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  The King of Fighters 2001 - ©SNK/Eolith 2001 (Review 2)

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

One On One Fighting

681 Megs
Japanese Name:

The King of Fighters 2001

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:


No Other Reviews Yet!

Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 1 - by Shito
Review 3 - by Boombada


As a review, this is one heavy read... but if you do need to inquire on the features of the newest KoF around you must be sure to check this; fell free to avoid the "text" unless you want to read my introduction.

Of course; all grades are on my own ranking

"Well... in one good day I awaked; and, while the sun was rising his shinning on the dirty window that I call life; I did realized that I wanted to play KoF 2001... therefore; It was required for me to travel to a city that I know not into a place I have not seen in years...

It was a long and beautiful travel; and when luck did resorted to all of its infinite wisdom I realized I was on the right place.

Just when I walked in I did have the opportunity to watch the opening on the just started machine; and it was pretty good, it did have interesting images and an history to tell; let us not talk about the music of the game; but the opening leave me pretty hooked up to the game".

Graphics: (6/8) * It gets the same ratings that 2000 *:

Well; sprites have kept their integrity and style; but they did have some minor improvements; like Maxima's sideburns being bigger (YES!), K's hair being longer, Ramon having more muscles... I do appreciate this minor changes in order to fresh out the sprites a little; but if expected a major overhaul you will be greatly disappointed... the good thing is that if the add little things on every year the graphics will eventually change a lot.

Art Work: (7/8) *It has weakened a little from 2000 *

Well; it is unusual... but in the resolution I saw the game; with the darkness level that the screen did show; the draws looked amazing; you could even NOT SEE the faults of the draws; if I would have seen the game in other screen the rating would be 6 or maybe 5... special mention to the introduction and cinema displays pre bosses; and, the most important thing is that SNK changed it; yes, KoF 2K where perfect, but changes and differences are important.

Music: (4/8) * And I am being VERY, VERY forgiving *

Well, when '99 and '2k came out; I thought that my information was wrong... but now I am sure... THE MAIN GUY IN THE BGMs OF SNK NO LONGER WORKS THERE!!... this is true; this music sounds as from a 93 music program and Zupapa music seems to be a midi from the 70s... I would appreciate that SNK does something to fix this; the main reason I play AND enjoy SNK games is for the atmosphere that was created between game play, ambientation and music.

Voices & Sound Effects: (7/8)

The whole new voices are very good, like Noa Izumi; Tetsuo; some of the older voices have weakened (K'); you could see that there it where some voices changed/added (Lin, Ramon) and they are good; I usually like what the characters say on KoF; not some dull move names; but phrases according to the situation (like "good bye"; "you are weak" and such) the sound effects have kept their integrity; I could not recognize new effects but they where very good to begin with... funny thing that since '99 they have not changed the Sound Effects; while in '94 to '99 there it always where significant changes... Is SNK becoming lazy?? at least they are good; but they could always use more 'strength'.

Back Grounds: (6/8)

Though the are not flashy an original; I believe that they are better than '97, '98, '99 and 2000; those stages lacked detail and where simplified to the minimal... these lack details but have been not that simplified; so they are so - so; also there it seems that the place where the backgrounds are based are mostly chosen because they look good rather than to fight in them... though there are some cool concepts like fighting on a Grand Prix railway... known characters from other games are missing; just like they where on '99 & '2000... WHY?; I always thought that it was good to see some characters cheering for others; like Mary & Todoh did on '95... ha.

Originality: (6/8)

WHAT!!!??? WHY SO MUCH IF NOT MUCH THINGS HAS CHANGED!!!??? well; I was hoping to see the old KoF 2000 without the infinite friendly strikers... well; though much of that is truth; but the game has incorporated some small elements on the game that though they are not that important; but they can influence deep gameplay greatly; similar that what Namco does with their Tekkens; from 1 to Tag they did have only minimal changes; but good players modified their gameplay around these changes... I would be care enough to explain:

* Wire attacks: For what I have seen; this feature is very well thought; while some characters can perform a "counter wire attack" and a "critical wire attack"... the main good thing is that; counter ones are hard to handle; you won't see abusive character like Maxima or K' abusing from this feature; other characters like Vanessa and Benimaru; really tough characters do it based on random chances; but less fortunate characters can perform this feature... ON A 100 % OF THE TIMES... allow me to explain again; Vanessa is a quick character that has many means of dealing damage, complicated strategies, good combos and many features that do of her one tough cookie... but Ryo... ha... the days where the Invincible Tiger was a foe to be fear are long gone along with AoF 3... now characters like Takuma, Robert and even Yuri has way more resorts and techniques... how can this be balanced??? giving him an abusing 100 percent wire attack. in that way; Ryo -though it as problems hitting the enemy- now can ditch out a great amount of damage when you land the weak Zanretsuken... Robert also seems to have a 100% wire attack; but due to the recovery time of Robert move; he can not make the most of it; unlike what Ryo does... the main trouble is that I did not checked if you could use A zanretsuken as infinite; the times I tried I could not resist did a weak one and a strong one -for the sake of the visual variation-; but I do not believe that SNK would leave such lame easy infinites on the game (like they did with Kyo); neither the people from the beta test.

* Juggles: This is the unspoken new feature of KoF 2001; characters have now a juggling capability very similar to the one displayed on the legendary Fatal Fury 3; the enemy is vulnerable only for some frames on the air... for example; with Whip you can do:

- jumping *counter* CD; close standing C; Hcf + C.

Though Whip here does four attacks; 3 of them will connect; those are the jumping CD; the cls C and the second hit of the Hcf + C... if you try this combo on '99 or '2000 you will see it fail. I do have to inquire on this feature; after all; I could not perform such deep research the time I was playing... the people there just love the battles... BUT NO ONE CAN MESS WITH BIG MONKEY DADDY!!!

* I cleaned the house, though I am not that good >:\ *.

Also with these accurate changes on game play you can see that they have worked for sometime on this KoF game (I love when you can see the sweat of the programming crew on the awesome game play, music and/or the game in general; that is the reason why I started to play Fatal Fury and other games that show wonders)

Tactical order: (7/8)

This feature is very good and balanced... for example 1 character resist for about 45% more than a 3 team character, and have almost a 50% shorter gauge in comparison with a 4 character team... but that is not important... the important thing is that 1 character team heals for about 3 times what a 3 character team does after a battle... well; as we know when you win the energy you heal determinates how much you heal... with the time in 60 you heal the best; then with 5x, 4x, 3x, 2x, 1x, and 0x the healing process is toned down... 1 character team heals in 0x what a 3 character teams would heal in 5x or 4x... in equal skills; I did beat the crap out of my enemy with a 2 or 1 character team... but you need them to be your strongest characters... (mine where Maxima and Whip) strong character with high resources can be very treacherous; the thing is that 1 character team loses all their advantages against 1 character team and 2 character teams... I was left with the impression that 1 and 2 team characters have advantage over 3 or 4... of course; all of this is on equal skill terms; of course.

On the strikers; note that the damage on the combo is reduced like 50% if you combo with a striker; so if you want to combo with striker you must do significant long combos; making this feature only for advanced players; remember also that a striker needs a bar to be summoned... nice changes that add a lot of bright to some players.

New Characters: (can not be rated as other topics) Well; we all know by now what the new characters are (part of the NESTS team and May Lee); and even if some of their designs are not the freshest thing; gameplay wise they have leave me very happy; after all; since '99 I believe that new characters have been somewhat "revolutionary" on the KoF universe gameplay wise.

Kfour9: His design is the least original of all; and though he only have 2 special moves he has been able to be strong and some what original... on this character we have:

- a lot of quick and multi hitting moves.

- good defensive moves (in both; special and DM moves)

- anti-projectiles techniques (a slide, a special move and a anti fireball DM)

- a not abusable juggle starter.

- good Akira based celebrations.

Anhell: Her design is good to me; though her normal standing frame is not that much... this character is very well animated; near to Kula's level of animation; and game play wise this character is heaven... on this character we have:

- abuseable and not abuseable juggles starter.

- long chains and good low high mind games.

- counter attack DM.

- Special throw.

- air moves; teleport and surprise attacks (she has a move in where she runs; if it is not blocked she will perform a throw... if you know not the character you may have a hard time telling this from the teleport)

Foxy: Well, we have seen Foxy before... gameplay wise she resembles Whip, with less range and more quickness; and some unique features.

- high priority defense and quickness.

- stun attacks.

- decent quantity of follow ups.

- she seems to have Ryo's autoguard moves (The latest fashionable thing??), I did not successfully use them.

- suicidal SDM (YES).

- treacherous SDM (hits from behind) .

May Lee: I can only describe her design as "Alfred's cousin and a Otaku"... this character has very complicated gameplay; but is hard to apply because she can not block within the other stance, so changing smartly from stance to stance is a must for this character... on this character we have.

- air moves, overheads and sweeps.

- front counter attack.

- and unblockable wire attack (counter or critical, dunno)

- long combos and good specials.

* I do need to research more this character *

Old Characters: I did only tried out Maxima, Whip, K', Lin, Ramon, Ryo, Kula, Vanessa and Seth.

Maxima: Everything from 2000 was kept; he regained his cancellable crouching A; plus his Maxima Revenger (throw DM) hurts almost like the Bunket Buster (Punch DM)... if you are a Maxima player you know that we are talking about BIG DAMAGE... his C Vapour Cannon does more damage... you can still roll recover from his System 3: Maxima's Lift; to avoid the next follow up.

Ramon: this guy has improved a lot; and he was quite good to begin with; multiparts; escaping moves, plus -as far as I know- everything was kept... you can no longer roll recover from his Rolling Sobat.

Kula: Kula is there; in the sense that is exactly the same; but with some new moves, df + C (ice blast to the front) and Qcb + Kick (imagine Yuri's Qcb + K on 2K, but it has 2 possible endings; a kick with the CD frame -that seems to be a projectile- and a slide)... her Qcf x 2 + Punch has MAJOR invulnerability, for for about 15 attempts; in only 1 I could hit her; and we shared hits.

K': The same; his Qcb + K has a follow up or cancellation for surprises purposes (you are vulnerable to throws or ultra quick attacks like jabs); his Qcf + P knock downs the enemy; that makes comboing it useless unless the corner (Follow ups are harder to handle); but SOMETIMES the Qcf + P does leave the enemy standing... I tried a lot but do not discovered the thing; as you know; his Qcf, Hcb + P can catch air bounced enemies; depending on how you catch them; the only new thing I saw with him was C Crow bites, fwd + D and Qcb + B (which is a new follow up to his kick follow up from the Upc + C.

Whip: Same old, same old, the only difference that I noticed is that her gun move is a "juggle starter", that sends way up the enemy... it seemed not too abusable.

Lin: Though the essence is the same; almost nothing has been kept; he has lost almost all -if not all- of his 2 hits normal moves; his Qcf + P and follows up are uglier now; different throws; air attacks; His Hcb + K ends with new frames; and the B version does not bounce you back, remember that he is not worst; just different; he can deal damage more easily now; I'd say; though I always have problems playing with this character... it is not quite my type.

Ryo: everything was there; but the MAX ryuuko ranbu acts as a throw now (similar to Kensou's DM on `97); his weak Zanretsuken comes way faster (enough to combo with jumping attacks) and the wire damage triggers too damn often (100%, I would dare to say); also his auto guards must successfully stop an attack in order to be interrupted.

Vanessa: seemed the same; her Qcb, Hcf + Punch DM comes out a little slower; though is still fast enough to combo... her Forward + A must be interrupted on the first hit only, her C throw IS escapable and is really slow now; she has some new sprites here and there; even though she is still abusive the lost of her C throw (escapable now, as I said) has hurt A LOT of cheap players; but has made no effect on skilled players.

Seth: He feels very different by now; he has lost his back + A overhead; changed it for other move; his counter have know 3 "heights", similar to Geese or Kasumi; his Hcb + K act different know, he has lost some of his air attacks; his punch throw can be escaped like any other throw; but still needs to be improved via tapping the buttons; his 3 hit chain now knocks down and some other differences; but still the abusive character he was.

Artificial Intelligence: (6/8)

Well; normal characters fight very well; they use low changes; they can hit you out of predictable patterns; fighting against the 6 teams of the CPU is very fun; can be even more fun than playing some vs battles... the problem are the bosses; they are cheap; I was hoping that they could do a boss like '94 Rugal or '95 O. Rugal; a boss that you can fight; but they'd rather make bosses similar to Goenitz; extremely cheap and tough; of course; finding a pattern that allows you to survive the battle can be interesting; but the match will be based on tricks and combos; you will never actually fight with the boss... one thing; as you select more characters the less damage you do to the boss; at least; that is what the people there said.

Bosses: (7/8)

The designs, the cinemas, the stages, not that much the music, but well; I enjoyed a lot these battles; the strikers of zero look great (cheers for Krizalid) and the character itself have a very attractive design; you may have notices that Ignis has a very good frame rate (Like Angel); similar to a character of Garou... that might give hopes to ones; that want to see KoF graphics similar to Garou... and leave indifferent to others like me; that have always played KoF despising the Graphics and just enjoying the game play... Anyway; the only withdraw I found with these bosses is that one you find out a way to kill them you have to stick around that way and do nothing else; creativity and variation will be punished; unlike fighting the normal CPU character; that can fall for some tricks mainly thought for human players... Note that Zero strikers are not actually strikers; but command moves like forward + A and such; so when you are hit by a striker of him you will not receive less damage like you do when hit by a normal striker.

Notes: (May not be rated as other topics).

When you fight again a human opponent you will no longer have the chance to change your 'party members' as you did in '2000; if you agree to change your characters you will may only switch the tactical order of the characters. Mistake

When the staff pass by you get not to see anything flashy like you did on '2000. Mistake

When you fight against the CPU on 1p game you will fight six teams; after the third one you get to see a 'cinema'; after the sixth team you see another cinema and fight Real Zero; after beating Zero you will see another cinema and fight the boss. The six team battle is bad; you should fight eight or all of them... there are a good share of cinemas and they have good draws; that is a positive thing.

Word of the author ("Replayability"): (7/8)

Since long I was not so charmed with a KoF game; what can I say; Whip is still one of the game's cheapest characters; Maxima is still a power house; Goro is Goro; Iori is Iori; Kyo is Kyo but with a lot of more resorts; and some character with some what averaged combo-ing abilities can now make the most of it thanks to the Wire feature and -may be- the Juggle feature... though the game is not very balanced; just as Tekken and KoF '98 the fact that characters have THAT MUCH RESOURSES makes you forget power differences between characters and just makes you apply your strategies with one thing in mind: ENTERTAINMENT.

Just for the record... Too much or too Little?? the home cart of KoF '2001 on the English version is, as you might have heard; to be sold in limited copies... 500 if you are a fan you might want to kill yourself now for not having pre-ordered it on December last year... 500 might sound as not many copies; but if you compare it to KoF '2000 that's five time the quantity... maybe if these copies are sold as bread SNK will decide to produce more copies... maybe they might even reach south America; place where I live; also Eolith promised some extra things for a PC version... that might hurt A LOT those who have pre-ordered the game; that should be equal to the original.

This gradings are within the KoF universe; for example, if you put KoF backgrounds next to GGXX or other games they will have nothing to say.

I just love writing... and "you are not up to dodger ball" >=D

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