Ralf Jones (ラルフ・ジョーンズ, Rarufu Jōnzu) is a character from the Ikari Warriors, Metal Slug, and The King of Fighters video game series. He also starred as the player character in the shooting games T.N.K. III and Iron Tank.
Keiko Ijuu states that his visual appearance in Ikari Warriors was based on Sylvester Stallone's role as Rambo, which was popular at the time of his conception. During the early stages of KoF '94, the development team intended Ralf and Clark to be shirtless in order to express the feeling of "Ikari" or rage. But the higher ups ordered them to update their designs to look a little more modern. In order to differentiate the duo, the designers gave Ralf a bandana and Clark a hat, then later sunglasses.
Ralf, and his fellow agent (and good friend), Clark Still, started out as palette swap characters in Ikari Warriors. In KoF '94, Ralf and Clark were very similar in looks and move repertoire, but by 1995, Clark got a newer stance and win pose, while Ralf retained his old ones. In every new instalment of the KoF series, Clark seems to be further and further differing from Ralf; while Clark is a powerful grappler, Ralf is more of a power player, making use of some very efficient long-range attacks. Both characters were redesigned in KoF '99. He is also a playable character in Metal Slug 6, where he has the ability to use his punch to knock out vehicles and can survive up to two shots.
For The King of Fighters XIV, Nobuyuki Kuroki wanted Ralf's shirt to look like Bruce Willis in the film Die Hard, where his shirt starts to get grimy from all the sweat and dirt. However the rest of the staff was against this idea. The team also reverted Ralf back to his classic look making him slimmer than he was in KOF XIII.
In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Ralf was voted as the staff's twelfth favorite character. In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, he was voted as the eighth favorite character with a total of 1,038 votes.
Ralf Jones is a member of the Ikari Warriors, an elite mercenary-for-hire agency. He has proven himself to be a powerful soldier who is known for his natural leadership abilities and courage on the battlefield. He currently holds his rank as a colonel. He befriended Clark when they were in their twenties and they have stayed good friends with one another since then.
They both are under Commander Heidern's command and often follow his orders to enter the King of Fighters tournaments. In KoF '96, Ralf and Clark were introduced to the squad's newest recruit, Leona Heidern. Ralf was initially skeptic due to her young age, but he eventually accepted her as one of his comrades. He seemed to like her very much as soon as he met her, and shook her hand but doesn't want it to be revealed; in KoF '97, however, it can be seen that Heidern and (especially) Clark notice this. Under Ralf's command, they investigate Geese Howard's suspicious involvement in the KoF '96 tournament.
During the following year, the trio successfully fulfill one of their missions on the battlefield. However, Ralf feigns professional incompetence for failing to save innocents on the war zone and requests a suspension from his duties; in reality, Ralf is worried about Leona's troubled state and wants her to recuperate. Heidern, seeing through the ruse, agrees and also takes the rest of the team off duty. During their off time, Ralf enlists them into the King of Fighters tournament to keep them in shape and to rehabilitate the despondent Leona. When she attempts suicide at the end of the tournament, he stops her and assures her that, even if she has no family, she isn't alone anymore.
During the NESTS saga, Ralf and his squadron are ordered to participate in the tournaments to investigate what is going on behind the scenes. They are also introduced to a young soldier from the Axe Platoon of the Ikari Warriors, SALLY, who formerly introduces herself as Whip. Ralf, who knows of her whipping skills, initially mistakes her name to be Whippy (むち子, Muchiko, Whip Girl in Japanese). Since then, he continues to call her this as an affectionate nickname. When she is missing from the aftermath of The King of Fighters 2000, Ralf demands permission to lead a search team for her. His Commander Heidern joins the team for the 2001 tournament. While he is ordered on another mission after the 2001 tournament, Heidern relieves his worry by sending him a photo of Whip and Kula on a friendly outing.
In the Ash saga, he and his team seek out the origins of a mysterious airship. They identify it as Sky Noah and are sent in the tournament to investigate its inhabitants. Due to the Orochi seal being broken, Leona experiences the Riot of the Blood and goes berserk on Ralf and Clark at the end of the 2003 tournament. Fortunately, they subdue her and are able to report back to headquarters. In KoF XI, Ralf and his team are sent to secure evidence of Those From the Past. They succeed in obtaining Magaki's corpse, but it is hauled away by two mysterious and powerful individuals.
Ralf is a hot-blooded guy that only cares for action, being the counterpart of Clark in many ways. Although he doesn't always show it, he experienced his share of losses from war and will drown his sorrows away with a drink. He is especially protective of any new recruits that come under his command, and will try his best to care for them, especially Leona, whom he seems to show feelings for. This can be particularly seen in the ending of KoF '97 where Ralf gives his bandanna to her, as well as in KOF: Maximum Impact 2 and KoF XII, referring to her as 'princess' when winning against her and in his profile. He also cares for Whip, seeing her as like a kid sister to him.
- Above average strength - Ralf is quite strong, as seen in his Galactica Phantom move.
- Fast punching - Ralf can move his arms at a high velocity, allowing him to punch several times per second. These punches are followed by small explosions.
- Fireworks - Ralf can create small explosions with his attacks.
- Fire punch - Ralf can imbue some of his punches with fire.
- Firearms - Ralf is proficient with many, if not all, kinds firearms.
- Survival - Ralf can survive in various difficult terrain, especially jungles.
- Knives - Ralf can also use knives.
- Driving - Ralf is proficient in driving military vehicles, from tanks and helicopters to giant robots.
Ralf primarily uses the mercenary combat style of the Ikari Warriors. He knows some wrestling moves and at least one striking martial art. His blows are characteristically accompanied by explosions on impact. He is also somewhat renowned for lacking any command normals (not counting the Maximum Impact series) until KoF XII.
Ralf's signature Desperation Move, Galactica Phantom, is one of the most powerful moves in The King of Fighters series, doing from 70% to 85% damage. In The King of Fighters '97, a fully powered Galactica Phantom that counters an opponent's attack wiil instantly kill his opponent. Some games even add a secret followup (such as in The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match) to one of the move's variations; said follow-ups are usually meant to automatically knock out the opponent if performed correctly.
- Jungle Bouncer - The King of Fighters '94, The King of Fighters 2002
- Desert Requiem - The King of Fighters '95, The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match (when teamed with Clark and Heidern)
- Rumbling on the City - The King of Fighters '96, The King of Fighters '98
- WWIII - The King of Fighters '99
- The Trooper - The King of Fighters 2000, EX, EX2
- My Whip - The King of Fighters 2001
- Inside Skinny - The King of Fighters 2003
- Smell of Gunpowder - The King of Fighters XI, The King of Fighters XIII (when the music is set to "Type B", console version only, shared with Leona Heidern/Wild Leona and Clark Still)
- Irregular Mission - The King of Fighters XIII
- Survivors Under The Sky - The King of Fighters XIV
- IKARI ~KOF XIV ver.~ - The King of Fighters XIV (as Clark's opponent)
- DESERT REQUIEM ~Operation02UM~ - The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
- KD-0079 ~KOF XIV ver.~ - The King of Fighters XIV (as K's opponent)
- Monster Maezuka - The King of Fighters '94~XI, Metal Slug Defense (recycled audio), Metal Slug Attack (recycled audio)
- Bunshu Shinoya - The King of Fighters XII~present
- Scott Casey - KOF: Maximum Impact series (English voice)
- T.N.K. III
- Iron Tank
- Ikari Warriors - as Paul
- Victory Road - as Paul
- Ikari III: The Rescue - as Paul
- The King of Fighters '94
- The King of Fighters '95
- The King of Fighters '96
- The King of Fighters '97
- The King of Fighters '98
- The King of Fighters '99
- The King of Fighters 2000
- The King of Fighters 2001
- The King of Fighters 2002
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- Metal Slug 6
- KOF: Maximum Impact
- The King of Fighters 2003
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2
- The King of Fighters XI
- KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- Metal Slug 7
- Metal Slug XX
- The King of Fighters XII
- The King of Fighters XIII
- The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
- CR The King of Fighters
- The King of Fighters XIV
- Ikari - Leona Gekitohen
- Metal Slug Fighters
- Metal Slug Team Mission
- The King of Fighters Mobile
- The King of Fighters Mobile R-2
- SNK Gals Island Senkan Battle Gekichinshichaouzo!
- The Rhythm of Fighters (Support Character)
- The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Online
- Metal Slug Defense
- Metal Slug Attack
- The King of Fighters: Destiny (Game)
- The King of Fighters: World - NPC
- The King of Fighters: All Star
- SNK All Star
- The King of Fighters: Orochi Go
- Metal Slug Infinity
- SNK Fighting Age
- The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise
- SNK Gals' Fighters - during Leona's ending
- Neo Geo Battle Coliseum - background cameo in the Antenna stage (in his KOF '99 outfit)
- Garou: Mark of the Wolves - in Hokutomaru's stage during the third round.
- The King of Fighters (pachinko)
- The King of Fighters 2
- Days of Memories (first and second title)
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- Nariyuki Quest
- Kimi wa Hero - as one of Leona Lady Grimm hounds
- SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy - in Leona's ending
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - background cameo in King of Fighters Stadium Stage and a spirit along with Clark
- The King of Fighters games occasionally make fun of Ralf and Clark. Sometimes when they meet, they will do the "Cross Changer" pose, a reference to Chojin Sentai Jetman. Also, as seen in The King of Fighters '98's art gallery for the Neo-Geo CD port, Jetman is referenced again, with Leona defending Ralf and Clark while dressed as Commander Aya Odagiri from the series.
- A special ending in KoF '97 features Ralf in his Ikari Warriors outfit, which was based on Rambo. This outfit appears as his Another one in KOF: Maximum Impact. In the sequel, KOF: Maximum Impact 2, his outfit and hairstyle are the same as Marco Rossi's, a character from the Metal Slug series, a fact even stated by Fio.
- In his team's backstory for XI, Ralf mentions that the two veterans' relation with Heidern is best represented by the white magnolia flower from the funeral they attended. In flower language, it means deep unspoken trust.
- A character named Ralf, who lives somewhere on Joel Island, can also be found in Crystalis. He was most likely included as an easter egg for fans.
- Ralf's Galactica Phantom is a reference to Kaoru Hanayama's Destructive Force technique from Baki the Grappler.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Official character profile from The King of Fighters XII
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- ↑ Official site for The King of Fighters XIII
- ↑ "Icons: Reporter's Notebook". Thai, Tristan (2004-08-19).
- ↑ The King of Fighters ’94 – Developer Interview originally featured in the “All About KOF’94” mook
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF anniversary website.
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF anniversary website.
- ↑ THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV Premium Art Book, p.039
- ↑ KOF Station Channel XIV #1, from snkGame.
- ↑ The King of Fighters XI: Ikari Team Story from KOF anniversary website.
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