by wagesofsyn


Japanese Title: The King of Fighters '97
Year: 1998
System: Playstation
Other Versions? Neo Geo: Home cart, CD, & MVS; Saturn


After last year's somewhat disappointing port of KOF '96, SNK learned from their mistakes and made KOF '97 on the PSX much better. In my opinion, KOF '97 marked the beginning of better than Neo Geo CD quality ports to the PSX. Frame-rates picked up, as did idle and background animations. King of Fighters '97 was my very first import PSX game, and it was a good one to start with. 



SNK really cleaned up this game for the PSX. The PSX version of King of Fighters '97 sports cleaner graphics than the Saturn version, with fewer frames of animation missing from previous years. Special moves look bolder, really enhancing the fight. At times, you'd swear you were watching a King of Fighters anime. Really a top notch job in this department. 



King of Fighters '97 changed the way most played KOF, in that instead of using the default extra mode, you were given the option of Advanced (which is, in my humble opinion, the better choice). Special and Desperation moves began to get easier than previous years (a tradition that carried on through the PSX ports of King of Fighters '98-'99). Good response time allows for easy control with very little lag. A better character selection with better balance really makes this game one of the best in the line (the inclusion of the Orochi team, as well as the '97 Special team, offers both new faces and different elements into the fray). And with the inclusion of the Advanced mode, strategy becomes key as to when to use your DMs and power modes. 



King of Fighters '97 has one of the best soundtracks you'll hear in an SNK game. The music is really top notch, as are the voices, which are cleaner than they have been in previous years. The punches, kicks, and special moves sound less garbled than '96, and are right on the money.


Final Thoughts 

I've played both the Saturn version and PSX version of this game, and the PSX version is the superior one. It has the usual King of Fighters gameplay (which is fantastic), along with minimal load times, great sound, and strong graphics, making this port a worthy addition to any PSX library. This is the best presentation of King of Fighters '97 you'll find anywhere besides the Neo Geo home cart. 


- John Gillerlain 

Overall: 8.4/10


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