The King of Fighters '98/Gameplay Overview
KOF 98 has two systems to choose from, Advanced and Extra. 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. Advanced is generally the best system to choose in this iteration of KOF 98 with Extra mode only giving some benefits to particular characters for very specific reasons.
Block - Hold back - While blocking, 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.
Backdash - Tap back twice quickly. During a backdash, you can perform air command normals and air special moves. Using a command normal will cause the trajectory of the backdash to change.
Run - Tap forward twice quickly. Hold the second tap to keep running. In KOF98, when you simply tap f,f to run, you will run a certain distance before you stop. This can be canceled by jumping, crouching, or attacking, but not by blocking. 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.
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 d/f 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 KOF98, 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.
Roll backward - Press back and A and B simultaneously.
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.
Throw break - Press back/forward any button immediately after you are thrown. Some normal throws are not breakable, and instead you can mash all the buttons and directions to lessen the damage and get out faster.
Guard Cancel Roll (emergency roll) - Press A and B simultaneously or while guarding a move (hold back to roll backwards). This uses one power stock.
Guard Cancel Strike (CD counter) - Press C and D simultaneously while guarding a move. This uses one power stock.
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.
Block - hold 4 (air)
- While blocking, you take no damage from normals and reduced damage from specials and Desperation Moves.
Backstep - 4,4
Dash - 6,6 (quick hop)
Short Hop (sh) - Tap 7 / 8 / 9
Hyper Hop (hh) - Tap 1/2/3~7 / 1/2/3~8 / 1/2/3~9 / Dash, 9
Jump (j) - Press 7 / 8 / 9
Super Jump (sj) - Press 2, 7 / Tap 2, 9 / Dash, 9
Evade - A B
- With this move you dodge while standing in place and are temporarily invincible during the dodge. You can, however, be thrown out of this by command grabs (not standard 4 / 6 P / K throws).
Counter Attack - A B, P / K
- This is done while using the Attack Evade
Down Evade - A B as you land
- With this you can recover as soon as you hit the ground after being knocked down.
Throw Escape - You cannot escape any throws in EX mode.
Guard Cancel Evade - Block, A B
Guard Cancel Strike - Block, C D
Strike Attack - C D (air)
Charge Power Gauge - A B C (until Power Gauge is at maximum capacity).
Taunt - Press Start
In Extra Mode, you have a power gauge that fills over the course of a fight. It is filled by :
1. Taking damage.
Once the gauge fills, it says "MAXIMUM" and begins to slowly empty. During this time your body glows/flashes and a multitude of things happen :
1. All of your attacks do 50% more damage.
2. You may perform a Desperation Move.
3. You may perform a Guard Cancel Evade / Strike.
- Doing either of the latter 2 will drain your gauge and return you to normal.
When you are at 20% or less health, your Life Gauge begins to flash red. During this time, a multitude of things happen :
1. You may perform DMs freely.
2. You may perform Guard Cancel Evades / Strikes freely.
3. If your Power Gauge reaches maximum, you may perform Super Desperation Moves. These are the same commands as your standard DMs, but they often have different attack animations and do larger amounts of damage to the opponent.
- If your life should increase back above 20% for any reason, you lose all of the benefits of a low Life Gauge.
Team attitudes and meter management
Your team has an effect on the way that the game is played. While selecting your team order, you can hold down the Start button and see three types of faces next to your characters. The three types determine how much meter you get after that character loses, and how likely they are to help you during dizzies and mashable throws.
Red Face (Angry) - After they lose, you will lose 1 power stock. They will never jump on to help you.
White Face (Neutral) - After they lose, you will have the same number of stocks that they lost with. They will jump in to help you sometimes.
Yellow Face (Happy) : This means that the fighter has been put in a team that he enjoys. They will add 1 power stock to your meter when they lose, and they will jump in to hit your opponent when you are dizzy or are in a mashable grab every time, as long as you give them enough time.
When you are selecting the order of your team, take note of the faces. Generally you'll want yellow/happy faces fist or second, and red/angry faces last. Don't let this completely decide what order you use, though. Think about who actually needs meter, the matchups you will be playing, etc. Note that power stocks only apply to Advanced mode, so that aspect shouldn't affect your order decision when using Extra mode.
When a character is defeated, the winning character regains a small amount of health. In addition, losing a team member gives the losing player an advantage.
In Advanced mode, you can have an extra stock slot after each fighter is lost. The first fighter has a maximum of 4, the second fighter has a maximum of 4, and the last fighter has a maximum of 5.
In Extra mode, your Power Gauge is shortened after each fighter is lost. The first fighter has a full length Power Gauge, the second fighter has one that is 25% shorter than normal, and the third fighter has one that is 50% shorter than normal.