam - as KOF '97: Global Match)
Characters Kyo, Benimaru, Daimon, Andy, Terry, Joe, Ryo, Robert, Mai, King, Yuri, Ralf, Leona, Clark, Athena, Kensou, Chin, Chizuru, Yashiro, Shermie, Chris, Shingo, Iori, Chang, Kim, Choi, Yamazaki, Blue Mary, Billy Kane, Orochi

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Featured Video:

Related Games: KOF '97: Global Match, KOF R1, KOF '94, KOF '94: Re-bout, KOF '95, KOF '96, KOF '98, KOF '98: Ultimate Match, KOF '99, KOF 2000, KOF 2001, KOF 2002, KOF 2002: Unlimited Match, KOF 2003, KOF XI, KOF XII, KOF XIII, KOF: Maximum Impact, KOF: Maximum Impact MANIAX, KOF: Maximum Impact 2, KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A, KOF: Neowave, KOF EX Neo Blood, KOF EX2 Howling Blood, KOF R2, KOF Collection: Orochi Saga

Gameplay Engine

 8.0 / 10

Story / Theme

 8.5 / 10

Overall Graphics

 7.5 / 10


 7.0 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 7.0 / 10


 8.5 / 10

Art Direction

 9.5 / 10


 7.5 / 10

Options / Extras

 8.0 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 8.0 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 8.0 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 7.0 / 10


 8.0 / 10


 8.2 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version     


Final Words:

KOF '97 was a big step for the series, and a certainly a step in the right direction. The large character roster and variety of options given to the player distinguished the series from other fighting games. KOF '97 was very well received by fans due to the refined gameplay, improved graphics & animation, and the largest and most colorful cast of characters to date. ~TFG Webmaster  


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