The King of Fighters 2002

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Following the conclusion to their latest King of Fighters saga (The NEST Chapter, comprising KoF '99-2001), SNK (with the help of EOLITH Co.) once again released a "dream match" King of Fighters game as the 2002 tournament. As usual, a "dream match" meant that the roster could be drawn from any era of King of Fighters regardless of what the storyline was presently. As such, KoF 2002 saw the return of the characters from the Orochi saga such as Yashiro and Vice (and the game's final boss was Omega Rugal). Joining them were characters featured in the NEST saga such as Angel and May Lee. As for the gameplay, the "Striker" assist system was removed in this game so the fights returned to the traditional 3-on-3 team system.

KoF2K2 screen1.gif KoF2K2 screen2.jpg KoF2K2 screen3.jpg

Game Mechanics

Notation and Terms

Input

u = 8 = up
d = 2 = down
f = 6 = forward
b = 4 = backwards
uf = 9 = upforwards
ub = 7 = upback
df = 3 = down forward
db = 1 = down back

qcf = quarter circle forward (d, df, f = 236 motion)
qcb = quarter circle back (d, db, b = 214 motion)
hcf = half circle forward (b, db, d, df, f = 41236 motion)
hcb = half circle back (f, df, d, db, b = 63214 motion)

A = LP
B = LK
C = HP
D = HK

cr. = crouching
cl. = standing close
j. = jump
sj. = super jump
h. = hop
hh. = hyper-hop

XY = X Y
_X - means to charge. Thus, _X Y means charge X, then Y

Abbreviations

BC = max mode
DM = desperation move
SDM = super desperation
HSDM = hidden super desperation move

Terms

Free cancelling: Another word for maxmode cancelling. A free cancellable move, means you can max mode cancel some move into another special move.

Battery: A character that can build meter quickly and effectively

Knockdown: A move that knocks the opponent down but gives the opponent an opportunity to recovery roll.

Hard knockdown: A knockdown move that cannot be recovery rolled. When the opponent falls, there is either a small yellow animation of impact, a large yellow animation (which looks like Angel's qcb+P stomp), or an animation that looks like the character is sliding across the ground. All moves that have the animation that looks like Angel's stomp or the sliding animation are hard knockdowns, although there are some moves that use the other animation and are also hard knockdowns. Those details will be listed in each move's description.

Combo Notation

~ - link

(S) - supercancel

(C) - free cancel (max mode)

(number) - the most number of hits of that attack allowed such that you can still cancel into the next one and the combo to still work. For example, C(1), f+A for Kula means that the combo requires her to cancel the C on the first hit. She can also cancel the C on the second hit, but some of her combos may not work right depending on when you cancel the C, due to spacing. If there is no number after an attack, it means you can cancel it on any hit, preferably the last one.

(move) - groups moves together when there are multiple alternatives. For example, C, f+B/(qcf+B, dp+B) means you can do C, then either a f+B, or qcf+B followed by dp+B, but not f+B followed by qcf+B or dp+B.

[move] - optional, can be omitted for easier input or if distancing is an issue.

/ - means there is an alternative move you can do. For example, the attack string C, f+A/f+B, qcb+A/(qcf+B, dp+B) means after the C, you can do either f+A or f+B, and after either of those, you can do either qcb+A, or qcf+B, dp+B.

Buffer: - this means that the attack motion can be buffered such that it can still be done with a less complex motion. For example, take the combo C, qcb P, qcb hcf K. Since there is an overlapping motion of qcb, one of them can be removed. Thus, the buffered version of the same combo is C, qcb P, hcf K. This can be further buffered since there is an overlapping back direction in this combo. Therefore, a further buffered version of this combo is C, qcb P, qcf K. Thus, this combo will be listed as C, qcb P, qcb hcf K(Buffer:qcf K), which means you can do the combo how it is listed until you reach the Buffer part, in which case you use that motion instead of the full motion of the move.

Move Types

Normals: An attack that utilizes A, B, C or D, but uses no directions in it's input, besides optionally crouching. Close A, Far C, Crouch D are all examples of normals.

Command Normals: An attack that utilizes A, B, C or D and uses one direction for it's input, besides down. f A, df D, d B(air) are examples of command normals.

Special Moves: Uses an attack button and a motion that exceeds just one direction. qcf P, dp K, hcb P are all examples of special moves.

Desperation Move(DM): This uses up one stock. If the character is in maxmode, then using a DM will end maxmode and will cost no stock (besides the maxmode activation itself).

Super Desperation Move(SDM): Can only be done in maxmode. Wastes two stocks, one for the maxmode activation and an additional stock in maxmode.

Hidden Super Desperation Move(HSDM): Works the same as SDMs except the character must also have equal to or less than 1/4 life left. HSDMs cannot be supercancelled.

Basics

Run: ff puts your character in run animation. There are a few frames of vulnerability if you try to block or crouch from a running position, where no other inputs can be entered. You can cancel a running animation into a jump, roll, max activation, attack(including crouching normals as long as you input that attack as df+attack) with no delay.

Backdash: bb puts your character into backdash animation which has no invincibility. The character is considered in an airborne state which allows air special moves and air command normals (but not air normals). Certain air command normals, such as Athena's d+B, Iori's b+B and Kyo's d+C, allow the character to backdash further than usual, almost a full screen length if executed properly.

Super Bar: Super Bar is used up after execution a number of different techniques, ranging from DMs, to entering maxmode, to guard cancel rolls and attack cancel rolls. You start off with 0 meter, but the potential to build up 3 stocks with your first character. When your first character gets knocked out, your bar capacity moves up to 4 stock (meaning he can store an extra stock). When your second character gets knocked out, the third (and last) character has the potential for 5 bars.

Super meter is only built when you are hit, when you connect (when you attack and the attack actually hits or is blocked by the opponent), or use a special move. The exception to this rule is fireballs and counters, fireballs and counters build no meter for being used, but still build meter for connecting.

Jump: Your standard jump that is done by simply hitting (not tapping) up and any optional directions. It's slow and easy to react to, but can still have it's uses. Vertical jump normals are usually different and better than horizontal jump normals, covering a lot of space (such as Whip's vertical jump C).

Hop: For people starting this game, hopping is one of the most fundamental differences between Street Fighter and King of Fighters. It is a much safer way of mixing up an overhead and advancing on your opponent than regular jumping. Hopping is performed by tapping up quickly and then letting go. It produces a short jump that rises and falls much slower, but at a much smaller height. Punishable, but much safer.

Super Jump: The super jump is performed by pressing down, then upforward/upback very quickly. This allows your character to travel further, faster, and higher than a regular jump. It is very effective for travelling the entire screen for certain characters such as Choi.

Hyper Hop: Performed by tapping down before hopping, it resembles a hop with super jump properties. Basically a hop that travels further and faster. Like the superjump, you can't hyper hop straight up.

Roll: b+AB or f+AB. Pressing AB in neutral defaults to a forward roll. Rolling is an interesting technique. It allows you move forwards/backwards with invincibility throughout most of the roll. The ending frames of a roll have no invincibility to attacks. You can also be thrown at any point in a roll without a chance to tech the throw.

Throws: Each character has two normal throws, one executed with b or f+C, the other b or f+D. The opponent can break/tech the throw during the initial frames by C or D. The intent was that the one being thrown would have to guess which throw the opponent used, but there is a loophole that allows you to tech either throw by hitting C+D at the same time.

Advanced Techniques and Concepts

Falling Roll Recovery(or Recovery Roll): Hitting AB between falling and landing will make the character land on their feet rather than get knocked down. This prevents the opponent from being able to close to you after they hit you with an attack that would have knocked you down. It can also be used to escape certain combos that pick characters off the floor, such as Daimon's OTG combos.

With a recovery roll, you are denied the 9 frames of throw invincibility when you wakeup from a knockdown. Also, there are many moves that have a hard knockdown property, preventing you from recovery rolling.


CD Counter: If your character has just blocked an attack and has atleast one stock available, they can perform an attack that cancels out the blockstun and knocks the opponent away. It deals a small amount of damage and can be recovery rolled, but it is good enough to give you some breathing space if the opponent is pressuring you a lot.

Most character's CD counters are invincible but not all. The characters that have vulnerable CD counters are: Clark, Daimon, Joe, Mature, Robert and Whip. What this basically means is that multiple hitting moves could still hit you out of your own cd counter. In addition, if the opponent cancels one move into another fast move and you CD countered the initial move, you might get hit. An example is Whip against Terry - CD countering the first hit of Terry's close C will make the second one hit Whip. Also if Terry cancels his close C into df+C, that will also beat Whip's CD counter if she CD countered right before the df+C.

CD counters are blockable, so some moves that have quick recovery, could recover before the CD counter hits, allowing the attacker to block. CD countering a jumpin is also likely going to get blocked, unless the opponent is relatively high in the air.Regardless of whether the CD counter is invincible or not, the opponent can cancel their moves into certain invincible moves that can go through the CD counter and beat it (during it's vulnerable recovery frames). Examples would be cancelling normals into Orochi Yashiro's hcf+P or Daimon's dp+K, as well as counter moves such as Mary's qcb+D, Daimon's qcf+K and Billy's qcb+D.


Guard Cancel Roll: While you are in blockstun, instead of doing a CD counter, you can do a guard cancel roll (or guard roll) by hitting b/f+AB, which takes up a single stock. This will make your character cancel their block stun into a roll with a blue aura around it. This roll is different from the typical roll in that it is completely invincible to attacks and throws until it has fully recovered. In addition, it is possible to cancel a guard roll into itself an infinite number of times without wasting additional meter and still getitng the invincibliity effects.

Guard rolling is very effective in either being able to punish certain strings of attacks in which it would be impossible to punish otherwise. Let's take Athena's crouch C, qcb+A string. At an expense of one stock, a player can block the crouch C, then guard roll forward behind Athena and if she happened to cancel the crouch C into qcb+A, you would have enough time to punish her with a good combo. Guard rolling also lets you escape some situations in which CD countering would get you punished, and rolling normally (or taking the pressure, specifically in the corner) would be dangerous.


Attack Cancel Roll: When a ground normal or command attack (such as f+A, df+B, etc) hits or is blocked by the opponent, you have the option of cancelling it into a forward roll. Unlike the Guard Cancel roll, this roll has vulnerability just like the normal roll.The technique only has a few uses - it can be used to extend very few combos, such as with Maxima, Ramon and a few other characters. The roll itself goes through CD counters, so the more useful reason to use it is when you suspect that the opponent is going to CD counter your attack, which will generally happen when you're low on health. Attack roll cancelling through a CD counter gives you enough time to combo the opponent.


Hit and Blockstun: KOF 2k2 has universal hit- and blockstun: All lights have 11 frames of hitstun and 9 frames of blockstun. Grounded heavies have 19 frames of hitstun and 17 frames of blockstun. Jumping heavies also have 17 frames of blockstun, but only 11 frames of hitstun. Command normals always have 19 frames of hitstun and 17 frames of blockstun, even when done in the air. This makes them excellent combo starters. All CDs, ground and air, do 21 frames of blockstun and knock down on hit. Fireballs have 31 frames of hitstun and 29 frames of blockstun.


Counterhits: If you hit the opponent out of a move that they were already doing, then a counterhit message will appear and the opponent will take extra damage on that hit. In addition, if the opponent is hit into the air by that move (either by getting hit on the ground by a move that knocks them into the air or getting knocked out of the air), then they are put into a jugglable state and can be hit again generally for one additional hit.


Counterwire: Certain moves have this property, and will activate if the opponent is counterhit by the move. They will bounce towards the edge of the screen (not necessarily the corner of the stage though) and then bounce off. They can be hit at any point after the bounce off the wall until they hit the ground.


Maxmode: Hitting BC when you have atleast one stock, will put you into maxmode. Your character will flash and a bar will appear near your meter bar that drains as time goes by. You will be able to maxmode cancel (or free cancel) out of uncancellable normals, command moves and special moves into other special moves, reducing the bar by 1/5th of the max length everytime such a cancel is done. You will also do less damage while in maxmode.

Maxmode also lets you perform SDMs and HSDMs. Performing a DM ends maxmode and does not take up an extra stock (aside from the one used to get into maxmode). Performing an SDM or HSDM takes up an extra stock, also ending maxmode.

If a normal or command normal hits or is blocked by the opponent, it can be cancelled into a maxmode activation, wasting two stocks. This is useful for continuing a combo into maxmode after confirming


Maxmode cancelling (or free cancelling): In order to free cancel, you must be in maxmode and the move you are trying to cancel into must have a "free cancellable into" property. All normals can be free cancelled out of at any point, even when they are whiffing. Command normals can be free cancelled out of at any point as long as they are making contact with the opponent (blocked or hit). Special moves can be free cancelled out of into other special moves only if they possess the "free cancellable out of" property and must connect with the opponent.


Supercancelling: The term refers to cancelling a special move into a DM or SDM. This costs an additional stock on top of the usual requirement, and only certain special moves have the ability to be supercancelled, and only on very specific hits. For example, Ralf's _b f+P can only be supercancelled on the 2nd hit, even though it does 4 hits. HSDMs cannot be supercancelled into.

Cancel System

A normal if cancellable, can be cancelled into command move or a special move. The command move can be cancelled to a special move or DM, if cancellable and cancelled into. The general rule in kof is, if you do a command normal without cancelling into it, it is not cancellable. Command normals have certain properties associated with them, such as hard knockdown, overhead, etc. Most command normals LOSE these properties when they are cancelled 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 cancelled into. For example, Yashiro's f A comes out much faster if cancelled into than if done by itself.

There are exceptions to the above rules. Mary's b/f A is cancellable to DMs even if not cancelled into. Her b/f B is cancellable to special moves and DMs, even if not cancelled into. In addition, even if you cancel into it, the move still hits low on the second hit.

-unfinished-

Practical Tricks & Glitches

Counterhit CD Counters: If you know that your CD counter is going to counterhit, you can cancel the CD counter into maxmode (BC), and followup with whatever counterhit combo you'd like. Cancelling a CD counter into maxmode will already waste 3 stocks. The most common thing to do after cancelling to maxmode is a DM or SDM, so this will require 3-4 stocks overall, or maybe even 5 stocks if you can supercancel a move into the SDM. The sheer amount of stocks required for using this technique is pretty large, so it probably isn't very practical. However, it can become useful if the attack string you are trying to block cannot be punished on block or after a guard roll.


A CD counter will counterhit under the following circumstances:

1. When you CD countered the move, it did not finish executing all of it's hits. For example, CD countering a move that does 4 hits, on any hits before the fourth, will result in a counterhit. For some moves, CD countering even on the last hit will result in a counterhit, although it will require experimentation to see which moves counterhit when.


2. Not verified yet - If the opponent is using an attack string, even if all moves are one hit each, and the opponent CD counters a move when the player had already input the next move in the attack string, a counterhit will result.


Maxmode activation tips: Cancelling a normal such as a strong attack (close C) into maxmode and then continuing the combo should not be a problem but there are some issues with cancelling a weak attack such as crouch B, into maxmode and then immediately doing another normal.

An example would be Choi's crouch Bx2, BC, crouch C, SDM combo. If the combo is input as d+BB, BC, d+C, SDM, the result will be a crouch/standing B coming out after the BC activation. Instead, this combo should be input as d+BB, C~B, SDM. C~B means to roll your fingers from C to B. For whatever reason, this will activate maxmode and do a crouch C one frame after that, making the combo work.

Some other examples where this is applicable would be:

  • Athena's crouch B, crouch A, BC, crouch C, HSDM
  • Kim's crouch B, crouch A, BC, close C, HSDM
  • Vice's crouch Bx2, crouch A, BC, far C, hcf+B

Another technique, called maxmode bypass, refers to executing special moves/supers immediately after the maxmode activation. Suppose you wanted to combo Kensou's f+A overhead into his qcf hcb+B. You can input this combo as f+A, qcf hcb+BC. What happens is that the max activation occurs followed immediately by the super.


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 ff 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 ff 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 noticable 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 stand 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 noticable pause after your run, which you would like to minimize. Practice this a lot.


Alternate Guard: This is a glitch that is very useful for avoiding throws. The way it works is that if the opponent has done some kind of move that has put you into a blocking animation, then you can keep that blocking animation going indefinitely by quickly alternating crouch block with stand block. Whlie you are alternating, all throws that the opponent attempts will miss, including one frame command throws(Daimon hcb f+P), delayed command throws(O Yashiro hcf+P and qcb+P, Clark dp+K), Daimon's autoguard hcfx2+K, proximity throws such as Andy hcf+P and O Chris hcf+K and normal f+C/D throws.

Blocking animation is triggered if you are holding back while a blockable move is executed by the opponent. That move does not actually have to be blocked by you in order for the block animation to be triggered.

A basic and dangerous tactic that a grappler could do to you is to throw you after landing from a jump attack, or to do a weak attack into a throw. Without alternate guard, avoiding this after you have blocked the jump attack or the weak attack, requires you to jump(or throw him first which may or may not work out). The problem is that a jump has startup vulnerability frames in which your character can get hit before he actually lifts off the ground. If the grappler decides to instead do a close C after his jump attack or weak attack, you would get hit by it if you attempted to jump out expecting a throw.

Alternate guard allows you to avoid the throw and to block the close C without the risk of guessing wrong. Alternate guard makes you vulnerable to high and low attacks, depending on your block position when a move makes contact. Jump attacks are generally not much of a threat against alternate guard because it is easy to see when someone jumps, but many fast low attacks are generally impossible to react to...which means, if you are alternating high/low with equal speeds, you have a 50% chance to get hit with a low attack.

To minimize the risk of getting hit low, it's important to know that you don't really have to alternate at the same speeds...I'm not sure of the exact frames but you can alternate for say, one frame high and 5 frames low, and will keep you vulnerable low only 1/6th the time.


Delayed command normals: As mentioned before, most command normals have different properties depending on whether they have been cancelled into or not. If you cancel a normal in the last cancellable frames, into a command normal, it will come out as if it wasn't cancelled into at all.Characters that have command normals that can be late cancelled and have practical uses would be Kim's f+B(retains the overhead property, and can be max cancelled into run up combo), Kusanagi's f+B(the properties of this move when not cancelled into it are MUCH better than if cancelled), Ryo 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.


Wakeup 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 superjumps 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 superjump.

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.

The Input Reader

Shortcuts: DPs can be done with F,D,F (this does not work in older games.) Diagonals can be omitted from half-circle motions, i.e. hcb can be done f,d,b. This will also work in KOF98.


Special cancel suppression: You can prevent normals from being cancelled into special moves by leaving the button held down. For instance, let's say your character has a cancellable cr.C, an f+A command normal and a qcf+A special move. Doing cr.C qcf+A normally will cancel the cr.C into the qcf+A; however, if you hold the C down while you do qcf+A, instead of qcf+A you will cancel into the f+A command normal instead. This can be useful if you want to buffer a super that overlaps with one of your special moves, e.g. cl.C f+A qcf,hcb+P.


Button lag: If you press a button during a neutral state the game will wait four frames before beginning the attack. This is because it's waiting for button+button/button+direction combinations. If it detects one it will execute it immediately without waiting further (e.g. if you press C and then press D two frames later, it will immediately begin the CD animation.) One of the combinations it looks for is f/b+C/D so if you're trying to cancel a close C or D into a command normal, don't be too quick with the direction input or you could end up doing a throw instead.

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 hitbox heights can be put into three groups - low, medium, high. In almost all cases, if a move whiffs against someone that is in the low hitbox 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 hitbox. Yamazaki and Yashiro are good examples of this - both have a tall standing hitbox but actually a low crouching hitbox.

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, and Whip's whiffing against low and medium crouchers.


Low: K', Andy, Joe, Athena, Kensou, Chin, Benimaru, Mai, Yuri, Yashiro, Iori, Mature, Vice, Yamazaki, Billy, Leona, Kim, Choi, Kula, Angel


Medium: Ryo, Robert, Takuma, Terry, Kyo, May Lee, Shermie, Chris, Mary, Ralf, Clark, Vanessa, Ramon, K9999, Kusanagi


High: Maxima, Whip, Daimon, Chang, Seth

The Characters

All combos listed in the character sections are considered bread and butter, the most damaging, efficient combos (some are still quite challenging though).

All sections are still under construction. Credit goes to Kao Megura for the move names.

Art of Fighting Team Fatal Fury Team Team Japan Korea Team Women's Team Team Ikari Team Psycho Soldier
Team '96 Team '97 Team '98 Team '99 Team '00 Team '01 Team Orochi


Tier List

There are 43 playable characters in this game. The tier list sort of looks like follows:

God Tier: Angel, May Lee, Athena Asamiya, Billy Kane

High Tier: Choi, Kim, Whip, Clark, Vanessa, Benimaru, Iori, Kula Diamond, Yuri

High-Mid Tier: Leona, Chris, Yamazaki, O. Yashiro, Mai, Daimon, Yashiro, Andy, Maxima, Kusanagi, O. Chris

Mid Tier: Terry Bogard, Ryo, Joe, Takuma, Ramon, Shermie, Ralf, Robert, Kyo, Mature, K'

Low-Mid Tier: Mary, Chang, Vice, Kensou, Seth, O. Shermie

Bottom Tier: Chin

Game Versions