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December 16 2018

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  PS2 - The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact - Stages

KOF: Maximum Impact features a total of twelve stages (one of which is not shown on the screen below), with many of the stages having extra versions that are set at different times of the day.

Here's a list of all the stages, with descriptions of each one:

  • Lost World
  • Southtown
  • Live House
  • Parking Area
  • Ancient Ruins
  • Iron Hell
  • Airport
  • Downtown
  • Show Time
  • Cemetary
  • Esaka
  • Infernal Gate

  • Lost World:

    The Lost world stage is a luscious jungle setting, complete with sun shining down through the trees and a waterfall. It's not one of the most detailed stages, but it does look nice. It also appears to be a place where Gato from MotW likes to do a spot of meditating, as you can see him sitting on a tree trunk in the background.

    Musically this stage has some techno stuff that has a fast paced beat but is actually fairly relaxing and adds to the tranquility of the stage. There's also a lot of background noise like the water flowing from the waterfall and the noise of birds and other creatures, which all adds to the atmosphere of the stage, making it a nice place to fight. There are also three versions of this stage - daytime, nighttime and dusk, with the nighttime version being my personal favourite.


    In terms of looks, this is one of the nicest stages in the game, although it is a bit reminiscent of a Tekken 4 (or even VF4) stage. It's set on the rooftop of a skyscaper in Southtown and there are two versions of it - evening and nighttime. The nightime one looks quite pretty with all the floodlights in the background and occasional flashes of lightning. There's a cameo from Cheng Chinzan too, as he is the one flying the helicopter that is hovering around the stage.

    The music here is quite nice, although it is fairly run of the mill techno stuff with a couple of guitar riffs in the background. It's not bad and suits the stage, but it isn't one of the standout tracks.

    Live House:

    This one is the inside of some sort of nightclub, and it kinda reminds me of an old Fatal Fury stage. You are actually fighting on the dancefloor which is surrounded by a cage that comes down at the start of the fight, and wherever you stand, the floor lights up around you. There's a big crowd around the cage, but they are a long way in the background and I don't think there are any cameos to be found here. There's also a sign over the entrance with a demon over it that says "DROP DEAD". Nice...

    I like the music used on this stage, it's fast paced and suits it well and is perfect for drawing you into the on screen action. It's quite catchy as well and one of the better compositions on offer.

    Parking Area:

    After seeing the rooftop stage and then this parking lot, I began to wonder if I had loaded up the correct game, or if I had accidentally put on Tekken 4 instead! It's a pretty cool stage though and I like some of the character specific intros that you see here, like Seth driving up in a car etc. Another cool thing is that you can damage the wire fences on either side of the stage if you bash your opponent into them, which is a nice touch... although you can't break it down completely.

    The music here is quite jazzy and part of the way through it there's a catchy little guitar solo. Again, it definitely gives off a slight Tekken feel, but it's not too shabby, and like most of the music it suits the stage it is used on well.

    Ancient Ruins:

    Definitely one of my favourite stages this one, and it looks very cool indeed. The setting is the ruins of some sort of church (there's an alter in the background) and it looks great and gives off a nice "epic" feel. Like the Lost World stage there are three times of the day that you can fight on this stage, daytime, dusk and nighttime; the dusk setting has a nice glow to it and looks especially nice.

    The music here has a bit more of a classical feel to it and has a bit of opera singing too. It almost sounds like something that would suit a Castlevania game, and in my opinion it is one of the standout tunes on the soundtrack! Excellent.

    Music Sample

    Ancient Ruins -->

    Iron Hell:

    You'll find yourself fighting in some kind of factory here, on top of a huge elevator that occasionally moves up and down. It isn't the absolute best looking stage in the game (although it is still cool), but Iron Hell is one of my favourite places to fight as the music is really great. It's has a fast beat and is extremely catchy, and as I mentioned in the main part of this review I have had it playing round and round in my head since hearing it on one of the early promo videos for the game. When I get the OST CD, I can gaurantee this one will get some serious playtime in my stereo!

    Music Sample:

    Iron Hell -->


    This one is set inside an airport at a military base and you can see trucks driving around in the background and occasionally a formation of planes buzz past way in the background. It kinda reminds me of the airport stage in KOF '99, but it's nothing really special. There is a character sitting on top of some crates way in the background and I can't quite work out who it is... it might actually be K9999, I'm not sure. There are two versions of this stage, a daytime one and a nighttime one, and like the Parking Area stage you can do damage to some of the fences if you bash your foe into them.

    The guitar music on offer here is fairly forgettable though - it isn't bad at all and it isn't that I dislike it, but it isn't one that I remember too much about when I am done fighting on this stage.


    Downtown in Southtown... has a bit of a ring to it doesn't it? You fight inside a basketball court underneath a railway bridge here, in pretty much a ghetto area of the city. Blue Mary can be seen standing on a fire escape in the background (I'm pretty sure it is her but she's a long way away), and like the Airport and Parking Area stage before it you can damage the fences around it. Like many of the stages, you can fight during the daytime and nighttime, with nighttime being the best. Night looks better on pretty much all the stages actually... I guess it is because the lighting is just so much cooler than plain old boring daytime!

    The Downtown music is of a similar style to the Parking Area and has a bit of a jazzy theme with some guitars thrown in and a brief bit of rapping halfway through. It's a little bit repetitive if you ask me, but it does the job.

    Show Time:

    This is the place where you will get to battle KOF: Maximum Impact's master of cheapness: the final boss Duke. You'll probably get used to seeing it a lot as Duke is a bit of a pain at times with his cheap-ass moves. The stage itself is a coliseum with some statues on display around it and there is also a large crowd watching the fight. There are three different versions of this stage, each with fairly minor differences.

    Musically this stage is very upbeat and quite pleasing on the ears, and perfect for a boss encounter. It's not the best ever boss music in a KOF game, but it is still pretty darn good.


    The cemetary is another place where you get to fight Duke, but only if you pick one of the main characters (Alba/Soiree/Lien etc). When you reach Duke with one of those characters you will fight the first round here, and then be transported to the Show Time stage to finish off the fight. This is a total guess, but I think you maybe fight Duke in this place as it might be the final resting place of the man known as Fate, hence the reason Alba/Soiree/Duke/Lien would come here (see the character page of the review). This background is quite eery and has crows ominously flying around in the background, and you can fight here in the day or nighttime.

    I really like the music here, although it features quite a mix of music styles. It has fast beat, with guitars, opera singing and violins, which might be a little weird but it sounds good and is probably more suited to Duke's character than the Show Time music.


    Ah, now this ones a bit more familiar, especially if you have been following KOF since the early days. This stage is a 3D remake of the one that the Japan team fought on in KOF '95, and its location is the street outside Neo Geo Land and also what I presume is SNK's head office. This is a really cool stage and one I am so glad they put into this game as a secret. There's some good cameos here too, with Yashiro and Ramon standing in the background watching the fight alongside a few other bystanders. I have never played on this stage in story mode, but it is selectable in vs and practice once you have enabled it via the mission mode.

    Along with the music in the stage below, the track that is found here is probably the closest to classic KOF stuff in this game, and is a damn good piece of music both to listen to and to fight to. Definitely recommended!

    Infernal Gate:

    Like the Esaka stage, I have never come across Infernal Gate in story mode. It is another stage that you must unlock in mission mode, and you choose it by going to Esaka in the level select and pressing right. This is a 3D remake of Geese's old stage, and you can even find Geese sitting on a chair in the background watching over the fight... I still wish the old bas**rd was playable in game though! Still, this is a cool stage and one that I use a lot when playing in VS mode or when practicing my combos.

    The classic Geese music is remixed here, and while I prefer the other versions that SNK have done of this track in the past, this is still a good one, and it is great to have it in the game!

    Music Sample:

    Infernal Gate -->

    Back to KOF: MI Review -->
    Back to Non-Neo Geo Reviews -->

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