Overview The King of Fighters '97 is a 2D 3-on-3 fighting game developed and published by SNK for the Neo Geo. It is the fourth installment in the King of Fighters series, featuring new teams, two distinct playing styles, and the conclusive part of the "Orochi Saga". Despite the events of King of Fighters '96, where Orochi servant Goenitz caused destruction before being defeated, the King of Fighters tournament only grew in popularity. The story involves the "New Faces Team", three bandmates ( Yashiro Nanakase, Shermie, and Chris), who enter the tournament and is later revealed to be the last three servants of Orochi, using the tournament to ressurect Orochi.
Along with the New Faces Team, three characters from Fatal Fury 3 and the Real Bout Fatal Fury series form the '97 Special Team: Ryuji Yamazaki, Blue Mary, and Billy Kane. Kasumi Todoh of the Women Fighters Team was replaced by Chizuru Kagura. Shingo Yabuki makes his debut in The King of Fighters '97 with no team association. The Boss Team and Iori Team disbanded, with Iori Yagami as a playable character with no team association. A special version of Kyo Kusanagi (with movesets prior to The King of Fighters '96) is playable as a secret character, alongside secret versions of Iori, Leona, and the New Faces Team.
This is also the only King of Fighters game where there is only battle music for certain characters (such as Kyo and the '97 Special Team). For the rest of the characters, only ambience can be heard.
Gameplay While the gameplay is similar to the previous installments, one mechanic unique to The King of Fighters '97 (and its sequel) is the ability to choose between two distinct play styles:
AdvancedLoosely based on The King of Fighters '96, the advanced mode uses a revamped power gauge that charges whenever the player strikes the opponent or performs a special move. Players can stock up to three consecutive gauges, which can each be discarded to either perform their Super Special Move or enter a "MAX" mode, a special state where their offense and defense are improved. Pressing Light Punch and Light Kick and a joystick direction performs a roll forwards or backwards.
ExtraBased on the installments prior to The King of Fighters '96, where there is one power gauge that can only be filled by manually charging it up or defending your opponent's attacks. Once the gauge is filled, the player enters "MAX" mode automatically. Players can only perform Super Special Moves when they are in "MAX" mode (which depletes the gauge) or when their life gauge is 25% or less (as indicated by it flashing red). Pressing Light Punch and Light Kick performs a quick dodge.
Fatal Fury Team
Art of Fighting Team
Ikari Warriors Team
Psycho Soldier Team
Women Fighters Team
New Face Team
- Yashiro Nanakase (with enhanced abilities as a sub-boss)
- Shermie (with enhanced abilities as a sub-boss)
- Chris (with enhanced abilities as a sub-boss, transforms into Orochi for the boss)