The King of Fighters '98

STORY:  In terms of plot, KOF '98 does not have a story and was developed as a "dream match" with characters from all previous installments of King of Fighters.


KOF '98 character selection screen.

The fifth installment of SNK's King of Fighters series features an unprecedented 38 selectable characters (the largest roster to date) with fully customizable 3-man teams. Like the prequel, KOF '98 offers two styles of play after you've picked your team: Advanced & ExtraExtra mode allows players to "charge up" meter, sidestep, and perform free DMs when they have low health. Advanced charges up meter automatically as the player takes damage, lands attacks, and blocks attacks. Players can stock 5 meters and enter MAX mode where super moves are more powerful. Advance also allows players to dodge roll forward or back.

Terry: *whistles* "Over here meathead!"

The main gameplay enhancement of KOF '98 is the new Advantage System. Now when players lose a round/character, they gain an advantage during the next round depending on your selected play mode. In Advanced, you get one more power stock, and in Extra the gauge size decreases. Like in past installments, many characters' fighting styles were slightly tweaked, with most returning characters acquiring some new techniques. A variety of fighters even have alternate (hidden) "EX" versions which have entirely different movesets.

Leona with the curb stomp! Ouch.

Following series tradition, all returning character sprites pretty much look the same... but KOF 98's backgrounds are entirely new. In my opinion, KOF 98's backgrounds are the best-looking to date, featuring tons of impressive details and subtle animations. Most importantly, KOF 98's gameplay is fast and furious... and with so many different match-ups and team possibilities, the game has great replay value. Upon its arrival, The King of Fighters '98 was arguably the best KOF installment to date (at least top two). Even many years after new KOF sequels were released ('99, 2000, etc), many fans were still playing 98' competitively! The large and balanced character roster, in addition to the team / gameplay customization make KOF '98 a fan-favorite among SNK fighting game connoisseurs.

That probably hurt a little.

After KOF '98's original release in arcades on July 23, 1998, the game was ported to the PS1 on March 25th, 1999. A few months later, a Dreamcast version was released (June 24th) under a new title: The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999. The Dreamcast port features a brand new "anime style" opening movie (which was amazing), retouched backgrounds introducing new 3D elements, and some additional mode. Finally, ten years after the original release, King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match, a remake featuring new characters and stages was released on PS2. The King of Fighters '98 is also found in the compilation pack, The King of Fighters Collection: Orochi Saga, released on PS2, PSP and Nintendo Wii.










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Page Updated: January 21st, 2024
Developer(s): SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Artwork by: Shinkiro
Platform(s): Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, PlayStation, PS2, PSN, Dreamcast, XBLA, Wii Virtual Console, iOS, Android
Release Date(s): July 23rd, 1998                 Arcade
Sept. 23rd, 1998              Neo Geo
Dec. 23rd, 1998               Neo Geo CD
Mar. 25th, 1999               PlayStation
June 24th, 1999               Dreamcast
Sept. 9th, 1999                 Dreamcast
June 27th, 2007               PSN
Oct. 23rd, 2012                Wii VC
Mar. 7th, 2013                  Wii VC
May 30th, 2013                Wii VC
July 24th, 2014               iOS/Android
Characters Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru Nikaido, Goro Daimon, Andy Bogard, Terry Bogard, Joe Higashi, Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Mai Shiranui, King, Yuri Sakazaki, Ralf Jones, Leona Heidern, Clark Still, Athena Asamiya, Sie Kensou, Chin Gentsai, Chizuru Kagura, Yashiro Nanakase, Shermie, Chris, Mature, Vice, Iori Yagami, Chang Koehan, Kim Kaphwan, Choi Bounge, Ryuji Yamazaki, Blue Mary, Billy Kane, Heidern, Takuma Sakazaki, Saisyu Kusanagi, Heavy D, Lucky Glauber, Brian Battler, Shingo Yabuki, Rugal Bernstein, Orochi Chris, Orochi Shermie, Orochi Yashiro, Omega Rugal

Featured Video:

Related Games: KOF '98: Ultimate Match, KOF R2, KOF Collection: Orochi Saga, KOF '94, KOF '94: Re-bout, KOF '95, KOF '96, KOF '97, 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: MI 2, KOF: MI Regulation A, KOF: Neowave, KOF EX Neo Blood, KOF EX2 Howling Blood, KOF R1, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, SFIII: 2nd Impact, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Marvel Vs. Capcom, SNK Vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium, Daraku Tenshi - The Fallen Angels, Last Blade 2, Guilty Gear, Breakers Revenge

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  8.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.5 / 10
Animation  7.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.5 / 10
Innovation  8.5 / 10
Art Direction  9.0 / 10
Customization  8.5 / 10
Options / Extras  8.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  8.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  8.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.5 / 10
Characters  8.5 / 10

 8.6 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version     


Final Words:

KOF '98 is the game that truly got me interested in The King of Fighters series. What originally got my attention was the massive character roster, fun and strategic 3-VS-3 team battles, and of course, some of the "coolest" and most stylish fighting game character designs to date. Not only do the characters have cool appearances, but KOF 98's cast has considerably deep movesets, combos, and playstyles... moreso than other comparable 2D fighting game characters of the eta.

With its customization options, addicting gameplay, and character diverse roster... The King of Fighters '98 demonstrated just how far SNK had come since the early days. Many influential characters from old school SNK franchises, such as: Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and Ikari warriors make one of their best appearances to date in KOF '98. The series itself had surely come a long way in just 4 years... and KOF '98 was definitely of the most playable and fun version of KOF to date.

While certain aspects of the visuals don't quite match-up some of the top 2D fighters available in 1998, KOF '98's unique team customization, solid gameplay, and memorable characters made it stand out and remain competitive (during a very competitive time of the fighting genre).
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen


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