roland by zetagundam on August 28, 2008
The King of Fighters '97 is definately an impressive game. Although it weighs in at only 460 megs, this is still by far one of best games SNK had made, and for a long time stood as the top KOF game. With an interesting spin on the series, now the tournament is broadcast to the world through Satella television programming. A cool little addition to the game, to think you're truly fighting in a tournament that is being broadcast over live television. From what I have seen in the past, KOF '97 is truly the point where KOF goes from great to spectacular. This game really is a marvelous treat for fighting fans everywhere. The graphics are clean and crisp, the music is used in such a manner that it is actually a treat to listen to, and the gameplay is the best in ever featured in a KOF game, that is until KOF '99 was released.
(gameplay - 9)
The King of Fighters '97 is one of the smoothest fighters in the SNK stable. The game is very polished and is very fluid and responsive. Finally the special attacks and desperation moves are easy to pull off. Well maybe not easy, but with a little practice you'll be executing super moves like a pro. The game seems to be better animated than its predecessors and therefore the game is very easy to control and is very responsive. You have a choice between the charge bar which is Extra Mode, or you can use the all new Advanced Mode. This really opens up the options for the player to choose what style they prefer best. Personalization is a nice feature and a welcome addition in any video game.
(story - 10)
The Orochi story winds down in this version of KOF. The first three versions spent their time building up the plot that this one ties up. The endings are very cool indeed and the bonus fight between Kyo and Iori is very cool. The final boss is a tough son of a gun, and he is plotting to end all of mankind. Battle your way through the tournament and stop this maniacal power-monger from eradicating humanity. And find out the truth behind the Orochi saga once and for all.
(graphics - 9, sound - 8)
The graphics are very well done in this game although the stages leave a little to be desired. Most are simply generic backgrounds with lots of people crowding around watching the fights. Of course the camera men from Satella are pretty cool and the game really has a broadcast event atmosphere to it. The characters are large and highly animated and really move around the screen with great fluidity. The special moves are awesome and provide plenty of eye candy. The stages all have a lot going on in them, and there are lots of details to be noticed. The portraits of the fighters next to the life gauges are also cool. The game is colorful and provides plenty of animated scrolling planes in the backgrounds, pure Neo graphical prowess here. The music is different this year, as only the main characters have background music when they are fighting. Other fighters simply have the noise of the crowd and the atmosphere to listen to. This is definitely an example of quality over quantity. The sound effects are top-notch as always and the voice sampling is very well done.
(replayability - 9)
The game features a large cast of fighters to choose from and an increasingly harder difficulty as you progress through the game. The game itself is very fun to play with gorgeous visuals, good tunes, nice sound effects, and fluid gameplay, so the replay value is tremendous. With so many characters to choose from and so many teams to beat, you could literally spend weeks playing this game without winning with every team. The fact that this game was the most polished KOF up until 1999 doesn't hurt the replay value either. The story is great, the graphics are great, and the gameplay is awesome. This game is definitely a keeper.
KOF '97 throws more of the things you love about KOF into the mix. It really does outpace its predecessors and the Satella broadcasting idea is a novel one. The graphics are sweet, and the gameplay is even sweeter... playing this game is a must if you love fighting games and/or own a Neo-Geo system. Seeing the end of the Orochi story is a bonus, but playing this game for the pure thrill is the best pleasure of all. If you own a Neo-Geo, KOF '97 will become one of your most played carts, for sure. It really is a step ahead of the previous KOF games and can still hold its own against the newer ones. This is a fine example of why The King of Fighters has been such an impressive and popular gaming franchise. The best fighters in the world fight in KOF, and the best gamers in the world should play there too.