The King of Fighters '97

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The King of Fighters '97
"The King of Fighters '97. The story moves towards its violent destiny."
Protagonist: Kyo Kusanagi
Iori Yagami
Chizuru Kagura
Genre: Fighting game
Platforms: Arcade (Neo-Geo MVS)
Neo-Geo AES
Neo-Geo CD
PlayStation 2 (KOF Collection: The Orochi Saga)
PlayStation Portable (KOF Collection: The Orochi Saga)
PlayStation 4 (Global Match)
PlayStation Vita (Global Match)
Nintendo Wii (KOF Collection: The Orochi Saga)
Nintendo Switch
Sega Saturn
Xbox One
Microsoft Windows
Release Date: July 28, 1997 (first ever relase date)
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK
Franchise: The King of Fighters
Next Game: The King of Fighters '98 (by release date)
The King of Fighters '99 (chronological/canon)

The King of Fighters '97 is a fighting game developed by published (mostly) by SNK, initially released on July 28, 1997 for the Neo-Geo MVS arcades.

It is the fourth game in The King of Fighters series and the third (and the final) episode of the Orochi Saga. And also the last to use the Max 330 Mega Neo-Geo system/cartridge.


Yet another King of Fighters tournaments begins, and still with the involvement of a mysterious being called Orochi and its Hakkesshuu (eight "faces"/followers). Everything started after the events during the 1996's tournament.

Your objective is to find out who is behind all this thing (recommended with the Three Sacred Treasures, the said protagonists at the infobox) and eliminate at once this mystical being.


Just like the previous KOF games, you must choose 3 characters to form a team. The rounds are based on a team member's turn; if one loses, the next member fights. The teams are based on both already existing SNK games and characters new to The King of Fighters.

The gameplay in the battle (controls) is very identhical to what is seen on Street Fighter games (that's because KOF is a competitor to Capcom's franchise). Buttons for punches and kicks, analog rotation for special moves, "super" moves, etc.

Stuff new to KOF97 includes a less beta-looking product compared to its predecessor, better voice acting, newcomers (from both returning SNK franchise and totally new to KOF) and the ability to select two fighting modes.

Why It Rocks

  1. Select between two fighting modes: Advanced or Extra:
    • The Advanced mode allows you to run and dodge. The gauge is based on stocking (maximum of 3) and to fill it you must hit the opponent or perform special attacks.
    • The Extra mode, despite being legacy, still has some advantages over the Advanced Mode. Such as ABC holding (rather than attacking) for filling, front and back hopping and "avoiding" evasion.
  2. Choose between 29 fighters (35, if considering hidden alternate versions of existing ones) to play with! Not including Orochi, which is not playable normally.
    • Almost all of them are very likeable, believe me.
  3. Some fan-favorite fighters like the New Faces team (Yashiro, Shermie & Chris) debuted here. Said team is important for the game's plot.
    • While not the first appearance overall, this is Ryuji Yamazaki and Blue Mary's debut in the KOF tournament.
  4. Billy Kane (from Fatal Fury) returned to the tournament, after his absence in KOF96, and looks better than expected. He even has an special intro if he fights against Iori Yagami.
  5. Better looking Desperation Moves, they look less "primitive" and more epic. Even the spark is bigger and makes the screen go all black for less than a second, which is a good way to detect and avoid them.
  6. Instead of having at least 1 Desperation Move and some having 2, in KOF97, all characters have at least 2 and some have even 3! Here are some of the best examples of "third" ones:
    • Ralf Jones' Galactica Phantom: A mega-powerful punch, but takes a time to load and doesn't have an auto-armor (can be interrupted). It's MAX variant takes massive damage and has the potential of being an one-hit KO!
    • Ryo Sakazaki's Tenchi Haoh-ken: Another powerful punch, but this one is direct. It's MAX variant instantly makes the opponent become stun!
    • Chang Koehan's infamous Tekkyu Dai Assatsu: Consists of himself jumping high and falling flat. Because of how big and fat he is, a quake will happen.
  7. If you didn't like Kyo Kusanagi's new moveset introduced in KOF96, you can now play with his legacy (KOF94-95) moveset. By holding START while selecting him.
  8. Very satisfactory combos to make, even though lots of skill is required to perform.
  9. Each location (stage) has it's ambient music with only a few character having their own themes, such as Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, Terry Bogard, Athena Asamiya and the New Faces team. This somewhat gives a good sensation.
  10. Decent voice acting, if not in anime level of quality. Highlights to every voice acting (including the Sacred Treasures themselves) that sounded bad in KOF96, which were redubbed here.
  11. Heavily ported to various platforms, most of them are near to the Neo-Geo AES original.

Bad Qualities


  1. You must defeat Orochi with the Three Sacred Treasures (the protagonists said above) to get the true ending.
  2. The SNK Boss Syndrome is back, as always. Get ready to deal with with teleporting projectiles, invisible counter shields and a screen filler desperation move!
  3. Shingo Yabuki is an indirect rip-off of Dan Hibiki. In a similar fashion to the pink one (Dan is a big fan and mimicker of the "Ansatsuken") from Street Fighter Alpha, Shingo is a big fan of Kyo and mimics his moves in a lazy way.
    • To add insult to the injury, he is the only character able to perform "Critical Hits". Actually not the only, it's also possible to do with Ralf Jones, but only with one move ("Ralf Kick").
  4. Leona's "I-Slasher" is responsible for most of the game's glitches.


  1. Blood is removed from Western versions, for some reason.
  2. Cheesy Portuguese and Spanish localizations, which not only are cheap but also doesn't even bother to translate the interface or dub the voices.
  3. In the Neo-Geo MVS & AES versions, there is a rare probability of getting a TASK OVER !!, depending on what happens in the middle of the fight. Notice that the game slows down during this. If that happen at the point of worsen, the game will freeze. Forcing you to reset the machine. All credits and progress will be lost.
  4. The PlayStation version suffer with muffled audio quality, lost animation frames and has many loading screens, just like its predecessors. These issues are less worse on the Sega Saturn, however.
    • At least the Practice Mode is a thing. Something the Neo-Geo versions lacked.
  5. The Android and iOS versions uses touch screen buttons, which is very uncomfortable for a game that is infamous for mashing the buttons like crazy. If an external joypad support could be ever avaliable.


Even though some of the mechanics are broken (allowing infinite / 100% combos), The King of Fighters '97 is said to be one of the best game's of the franchise and one of the killer apps for the Neo-Geo lineup.



Your Typical Random Dude

one month ago
Score 0
Good way to end Orochi saga

Your Typical Random Dude

19 hours 55 minutes ago
Score 0
Fun fact:this is the last KOF game to be ported in Sega Saturn

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