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June 17 2019

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  The King of the Fighters '98 - ©SNK 1998

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

One On One Fighting

683 Megs
Japanese Name:

The King of Fighters '98

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
- The King Of Fighters: Maximum Impact (PS2)
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Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 2 - by Boombada


Well, here it is! One of the biggest Neo Geo games ever and for many people the ultimate King of Fighters game on the Neo Geo. Just about everything you could possibly hope for has been crammed into this game, including more characters, more moves, and excellent sound and graphics. This is a KOF fans dream!


In King of Fighters '98 almost every fighter you could imagine has been crammed in, including the old USA sports team. Only a few are absent, such as Eiji Kisaragi and some others. There are 12 teams this time, plus two fighters who are not members of any team, which means 38 characters! As if that isn't enough, there are also some secret characters as well. This means you are going to have lots to do, with loads of moves to master and plenty of endings for you to see. Nobody can say that this isn't a game with lots of replay value! One thing of note is that this edition is not actually a part of the KOF story line, it is just an excuse for all the characters to come together in one HUGE scrap!

The game play on offer is typical King of Fighters fare and I'm sure everyone knows what to expect. Pick your three fighters, fight your way through a variety of teams until you reach the final boss. Need I say that the boss is just as typically cheap as most other SNK bosses? Also, about halfway through your journey you get challenged to a fight by the Kyo wannabe Shingo Yabuki.

Like the '97 edition, there are two modes of play, Extra and Advanced. Extra is the same as the '95 and '96 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. In Advanced mode, the power bar builds up when you attack, or when you defend from your opponent's attacks. When your bar reaches full, you gain a point and the bar decreases back to zero again. This time around you can store three points when using your first character, 4 for the second character and five for your third character.


In every review I have done of the KOF games, I have mentioned that the graphics are very good. Continuing the tradition, the graphics here are just great and some of the best you will see on the Neo Geo . The effects you get on some of the special and super moves are excellent and the characters look great although the animation is not up to the standard of more recent games. It is still good considering the amount of characters that are in it and the memory limitations of the machine.

Once again, SNK has outdone itself with the backgrounds and overall presentation of this game. There are lots of different stages on this game and all of them look really good, with the usual SNK attention to detail. One stage I like is the Japan City Street, which has cars parked up in the background. After a couple of rounds more and more cars park up which beep their horns at you as they wait to get past (see above screenshot). It is little touches like this that make the game great. Like '97 there are no set stages for each team, they are just random places where the fights happen. The only thing I didn't like were the portraits of the characters on the selection screen. The introduction sequence has great artwork, but these portraits could have been done better. Apparently a different artist did the artwork to the one that worked on the intro. See the King Of Fighters '99 review for more on that.

Sound Effects & Music:

Now one of my favourite parts of the game: The soundtrack. I found that it is much improved from all of the other KOF games. Instead of having set music for each stage, it is the teams/characters that have their own music this time. A lot of it is once again taken from the fighter's respective games. Some has been taken directly from the game in question (like Billy Kanes which is from Real Bout Fatal Fury Special) or has been remixed from the original music (like the Art of Fighting teams music). All of the music in this game is very good and I think that this is the best soundtrack that any KOF game has had so far, and is way better then previous editions. The same high quality has been maintained with the rest of the sound too, with perfect effects and lots and lots of excellent voice acting.


You may have guessed that I love this game. Well that is true, as I consider this to be one of the best 2D fighting games ever made for any platform, not just the Neo Geo. It includes basically everything that any fan could have wanted, apart from a couple of characters I know people wanted to see, like Duck-King from Fatal Fury. Apart from these small omissions it is almost perfect. I know that this game is considered to be the best KOF and perhaps the best beat 'em up on the Neo Geo, but personally I prefer games like Samurai Shodown 2 and The Last Blade 2. Many people will disagree with that, but it is just my opinion.

Regardless, this is one game that no 2D beat 'em up fan should miss.

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

Overall Rating: 9/10

Outside Links:
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Reviews @

Review by LWK
Review by Sol Badguy
Review by ZeroMJ

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#1 | STE C on April 24 2009 22:31
What i love about this game is the style of the back grounds, SNK have gone for a more natural pastel effect on some backgrounds , after all the bright lights and commercial stink of 97 ( my least fave in the series) this plays and looks better to me. This along with 96 & 2003 are the ones i most play although im gonna get it on MVS as its a nightmare on cd with the loads so just usaully play one on one rather than team mode

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