The King of Fighters '98
This article is about the vanilla/pure version of The King of Fighters '98. The "Ultimate Match" version will be on a separate page.
The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest (subbed Dream Match Never Ends in Japan, titled The King of Fighters Dream Match 1999 on the Sega Dreamcast) is a fighting game developed by published (mostly) by SNK, initially released on July 23, 1998 for the Neo-Geo MVS arcades.
It is the fifth game in The King of Fighters series and the first "dream match". And also the first to use the Giga Power Neo-Geo system/cartridge.
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 KOF98 includes some tweaks to the system and gameplay the return of many previous fighters.
Why It Rocks
- This is the first KOF game using Neo-Geo's new Giga Power cartridge, which allows more storage than the previous Max 330 Mega and the The 100 Megashock!. This means the game now has more content.
- The King of Fighters '98 is a dream match. This means the game does not have a plot (is non-canon to the storyline), tries to gather all fighters from all previous games and only mixes the best mechanics the franchise can give.
- Select between two fighting modes: Advanced or Extra.
- Both work the same as the previous game, but there is a new thing: everytime a member of your team loses a battle, the Advanced gauge's stock limit raises (with a maximum of 5 for your last of your trio). For the Extra gauge, the charging time for the MAX mode reduces.
- Choose between 38 fighters (50, if considering "hidden/alternate" versions of existing ones) to play with! Almost all of them are likeable and good to play with.
- The return of many fighters from the previous games like Takuma Sakazaki, Mature & Vice, Rugal, Heidern and, not so important, the USA Sports team (Heavy D!, Lucky Glauber and Brian Battler).
- Some fighters even have hidden alternate versions (alternate moveset). To select them, just confirm holding START. Those include Kyo Kusanagi, the Fatal Fury trio, the Art of Fighting trio, the New Faces trio and Mai Shiranui.
- Plenty of special pre-battle intros and more than expected.
- If you lose the game and go to a "Continue?" screen, once you insert a coin (or just press START in a console) before the time runs out, you'll get a roulette of "services" that will make the stage you're in easier to pass. Sometimes even skipping and progressing automatically.
- Very satisfactory combos to make, even though lots of skill is required to perform.
- Decent voice acting, if not in anime level of quality.
- Heavily ported to various platforms, almost all of them (except for the PS1) are near to the original. Highlights to the Sega Dreamcast version, which adds tons of extra content (including a new interface, 3D stages and an anime opening).
- Poor sounding announcer; which can be described as a female robot with broken English pronunciation.
- Omega Rugal is back, and even worse. With its shockball-shaped Kaiser Wave, advanced Genocide Cutter, projectile-reflecting Dark Barrier and various other moves, frustration is guaranteed.
- Blood is removed from Western versions, for some reason.
- Cheesy Portuguese and Spanish localizations, which not only are cheap but also doesn't even bother to translate the interface or dub the voices.
- 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.
- Some early versions of the game have a walkie-talkie-esque quote in the Attract Mode saying "play that shit like you just got your motherfu--", which is inappropriate for a +12 age rating. This was removed is later releases.
- Only in the Neo-Geo CD, Sony PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast that the "hidden/alternate" versions of fighters have different portraits. The portraits are only one for all other versions, making it hard to see if they were selected or not.
- The Sony PlayStation version suffer with muffled audio quality, missing assets and animation frames and has many loading screens.
- 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.
The King of Fighters '98 is said to be one of the most memorable game's of the franchise and one of the killer apps for the Neo-Geo lineup.