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!

KOF '97 character select screen.

Staying competitive in a vibrant line-up of groundbreaking fighting games in the late 90's, The King of Fighters '97 took major strides forward for the series. Along with quite a few new additions to the roster, the fourth installment of KOF introduces the "Dual Mode" play system, allowing players to choose from either the "Advanced" (based on KOF '96) or "Extra" (based on KOF '94 & '95) gameplay system. Advanced allows for a faster, offensive play while Extra allows for a more defensive, special-intensive play. This new gameplay select option, along with the returning ability to customize teams, enabled players to customize their playstyle and strategies at their will.


"Welcome back Billy Kane. Osu!" -Ryo


Now with more gameplay and team customization options than ever, KOF '97 was easily the "best" KOF game to date upon its arrival. On top of new gameplay and character moveset tweaks, the character order selection, gorgeous versus screen, beautiful brand new 2D stages, and charismatic pre-fight interactions breathed new life into the series. Colors, backgrounds, and character sprites seem brighter and more vibrant than in past installments, and the stage designs themselves are some of the most energetic to date (and still look amazing to this day)! Additionally, KOF '97's official character artwork (drawn by the legendary Shinkiro) and hype soundtrack also helped the game to stand out from the crowd. 


Yaaay, We are goin' to Disney World!










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Page Updated: August 20th, 2022
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
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, Iori, Benimaru, Daimon, Andy, Terry, Joe, Ryo, Robert, Mai, King, Yuri, Ralf, Leona, Clark, Athena, Kensou, Chin, Chizuru, Yashiro, Shermie, Chris, Shingo, Chang, Kim, Choi, Yamazaki, Blue Mary, Billy Kane, Orochi, Orochi Chris, Orochi Shermie, Orochi Yashiro

kof97-billy-vs-ralf-screenshot.png (34287 bytes)k97-s5.png (30333 bytes)

Featured Video:

Related Games: The King of Fighters '97: Global Match, KOF R1, KOF '98, KOF '98: Ultimate Match, KOF '94, KOF '94: Re-bout, KOF '95, KOF '96, KOF '99, KOF 2000, KOF 2001, KOF 2002, KOF 2002: Unlimited Match, KOF 2003, KOF XI, KOF XII, KOF XIII, KOF XIV, KOF XV, 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, Street Fighter III: New Generation, Street Fighter Alpha 2

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 great step forward for the series. It wasn't the best-looking or flashiest 2D fighting game of 1997-1998, but this SNK classic held its own with charismatic 2D sprites and solid, traditional gameplay.

KOF 97's The large character roster was still one of the main selling points of the series, along with the gameplay / team customization options which added a ton of replayability. KOF '97 was well-received by fans due to the refined gameplay, improved graphics & animation, and the largest and most colorful cast of characters to date. Little did we know in '97... it would only get better from here!
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen  

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