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March 19 2019

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  The King of the Fighters '97 - ©SNK 1997

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

One On One Fighting

460 Megs
Japanese Name:

The King of Fighters '97

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
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Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 2 - by Boombada


No prizes for guessing that this is yet another installment in the ever popular King Of Fighters series! ;) KOF '97 brings a few changes and additions from KOF ‘96, although it's obviously not completely different to the first three games. But the big question remains though; is '97 a worthy addition to the series? The answer: You bet!


First thing I noticed was that there are now two modes of play for your characters, "Extra" and "Advanced". Extra is the standard mode, which is the same as the other KOF games. In this mode, you build up your power bar when you are attacked or if you hold A+B+C to charge it. Once full, you can use super moves. You can also use super moves if your energy bar is almost empty and is flashing. The Advanced mode is a little more like the Street Fighter Alpha series of games, where the power bar builds up when you attack, or when you defend from your opponent's attacks. Once the energy bar is full, you are given a point (look at the power bar in the screenshot above). You can store up to three of these and they are used up when you perform a super move.

There are now 9 teams to choose from, plus 2 characters that aren't actually members of any team: Iori Yagami and Shingo Yabuki. There are also secret characters that you can enable with a code, check out the FAQ below for more details.


Graphically this game is great. The presentation of this game has changed though. This time the tournament is a televised event, which is reflected in the stages and the presentation screens before and after each match. Unlike the first three games, none of the teams have their own backgrounds. The stages are now just places where you fight and are selected at random, apart from the boss stages. As usual though, they look very good, although perhaps not quite as nice as the other games.

Sound Effects & Music:

The actual appearance of the stages isn't the only thing to have changed either. None of the stages (again, apart from the bosses) have any music this time around. Instead, they now have ambient sound, for instance the crowd cheering. There is occasionally some music when fighting certain people such as Athena though. Some people like this and find it atmospheric, but others hate it. Personally I think it's not too bad but I would have preferred music on all stages. However, the music that is here is quite good and mostly comes from the respective characters games. For instance Billy Kane's music is from his stage on Real Bout Fatal Fury Special. In addition, the sound effects are of the same high standard that you would expect from KOF and suit the game perfectly.


The selection of characters in this game is excellent and overall this game is like a more refined and improved version of KOF '96, which I grew to love. Having no music on many stages seems a bit weird, but that is only a minor complaint when a game is as good as this. If you like KOF, then you should love this game.

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7/10
Game play: 9/10
Replay Value: 8/10

Overall Rating: 8/10

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