The King of Fighters XI
|The King of Fighters XI|
Arcade flyer for The King of Fighters XI
|Publisher(s)||Sega (AW) / SNK Playmore (PS2)|
|Series||The King of Fighters|
|Mode(s)||Team Battle, One-On-One; Up to 2 players simultaneously|
The King of Fighters XI is a 2D competitive fighting game produced by SNK Playmore originally released in 2005 as a coin-operated arcade game for the Atomiswave platform. It is the eleventh official installment in The King of Fighters series following The King of Fighters 2003, although The King of Fighters Neowave was previously released for the same platform. A home version for the PlayStation 2 was released in Japan in 2006, followed by releases in the PAL region and North America in 2007, to positive critical reception.
The four largest innovations The King of Fighters XI brings to the franchise are the Quick Shift, the Saving Shift, the Skill Bar and the Dream Cancels. The Power Stocks that existed previously are still present, and are filled in the usual fashion. Nevertheless, there are now Skill Stocks as well, which gradually build up over time. Each team begins a match holding the maximum of two Skill Stocks. Offensive maneuvers, such as Desperation Moves, Guard Cancels, and Tag Attacks, continue to use Power Stocks. However, more defensive or tactical maneuvers, such as Guard Evasion, Saving Shift, and Quick Shift, use Skill Stocks.
The King of Fighters XI utilizes the Tactical Shift System from The King of Fighters 2003. The Quick Shift allows to change into another character in the middle of any combo, prolonging it, or in the middle of any attack, canceling the frames of animation of the attack, if it's needed. The Saving Shift allows to take out a character when he is being hit as soon as he is hit, at the cost of both skill bars. The last new feature of The King of Fighters XI is the Dream Cancel. Like the Super Cancel that first appeared in The King of Fighters '99, Dream Cancel allows players to use stocks to interrupt a move in the midst of its execution with a more powerful move, allowing devastating combos.
Should the timer run down in a match, the winner is no longer decided based upon who has the most life remaining. Instead, the judgment bar, a new bar of circular shape composed of two colors, each one representing one player acts as a quantifier of the skill of each player. Whichever player has the judgment bar towards his or her side will be the victor if none of the teams win defeating all three characters from the opposite team; rarely, if the bar is exactly in the center, the match will end in a draw and both sides will lose. The bar is affected by each attack that the players get in, combos affect progressively more, and when a character of the opposing team is defeated, the bar suffers a big change against that player.
Mukai, a member of a mysterious group known as "Those from the Distant Land", stole the Orochi seal in the last tournament and broke it, causing confusion and destruction. Taking advantage of the situation at hand, Ash Crimson attacked Chizuru Kagura in her weakened state and stole the Yata Mirror from her, draining her powers in the process.
In the advent of a new King of Fighters tournament, new faces are handed invitations, while old friends return, such as Eiji Kisaragi (who makes his long-awaited comeback since his last appearance as a member of the Rival Team in The King of Fighters '95), who creates the Anti-Kyokugen Ryu Team along with Kasumi Todoh (who returns to The King of Fighters as well) and Malin. Oswald, an Irish card player who's an expert in using his playing cards to battle, joins Ash and Shen Woo in the Hero Team to find the whereabouts of a powerful new drug. Elisabeth Blanctorche, a young French woman who is acquainted with Ash, creates a Rival Team along with Benimaru Nikaido and Duo Lon to investigate Ash's true intentions.
Duck King, a well-known South Town veteran fighter, joins Terry Bogard and Kim Kaphwan in the Fatal Fury Team as Joe Higashi had left to focus on his training and Mai Shiranui had refused to help Terry out after he told her that he didn't know where his young brother Andy was. Having recovered his powers lost during the NESTS Chronicles, Sie Kensou returns to the Psycho Soldiers Team along with Athena Asamiya and newcomer Momoko, a cheerful capoeira-using girl.
A new Agent Team is formed by Blue Mary and returning characters Vanessa and Ramon. A new team known as the MOTW Team is formed by the female pirate B. Jenet, Gato and Tizoc. Due to an emotional trauma that her character has at the end of The King of Fighters 2003, Leona leaves the Ikari Team to focus in regaining her strong will and Whip decides to leave the K′ Team to replace her. The former NESTS agent, Kula Diamond, joins K' and Maxima in the K' team to help them out in investigating their latest threat. Since Chizuru is unable to help her teammates out, Shingo Yabuki replaces her in the Sacred Treasures Team to help Kyo and Iori Yagami recover her powers from Ash.
The character roster for the game receives a major shake-up, with no returning team remaining unaltered from the previous installment, and with five long-time regular characters (Chang Koehan, Choi Bounge, Joe Higashi, Mai Shiranui, Leona and Robert Garcia) absent for the first time in the series. However, past characters such as Eiji Kisaragi, Kasumi Todoh, Sie Kensou, Vanessa, Ramon, and Kula Diamond return to the competition. Characters new to series include Oswald, Elisabeth, and Momoko, as well as Duck King from the first Fatal Fury and B. Jenet from Garou: Mark of the Wolves.
- Ash Team: Ash Crimson, Oswald, Shen Woo.
- Fatal Fury Team: Terry Bogard (Garou: Mark of the Wolves outfit), Kim, Duck King.
- Rival Team: Elisabeth Blanctorche, Duo Lon, Benimaru Nikaido.
- Ikari Team: Ralf Jones, Clark Still, Whip.
- Agent Team: Vanessa, Blue Mary, Ramon.
- K' and Kula Team: K', Maxima, Kula Diamond.
- Ninja Team: Malin, Eiji Kisaragi, Kasumi Todoh.
- Japan Team: Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, Shingo Yabuki.
- Art of Fighting Team: Ryo Sakazaki, Yuri Sakazaki, King.
- Garou Team: B. Jenet, Gato, Tizoc (erroneously called Mai in the PAL version).
- Psycho Soldier Team: Athena Asamiya, Sie Kensou, Momoko.
- Mid-bosses: Gai Tendo (the lead character from Buriki One), Sho Hayate (the lead character from Savage Reign and Kizuna Encounter), Adelheid Bernstein (the alternate final boss in The King of Fighters 2003), Jyazu (the antagonist of Kizuna Encounter), Silber (the antagonist of Buriki One).
- Sub-boss: Shion (an assistant of Magaki skilled in the use of martial arts and weapons, particularly a long spear and Flying Dart).
- Final boss: Magaki (the final boss of the game and a herald of Orochi).
Characters from Savage Reign and its sequel Kizuna Encounter, as well as Buriki One, appear in the game as secret challengers. The PlayStation 2 version features seven additional characters taken from NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, who become available once the player clear certain challenges in the game's Challenge Mode. PlayStation 2 exclusive characters (each is based upon their NeoGeo Battle Coliseum appearance): Mai Shiranui (Fatal Fury 2), Robert Garcia (Art of Fighting), Geese Howard (Fatal Fury: King of Fighters), Tung Fu Rue (Fatal Fury: King of Fighters), Mr. Big (Art of Fighting), Hotaru Futaba (Garou: Mark of the Wolves), EX Kyo Kusanagi (Kyo in his The King of Fighters '99 outfit).
On March 24, 2006, Scitron and SNK released The King of Fighters XI Sound Collection (United States) (ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズXI サウンドコレクション?), a soundtrack from the game. It consists of two CDs, both featuring 37 tracks. While some tracks are identical to the ones from the game, other have been arranged. The disc one is from the arcade version, while the disc two is from the PS2 version. The tracks were composed by SHA-V and arranged by Koji Takata, Masuo Okumura and Masanori Kuki.
|1.||"The King Of Fighters XI"||0:33|
|2.||"How To Play"||1:04|
|10.||"After a long absence"||1:44|
|12.||"kiss or poison"||1:36|
|13.||"Smell of gunpowder"||1:55|
|14.||"PURE ~at good old days~"||2:15|
|22.||""Cha Cha Cha""||1:26|
|26.||"an improvised concerto"||2:56|
|28.||"Ending – Rain"||1:05|
|29.||"Ending – PAOPAO"||1:16|
|30.||"Ending – Rest"||1:12|
|31.||"Ending – Conference"||1:41|
|32.||"Ending – Worm"||1:00|
|33.||"Ending – Sky"||1:51|
|34.||"Ending – Agent"||0:54|
|35.||"Ending – Collection"||0:51|
|36.||"Ending – Parting"||1:02|
Since the first game in The King of Fighters series, each of them were released every year; the last of them to be released in this manner was The King of Fighters 2003. In December 2004, Falcoon, the series' main illustrator, mentioned that the next game the SNK Playmore staff were trying to release was different from The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact or what could have been a The King of Fighters 2004. Development of the game began when the SNK staff finished making Neo Geo Battle Coliseum. On September 8, 2006, Ignition Entertainment announced they licensed The King of Fighters XI for European release. SNK Playmore USA announced the game on November 13, 2007.
The additions of the mid-bosses from Buriki One and Kizuna Encounter were meant to surprise gamers. Since their original moves did not "fit" in The King of Fighters XI, developers had to change some of them. The boss character Magaki was designed to "disgust and disturb fans with his movements", giving more characters to the antagonists, Those from the Past. Additionally, he was meant to be a hated and nonredeemable character due to the difficulty players could have to defeat him.
In a positive review, Ryan Clements of IGN called The King of Fighters XI "a very old-school 2D fighter" as the style from the games has not changed so much since KOF '94 and the game is well organized due to the large number of playable characters and how variable were their fighting styles. He added that some fights were very difficult for players unless they learn the special moves from the characters, causing them to spend some time learning them. Andrew Park of GameSpot opined that the game was well-balanced with several characters to play and a good artwork for the illustrations. He mentioned that while the sub-boss Shion, is "terribly powerful", the final boss, Magaki, is "absurdly overpowered" although his voice is not well done and his appearance is not impressive. Eurogamer called it an "excellent 2D game" comparable to other good games such as Street Fighter III, but complained about the lack of popular characters like Leona and Joe Higashi, although praising the addition of bonus characters like Mai Shiranui, Mr. Big and Robert Garcia. In 2012, Complex ranked it as the eight best SNK fighting game ever made, adding that "Shion has to be the coolest sub-boss ever."
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- 8. The King of Fighters XI — The 25 Best SNK Fighting Games Ever Made | Complex