The King of Fighters 2000
|The King of Fighters 2000|
Promotional ad for The King of Fighters 2000
|Series||The King of Fighters|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo Revision 1.0 8/30/2000|
The King of Fighters 2000 (ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ 2000) is a fighting video game that was produced by SNK for the Neo Geo arcade and home consoles in 2000. It is the seventh installment in The King of Fighters series for the Neo Geo and the final game in the series SNK produced before the original company's bankruptcy. The game was ported to the Dreamcast (in Japan only) and the PlayStation 2 in 2002. The game's story, a sequel to The King of Fighters '99 and the second part of the "NESTS Chronicles" story arc, focuses on a new tournament held by the commander of the Ikari Warriors, Heidern, who seeks to capture and interrogate former NESTS agents K' and Maxima into revealing crucial and critical information about the NESTS cartel. The gameplay retains the Striker system of the previous games in the series, but the assisting character can also cooperate with the playable character to generate combos.
SNK entered into bankruptcy while The King of Fighters 2000 was still in development, resulting in glitches and bugs remaining in the game because staff members—most notably producer Takashi Nishiyama—left the company before the game was complete. SNK attempted to add further depth to the NESTS cast with K''s new enemy Kula Diamond; other new characters like Vanessa and Seth were intended to attract different audiences. The PlayStation 2 version of the game was released in North America in a two-in-one bundle with its immediate sequel, The King of Fighters 2001, as the first two games to be published by SNK Playmore USA.
Critical reception to the game's fighting system and characters has been mostly positive due to the improvements SNK brought to the franchise. There were mixed reactions to the company's handling of the graphics and backgrounds, which divided reviewers opinions about its status as one of the best games of the series. Two novelizations and an audio drama have also been published in Japan.
The gameplay in The King of Fighters 2000 is based on that of The King of Fighters '99; it expands on the "Striker Match" format introduced in its predecessor. The game has an Active Striker System, which allows the player to summon a Striker member in any situation, whether the player is attacking or being attacked by the opponent, allowing the player to use his or her strikers in combos. The player can also replenish Strike Bombs by either losing rounds or taunting the opponent.
The player now has two choices after selecting the Striker member of the team; he or she can choose to use the regular character or an alternate character officially known as Another Striker, a character used exclusively for striker attacks. These alternative Strikers are characters from previous KOF games and other SNK franchises such as Fio Germi from Metal Slug 2 and Duke Edwards from Burning Fight, as well as alternative versions of in-game characters such as Iori Yagami and Robert Garcia. There is another set of alternative Striker characters known as Maniac Strikers, which are selected in the arcade version by entering codes for notable characters only. The console versions includes additional Maniac Strikers by completing a certain number of matches in the "Party Mode".
Plot and characters
After an incident at the previous tournament, the commander of the Ikari Warriors Team, Heidern, is determined to investigate the objective of the NESTS cartel and stop it from achieving its ruthless ambition. Ling, a fellow commander and long-time friend of Heidern, tells him that K′ and Maxima were once NESTS operatives and that they may hold the key to locating the whereabouts of the mysterious organization. Using this information, Heidern decides to focus his efforts into using the next KOF tournament to lure both K′ and Maxima out of hiding so that they can be captured and interrogated by him for crucial and critical information about the NESTS cartel.
Depending on the player's performance during the tournament, Kula Diamond might appear to eliminate K', but fails from within her mission. Shortly afterwards, Ling and a couple of his associates suddenly attack and betray Heidern near the end of the tournament, the former revealing himself to be a clone of the real Ling who was murdered in the past and being replaced via the machinations of a high-ranking NESTS member named Zero, who seeks to destroy NESTS itself and create a new world order under his own rule. Through the accumulated fighting power he had gathered during the tournament, Zero initiates and utilizes a space-based satellite weapon named the "Zero Cannon", with which he sends a powerful energy blast from it straight towards Earth, destroying most of South Town via the energy blast's explosive impact upon it. After Zero's defeat in combat, he attempts but fails to use the cannon again while Heidern swiftly and forcibly removes the clone Ling's remote control of the cannon while dispatching him in the process. If the player defeats Kula previously, her supporters Diana and Foxy stop Zero while Kula destroys the Zero Cannon herself.
Fatal Fury Team
Art of Fighting Team
Women Fighters Team
Ikari Warriors Team
Psycho Soldier Team
Korea Justice Team
Development and release
SNK began making plans for The King of Fighters 2000 in June 1999. Former producer Takashi Nishiyama was absent from the team for the first time in the series. Because previous regulars from The King of Fighters games were not playable, SNK took advantage of the striker system and give players the choice of using Goro Daimon among others as alternative assisting characters. SNK found the Bogard brothers, Terry and Andy, unbalanced in the previous game because one of them was overpowered as a striker; the company joked that this was also a result of the love between the siblings.
One of the game developers said the team originally wanted to use more of the characters from The King of Fighters '99 but due to licensing issues it was not possible. The arcade version was nearing completion in mid-2000, with the staff becoming excited at the quality of the game. Despite early negative thoughts about the game's state, SNK was pleased with the completed title, citing the arcade as an appealing game. Following its release, SNK thanked the fans for their support. During the game's development, SNK went bankrupt, leading to the designers of the game causing multiple glitches, extra animations, and balancing issues. Some of the developers left the company, which resulted in the team in charge of the game becoming smaller.
New characters were created to appeal to different audiences. Mexican wrestler Ramon was made to appeal to South Americans because Neo Geo's was very popular in South America. Ramon's designer loved pro-wrestling fighting moves but the character's techniques were made unrealistic. Vanessa and Seth were originally set to appear in The King of Fighters '99 but they debuted on its Dreamcast port as strikers, while becoming playable in 2000. Vanessa was created to appeal to women; she is slightly older than the other characters, which players found appealing. Both the debuting Lin and the unplayable Ron generated a major surprise to the SNK staff because their addition to the story was not overlooked. Kula Diamond was created to give a major expansion to the NESTS cartel, while Zero was made to contrast with the NESTS agent Krizalid from The King of Fighters '99, who had a darker personality. SNK, however, was disappointed with Zero, leading to the creation of stronger new character connected with him in the next game.
The arcade version of the game was released on July 26, 2000, for the MVS Circuit Board. The game was then ported to the Neo Geo and released on December 21 of that year. The Sega Dreamcast port was released on August 8, 2002, while the PlayStation 2 version was made available on November 28 that year. The ports included new striker characters and new backgrounds. For the North American version, the game was not available to the public until 2003 and released the PlayStation 2 game alongside The King of Fighters 2001 was the one of the first games published by SNK Playmore USA. There has been censorship, including the removal of Whip's gun and the movement of Mai Shiranui's cleavage. The Neo-Geo and Sega Dreamcast versions of the game were included in The King of Fighters NESTS Hen, a compilation released for the Sony PlayStation 2 in Japan. The PlayStation 2 version was re-released on May 3, 2016, for the PlayStation 4 through the PlayStation Network. The game was later released on the Nintendo Switch through the Nintendo eShop service on August 10, 2017.
Critical reception for the game's fighting system has been mostly positive. GameSpot said SNK improved most of the problems of its predecessor The King of Fighters '99 by adding more gameplay features such as new attacks and new additions to the Striker system. The reviewer said fans might either like or dislike the new characters based on the differences between them and the characters from The King of Fighters '99, and said the boss Zero is less overpowered than Krizalid but lacks his appeal. IGN agreed with GameSpot in terms of the Striker system and liked the additional characters, making it one of the best games of the franchise. In another review, IGN stated that the game offered many good new characters, particularly Lin. Nintendo Life also liked the addition of the Striker system because of the newly possible combos but said the game did not live up to the previous games. Pure Nintendo compared it negatively with Capcom's fighting game Street Fighter II but still said The King of Fighters 2000 provided enough depth thanks to its character roster and gameplay mechanics, making it a good addition to Nintendo Switch's games. Bonus Stage regarded it as one of the best games from SNK, saying it might appeal to gamers who previously enjoyed the predecessor and Garou: Mark of the Wolves.
The game's presentation drew mixed reactions. While Pure Nintendo enjoyed the character designs, backgrounds, and theme songs, IGN said these elements appeared dated due to similarities with those of previous installments and the improved graphics of new consoles. GameSpot said while SNK attempted to improved the designs of the characters, the quality was still not as appealing as it should have been and that the background stages felt hollow. Echoing IGN's comments, Bonus Stage stated that despite being a fighting game, the plot amazed fans because of the further exploration of NESTS organization, which is briefly explored in The King of Fighters '99, and said the game's storyline offers such an appealing dark ending that most of the fans wanted to play the following and final game from the NESTS saga to see its conclusion. HardcoreGaming found the PlayStation 2 port of the game superior to the Dreamcast version because the former fixed some slowdown issues and said Kyo Kusnagai's theme "Goodbye Esaka" was one of the best themes performed by SNK.
An audio drama CD was released by Scitron Digital Contents on September 20, 2000. It features two storylines: one exploring the first encounter between K' and Kula Diamond; the second story focuses on Athena Asamiya as she meets rivals in an airport. Series' writer Akihiko Ureshino wrote two light novels published by Kadokawa Shoten. The first novel, Strikers Strike Back, acts as a self-parody of the game's storyline and was released on February 19, 2001. The second novel, Icicle Doll, was released on December 20 the same year and features a more serious storyline.
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