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December 14 2018

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The King Of Fighters 96

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  The King of the Fighters '94 - ©SNK 1994 (Review 2)

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

One On One Fighting

196 Megs
Japanese Name:

The King of Fighters '94

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
The King of Fighters series:

94 - 95 - 96 - 97 - 98 - 99 - 2k - 2k1 - 2k2 - 2k3

- Samurai Shodown
- Samurai Shodown 2
- Samurai Shodown 3
- Samurai Shodown 4
- Samurai Shodown 5
- Samurai Shodown 5 Special

- Double Dragon

More of One-Fu's Reviews may be found at

Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 1 - by Kazuya_UK


An innovative game that helped opens a new door of opportunities for 2D fighting…

No matter what SNK did with their highly improving, praised fighting games, they still played second fiddle to Capcom. However, in 1994, SNK devise a plan that who would rock the video game world with a fighting game that introduced several factors that would later influence several companies into following those ideas. The one that started it all: The King of Fighters’ 94. br>

Graphics: 8/10

The opening credits alone will make you fill with excitement seeing Terry and Ryo taunting each other. You could tell the SNK employees did everything they could to transform the people of series like Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, SNK sports games, and Ikari Warriors into non-cartoon fighters. The fighters’ close up artwork looked very serious and successfully human-like, too. The locations of the stages left me speechless…tons of detail was found everywhere you look and the stage intros were magnificently creative, bringing personality to those places. Whoever did the landscapes for all the stages deserved a freaking triple pay raise. Don’t believe me? Look at the China stage and tell me if that was a painting on sale, you wouldn’t buy it? Even the cut scenes and endings have a good twist of animation. The only negative I saw about the graphics was the way the fighters move and played. Looking at some of the fighters’ stances and how some of their moves come out felt...just not right.

Gameplay/Controls: 7/10

KOF94 presented us some rather cool clusters that would make it stick out like a sore thumb. First, you picked your team and after deciding the order of who goes first, you were brought into battle. The way of winning was to eliminate the opposing team to advance to the next round. Each team brought their first pick to battle and from there, it was like basic 2D fighting: beat the other person to win, but if one fighter loses that one round, they were out for good till the next team battle. The loser would be taken out and be replaced by their teammate, while the winner of that confrontation would gain some energy back and continue fighting until they are knocked out. It made for some impressive wins, like if you were able to defeat the team you were against with just one person, and spectacular comebacks, defeating the rest of the group with your last fighter with slim energy the whole time.

The special system of KOF 94 consisted of interesting tactics and styles. Tapping AB allow you to ‘sidestep’, having your player dodge fast into the background for a brief moment. This was incredibly needed to escape colossal fireballs and attacks that would happen in a flash. The super POW meter could be filled out in two ways: land an attack, clean or blocked, or holding ABC down together to auto charge till it said “Maximum” on the bar. During that phase, all of your offenses got to hand out more damage then usual. It was either that or you could risk it all and perform a desperation move, which emptied out the MAX status on the POW meter altogether. The life bar has emergency backup itself as when it reached the spot it begins flashing red, you now have unlimited access to perform your desperation move. Oh, and if ever you were in trouble in a dizzy state or being pummel by your opponent’s submission, your teammates, if they have not been defeated yet, can jump in and attack. Sure, no damage is really inflicted on your opponent, but you can recover without worry.

The controls did need to be fixed as I wasn’t really feeling right with the combos. I did find myself trying to charge by POW meter, but not before doing sidesteps sometimes. Also, the desperation moves setup for most of the fighters were very hard to handle and memorize, leaving some people just relying on the special moves, which were easier to remember, of that one fighter. As for CPU, it can lash out some decent beatings onto you and make any team dangerous as they pleased. Final boss, Rugal suffers from the SNK difficult boss virus leaving very few mistakes. Come unprepared and Rugal will punish you so badly, he’ll make you think that a big slap to the face won’t seem so bad after all.

Sound/Music: 7/10

The music in KOF 94 was something you really didn’t expect. Each song was planned cleverly well for the stages they correspond to and if you play the game for hours, the songs will admittedly be in playing over in your mind nonstop. The random gibberish voice speaking on the tracks, like for the Italy stage, were just plain funny and corny to hear, but nice nonetheless. For the record, the introduction track to the game really defines what the KOF94 edition is as a whole. The sounds do leave a lot to be desire for. The announcer, voice acting, and death groans were fine as it is, but to me, a majority of the sounds could have been redone to sound better and clearer.

Replay Value : 6/10

People may not seen this, but you if look closer into the fighters, the teams were categorized in some unique perspectives. For example, the Korea team was made up of an average power fighter (Kim), a slow strong fighter (Chang), and a quick small fighter (Choi), and the Mexico team (Ryo, Robert, Takuma) was made up of three fighters who pretty much fight the same exact way with minor differences between them. This gave every new or veteran player the equal opportunity of finding a group they could get use to. Each team was assigned to represent a country and for some reason, I liked that concept. Beating all 8 teams & Rugal was never to be an easy task and finding yourself plunking coins just to beat the one team stopping you.

The biggest complaint by SNK fans was that you could not edit your team and if you wanted to play your favorite fighter, you had no choice but to be stuck with his or her other two teammates. So it wasn’t possible to pick Terry, Athena, & Robert to be in one team. So having 8 selections with no edit option drown out the happy times this game contained. An edit team option would had bring up the rating tremendously. During its highlight, it was one of the hottest arcade games to attract two players’ battles and even now, it still provides some nice old-school versus fighting.

Overall : 8/10

Now even in today’s society, why would I give it 8 out of 10? Surely, it had its big faults, no? Yes, it did, but what helped me give that grade to KOF94 was how innovative and original this game really was. Technically, it was the first dream match based game and it was the first teams based game, with it being the main focus of the game. Those who thought KOF94 brought nothing major to the 2D fighting field are really in self denial. Without it, this formula wouldn’t get thought up until later or worse, never existed. (That could be not true, but who knows?) Finally, any SNK fan that collects these games should double check and make damn sure they get their hands on this piece of technology. I don’t need to repeat again why this is a classic. Go get it already!!!

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