The King of Fighters 2002
|The King of Fighters 2002|
Cover artwork for the Neo Geo version featuring K'.
|Artist(s)||Nona (Challenge to Ultimate Battle)|
Hiroaki Hashimoto (Unlimited Match)
|Composer(s)||Papaya (Masahiko Hataya)|
|Series||The King of Fighters|
OS X and Linux
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo|
|Sound||Yamaha YM2610 (Challenge to Ultimate Battle)|
The King of Fighters 2002: Challenge to Ultimate Battle (KOF '02) is a fighting game produced by Eolith and Playmore for the Neo Geo in 2002. It is the ninth game in The King of Fighters series and the second one to be produced by Eolith and developed by Playmore (formerly Brezzasoft). The game was ported to the Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, and the Xbox, wherein the PS2 and Xbox versions were released in North America in a two-in-one bundle with the following game in the series, The King of Fighters 2003.
SNK Playmore produced a remake titled The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match for the PlayStation 2, which was released on February 26, 2009 in Japan. The Xbox Live Arcade version, on the other hand, was released on November 3, 2010. A port of the Xbox Live Arcade release was released on Steam on February 27, 2015.
King of Fighters 2002 discarded the 4-on-4 "Striker Match" format used in the previous three games in the series and returned to the 3-on-3 Battle format originally used in the series up until KOF '98.
The game also revamped the Power Gauge system into a format similar to the one used in King of Fighters '97. Like the previous games in the series, the Power Gauge was filled as the player attacked the opponent or performed Special Moves during a battle. The number of Power Gauges the player could stock up is increased by one with each member of the team. For example, the first member of the team could stock up to three Power Gauges, while the third member could stock up to five. A single Power Gauge stock could be used to either perform a Counterattack and Evasion technique while guarding an opponent's attack, use a Super Special Move, or initiate the MAX Activation state. The same case also applies to the 1-on-1 format, where the Power Gauge the player could stock up is also increased by one with each round loss. For example, on the first round, the player could stock up to three Power Gauges, while losing two rounds allows the player to stock up to five.
During MAX Activation, the player's offensive and defensive strength is increased for a short period and could cancel any attack into another player. In this state, a Super Special Move could be used without consuming a Power Gauge stock. There are also MAX Super Special Moves, which are Super moves that could only be performed during MAX Activation with one Power Gauge stock, and MAX2 moves that require two stocks while low on health.
Just like King of Fighters '98, the game had no storyline since the NESTS story arc had already concluded in the previous game, The King of Fighters 2001. Instead, a "Dream Match" was included featuring characters from all the previous games in the series. In addition to the recurring teams from the series including the original Japan Team, the game also featured a series of teams representing each of the previous game series from The King of Fighters '96 to King of Fighters 2001. Omega Rugal returned as the final boss as well. However, not all the characters from the previous games were featured, and series' regulars such as King and Shingo Yabuki were absent from the Neo Geo version for the first time since their first appearance. The Dreamcast version of the game, nevertheless, featured King and Shingo, while three additional characters from SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom namely Geese Howard, Goenitz, and Orochi Iori, were added with them in the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions. A number of the characters had been redrawn, most notably the King of Fighters '98 Team.
- Kyo Kusanagi
- Benimaru Nikaido
- Goro Daimon
Fatal Fury Team
Art of Fighting Team
- Leona Heidern
- Ralf Jones
- Clark Still
Psycho Soldier Team
- Athena Asamiya
- Sie Kensou
- Chin Gentsai
Women Fighters Team
- Kim Kaphwan
- Chang Koehan
- Choi Bounge
Yagami Team (KOF '96 Team)
Outlaw Team (KOF '97 Team)
New Faces Team (KOF '98 Team)
- Yashiro Nanakase
- Orochi Yashiro
- Orochi Shermie
- Orochi Chris
K' Team (KOF '99 Team)
Agent Team (KOF 2000 Team)
NESTS Team (KOF 2001 Team)
The Unlimited Match version of the game was released on February 26, 2009 for the PlayStation 2 in Japan and on November 3, 2010 for Xbox Live Arcade and on February 27, 2015 for Steam on the PC. New features have been added, such as the new stages and artwork. In addition, additional characters have been added as well as the changes to the team roster with the number of default teams increased to 18 including the regular and alternate versions of the Orochi Team. Moreover, all of the characters featured in the series between The King of Fighters '99 and King of Fighters 2002 were included with the exception of K9999, which is a character conceived as a pastiche of Tetsuo Shima from the manga Akira. Instead, a new character called Nameless (ネームレス) was designed to take his place in the game and featured most of K9999's special techniques with an added touch.
The game has 66 characters in total, making it the series' largest roster. There are 44 from King of Fighters 2002, 16 characters from the NESTS arc including King and Shingo, and 6 hidden characters, including additional characters from the previous console versions with the exception of Orochi Iori. The game also has the original King of Fighters 2002 port from the Neo Geo to play.
Unlimited Match Exclusives
Unlimited Match Bosses
Unlimited Match Secret Characters
During its release week, the game sold 19,000 copies in Japan. In Issue 114 from Arcadia, the game was featured at ninth in its Top Ten Video Games list. Critical reception to the game was positive due to its large number of playable characters, although mixed opinions were given to its aging graphics. In addition, despite lacking a plot, the large interaction between characters was praised for adding depth to the game.
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- "Arcadia's Top 10 Video Game List". Arcadia (in Japanese) (114). November 2009.
- Khan, Jahanzeb (November 28, 2010). "The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match Review". PALGN. Archived from the original on November 30, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
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- Feit, Daniel (November 10, 2010). "Review: King of Fighters 2002 Ultimate Match Delivers Knockout Action". Wired.com. Retrieved August 17, 2011.