Intro to King of Fighters

Addendum to my KoF question. What makes King of Fighters different than all the other fighting games?

Juicebox said something that speaks to me about KoF, that it’s like the 2d equivalent of 3d fighting games, insofar as you can play any character and do well. What makes top tier characters good isn’t their matchup spread, it’s having better moves and better combos than the other characters. All characters in 3d fighting games can play from a similar template, with unique characteristics like dragon punches, fireballs, and command throws being less defining of the character. This is in a large part due to shorthops and rolls. Rolls are a handy universal option to get out of danger, to get around. Shorthops let you get over lows, and makes the game highly aggressive since every character has this amazing mixup option sitting right there. This is why I can pick random so often and still win, because I get the fundamentals and I can quickly figure out what each character’s moveset is good for in playing that fundamental style of shorthop, pressure with lights, and occasionally throw in a sweep. Beyond that, combos are pretty similar with every character. It’s normals into a command normal, into a special, into a super, and juggle if you can.

The biggest thing if you ask me is really the shorthops. It’s something seemingly basic that tremendously changes up how the game plays on a very fundamental level. It creates a new rock paper scissors loop of short hop beats low kick, standing punch beats shorthop, low kick beats standing punch. If you want, you can carry this fundamental right back into smash bros, or apply it to low jumping characters like dudley in third strike. So full jumps are still like this neutral call-out move, where either you react correctly or take an attack, but hops allow people to mix up between highs and lows close to the ground while staying vulnerable to a lot of standing normals, which also means people will stand more and crouch less to deal with their opponent.

This guide is also nice for understanding KoF

There are so many damn King of Fighters games. From a person who has no knowledge of the series, what makes them all so different, what are considered the best (by you or other people), and what makes them so much better than the rest?

I’ve only played KoF 98 and XIII with any regularity. I’ve played a smattering of a few others, but 98 is definitely my favorite for its pace and wide cast.

The games vary most obviously with the different rosters from game to game. A bunch of important characters like Kyo and Iori always come back, but others are less regular, and a few got killed off for plot reasons.

Different games have different physics and character proportions, which can make them feel significantly different. I like 98 best mostly because I like 98’s physics best. Different games have different universal options for characters, like the older ones have dashes instead of runs, and meters that you need to stand in place and charge (98 lets you pick either). Some have alternate meters, like XIII’s hyper drive meter, which can be used to go into a special mode or cancel specials into specials. A lot of KOF games have MAX mode, which has varying effects and usually costs a bar of meter, letting you cancel moves into a lot of others or deal more damage, or access unique supers. A couple KoF games have assists from the other characters. Some have some synergy elements between characters, like in 98 characters will leave behind meter, or take a meter away depending on their attitude on the character select (and this is random, but unique and static to each arcade board, so if all your characters have an angry mood, then you’re shit out of luck)

KoF games also typically feature button hold buffering in contrast to SF’s negative edge. The button hold trick in KoF makes it so if you input a special move and hold the button down, the special will be buffered while the button is held. So you can get easy reversals by inputting slightly early and holding the button, or same for cancels and links in combos. A lot more things in KoF are cancels/chains than in SF, which uses a lot of links, which makes the game easier on the whole.

The 3 games most people swear by are 98, 2002, or XIII. Though given XIV is out, that will likely replace XIII. China still likes 97 for some reason. 98, 2002, and XIII are available on steam. 98 and 2002 on Steam have a ton of extra features, netplay, and balance patching compared to their arcade versions. The netcode on all of these sucks though.

I played 98 UM recently, and HOLY CRAP. They changed a lot about the physics to make it slower. Shorthops are slower, rolls are slower. Not really happy with that at all. They ended up making XIV slower in much the same way, though maybe not quite as much from what I can remember when I played it at Evo.

Can you elaborate on the whole attitude mechanic of KoF and how that affects meter? Isn’t this a bad thing to be screwed like that by a random element in the game?

It’s exclusively in KoF 98. Every character in the game is randomly assigned a mood, happy, neutral, or angry. You can view this mood when you’re setting your character order by pressing start. If the character’s mood is happy, when they die, they will leave behind a stock of meter for the next character. If their mood is neutral, there is no effect. If their mood is angry, they will take away a stock of meter when they die.

The assignment of mood is permanent to every character. It’s also unique to every arcade board. So if you play on the same arcade machine, you’ll always have characters with the same moods every time you come back, but it’s different and random for every arcade board.

Some arcade boards have every character as neutral. Fightcade still has not implemented the fix that would set every character as neutral to my knowledge.

The entire mechanic does not exist in the steam version of the game.

2 thoughts on “Intro to King of Fighters

  1. colonyoo October 23, 2016 / 9:27 am

    The attitude mechanic in 98 is actually affected by the calendar date tracked by the Neo-Gio BIOS. It can change character attitudes day-by-day and have specific effects on certain dates (for example, Iori is more likely to be in a good mood on his birthday.)

    First I’ve heard of people neutral-ing everyone out, though.


    • Chris Wagar October 23, 2016 / 10:10 pm

      Cool. Thanks. I think I heard that at one time, but forgot. Makes sense then that the bios used for fightcade and supercade is consistent.


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