|The King of Fighters '95||Team Stories||Gallery||Soundtrack||Credits|
SNK's cast of fighting stars gather in a colossal conflagration!
The King of Fighters '95 (ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ
The PlayStation version was published in North America and the PAL region by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., while the Saturn version (which required a ROM cartridge that came packaged with the game disc) was only released in Japan and Europe by SNK. A Game Boy game based on The King of Fighters '95 was also released. A possible bootleg Famicon release, mistakenly titled "The King of Fighters '99", was also made.
This game is also the first chapter of the story arc known as "The Orochi Saga".
The KOF '95 project began with the concept of introducing Iori Yagami as Kyo Kusanagi's rival. As such, developers gave him traits to expand that relationship such as similar abilities and ancient rivalry between both of their clans. During the initial location tests to determine the popularity of the game, Iori was the character who stood out most, also becoming a favorite of the developers. The creation of the Rival Team was one of the things developers worked the hardest, focusing in their moves and lines. The character of Eiji Kisaragi was originally from Art of Fighting 2 and the staff had to adjust most of his moves to balance him with the other characters. Following this game, several Art of Fighting characters were removed from each sequel with developers saying it was "thanks to KOF jinx." The sub-boss character, Saisyu Kusanagi, was never meant to appear in the game as the staff wanted to make so that he died in The King of Fighters '94 during one of the cut-scenes from the Hero Team. However, Saisyu was added at the last moment to the game, becoming the sub-boss character. Fatal Fury boss character Geese Howard was meant to be playable in the game; various considerations at the time, however, led developers to abandon this plan.
The King of Fighters '95 was one of the first titles from SNK to be ported to the Sony PlayStation system. Chad Okada, a former member from SNK, mentioned it was one of his first works. He commented that he had to improve its marketability to the North American market. As a result, he added new options to the game that were not present in the original Japanese version such as selection from stages and improve the grammar and spelling, which was one of the biggest issues from the Neo Geo version
The gameplay of King of Fighters '95 was left largely intact from King of Fighters '94. The one major change SNK was to allow players to select any combination of characters to fight with, as opposed to the concrete teams that players were confined to in the previous game. In addition, almost all the teams from the first game returned, but were no longer affiliated with specific nationalities.
The American Sports Team from the previous game was replaced by a Rivals Team, composed of Iori Yagami (a new character designed to be Kyo Kusanagi's rival), and Eiji Kisaragi (Ryo Sakazaki's and Kyokungenryu Karate rival) and Billy Kane (bodyguard of Terry Bogard's rival, Geese Howard).
The official story given by SNK is as follows:
"It's the year of our Lord, 1995. Once again invitations to the King of Fighters tournament have found their ways to the world's most powerful fighters.
And their author is none other than the mysterious "R!" Could the "R" be that of Rugal, who supposedly blew himself up on his aircraft carrier a year ago?
Among the contestants for this year's tournament is the newly selected team of Billy, Yagami, and Kisaragi, who sent the American Team packing.
But what in the end is Billy's scheme? What ambitions does Kisaragi cradle? And what evil designs for his old foe Kyo Kusanagi spur Iori Yagami on?
These new challengers join all of the previous tournament's contestants-except the American Sports Team, of course-both in battle and the all-consuming intrigue that forms the core of King of Fighters '95."
The new characters added to the game roster (between originals and of other franchises) are:
Official Team Roster
Game Boy Exclusive Character
- Note: The Hero, Fatal Fury & Art of Fighting Teams and Bosses stages (Sub-Boss & Boss) don't have intros.
- Warning: The sight of some stages can cause epilepsy.
- Japan — Hero Team: The Neo Geo Land, a game house founded by SNK in Osaka. The battle takes in front of the park, and it's possible see people watching the fight and cheering. In the background, can be seen the SNK's headquarters.
- Mediterranean Sea — Fatal Fury Team: A pier next to the Mediterranean Sea. Can be seen some people watch the fight, boats, a tractor, typical buildings and windmills, in the background. Also can be seen a dog and Ukee, Terry's monkey.
- Note: When the first round begins, the characters jump from the pier to the water.
- U.S.A. (Dojo) — Art of Fighting Team: The Kyokugenryu Dojo. The fight takes in the main hall, in a night of a lot of wind. Can be seen lamps, stone faces, portraits of a dragon and a tiger, purple curtains and symbols of Kyokugen Karate. This stage also can be seen in KOF '98, in a new version.
- Note: When all rounds begins, the floor of the main hall, which is actually an elevator, goes up to the point of the stage.
- Middle East, Brazil — Ikari Warriors Team: An aerial bridge, next to a helicopter crash. Can be seen a little smoke coming out of the helicopter, some bags and a garage with military aircraft in the background.
- Intro: the rise to the point of the stage.
- China — Psycho Soldier Team: The battle takes in a hillside, with water mirrors, a kanji with one of the stones, a statue in the left and mountains in the background.
- Intro: drops falling.
- England — Women Fighters Team: The Illusion Bar. The battle occurs in the main hall of the bar. Musicians, barrels of beer, plants, clients in the tables (some SNK's characters) and Sally & Elizabeth, twins waitresses of King, can be seen passing in the background.
- Intro: the stained glass of the bar.
- Korea Forest — Korea Justice Team: A forest, in a rainy day. Can be seen a bonfire next to a tent, a burning tree, the root of other tree and a bucket.
- Intro: a lightining burning the tree.
- Abanoned Factory — Rivals Team: An oil refinery, in a sunset. Can be seen pipes, a great smoke coming off the structures with a fog in some rounds, a dump in the right, crows and a truck in the left. Also can be seen the city of New York, highlighting the Empire State and the Chrysler buildings. This stage is also available in KOF XIII.
- Intro: a square focusing the stage.
- The Missile Base: A new version of Black Noah stage. Only the Earth's hologram remains. Can be seen gears and a closed secret compartment. Associated with Saisyu.
- The Missile Base Balcony: The same stage. The changes in relation to the original stage are: the ground starts flashing and the secret compartment opens, revealing a giant missile. There is also an opening to the sky. Associated with Omega Rugal.
In Japan, Game Machine listed The King of Fighters '95 on their September 1, 1995 issue as being the second most-successful arcade game of the month. The Neo Geo AES version sold 108,883 cartridges in its first week of release in Japan, at a price of £160–200 ($250–320 at the time, or $420–540 adjusted for inflation) per cartridge. The Neo Geo CD version also sold 142,825 copies in its first week on the market. They sold a combined 310,060 units in Japan.
During its release week, the Sega Saturn port of the game sold 135,214 copies in Japan. As of 2004, the game sold 257,294 copies. The game also sold 145,389 units for the PlayStation in Japan, adding up to a combined total of 712,743 units sold in Japan.
Upon release, Computer and Video Games magazine called it "arguably the greatest 2D fighting game ever" made. The King of Fighters '95 was awarded Best Neo-Geo Game of 1995 by Electronic Gaming Monthly in 1996.
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly declared the Neo Geo AES version a solid improvement over the previous King of Fighters, particularly applauding the addition of the team edit feature. Major Mike of GamePro agreed that this was the game's best feature, but also expressed approval for the replacement of the U.S. team with the new "Rival" team and the control modifications. He did criticize that the game "didn't improve '94's graphics, it just added to them", but concluded King of Fighters '95 to be "one of the best brawlers out there". A reviewer for Next Generation was unimpressed, however, remarking that "The idea behind fighting as a three-person team ... adds an interesting flare to the game, but the final result is still a one-on-one fighting game with nothing much new to offer the seasoned fighter."
Reviewing the Neo Geo CD version, Maximum deemed that "SNK remain masters of the sprite-based one-on-one fighting genre, leaving all competitors way behind with King of Fighters '95." They elaborated that the team combat makes for greater variety than the average fighting game, the team edit feature greatly increases the game's enjoyability and longevity, the unusually high difficulty of executing combos makes pulling them off more satisfying, and the animations are greatly improved from The King of Fighters '94.
The PlayStation version, however, was much less well received, as reviewers stated it has poor design in comparison to other fighting games from the same year. IGN criticized that the characters are not very responsive to controls and "even though these are difficult hurdles to jump, they're not impossible". However, they noted it to be a likeable game, saying it has "that 2D anime look that everyone loves". A reviewer for Next Generation said that the PlayStation version compounded the game's lack of fresh and original gameplay with long load times. Jeff Gerstmann from GameSpot also criticized the long loading times from the PlayStation version as well as how frequent they are since every round requires loading time. Game Revolution noted the game to be very entertaining but still not as good as other fighting games from the year it was released in North America. They criticized that the fighting system is very similar to other SNK games such as Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting. However, Scary Larry defended the PlayStation version in GamePro, saying it "plays well, looks good, and sounds the same as the arcade version. You could do worse." 1UP.com praised the introduction of Omega Rugal, noting him to be "one of the most stylish boss designs in fighting history", although players could hate him due to how difficult it is to defeat him.
Rich Leadbetter of Sega Saturn Magazine stated that the Saturn port is nearly arcade perfect, the ROM cartridge enabling it to recreate the look of the arcade version with only brief load times. He found the level of skill and technique involved in the game to be both its strongest point and the main limiting factor on its appeal: "SNK fans swear blind that King of Fighters is far superior to Street Fighter Alpha (and its sequel) simply because the element of skill required is that much tougher - making the rewards that much sweeter. The majority of us are unlikely to reach that pinnacle of skill ... but the fact is that if you're good enough, it remains one of the greatest fighting games of all time." He added that while The King of Fighters '96 was already out for the Saturn in Japan, the two installments are different enough from each other that it is worth getting both.
IGN commented that the characters' designs and abilities are very similar to the ones from Street Fighter Alpha. Jeff Gerstmann complained that the characters have unattractive moves as well and over pixelated sprites. 1UP.com praised SNK's characters designs and the addition of the team edit option, making the game a good competition for Street Fighter Alpha. However, Game Revolution liked the large number of playable characters and the several options featured in the game such as the team fights and special moves.
Game designer Masahiro Sakurai regarded the game as one of his favorite competitive experiences when being young. However, after realizing he had been defeating rookies, Sakurai decided that fighting games should also be accessible to newcomers.