The King of Fighters 2003

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The King of Fighters 2003
The King of Fighters 2003 (cover).jpg
Developer(s) SNK NeoGeo
Publisher(s) SNK Playmore
Producer(s) Kazuya Hirata
Eikichi Kawasaki (executive)
Artist(s) Falcoon (Tatsuhiko Kanaoka)
Composer(s) Papaya (Masahiko Hataya)
Series The King of Fighters
Platform(s) Arcade, Neo Geo, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation 3
Release date(s) Neo Geo
  • JP: December 12, 2003
PlayStation 2
  • JP: October 28, 2004 (as The King of Fighters X)
  • EU: April 2006
  • AUS: January 16, 2007
PlayStation 3
  • JP: April 15, 2015
  • JP: August 25, 2005
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Neo Geo

The King of Fighters 2003, also known as The King of Fighters X, is a competitive fighting game produced by SNK Playmore for the Neo Geo arcade and home platforms in 2003. It is the tenth game in The King of Fighters series and the last one released for the Neo Geo, which served as the primary platform for the series since the very first game. It was ported to PlayStation 2 and Xbox, was released in North America as a two-in-one bundle with the preceding game in the series, The King of Fighters 2002.


The 3-on-3 Team Battle Format is applied in the game once again, just like the past editions. It also uses a Multi-Shift format that allows players to change characters during the middle of battle. When the "Change OK" sign is displayed above the Power Gauge, the player can do a Quick Shift and change characters immediately, or perform a Switch-Off Attack against the opponent that will consume one Power Gauge stock.

The game also features a Tactical Leader System, in which one of the members of the team is designated as the Leader. The chosen Leader can have an access to an exclusive move known as the "Leader Super Special Move" (in addition to the regular "Super Special Moves"). However, this usually requires two Power Gauge stocks to be able to perform it.

As in the last game in the series, the players' Power Gauge can hold up to 3 stocks at the beginning of a match. Unlike the previous game, however, the player starts with a full gauge of three stocks right away. When one team loses one of its members, the maximum capacity of Power Gauge stocks is increased by one, giving the losing team a handicap against the opposing team. In addition, unlike the previous KOF games, each hit only earns the player 100 points.


The game revolves around The King of Fighters, an elite fighting competition. In this competition, Rugal is defeated and the Orochi are sealed away. The tournament at the centre of the game is sponsored by an unknown patron, whose identity becomes a matter of public interest in the country. Perhaps as a result of this, it attracts a large number of contestants.

With the inception of the new "multi-shift" rule in this KOF tournament, wherein competitors can freely tag off during battles, the competition becomes a 'hot topic' and provokes widespread discussion. It also leads to a speedy execution of the match with unified team strategies.

In preparation for the tournaments, stadiums with the capacity to hold tens of thousands of people are procured from cities across the world and established in city centres. Schedules are completed and spectators move from one location to another to watch the preliminary matches. To create the atmosphere of a true street fight, competitions are broadcast live on giant screens.



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