KOF odd vs even - an odd coincidence?

HMG

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Maybe this is a little too abstract of a question? I'll post it anyway.

Are the 10 KOF games on the Neo Geo kind of randomly good and bad, or is there a pattern like the even titles seemingly being better than odd ones?

KOF 94, 96, 98, 2000 and 2002 are nearly all considered to be classic games. KOF 94 is a bit old feeling and KOF 96 is rushed feeling, but they're still good games. Everyone's favorites are 98 and 2002, no real surprise there.

KOF 95, 97, 99, 2001 and 2003 are more divisive it seems, lots of lovers and haters for them. I've heard people say KOF 95, 97 and 99 are hidden gems, other times not. 2001 is overall pretty terrible and 2003 is very divided in general opinion, but I liked it.

The even numbers seemed to stick to the original formula a lot, whereas the odd numbers were more daring in doing stuff differently it seems. But what do you guys think?
 

ShaolinAce

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I have thought about this alot aswell. And I own all the even numbered games except 2002 and have 99 as an outlier. 99 to me is just as good as 2000 and better than any after it.

But yeah the even games rock way harder than the odd ones.
 

M

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KOF went downhill for me in general after 98 (I despise the NESTS saga and the associated new characters). 97 rushed the Orochi Saga to a close--I think it would have been better to build up to it longer having the Orochi Kings, Shermie, Yashiro, and then Chris, as final bosses (redesigned to make them more epic though), in their own games, like Goenitz was, instead of cramming them all into one year like that. I'd also have liked Orochi's final form to literally be Orochi, the eight headed dragon, in a ridiculous MvC-style gigantic boss sprite fight (think the Hydra boss from King of Dragons but with eight heads/necks simultaneously), instead of a tattooed dweeb, but, that's me. Or at least make that a SDM for him--if you're going to draw on the mythology, really embrace it.
 
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lachlan

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I like 94 for it's originality, it doesn't feel like the rest of the series at all. Overall I think 97, 01, 02 and 03 weren't very good. I know 02 is an updated 98 and all but it's just void of much else and Eolith made it look like mugen.
 

BlackaneseNiNjA

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Whats up HMG, I dunno if the numbers all fit the narrative. Kof95 isn’t really divisive; especially when compared to 94 (which tends to be regarded as a take it or leave it entry in the series as a whole), as most tend to see kof94 as a prototype to kof95 to begin with.

With that said, after kof95, there are definitely more experimental entries every 1 or 2 years wherein SNK would debut new mechanics, designs, and direction for the series and then consolidate those ideas in a followup entry.

Experimental design/core mechanic debut titles:

94 (3vs3 debut, evasion)
96 (rolling, air guarding)
99 (strikers**)
2001 (4vs4/tactical order select)
2003 (tagging)

**This has technically always been a part of the kof series, but it was limited to dizzy status escapes, and was one of the reasons why your teammates were visible in the background when the series began.

Mechanic consolidation titles/safer entries:
95, 98, 2000, 2002

97 is a unique entry since it attempted a new global tournament design direction, sought to improve what debuted in 96, while also attempting to serve as a satisfying conclusion to the story arc for their fanbase (which was actually largely female by this point).

This cycle was normal for most series during the japanese fighting game boom though and could apply to just about any japanese developed fighting game series as well:

i.e. Samurai Shodown 1 & 3 compared to 2 & 4, etc
 
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BillyJoelZeta

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I don’t agree either. KOF 95 was very popular with everyone I knew and is better than 94 in almost every way. KOF 97 is so popular in China alone that it’s probably the most popular game in the series overall because of it and 98 is VERY similar to 97 so if one is great then the other can’t be garbage.

IMO there are no bad KOFs (not on Neo anyway) but the “worst” is 94.
 
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Evil Wasabi

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No correlation. KoF ‘95 was the singular success that made the rest possible. It was and still is the best KoF game, period.

If we instead look at the weakest entries, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 which all look like cookie cutter shit, and play like cookie cutter shit, enjoyed by cookie cutter shit people - we see a spiritual move from SNK away from creativity, eschewed for safety. Same shit that happened with SS when they added Killer Instinct dial-a-combos.
 

BillyJoelZeta

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I disagree with that as well. 2002 is very underrated and IMO is about as good as 98 for being a versus experience. Obviously the 1 player lacks though.
 

Neo Alec

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'96 is nostalgic for me. I love the atmosphere of it, but the game seems to be divisive among fans. 2000 also has similar issues, so your theory about even numbers kind of goes out the window there.

The only real pattern is that the two "dream match" titles, '98 and 2002, happen to be even numbers.
 

2D_Master

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The only consensus about the NG KOF series is that 94 and 2001 are shit to most people.

Everything else is a matter of taste, it seems.
 

Evil Wasabi

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tenor.gif
 

mmsadda

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Popular opinion is that the "dream match" / culmination titles, which happen to be a couple even entries are the best...

I think most people would take 97 over 96 tho.

2003 is still my favorite, because I'll take a tag system over anything else 🤷‍♀️
 

mmsadda

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The only consensus about the NG KOF series is that 94 and 2001 are shit to most people.

Everything else is a matter of taste, it seems.
I like 94 - it has a fantastic look for the time, and did a lot of cool new stuff. That was the first KOF I owned back in the later 90s, and I'd still rather sit down with it than anything else pre-98
 

HMG

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Well, I guess my answer is the good and bad KOFs and the safe/experimental KOFs are randomly arranged. Very interesting.
 

SouthtownKid

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This is one of those random theories where the originator is so excited they might have had an interesting thought that they try to bend reality to fit the theory. Even if it's not a particularly original theory, this one being lifted from the Star Trek movies.

Pretty much everyone knows that KOF '95 is infinitely preferred over '94 by almost everyone ever. Even you probably knew it but temporarily suppressed the knowledge so it wouldn't ruin your theory right out of the gate.
 

HMG

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I am not afraid to be proven wrong.
 

BIG BEAR

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Yeah...KOF '95 to this day is NO JOKE and Iori was introduced too! My NG favs are ..I mean, I still like '94 but my top three would have to be '95 '98 and 2002
honorable mentions for '94 and '96<THE BOSS TEAM> is bad ass and I pretty upset MR.BIG only played the background in 2002
BB
 

glazball

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Interesting observation and I think I would agree that the even-numbered years seem to generally be regarded more highly. To me, the exceptions are at the bookends: ‘95 is obviously better than ’94, and 2003 is an amazing game that deserves plenty of love on it’s own.
 

BBH

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What do you mean?

KOF 96 is a very rushed game, it was SNK trying to meet their new yearly deadline to release a KOF while undertaking the gargantuan task of redrawing all the sprites for 27+ characters. The graphics team put their heart and soul into the game, but... whether it's because the graphics took so long or other unknown factors that played a part.... the gameplay was not finished.

Yes, this was the first KOF to have hops and replacing dodges with rolls. Rolls in particular were not fully fleshed out - they have almost no invincibility frames and are almost never worth using. This would get tweaked in '97.
ABC charging is pointless against another player who knows anything about the game because you can just BC taunt cancel 2 or 3 times in a row to deplete their bar instantly.
There are NO command normals in the game. Characters that had command normals in '95, like Kyo overhead, Joe slide... they're all gone. There's not a single command normal in this game. They would all come back in '97 (with a new chaining system). Most of these moves are viewable in the animation test with the debug dipswitch. Speaking of which...
There are literal unfinished moves that are viewable in the animation test with debug dips turned on. Ryo has a multi-fireball super, Krauser's got some goofy cartwheel super... and then there's moves these characters would get in 97, like Benimaru's command throw super, Mai's air spinning flame wheel, etc. A lot of the work was done for these moves but they didn't have time to implement them.
Move detection is bad, half circle motions in particular are very difficult to do. They fixed this in '97 by making half circle motions too easy (db, f = half circle!?)

With all this missing stuff, and weirdness in the engine with ABC charging being pointless and rolls being weak, there's also the issue of the game balance being awful, even by KOF standards. A lot of characters can dominate with extremely simple tactics. Mature Stand CD into qcb+K. Ryo qcb+P spam. Leona's C cheezeball having a very deceptive hitbox that makes it difficult to punish for a lot of characters. Iori's A DP doing ~5 blockticks of damage on most of the cast and being unpunishable by a lot of characters. Chin being able to lie on the floor and embarass characters who don't have very good ground pokes.

This is an awful game for competitive play, but let's face it - a lot of people DIDN'T play this game when it was new in 1996. They didn't know the pain of being on the receiving end of Chin lying on his ass, kicking you every time you got close. This is Neo-Geo.com, so I'm sure there's people here who say it's one of the best KOF's when they've never played it against another human being in their life. They just like the presentation, the backgrounds and the music... and who am I say to their opinion is wrong, everybody will get something different out of every game.

But I'll always say that in terms of gameplay, 96 is awful. It laid an important groundwork for the future, but 97 and then 98 were huge steps up in terms of gameplay.

Also I love 95 so yeah the original topic here is all kinds of sus
 

joe8

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Yeah...KOF '95 to this day is NO JOKE and Iori was introduced too! My NG favs are ..I mean, I still like '94 but my top three would have to be '95 '98 and 2002
honorable mentions for '94 and '96<THE BOSS TEAM> is bad ass and I pretty upset MR.BIG only played the background in 2002
BB

96 is my favorite as it has the boss team, and the graphics and music are some of the best (and most interesting) of the series. And after 96, KOF98 and KOF2002, because you can play as Rugal.

I don't like how with the final bosses in KOF, you can only beat them with cheap tactics you learnt from a friend, or from the net. The exception being Rugal in KOF94. It should be possible to beat a boss with normal gameplay tactics, IMO. I don't know why the bosses in SNK games are so difficult to beat, there must be a reason for it.


 
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