The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match

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The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match

Introduction

A remake of the seminal SNK classic, The King of Fighters '98, released in 2008 for the PS2. Ultimate Match takes the original game and adds five more characters, a few new EX characters, and tweaks not only the game modes, but the entire cast. There is also a new iteration to this series called The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match Final Edition that was released on Nesica x Live and Tencent's QQ systems.

Gameplay Overview

KOF98UM series has three systems to choose from: Advanced, Extra, and Ultimate. Those coming from Capcom vs. SNK 2 background, for example, should be familiar with the "Groove Systems" that Capcom vs. SNK 2 has. The Advanced and Extra systems reflect the ability to choose subsystem mechanics akin to Capcom vs. SNK 2 and are quite comparable to "N Groove" and "S Groove" respectively. With the redesign of the systems that came from The King of Fighters 98: The Slugfest, both Advanced and Extra modes are about equally powerful and choosing each system depends on the person's play-style. Ultimate mode allows the player to pick and choose particular subsystems specific to Advanced and Extra modes, bringing more options and flexibility to the player.

The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition

Kof98umfe00.png


KOF98UM Final Edition is the last and definitive version of KOF98UM. What sets this apart from regular KOF98UM is character changes that affect the whole cast. The strongest characters were adjusted in minor ways but still retain the same effectiveness and enjoyment to play as while the rest of the characters were buffed in significant ways. Each character page on the KOF98UM wiki will have a portion that will highlight the changes from 98UM to FE. The character pages' move/attack descriptions will reflect FE changes in of itself; the 98UMFE dedicated portion is merely there to highlight the said changes.

The primary objective of this guide is to be a KOF98UMFE guide, as overhauled for the Steam release of KOF98UMFE.

Subsystems

  • Guard - Hold back. While guarding, you take no damage from normals and a single pixel-per-hit when blocking special/desperation moves. You can also block in the air while jumping up or back. Ground normals cannot be air guarded. It's also called blocking, but Japanese people are weird and called parries as blocking and blocking as guarding. Guard and guarding is more universal for simplicity's sake.
  • Air Guard - Neutral Jump or Back Jump and hold any backwards direction. This type of defense only works against special moves, Desperation Moves (which aren't anti-air throws or anti-air in general,) and against any aerial attack that isn't an air throw. Any grounded normal attack will hit any airborne opponent. The only known exception is if the character is already air-guarding and the opponent lands before the character does and attacks with a grounded normal attack. In this instance, the airborne character will maintain an air block. At certain heights, a character cannot air guard until the character reaches a higher altitude.
  • Short Hop - Performed by quickly pressing up-back, up-forward, or simply just up and then inputting a neutral or any non-upward motion. Performing a short hop can be difficult at first but being able to select from any jump option at a moment's notice is absolutely vital to KOF. One trick is to quickly move from an upward direction to down in order to avoid holding up for too long and causing a jump. Short hops are fast and possibly the least vulnerable of all jump types (the hopping player moves forward under 1/3 of the screen's length) which make them difficult to react to when under pressure. Using air-to-ground attacks from short hops is a quick way to keep the opponent blocking while gaining frame advantage afterward. Once used to seeing short hops, they become easier to anti-air when an opening presents itself. Short hops are great for baiting and then punishing sweeps. This forms part of the basic RPS system of KOF where hops beat low attacks, standing attacks defeat hops, and low attacks win against standing attacks.
  • Hyper Hop - Performed by first pressing any downward direction, quickly pressing up-back or up-forward, and then releasing to a non-upward directional input. They can also be done by running and inputting a short hop. Note that hyper hops cannot be done neutrally upward. Hyper hops are even faster and travel further than normal "Short Hops."
  • Jump - The option that should be the most familiar with most fighting game players. Jumps in KOF are performed the same way as in any game: just hold up-back, up, or up-forward. Jumps reach a high vertical height which suits them for maneuvering over large specials or challenging the other player in the air. Jumping carries a longer aerial hang time which gives the other player more substantial time to anti-air or air-to-air. Additionally, a normal jump covers the same horizontal distance as a hyper hop. Jumps end up getting punished more often than either hop, and so much like in any fighting game the player should have a set reason or strategy in mind before jumping heedlessly.
  • Super Jump - Super jumps are done by pressing any downward direction and followed by up-back or up-forward. Players cannot super jump neutrally upward. A super jump travels a bit further than 1/2 of the screen length. Combined with the widescreen ratio this creates more safety from fullscreen against being jumped on. A super jump travels faster and further than a standard jump although tall vertical height of the jump arc makes this the easiest of all air options to anti-air.
  • Back Dash or Back Step - Tap back twice quickly. During a back dash, you can perform air command normals and air special moves. Using a command normal will cause the trajectory and recovery period of the back dash to change.
  • Throw break (Tech Throw) - Press back/forward with any button immediately after you are thrown. Some mashable throws are not breakable, and instead you can mash all the buttons and directions to lessen the damage and get out faster.
  • Recovery roll (Tech Roll) - Press A and B simultaneously as you are touching the ground from getting knocked down. Some moves/knockdowns are not rollable. You can mix this up with staying on the ground to mess with your opponents setups on wakeup.
  • Guard Cancel Roll (Emergency Roll) - Press A and B simultaneously or while guarding a move (hold back to roll backwards or return to neutral/hold forward to roll forward). This uses one power stock. It's a great tool for punishing specific block strings as you roll and recover before the opponent recovers from the attack that was canceled into. Also a great way for avoiding defeat by chip damage.
  • Guard Cancel Strike (CD Counter) - Press C and D simultaneously while guarding a move. This uses one power stock.
  • Taunt - Press Start

Advanced Mode

Subsystems specifically for Advanced Mode

  • Dash (Run) - Tap forward twice quickly. Hold the second tap to keep running. In KOF 98, when you simply tap "f., f." to run, you will run a certain distance before you stop. This can be canceled by jumping or attacking, but not by blocking or crouching. You can use this period to buffer moves such as command throws. For example with Ralf or Clark, you can tap "f., f.", then do the hcf. motion for their command grab while you are moving forward, without having to keep holding forward over that first couple character spaces.
  • After this set distance the character is forced to run, the player could continue to hold "f." or "df." to keep running and letting go to neutral, to crouch, or whatever else would stop any further running.
  • Also, there is a small recovery when you release f. to stop a run. When running in to attack, keep holding forward if you're going to do a standing attack, or move to df. for a crouching attack. This makes attacking from a run seamless. You can also hold d/f to keep charge a charge-down special move while running.
  • Roll forward - Press A and B simultaneously. Rolls are invulnerable from the very start, and vulnerable at the end. You can be thrown out of rolls as well. Since they are invincible at startup, you can use rolls as a wakeup 'reversal'. But unlike in later KOF games, you cannot mash the input. In the KOF 98 series, if you are not fully recovered from something and try to input A+B, you will get a standing A attack. Using that as a reversal will get out hit on counter, so be accurate with your roll timing. Running before rolling will increase the length of one's roll distance.
  • Roll backward - Press back and A and B simultaneously.
  • Attack Cancel Roll - Press A and B simultaneously while attacking with a normal move or command normal. This type of roll has similar properties as a normal roll as it has recovery that could be punished and could be thrown as well. The main reason to use this roll is to extend combos with characters such as O. Geese as it helps put him into position to link a command throw super after Attack Cancel Rolling from the first hit of Close D on hit. Otherwise is a decent way to bait out Guard Cancel Strikes and punishing their recoveries. Generally, one almost never sees Attack Cancel Rolls for the latter though. This uses a stock of the power gauge, even in MAX mode.
  • MAX mode activation - Press A, B, and C simultaneously. This will use one power stock and give you a meter that shows you how much time you have left in MAX mode. While in MAX mode you get a large damage bonus (25% increase), more pushback on hit for all attacks, and any Desperation Moves (supers) performed during this time will become Super Desperation Moves, and will take one power stock in addition to the one you used to go into MAX mode. These SDMs are enhanced versions of the normal supers and will do more damage/hits, etc. In Advanced Mode, SDMs could be directly done from outside of MAX mode but at the cost of 3 stocks. Activating MAX mode normally and doing an SDM only uses 2 stocks.

Extra Mode

Subsystems specifically for Extra Mode

  • Step (Dash) - Tap forward twice quickly. Similar to forward dashes from other fighting games such as Street Fighter 3 or Capcom vs. SNK 2. The character quickly moves forward while committing to this movement, unable to attack or jump out of it to cancel the momentum. Similar to back dash/back step, a character can cancel a dash into an aerial special move that could affect the trajectory and recovery of the dash. For characters such as Brian, this technique could be used as an offensive option. Dash distance, speed, and recovery times vary between characters.
  • Faster Walk Speed - Extra Mode has a faster walk speed for one's character than the character would have in Advanced Mode. This is tied in directly with Step (Dash.) So when choosing Step (Dash) for Ultimate Mode, the mode described below the Extra Mode section, also affects the team's walk speeds.
  • Evade (Side Step) - Press A and B simultaneously. With this move you dodge while standing in place and are invincible during the dodge. You can, however, be thrown out of this by any type of throw. In some ways, this is the stationary version of the roll. The exception is that evade doesn't have any vulnerable recovery frames that could be punished, unlike rolls. The alternative name for evade is also known as "side step."
  • Counter Attack - Press P or K during evade. A unique attack perform while evading. It's another way of hitting the opponent with an attack without having to wait for the evade to finish. The drawback is that Counter Attack doesn't have invulnerability and could be hit as it comes out from evade. Counter attack could cancel into special moves and desperation moves.
  • Attack Cancel Evade (Attack Cancel Side Step) - Press A and B Simultaneously with attacking with a normal move or command normal. This works similarly to an Attack Cancel Roll and could be thrown just like an Attack Cancel Roll. The main reason to use this roll is to extend combos with characters such as Mai or Rugal as it cancels a high hitstun attack and could link a follow up Counter Attack that cancels into the finishing attack. Otherwise is a decent way to bait out Guard Cancel Strikes and punishing their recoveries. Generally, one almost never sees Attack Cancel Evades for the latter though. This uses up one stock of the power gauage, or only a portion of the timed gauge of MAX mode.
  • Charge Power Gauge - Press and hold A, B, and C buttons. The power gauge will charge for the duration the player holds down these buttons.
  • MAX mode activation - Press A, B, and C simultaneously. This will use one power stock and give you a meter that shows you how much time you have left in MAX mode. While in MAX mode you get a large damage bonus (25% increase), more pushback on hit for all attacks, and any Desperation Moves (supers) performed while your character has "Red Health," when your character's health is lowered to the point it starts flashing colors, will turn your Desperation Move into a Super Desperation Move. The latter consumes the remainder of time left in MAX mode. For Extra Mode and when in MAX mode, using Attack Cancel Evade only uses a portion of the timed meter rather than the remainder of your power gauge stock.
  • Quick MAX - Press A, B, and C simultaneously during a normal or special move. This puts your character into MAX mode during an attack while simultaneously lessening the recovery of your attack. Quick MAX could be done during the air as well and make your character drop more quickly to the ground upon activation. This feature helps extend combos that normally wouldn't work and creates combos from opportunities such as instant overheads that wouldn't normally lead into combos.

Power Gauge

In Extra Mode, you have a power gauge that fills over the course of a fight. It is filled by :

  • Taking damage.
  • Charging.

Once the gauge fills, it stores up as a stock, which is very different than how it worked in The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest, the precursor to the KOF98UM series. The power gauge in Extra Mode now works really similarly to Advanced Mode's power gauge. What remains different now is:

When you are at a lower health, your character's life gauge will start flashing red. When this happens:

  • You may perform Desperation Moves freely; but, there is a timed interval between using another Desperation Move. Directly after using a DM through the Red Health function, one's character's health gauge will stop flashing for a timed period. When the health gauge starts flashing again, it indicates one's character can use a DM again.
  • The threshold of when one's character is in a Red Health state is dependent on the position one puts the character on the team. Each successive character on the team has a larger health threshold, meaning closer to anchor position on a team means less damage needs to be taken before Red Health state.
An example would be that the first character on the team would need to be near 20%-ish remaining health before Red Health activates while the last character on the team would activate Red Health states closer to 50% health remaining.
  • If your Power Gauge reaches maximum, one may perform Super Desperation Moves. These are the same commands as your standard desperation moves, but they often have different attack animations and do larger amounts of damage to the opponent.
If one's health gauge should increase back above the threshold for Red Health state for any reason, the health gauge exits Red Health state until the health drops back down to the threshold for Red Health state.

In regards to how the game uses stock and Red Health when regarding Desperation Moves and Super Desperation Moves:

  • When a character has a stock and is in Red Health state, the game uses the stock first. Since the stock was used and not the Red Health state, one could immediately do another Desperation Move after the first. As Red Health state was used, the timed interval between Desperation Moves is in affect.
  • When a character activates a stock and is in MAX mode while in Red Health state, doing a Desperation Move will result in a Super Desperation Move. After the SDM, the Red Health state is taken in account and it'll take a timed interval before the player could do another Desperation Move using Red Health state.
  • Characters using Extra Mode gauge can't use Super Desperation moves from normal state (outside of MAX mode) like Advanced Mode could. The trade off is that characters can Quick MAX and confirm combos into Desperation Moves or Super Desperation Moves if the character was in Red Health state. Meter managing and health state awareness are important in knowing when certain combos will work or not.
Characters such as Mai could use many Extra Mode functions at once in a combo such as: cr.B xx Quick Max > cl.C xx df.B (1-hit) xx Attack Cancel Evade > Counter Attack xx DM/SDM (dependent on health state.)

Ultimate Mode

This mode allows the player to choose between 3 main factors:

  • Quick Forward Movement (MOVE TYPE) - (Dash [Run] or Step [Dash])
  • Evasive Options (EVASION TYPE) - (Roll Forward/Back or Evade [Side Step])
Roll known as AVOIDING and Evade known as URGENT on the Ultimate selection list.
  • Power Gauge Type (POWER GAUGE) - (ADVANCED or EXTRA)

Choosing the Evasion Option also affects other properties such as having Attack Cancel Roll or Attack Cancel Evade. When coupled with Extra Mode's MAX Mode, Attack Cancel Rolls also only take a portion of the timed gauge just like Attack Cancel Evades do. Some O. Geese players choose Ultimate Mode to have rolls and Extra Gauge to try to confirm Close D (1-hit) in MAX Mode into command throw Desperation Move multiple times rather than using a stock for each Attack Cancel Roll attempt in Advanced Mode.

As mentioned above, choosing Step (Dash) in Ultimate Mode also speeds up the team's walk speeds. Some players prefer having faster walk speeds while having rolls and or Advanced Gauge.

Pick and choose which functions to build your ideal subsystem style. There is no inherent best set of functions, and the most effective set is based on personal preferences and characters chosen.

Mechanics and Notes

Some additional things you should know about the KOF98 series.

  • Reversals - Reversals in KOF98 work mostly the same as in other games. There isn't a reversal message, but the window is very large (about 5 frames). The main difference between this game and others is that most 'invincible' moves aren't completely invincible. A lot of the time they are only invincible up to the hit, in which case they will trade with meaties. You will have to refer to the character-specific sections concerning which moves do what. Universally speaking, rolls, instant command throws, and super instant command throws can be used as reversals.
  • Alternate Guard - This is a technique to avoid being thrown while blocking. First, you must block an attack or be put in blockstun by an attack (ie by it being whiffed close to you). Then you must alternate between back and down-back very quickly. This will keep you in perpetual blockstun and unable to be thrown by any throws, including proximity unblockables. To beat alternate guard, you must be able to hit the opponent by using fast lows/overhead mixups etc. to break their defense. Tactics like repeated/delayed cr.Bs can be hard to alternate guard without thinking.

Another side effect of KOF98's guarding system that you need to be aware of is whiffing jumping attacks into a throw. When you are performing an empty jump, then landing and throwing, you should not perform any attack during the jump. If you do, it will put the opponent into blockstun and your throw will whiff. It is possible for this to work though, if your opponent tries to attack or roll after they are put into blockstun but before the throw, or if they do not attempt to block at all.

  • Proximity Unblockables - This is a special type of throw that is exclusive to KOF. Some examples of proximity unblockables are Robert's hcf+K throw, Kensou's dp+P throw or qcfx2+P super, or O.Chris's hcf+K throw. Unlike command throws, they can only be performed when close to an opponent who is in a throw-able state (ie. in hitstun or not in blockstun). Because of this, it is usually impossible to whiff a proximity unblockable, making them safer in some situations than command throws. You will simply get a normal move if the opponent is not in a throw-able state, or a different command normal/special if you tried to combo into one. On the other hand, they do have startup, and it is possible to trade hits instead of simply throwing. It is also possible to whiff a proximity unblockable if you combo into one in such a way that it pushes the opponent out of range after the proximity unblockable has started. As for rolls, in most cases they will be stopped by a proximity unblockable as if you were a wall.
  • Counter-hits - Whenever you interrupt a jumping attack, special move, or super move, you score a counter-hit. This causes a screen flash and a "counter-hit" message to appear. The hit gets a 25% (usually) damage bonus, pushes back further (a la MAX mode hits), and allows you to juggle with another hit if the attack knocks down. For example, if you score a jump CD counter-hit, you can hit the opponent while they are in the air. Other examples are Chang's Ball Swing or A Belly Flop hitting twice on counter.
  • Corner Cross-ups - You might have seen in a video or something, someone crossing up another player in the corner after a knockdown. This true corner cross-up ability is only available on the 2P side (ie. only available to the player who's life/super bars are on the 2P side).

Although this may seem like an unfair advantage, the 1P side also has its own corner cross-up ability. Whenever the opponent is knocked down in a back turned state (eg. feet towards the player's character), you can perform a pseudo cross-up. Simply jump toward (super jump preferred) the opponent's character's head and time/position a move that has some cross-up ability the same way you would normally perform a cross-up. This must be blocked as a cross-up, but the player will land in front of the opponent rather than behind the opponent like a normal cross-up would. In some ways this is more difficult to block than the 2P side bug because it's like a double cross up with left-right aspects. Players could also fake out the 1P side corner cross-up set up and jump-in with a j.CD or an attack that doesn't cross up and hit from the front normally and still pressure as usual without whiffing. This adds layers to the back turned corner game.

  • Unblockable Projectiles

Certain moves, most of them command throws, will undo the opponent's blocking status, rendering the projectile unblockable. This is generally used to give the opponent a hard time on wake up. Use the slow version of the fireball (makes it meatier), then render it unblockable when they do their wake up. The following is a listing of the known unblockable projectile setups, though not all of them are useful or even usable in every situation that an unblockable would help.

  • EX Yuri (fireball > running slap grab)
  • Athena (Psycho Ball > Psychic Teleport / Super Psychic Throw)
  • Kensou (fireball > bun super)
  • Iori (Yami Barai > Kuzu Kaze)
  • Takuma (fireball > running knee bash)
  • Heidern (Crosscutter > Killing Bringer / Stormbringer)

Cancel System

A normal if cancelable, can be canceled into command normal or a special move. The command normal can be canceled to a special move or Desperation Move, if cancelable and canceled into from a normal. The general rule in KOF is, if you do a command normal without canceling into it, it is not cancelable. Command normals have certain properties associated with them, such as hard knockdown, overhead, etc. Most command normals lose these properties when they are canceled into. For example, Takuma's f.B is an overhead if executed on it's own, but if you cancel it from say, a Crouch B, then it loses the overhead property. Command normals can also gain some properties if canceled into. For example, Yashiro's f.A comes out much faster if canceled into than if done by itself.
There are exceptions to the above rules. Kyo's df.D still hits low even when canceled into. Kim's f.B is still an overhead when canceled into. It requires testing and exploration to find most of the exceptions; but as exceptions are, they're the few outliers that fall outside of the general pattern.
General Flow of Attack Strings:
  • Normal > Special
  • Just like any other fighting game
  • Normal > Command Normal > Special
  • It's here that Command Normals "generally" lose their specific properties such overheads or knockdown but gain the ability to cancel into a special move.
  • Normal > Command Normal > Desperation Move
  • Instead of canceling into a special, one cancels into a Desperation Move
  • Command Normal
  • Generally command normals can not cancel into specials and Desperation moves, there are exceptions but that requires experimentation and discovery by the player.
  • Normal > Command Normal
  • This could be used as a string just to bait out a Guard Cancel Roll or just to pressure and leave it at this point in the string to set up for something else. Another reason to end at the command normal is "delay cancel" into the command normal from the normal move. This still cancels the initial normal move while preserving the special properties of the command normal at the cost of being able to cancel out of it. Further explained below:
  • Delayed Command Normals: As mentioned before, most command normals have different properties depending on whether they have been canceled into or not. If you cancel a normal in the last cancelable frames, into a command normal, it will come out as if it wasn't canceled into at all. Characters that have command normals that can be late canceled and have practical uses would be Kim's f.B (retains the overhead property, and can be Max mode canceled into run up combo), Kusanagi's f.B (the properties of this move when not canceled into it are much better than if canceled), Ryo's f.A (high priority and retains the overhead property). Generally if it isn't an overhead, then the delayed cancel technique isn't really of value; but as with exceptions, some function well as frame traps.

Practical Tricks & Glitches

  • Fuzzy Defense: In 2D FTGs, blocking patterns can be useful when dealing with standard high/low strings off a jump in. The hop > high/throw/low mixup might appear overwhelming at first, but we can deal with a majority of these with one simple pattern. When defending against a hop first hold Back in anticipation of a jumping attack, then press Back C~D late or as they're landing, then hold Down Back. When done correctly, you'll enter block stun against a jumping attack, throw or tech if they did an empty hop into a throw, and if you blocked their jump-in you switch to low blocking.
  • Fuzzy Breaking: Fuzzy Defense in KOF isn't perfect. Empty hopping into a command grab demolishes the technique. Another method is to land a deep jump in and then go into an overhead immediately: K's f.B is unsafe on block, but it's practically unblockable from this setup. Mature's j.B is a monster for high/low 50/50s since it can be timed to hit once or twice before she goes for a low. A final option exists for every character: space a hop so that it lands just outside of throw range so that they must correctly react to an empty hop into a low.
  • Advanced CD Counters I - Option Select Tech: CD Counters are often difficult to punish, but when C+D is pressed in anticipation it's likely you'll whiff an attack. When standing, this results in whiffing a (usually) slow CD attack, and when crouching a cr.C comes out. Empty hopping into a throw is a common solution to bait panicked turtles, but by always inputting C+D > b.C~D both throw techs are buffered in case a whiffed counter attempt is thrown. Normal throws are only untechable as a roll punish, so it's definitely always worth reducing the risk of being thrown, even while attacking.
  • Advanced CD Counters II - Anti-Air: Some characters have difficulty anti-airing while in the corner, especially when dealing with deep full jumps. While jumps can be read and escaped by running forward, rolling (high risk, low reward), walking under and DPing or meatying with a low (high risk, high reward), one particularly advantageous strategy is to walk out of the corner, forcibly causing a cross up, then CD Countering as an anti-air. For one meter, this can safely net a knockdown plus corner spacing.
  • Running Instant Throws: There are a few tricks that can be used to be able to execute running grabs with no delay and twitching. The first thing to note is that, when you hit ff to run, even if you just tap it and then try to stop yourself (either by holding back or trying to crouch), your character will still move a small distance forward. You can use this time to buffer part of the throw motion and then hold forward after it such that you do not lose your running stance.
  • hcb f.+P/K - Start your run with f.f. and immediately input hcb then forward again. If done right, you will store the hcb f+P motion and continue running with no twitching. Then when in range, hit the attack button. Doing it this way will allow you to run up about 3/4 screen and grab your opponent with no flinch.
  • hcbx2+P/K - Input hcb, then start your run with f.f. and input hcb+P when you are in range. Generally you will not be able to run as far as if you were using the hcb f shortcut, because the game has to store the initial hcb motion before the run as well.
  • hcf+P/K - This one is fairly easy but one thing to remember is to let go of the directions momentarily during your run, and then inputting hcf+P/K, or else you will get a dp+P/K coming out. With enough practice, you can input it such that there is no noticeable pause right before throwing.
  • f. or b.+C/D - These are tricky but pretty useful once you get them down. You can't actually do a normal throw if you are in running animation. Therefore, you have to hit b.+C/D during your run in such a way that you throw the moment your character stops running. Do it too fast and you'll just get a Standing C or D because your character might still be in the very small recovery state from stopping the run. Do it too slow and there will be a noticeable pause after your run, which you would like to minimize. Practice this a lot.
  • Wake up Crouching/Standing "Glitch": It is harder to hop/jump over a standing character than a crouching character, for obvious reasons, and some characters simply cannot hop over standing characters. The strange thing is, if the opponent was knocked down while standing, and even before the opponent gets up, you try to hop over them, the game won't allow you to. It's as if there is an invisible wall (precisely the height of what the opponent's height is if he were standing up) that is blocking you from doing so, even though the opponent hasn't stood up yet. However, if you knocked down the opponent while they were crouching, and then tried to hop over them before they would get up, you would be able to do so.
  • Therefore, the state of the opponent right before they were knocked down, has an effect on whether you would be able to hop/jump over them right before they get up. This can lead to some very dangerous setups with certain characters that score knockdowns, and the player that is getting knocked down needs to pay attention to what their state was right before they got knocked down.
  • An example of such a setup is Orochi Yashiro's hcf+K. If the opponent is standing when they get hit by it, and Yashiro super jumps immediately from that position, he will not switch sides. If the opponent was crouching and Yashiro super jumps the same way as before, he will switch sides. So, the dangerous setup would be to do close D into combo, after landing from the super jump.
  • Not many characters have the ability to do this reliably. The character will need a move that cannot be recovery rolled, and gives you enough time to be able to time a jump over them such that you land just as they get up.
  • Jump Facing the Wrong Way Glitch: There is a glitch that allows your character to jump facing the wrong way (for example, jumping forwards towards the opponent, while facing away from them. After rolling through/jumping over the opponent, hold down for a moment, then immediately jump into whatever jump attack.
  • Instant Grabs While Back is Turned Glitch: If a character wakes up with a reversal one-frame grab while their back is facing the wrong way, it will always whiff. This also applies if a grappler is jumping over you (to switch sides) and does a one-frame grab immediately upon landing. The glitch doesn't work with delayed grabs such as Daimon's dp + K.

Notation

  • Controls and basic notation of KOF in general.

Joystick Notation

                    .- up (u)
                    |
  up-back (u/b) - 7 8 9 - up-forward (u/f)

       back (b) - 4 5 6 - forward (f)

down-back (d/b) - 1 2 3 - down-forward (d/f)
                    |
                    `- down (d)

Primary Note: These numbers can be easily referenced by looking at your keyboard numpad. Think of it as a joystick/controller that is facing to the right. "5" is used to signify "neutral".

Secondary Note: These notations are based on the assumption that the character is on the "Player 1" side of the playing field. These notations remain relative to the character based upon this assumption.

Motion Abbreviations

  • qcf - 236 - Quarter circle forward/Hadouken/Fireball motion - In one smooth motion move to down -> down-forward -> forward.
  • qcb - 214 - Quarter circle backward - In one smooth motion move to down -> down-back -> back.
  • hcf - 41236 - Half circle forward - In one smooth motion move to back -> down-back -> down -> down-forward -> forward.
  • hcb - 63214 - Half circle backward - In one smooth motion move to forward -> down-forward -> down -> down-back -> back.
  • dp - 623 - Dragon Punch motion - In one smooth motion move to forward -> down -> down-forward.
  • rdp - 421 - Reverse Dragon Punch motion - In one smooth motion move to back -> down -> down-back.
  • tk - 2369 - Tiger Knee Motion - qcf, then move to up-forward.
  • [x] - Charge - Hold the given direction (usually back/down) for around 1 second, before moving to the next command (usually forward or up with a button input.) Another form of charging is holding down a button or buttons and releasing the button/s after a period of time to do a specific attack. The x in the example is the input of a direction or button that needs to be charged.

Attack Notation

  • A - LP - Light Punch
  • B - LK - Light Kick
  • C - HP - Hard Punch
  • D - HK - Hard Kick
  • CD - Blow back attack, press C and D simultaneously.
  • P - Any punch
  • K - Any kick

Other common abbreviations

  • j. - Jump/jumping - Press up-back, up, or up-forward.
  • nj. - Neutral jump - Referencing specifically for directly upward jump, especially for specific attacks that only occur in this state.
  • sj. - Super jump - Tap down, down-back, or down-forward, then quickly press up-back or up-forward.
  • sh. - Short hop - Lightly tap up-back, up, or up-forward.
  • hh. - Hyper hop - Tap down, down-back, or down-forward, then quickly and lightly tap up-back or up-forward.
  • nh. - Neutral hop - Lightly tap up. There are no specific short hop attacks in the neutral hop state, unlike neutral jump. This is used as an indicator specifically for neutral hopping in a given situation.
  • cl. - Close, as in a close normal attack.
  • cr. - Crouching, as in a crouching normal attack.
  • st. - Standing, as in a far standing normal attack.
  • f. - Forward, and relative to the direction the character is facing.
  • b. - Back, and relative to the direction the character is facing.
  • ss. - Side Step
  • DM - Desperation Move, a.k.a. Chinese for Super.
  • SDM - Super Desperation Move
  • QM - Quick Max

General Character Info

  • Crouching Hitboxes
It's important to know the height of each character's hitbox because not all normals/special moves will connect on all crouching opponents. Generally the hit box heights can be put into four groups - tiny, low, medium, high. In almost all cases, if a move whiffs against someone that is in the low hit box group, it will whiff against all other characters in the low group.
Also keep in mind that just because a character is really tall when standing, doesn't mean they have a tall crouching hit box. Yamazaki and Yashiro are good examples of this - both have a tall standing hit box but actually a low crouching hit box.
In the character specific pages, it is noted if a certain move whiffs against a certain group of characters. Some examples would be Daimon's close A whiffing against low crouchers but not medium or high.
  • Some examples with an incomplete list:
  • Tiny: Chin, Choi
  • Low: Andy, Joe, Athena, Kensou, Benimaru, Mai, Yuri, Yashiro, Iori, Mature, Vice, Yamazaki, Billy, Leona, Kim
  • Medium: Ryo, Robert, Takuma, Terry, Kyo, Shermie, Mary, Ralf, Clark
  • High: Maxima, Daimon, Chang, Krauser
Note that in the context of characters' move sets, there are attacks that work on some or most of a height class while there are other attacks that strictly follow the height classification in regards to if the attack connects or not. There could be nuances such as medium-high or low-medium height classes because of the inconsistencies and this doesn't even include the width of a crouching character's hit box and how that factors in how other characters' attacks connect with the said hit box. The above classifications are still just qualitative measurements made to help discern whether or not attacks will hit certain characters based on generalizations.

Characters

Welcome to the 59 playable, tournament viable characters. Hold the Select Button as you select certain characters to use their alternate version (Orochi team, EX/Ura characters). The highlighted icon changes and indicates that the character is the alternate version. Boss characters such as Goenitz, Omega Rugal, Orochi Leona, Orochi Iori, and Orochi are banned from standard tournament play.

Heroes Team Fatal Fury Team Art of Fighting Team Ikari Team Psycho Soldier Team Woman Fighters Team Kim Team
Orochi Team '97 Special Team Yagami Team Master Team American Sports Team Edit Team '96 Boss Team
EX/Ura Characters
Single Entry

Rugal Bernstein