The King of Fighters: R-1


: The King of Fighters: Round 1 marks SNK's first time bringing the KOF series onto a handheld.... What better system than their own Neo Geo Pocket to do just that? 14 of the most well known KOF characters make their appearance in KOF: R-1, featuring recognizable backgrounds, charming 8-bit character theme songs, and classic gameplay elements based on The King of Fighters '97. Players can choose from "Extra" & "Advance" play modes similar to KOF '97, with most characters playing pretty closely to their original versions.


Chibi-style all the way.


KOF: R-1
released before the Neo Geo Pocket Color launched, so the game's graphics were limited to an arguably dreary black & white. Instead of the traditional KOF series sprites with human proportions, all returning characters are redrawn "chibi style". The super deformed art style gives the characters a charmingly cute & cuddly big-headed look. It works especially will since the Neo Geo Pocket system itself is an equally cute system. ...Ahh, I love my good old NGPC. The system's clciky d-pad makes classic moves especially fun to pull off.


You can see the pain on Kyo's face...


Overall, King of Fighters: R1 is a straight forward 2D fighting game and will be a familiar gameplay experience if you're familiar with prior games of the series. There's plenty fan service thrown in for old school fans as well, including some decent endings and artwork. Possibly my favorite part of the game is the soundtrack. Hearing the classic KOF character themes in the game's catchy 8-bit style is something that any returning SNK fan can appreciate. NEOGEO Pocket sound effects and music is definitely something special... and reminds me of some of my past favorite eras of gaming.


Mai is so cute.


Page Updated: August 20th, 2022
Developer(s): SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Platform(s): Neo Geo Pocket
Release Date(s): October 28, 1998
Characters Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, Ryo Sakazaki, Terry Bogard, Chizuru Kagura, Yashiro Nanakase, Shingo Yabuki, Shermie, Chris, Mai Shiranui, Kim Kaphwan, Athena Asamiya, Leona Heidern, Orochi, Orochi Chris, Orochi Shermie, Orochi Yashiro

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Featured Video:

Related Games: The King of Fighters R2, King of Fighters '97, Fatal Fury: 1st Contact, Gals Fighters, SNK Vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium, Samurai Shodown!: Pocket, Samurai Shodown! 2: Pocket

Gameplay Engine

 6.5 / 10

Story / Theme

 6.5 / 10

Overall Graphics

 7.0 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 8.5 / 10


 5.0 / 10

Art Direction

 7.5 / 10


 4.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 3.0 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 5.0 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 5.0 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 6.0 / 10


 6.5 / 10


 6.3 / 10



Final Words: KOF: R-1 is a clever tribute to the KOF series and a respectably decent handheld fighter for 1998. Flaws? The character count was a bit low considering series history, and the gameplay system & speed could use some polish. Once again, probably the main flaw of R-1 is that it's in black & white... but it's excusable and still visually enjoyable.

Once again, the soundtrack is excellent and easily one of the strongest aspects of the game, along with the catchy 2D sprite animations. Thankfully, the sequel King of Fighters R-2 improved on all of these factors.

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen