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February 16 2019

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  The King of Fighters 2001 - ©SNK/Eolith 2001

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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 2 - by Toxic
Review 3 - by Boombada


First of all, let's say I'm a beat'em up, a NeoGeo and a KOF freak since the very beginning of the things. I've been playing *each* SNK fighting game, KOF on top, since they originally came out in arcades. I'm into KOF storyline and tradition as well, also 'studying' the SNK original Japanese books and Japanese cultural involvement. So, please expect some hype in what here follows. ^_^

I've been playing KOF2001 at the arcade for some days, both single playing (against CPU, I mean) and versus playing. I've also finished the game with a couple of team, beating the bosses and all.

So lets' talk about:

Layout & All Around Look:

I say it's fair good. While most people are complaining about the in-game art, I'm not. Some drawing are really 'weird', yes, but it's a style. Very different from the anime-looking of the 2001, this is more 'hand-draw like' in my opinion. Sometimes really good (kyo, K', Kula, K9999), sometiems really bad (Clark, Goro, Yuri). The intro is pretty good, with a bit of story in it (K9999's 'birth', K' new teaming) and good rythm. Not as good as the 2000 or 96 ones, though. The select screen is quite plain, but also good. The on-screen layout during the battle is *really* good too.

Graphics: Sprites:

Very good. Maybe the best in the series as for the sprites. This year it seems the colour palette as been 'darkned' a little, and I really love it. All the new characters are nice and smooth animated to hell. Old character got some more animation too, and that's good for sure. What is bad here? Some of the 2000-from characters are still undersized as they were (Kula, Hinako), espescially if compared with '98-from sprites (Yuri on top). We got some 98 rip-offs too, say Goro and Heidern, which have been re-painted at least to its former green uniform (which I prefer). Xian-Fei is a 99 rip off, d'oh, and as you know, Andy got a new 'winter' outfit, which is pretty lame IMHO, while Athena new look is fair better that the 2000 one (again, IMO).

Again about the new characters, they really have to be seen! K9999 and May-Lee on top, they're superb in my opinion. Also Angel and Foxy are really good, and you already know Kula which is now a standard character (no more a mid-boss or secret character as she was). The same can be said for the bosses (actually two of them plus three extra striker for the first one), which are awsome. Some of the characters got new victory and entry animation (poses) which are sweet indeed. Terry has a victory were he poses as in MotW saying 'Stand up!' together with a little Rock Howard... just TOO CUTE! Kula has plenty of different entries, the one with ex-Nest chara (K', Maxima) is fantastic, the one vs Foxy even better. Lin is now even cooler in attitude than before. Ramon has special entry and winning pose with his beloved Vanessa. Again I say, must see!

Graphics: Backgrounds:

The backgrounds are well, fair good. I love the style they're made, say the 'actual tournament style' which we saw in 96/97. About realization, there are some that are really nice, some so-and-so, a lame one (the Grand Prix one). Overall good indeed.

Sound: Music:

Music was hard to hear in the arcade I was in. Still, my impression is 2001 sports not real 'tunes' but just some 'beat based basis' for the fighting. An interesting idea, imho. Is seems to work quite good, as build up 'rythm' for the fighting and no more.

Sound: Voices & Effects:

Here is a point where 2001 shines by far as the top of the whole series. This year speech are extra long, extra cool, extra crisp! Some of the best voice actors from the anime scene were aired this year, and you can hear it for sure. Igniz, the final boss, is dubbed by the famous and great Norio Wakamoto. K9999 has the same actor as Tetsuo (from Akira movie) CV, just to make him even a more clear homage to Otomo's masterpiece. May-Lee has Noa Izumi (from Patlabor) CV, to power even up her 'sentai' (Japanese live action super heroes) appeal and look. A lot of characters got new-recorded voices, just as K' (Yuki Matsuda at his best!), Kyo (Masahiro Nonaka goes deeper and deeper with his voice), Iori (ya know), and others. Sound effects are cool and crisp just as you can imagine it. Enough said.

Playability: System:


First of all, the possibility to choose the number of your strikers and fighters is a GREAT addition. It manages to keep the game and each fight even more various than before. And is very good balanced too when coming to talking about damage system. Also, this new 'ratio-like' system integrates perfecty with the whole power bar thing. As you know, there's just one power bar now, for both strikers and supers. The lengh of the bar, as well as the number of power stock you can, er, stock, depends of the number of strikers you have selected. The more the strikers, the shorter the bar, the higher the number of the power stockable too. While the whole thing may sound a little tricky, it really is VERY simple to get with, SO functional and SO intuitive. The easy and good-lookin interface of the thing helps a lot and it's good.

This system is a work of pure genius IMHO. Out are Counter and Armor modes, and I don't miss them at all. MAXed supers now cost 2 stock (you CAN'T have that if you play with a no-striker team, while you can have up to FOUR stock in a three-strikers team). The 'wire' system (say the hit chara bouncing on 'walls' for juggling) has to be seen in the new 'combo-like' system of the whole game. Yes, KOF2001 is very combo-based. Delay times for all moves has been reduced to hell, so 'entering' with a 'plain hit' is way hard. A plain hit has to become, say, a combo starter. You can easy chain combo, two-in-one, super cancel either. Hard to master. I don't like combo fighting that much, but the system works great. Also, while you can now be able to call up to 3 strikers almost together, the striker system has been re-balanced from the overpowered it was in 2000. Now is more tricky. Go for it.

Playability - New Characters:


All the new characters are VERY interesting and fun to play. Since 99 SNK has tried to develop new playbility with the new faces iin KOF, the 2000 followed the trend , and same is 2001!

K9999 - a new starring indeed, made to be K' definitive rival. He's incredibly cool and strong, a badass indeed. All hes move have to do with 'mutating body'. His supers are EXTRA cool&strong. He is very slow indeed to, and he can hadly combo moves. With just two basic special and almost no combo capabilty, this is a very unique character with a unique and someway 'classical' way of play.

Foxy - again, way cool and way strong. Here combo is the key, with a lot of follow-ups in specials. Has very interesti MAXed-only supers, and interesting style of play due to his fencing.

May Lee - simply TOO cool! This gal ROCK! You can aspect big counters and striking moves, but go for his 'duoble-style' fighting! May-Lee can enter in a super HERO mode, where ALL her moves actually CHANGE to a powerful yet not-blocking fighting style. AWESOME characters.

Angel - Maybe the strangest of the crew. Instead of a specials, she uses a special 'circle combo' system which is totally unique to her, based on a strange special combo pattern. Very hard to masterize and worthful to play. Her attitude is very weird, she looks a bit 'wacko', just as a K9999 sexual slave addicted. Seriously.

As you know, Jhun and Kasumi are out... I miss them wery much! Why not to kill stupid Hinako instead? ^_^

Story & Trivia:

Just as Eolith promised, the game is very strong in storytelling! All the teams make sense now (not as previous years), and the character roster is not only the largest, but the best assorted in the whole series maybe (rivaling with 96 and 97). We have a lot of special intros, coupling on character, special speech... you know. I love that stuff. It all goes smooth in the story mode through the super cool bosses, which integrates A LOT with the story. The endings are great, and also point out some story bits for 2002! Eh, eh... Nest is dead, but expect chinese legends, ninjas clans, psychic power to be the main things next year! Unfortunately, the staff roll is nothing cool as was in 2000, sigh.

More Trivia: Special Animations

Kula vs Ex-Nest Special Entry: Diana and Foxy appear, cross their faces on top of the little girl and shout 'Yabou no tameni' = 'for the ambition', while Kula's hair turn blue, ready for battle.

Kula vs Foxy Special Entry: Kula appears in a Santa Claus like coat, licking a lollypop as the little girl she is. Diana appears near to Foxy, and says to her ear 'be easy on the little one', then Diana dash out-street taking Kula's coat and lollypop away.

K' vs K9999: They both special taunt each other with extra-cool attitude.

Ramon vs Vanessa Special Intro: Ramon appears in a very excited expression, with his hands on face, and a little heart come out of his face while he shout 'Vanessa, as I know you're really beautiful!'.

Ramon vs Vanessa Special Win: Ramon goes near the beaten Vanessa, down on his knees as a gentleman and declare 'Miss Vanessa, whould you marry me?'.

Andy vs Mai Special Intro: Mai present a little baby to Andy, who's scared to hell. The baby start to walk toward her 'father' but turn to be just a ninja trick.

Kyo vs Iori Special Intro: SUPER COOL - both fighters appear in the middle of the screen, shoulder to shoulder. Kyo raises his head and ask 'Temee no hono ga nanin iru da?' (what colour are your flames?), Iori turn his head to him and replies 'Ita non koto wa soredake ka? Naraba...' (this is all you have to ask? Then...) at that point both thurst their flames and the resulting explosion repels the fighters leading them to the start round places. Note that the speech here is a homage to a famous Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) dialogue 'What colour is your blood' etc...


KOF2001 is just an AWESOME game! Very different from the previous (and not so good IMHO) one, very rich, full of things to be played, seen, enjoyed, mastered. SNK and Eolith have done a supreme work creating a game eight in a series which is nothing like boring or 'old'. This IS the best beat'em up EVER made.

Just do not miss it!

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