The King of Fighters '98
|The King of Fighters '98|
|Series||The King of Fighters|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo MVS|
The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest, known in Japan as The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends, is a fighting game released by SNK for the Neo Geo arcade and home consoles in 1998. It is the fifth game in The King of Fighters series. It was advertised by SNK as a "special edition" of the series, as it featured most of the characters who appeared in the previous games (from KOF '94 to '97).
KOF '98 was ported to the Neo-Geo CD in 1998 and for the PlayStation in Japan in 1999. A Dreamcast version titled The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 was released in 1999, featuring backgrounds remade in 3D. The game was also remade for the PlayStation 2 as The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match, which expands the number of playable characters, further tweaks the gameplay and features a third fighting style option.
The gameplay does not differ much from the previous game, KOF '97. Like in KOF '97, the player has a choice between two playing styles: Advance and Extra, with a few slight modifications to Advanced mode (unlike in KOF '97, the character will resume to normal if the player performs a Super Special Move in MAX state). This time when one character loses a round, the losing team is given a handicap in its favor. In Advanced mode, this means that the player's stock capacity for Power Gauges is increased by one. In Extra mode, the time it takes to charge one's power gauge to maximum level is shortened, and the maximum remaining health requirement for a MAX Super Special Move is increased.
All the regular characters from the previous game return, along with several characters from preceding installments such as Vice and Mature (Iori's teammates from KOF '96), the American Sports Team (Heavy D!, Lucky Glauber, and Brian Battler) from KOF '94, and the Old Men Team (or Veteran Fighters Team) composed of Heidern, Takuma Sakazaki, and Saisyu Kusanagi, all characters whose last appearances were in KOF '95. Rugal Bernstein from KOF '94 also returns as a Team Edit character, with his alter-ego Omega Rugal (the cyborg version of Rugal from KOF '95) serving as the game's final boss in the Single Player Mode. Shingo Yabuki (who originally appeared in KOF '97) continues as a Team Edit character, but also appears as a mid-boss character during the Arcade Mode. Additionally, the game includes EX versions of certain characters, i.e., alternate versions of characters who use movesets from previous games: Joe Higashi, Ryo Sakazaki, Yuri Sakazaki and Robert Garcia are based on their KOF '94 movesets, whereas Kyo Kusanagi is based on his KOF '95 moveset and Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, Mai Shiranui and Billy Kane are based on their Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers movesets.
- Kyo Kusanagi
- Benimaru Nikaido
- Goro Daimon
Fatal Fury Team
Art of Fighting Team
Psycho Soldier Team
- Athena Asamiya
- Sie Kensou
- Chin Gentsai
Women Fighters Team
- Chizuru Kagura
- Mai Shiranui
- Kim Kaphwan
- Chang Koehan
- Choi Bounge
New Faces Team (KOF '98 Team)
- Yashiro Nanakase
Outlaw Team (KOF '97 Team)
Yagami Team (KOF '96 Team)
Old Men Team (Veteran Fighters Team)
- Takuma Sakazaki
- Saisyu Kusanagi
American Sports Team
- Heavy D
- Lucky Glauber
- Brian Battler
- Rugal Bernstein
- Shingo Yabuki
In The King of Fighters '96, several moves from Kyo Kusanagi were changed in order to adapt him to the new game system. However, the original moveset was still popular among gamers and as such, an alternative version of Kyo was added to The King of Fighters '97. The introduction of this version was noted to be "a hit" within gamers, the staff kept adding new alternative versions of other characters in KOF '98. Since this game did not have a storyline, the SNK staff decided to return Rugal Bernstein as the boss character noting that "he's the only character who truly represents the ultimate KOF boss." Additionally, some of his special moves were redesigned, which the staff found to have made him the strongest version of Rugal as well as one of their favorites.
KOF '98 was originally released for arcades on July 23, 1998. It was ported to the Neo Geo AES on September 23, 1998, the Neo-Geo CD on December 23, 1998 and the PlayStation on March 25, 1999. The PlayStation version was published in North America and the PAL region by Agetec, becoming the first PlayStation installment in the series to be released outside Japan since The King of Fighters '95. The original game is also included in The King of Fighters Collection: Orochi Saga compilation released in North America and the PAL region for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Wii (the game was not included in the Japanese Orochi Hen compilation). The game was later re-released for iOS and Android.
A Dreamcast version was also released on June 24, 1999 under the title The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999, reflecting the year the version was released. It came out in North America on September 30, 1999. It features remade 3D backdrops and runs at 60 frames per second.
|The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
KOF '98 was remade under the title of The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match released in 2008, ten years after the original game's release. It was released in Japan as an arcade game for the Taito Type X hardware on March 2008. The PlayStation 2 port released on June 26, and was also published on the NeoGeo Online Collection The Best on June 18, 2008. The game was released in North America by Ignition Entertainment on March 3, 2009. In the European Union it was released on June 10, 2009. A version for the IGS PolyGame Master 2 arcade hardware was also released in 2009, which was called The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match Hero.
Ultimate Match includes additional characters not featured in the original version of the game, such as Eiji Kisaragi from KOF '95, along with Kasumi Todoh and the Boss Team (composed of Geese Howard, Wolfgang Krauser, and Mr. Big) from KOF '96, as well as the boss characters Goenitz and Orochi, essentially including all the characters featured in the KOF series prior to KOF '98. New moves were added to the USA Sports Team to improve their playability, and EX versions of certain characters not featured in the original version were added, namely King with her Art of Fighting 2 moveset, and Ryuji Yamazaki, Blue Mary and Geese Howard with their Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers movesets. The Orochi versions of Leona and Iori Yagami are also playable, and both also appear as mid-bosses in the Arcade Mode. New stages were added to the game such as China and Hong Kong to show appreciation for KOF's high popularity in such regions; it is also the only fighting game to feature an accurate representation of Saudi Arabia in one stage, as the country was a major market for the NEO GEO line in the early 1990s. A third fighting style is also introduced in addition to Advance and Extra, dubbed "Ultimate" mode. Ultimate mode is a customizable style that allows the player to choose between features from Advance or Extra mode, such as which kind of Power Gauge to use. It also includes a 'Neo Geo' mode, which is a direct port of the original Neo Geo console version.
An updated version titled The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match Final Edition, featuring balance changes for most characters, was released for Microsoft Windows on Steam on December 16, 2014, and on GOG.com on June 1, 2018.
In Japan, Game Machine listed The King of Fighters '98 on their September 1, 1998 issue as being the most-successful arcade game of the year. According to Famitsu, the AES version sold over 22,651 copies in its first week on the market.
During its release week, the Dreamcast port of the game sold 58,354 copies in Japan. As of 2004, the sales increased to 104,049. Famitsu magazine scored the Dreamcast port of KOF '98 a 30 out of 40, and GameRankings gave it a 71% based on a total of 18 reviews.
Various reviewers from video game publications have commented on KOF '98. While reviewing the compilation The King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga, Matt Edwards from Eurogamer noted KOF '98 to be the most enjoyable game from the collection as well as the most famous game from the series "that really made people stand up and take an interest in the series. We'd disagree in favor of some of the later games, but for its time KOF '98 was reasonably well balanced for a 2D fighter. And there's no denying it was a blast." The game also received praise by 1UP.com writer Richard Li who found it to be the most balanced game from the KOF series due to the fact it improved the game mechanics from the previous titles. Jeremy Dunham from IGN gave the game an 8.4, praising, apart from the gameplay and characters, the graphics, the music as well as the background designs added for the Dreamcast version. However, he was disappointed with the lack of story in the game, noting the ones from previous games to be very entertaining. GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann found it to be one of the best 2D fighting games, noting that although new players may find it hard to play due to the difficulty in executing various special moves and how difficult the opponent AI is. Although Andy Chien from Gaming Age found that the Dreamcast port of the game was well done since it does not have the disadvantages that it had in other consoles, he noted it "could have been a lot better." He also found that the game had a bug when he tried to perform a special move from Mai Shiranui, which unlike the other ports, is very inconsistent.
Tom Russo reviewed the Dreamcast version of the game for Next Generation, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "Not bad, but with so many other high-quality fighters available, this one only makes sense for players nostalgic for old NeoGeo fighting games."
GameRankings gave Ultimate Match a 77% based on 14 reviews for the PlayStation 2 version and 74% based on 5 reviews for the Xbox 360 version. Metacritic gave it a 73 out of 100 for both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 versions based on 11 reviews and 4 reviews respectively. Various publications for video games and other media have commented on Ultimate Match with IGN writer Ryan Clements giving it a 7.8, saying that probably this game should only be recommended to fans of The King of Fighters due to how old its graphics are as well as the little balance it has with 60 characters being playable. James Mielke from 1UP.com complained on how the game is very similar to KOF '98, but found the controls to be comfortable and intuitive for any fans of 2D fighting games. However, Heath Hooker from GameZone found that the gameplay and sound from the game make up for the graphics even though there is not much difference between KOF '98 and KOF '98: Ultimate Match. In 2013, KOF '98 Ultimate Match was ranked as the 15th best arcade game of the 1990s by Complex, who also called it "possibly the greatest SNK fighting game of them all," and included it on their list of 25 best 2D fighting games of all time in 2013.
In 2017, the Chinese mobile game King of Fighters '98UM OL grossed ¥9.8 billion ($89.9 million) in Japan.
- Ported to PlayStation by TUG and Yumekobo
- "The King of Fighters '98 official profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- "94 Kyo official profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- "95 Kyo official profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- "Omega Rugal official profile". King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Official Website. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- "KOF Collection Orochi Releases dates". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
- "KOF'98" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Archived from the original on June 30, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- "KOF 1999 releases dates". GameSpot. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
- "News - Now Available on Steam - THE KING OF FIGHTERS '98 ULTIMATE MATCH FINAL EDITION". Steam. Valve. December 16, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- "The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match release dates". GameSpot. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- "The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match pal version" (in Italian). GameStop. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- "KOF '98 Ultimate Match Hero cartridge".
- "「KOF'98UM」のデキはいかに？ ネオジオ博士インタビュー" (in Japanese). GameSpot. September 25, 2007. Archived from the original on March 10, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "THE KING OF FIGHTERS '98UM OLの配信日＆最新記事まとめ". Famitsu (in Japanese). Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- "Release: THE KING OF FIGHTERS '98 ULTIMATE MATCH FINAL EDITION & 2002 UNLIMITED MATCH" (1 June 2018). GOG.com. CD Projekt. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- "The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 for Dreamcast". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 16, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match for PlayStation 2". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match for Xbox 360". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "The King of Fighters '98 for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "ACA NeoGeo: The King of Fighters '98 for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- Russo, Tom (November 1999). "Finals". Next Generation. Vol. 2 no. 3. Imagine Media. p. 114.
- Musgrave, Shaun (July 30, 2014). "'The King Of Fighters 98' Review – The King Of 'King Of Fighters' Arrives". TouchArcade. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - TVゲーム機ーソフトウェア (Video Game Software)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 571. Amusement Press, Inc. September 1, 1998. p. 21.
- "Game Search". Game Data Library. Archived from the original on April 24, 2019. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
- "Sega Dreamcast Japanese Ranking". Japan Game Charts. Archived from the original on May 4, 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
- ドリームキャスト – ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ DREAM MATCH 1999. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.49. June 30, 2006.
- Edwards, Matt (December 10, 2008). "The King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- Li, Richard (December 16, 2008). "The King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga (PS2)". 1UP.com. Retrieved June 9, 2009.[permanent dead link]
- Dunham, Jeremy (October 25, 1999). "IGN: The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 Review". IGN. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Gerstmann, Jeff (July 1, 1999). "GameSpot: The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Chien, Andy (July 7, 1999). "Gaming Age: The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999 Review". Gaming Age. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Clements, Ryan (March 6, 2009). "IGN: The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Review". IGN. Archived from the original on March 10, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Mielke, James (January 27, 2009). "1UP.com: The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Review". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Hooker, Heather (March 11, 2009). "GameZone: The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on June 11, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Dutka, Ben (April 8, 2009). "PSXextreme.com: The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Review". PSXextreme.com. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
- Rich Knight, Hanuman Welch, The 30 Best Arcade Video Games of the 1990s Archived August 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Complex.com, August 28, 2013.
- "The 25 Best 2D Fighting Games of All Time". Complex. August 15, 2013. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- "중국진출 일본게임 VS 일본진출 중국게임 실적 분석". Mobile Index (in Korean). June 7, 2018.