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Position in the series
Saga/Story Arc
Is it canonical?
Orochi Saga

They're back to the heat for an answer they've long been searching. Is it their fate or just a bloody coincidence? It shall be cleared as three powers will beat as one. And now, the fourth phase is about to begin.


The King of Fighters '97, the story moves toward violent destiny.


The King of Fighters '97 (ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ '97ナインティセブン) is the fourth game in The King of Fighters series. It's also the final chapter of the story arc "Orochi Saga". This game has the introduction of two special modes: Advance Mode with a stock-based power meter along with running and rolling (based on KOF '96) and Extra Mode with the classic charge-based meter in tandem with sidestepping and quick-step-dashing (based on KOF '94 & '95).

This game was released on Arcade, Neo Geo, PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Neo Geo CD. This game was also released on iOS and Android in November 14, 2013. Fans were asked to vote for their favorite characters to add into the series through three game magazines: Famitsu, Gamest and Neo Geo Freak. The three winners form the '97 Special Team. The magazines also created their own special edit teams to include in the game.

A new version, called Global Match, was released for PlayStation Network (PS4/Vita) and for PC (Steam) in April 3, 2018.


The official story given by SNK is as follows:

"KOF '96 tournament drew to a close with an incident that occurred right after the tournament's end."

The incident itself and the subsequent accident it caused were officially reported as the result of terrorist activity by an unknown group, but the details concerning the identity, motives, and subsequent whereabouts of the terrorists remained a mystery.

In spite of this incident, however, the KOF '96 tournament was an overwhelming commercial success. A few months after, the event triggered a fighting craze and various large corporations, expressing interest in the fad, offered to sponsor subsequent tournaments, leading to a demand for an eagerly awaited KOF '97. The fad reached all over the globe and in no time KOF '97 came into being.

With the decision to hold the tournament, fighters began to gather at various venues for the preliminary matches and approached the tournament with various motives, some came to test their abilities while others entered for wealth and fame. Word of the tournament came through all forms of the media, and fans from far and wide gathered to witness the white-hot preliminary battles. Concomitant to the preliminary matches, came the construction of various KOF stadiums throughout the world. Naturally the anticipation for the KOF '97 tournament exceeded historical precedent and it soon became obvious to everyone that the current tournament, as with the previous one, would reach a remarkable climax.

What team will win the tournament that the eyes of the whole world will look on and wear the KOF crown of victory? And does an incident similar to the unexpected accident of last year's tournament threaten to mar the festivities? All of the world's attention is focused on this year's tournament. KOF '97 is here!"


This game has two systems: ADVANCED and EXTRA.


Gameplay of Ralf vs. Ryo

This mode employs aggressive tactics and the gameplay from The King of Fighters '96. Can be used the new rolling sidesteps to quickly rout the enemy and build up your POW Gauge using your special moves. As the fighter performs special moves and takes damage, the POW Gauge builds up, depending on the special moves used. Using multi-hit attacks increases the gauge faster. Once the gauge is filled up, one power stock is stored, indicated by a green flashing orb. A player can store up to 3 stocks at a time. The player can then use Desperation Moves at the cost of one stock.

In addition, with at least one stock stored, the player can activate MAX Mode where he is granted extra damage to his attacks and suffers less damage from the opponent. A timer indicates the elapsed time while the mode remains active. If the player also has more stocks stored while in this mode, he can pull off a more powerful Super Desperation Move which deals up to twice the damage of the normal version! It's a great way to turn the tides of battle! Once the mode ends, the character's attributes revert to normal, keeping any stocks he has stored.

When Advanced Mode users lose team members, the new Advantage System awards the player by increasing the maximum amount of stocks that can be stored. The 1st member can store 3 stocks, the 2nd can store 4 stocks, while the last member can have the maximum of 5 stocks stored at a time.


Gameplay of Terry vs. Kyo

This mode employs defensive tactics and the gameplay from The King of Fighters '94 to '95. Can be used the classic dodge move to evade enemy attacks and Power Charge to build up your POW Gauge. As the fighter takes damage and blocks attacks, the POW Gauge builds up, depending on the intensity of the hit. Being struck by multi-hit attacks increases the gauge faster. However, you can manually store power with the Power Charger move, but leaves you very vulnerable. Once the gauge is filled up, it flashes MAXIMUM and your fighter's offensive power increases for a short while. During this maxed-out state, you can also perform your character's unique Desperation Move for devastating damage.

The gauge remains at max for a limited time only, so make good use of the extra attack power and don't be afraid to use your Desperation Move before the gauge drains away. Once your character's life gauge drops below 20%, the gauge flashes orange. In this time of peril, your character can perform Desperation Moves indefinitely without the maximum POW Gauge requirement. If your life flashes orange AND you have your POW Gauge filled-up, you can pull off a Super Desperation Move which deals up to twice the damage of the normal version.

It's a great way to turn the tides of battle! Certain situations during the fight may even allow you to perform Super Desperation Moves just by having a full POW Gauge. In addition, the POW Gauge drains much faster when it is filled up to the max by blocking attacks or taking damage. Using the Power Charger to store power grants you more time in Max Mode before it completely empties. When Extra Mode users lose team members, the new Advantage System awards the player by decreasing the length of the gauge to fill it up faster. The 1st member has the gauge at 100%, the 2nd has a 75% length, while the last member can charge up to Max Level fastest at 50%.

Social Relations

Following the footsteps of its predecessor for teammate social relations, can be selected the order your characters will fight.

In the Order Select Screen, hold down the START button to see the smiley icons that depict partner relationships. These icons identify how POW stocks are affected between rounds (when in Advanced Mode), and if your teammates will help you by calling off a Back-Up Attack (both Advanced and Extra Modes). The icons do not affect your Power Gauge, only your current POW stocks. The character relations specifically reflect on the order you have designated.

The two characters have friendly terms. One stock is awarded once the next character comes into play. If undefeated, they will always help in a Back-Up Attack.
The two characters are cold to each other. The number of stocks remain unchanged between battles. If undefeated, they may or may not help in a Back-Up Attack.
The two characters despise each other. One stock is taken off once the next character comes into play. Even if undefeated, they will never help in a Back-Up Attack.


The new characters added to the roster (between originals and of other franchises) are:

Yashiro Nanakase, a Japanese young man, leader of the New Faces Team and musician of CYS, a music band formed by him and his comrades, Shermie and Chris, has a rivalry with Iori Yagami. He is also one of the Four Heavenly Kings, the loyal Orochi's servants.
Shermie, a young French girl and member of New Faces Team, is a fashion designer and keyboardist of CYS. She is also one of the Four Heavenly Kings, the loyal Orochi's servants.
Chris, a young Swiss child and member of the New Faces Team, has a mysterious past. He is also one of the Four Heavenly Kings, the loyal Orochi's servants.
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Ryuji Yamazaki, from Fatal Fury series, enters to the KOF tournament at Billy Kane's invitation, and leads the Special Team. He also is a servant of Orochi, but, unlike the other servants, he isn't interested in the resurrection of his master.
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Blue Mary, from Fatal Fury series, is a secret agent and member of the Special Team. She enters to the KOF Tournament under orders of a mysterious benefactor.
Shingo Yabuki, a huge fan of Kyo Kusanagi, enters to the KOF tournament alone to closely follow his idol, after watching him in the past tournament.
Orochi Iori, an aggressive version of Iori Yagami, due to his Orochi blood, inherited from a pact between his clan and the evil entity.
Orochi Leona, an agressive version of Leona Heidern, due to her Orochi blood, inherited from her biological father, Gaidel, killed by her when she was only a child, under Goenitz's influence.
Orochi, the boss of the game, a divine being who calls itself "Gaia's Will", was supposedly born from the Earth itself, manifested through floating emotions and substances of nature. It also was inspired by the legend Yamata no Orochi, the Japanese eight-headed snake.
Note 1: In his awakened form, the New Faces Team becomes Orochi Team, the sub bosses of the game.
Note 2: The new formations of some teams are the following:
  • Chizuru Kagura replaces Kasumi Todoh, and becomes the new leader of the Women Fighters Team;
  • Billy Kane returns to the game (after two tournaments off) and joins with Yamazaki and Mary in the Special Team;
Note 3: The other teams remain with the same formations.

Official Team Roster

Hero Team (A.K.A. Japan Team or Protagonist Team)


Kyo Kusanagi


Benimaru Nikaido


Goro Daimon

Fatal Fury Team (A.K.A. Garou Densetsu Team)


Terry Bogard


Andy Bogard


Joe Higashi

Art of Fighting Team (A.K.A. Kyokugenryu Team)


Ryo Sakazaki

Robert 97 animation 3.gif

Robert Garcia


Yuri Sakazaki

Ikari Warriors Team


Leona Heidern


Ralf Jones


Clark Still

Psycho Soldier Team


Athena Asamiya


Sie Kensou


Chin Gentsai

Women Fighters Team


Chizuru Kagura


Mai Shiranui



Korea Justice Team


Kim Kaphwan


Chang Koehan


Choi Bounge

New Faces Team (A.K.A. Orochi Team)


Yashiro Nanakase





Special Team


Ryuji Yamazaki


Blue Mary


Billy Kane

Single Entries

Iori Yagami
Shingo Yabuki

Alternate Character

Kyo Kusanagai ('94 Version)


Orochi Iori
Orochi Leona


Sub-Boss Team (A.K.A. Awakened Orochi Team)


Orochi Yashiro


Orochi Shermie


Orochi Chris



Special Edit Teams

3 Sacred Treasures Team

  • Kyo Kusanagi
  • Iori Yagami
  • Chizuru Kagura

Kusanagi Team

  • Kyo Kusanagi
  • Shingo Yabuki
  • Any character (except Iori or Benimaru)

SNK Heroes Team

  • Kyo Kusanagi
  • Terry Bogard
  • Ryo Sakazaki

Ego Team

  • Benimaru Nikaido
  • Joe Higashi
  • Kim Kaphwan

KOF '94~95 Women Fighters Team (A.K.A Classic Women Fighters Team)

  • King
  • Mai Shiranui
  • Yuri Sakazaki

Classic Heroes Team

  • Athena Asamiya
  • Ralf Jones
  • Clark Still

Japanese Version Teams

Neo Geo Freak Team

  • Kyo Kusanagi
  • Mai Shiranui
  • Billy Kane

Gamest Team

  • Terry Bogard
  • Blue Mary
  • Joe Higashi

Famitsu Team

  • Ryuji Yamazaki
  • Chang Koehan
  • Choi Bounge


Note 1: This game is the first of the series in which all stages (except Mid-Bosses, Sub-Bosses and Boss) aren't associated with any team.
Note 2: The featured stages also are available in KOF '98: Ultimate Match, with some changes.
Note 3: The series logo, with the exception of the Mid-Boss Team and Boss stages, can be seen in the floor of the stages.
Note 4: The Monaco Stage doesn't appear in Versus Mode, except when chosen in the game settings.
Note 5: In this game, in the Mid-Boss Team and Boss stages, the characters aren't waiting to fight in the background, unlike in KOF '98 UM, when they appears.
Warning: The sight of some stages can cause epilepsy.

Normal Stages

Stage's Name
Bali, Indonesia
A ring in a garden on the village of Tuban, Indonesia. The fight takes in a sunset. Can be seen a crowd in the left, two sun umbrellas, videographers, people in typical costumes and doing a ritualistic dance, besides a vegetation, a band with the tournament sponsor's names and fire pyres near a gate, in the right.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
The city of Kowloon, in Hong Kong. The battle takes in a ring in the middle of Chinese New Year celebration. Can be seen videographers, some cameos, a store with the series name, flags, several Kanjis, people dressed as dragon, a LED panel with the word INFORMATION and a poster with the brand Satella, the biggest sponsor of the tournament.
Nishinomiya, Japan
The Koshien Stadium, in the city of Nishinomiya. The fight takes in a platform of steel. Can be seen a crowd, buildings, pillars with the words KOF '97: FESTIVAL, structures with the series logo's format and a light ball.
Seoul, South Korea
The city of Seoul. The fight occurs in a ring made exclusively for the tournament. Can be seen a crowd, in the right and the center, a car and a plaque of Satella, videographers, a press room, cheerleaders, flags of South Korea and of the tournament, Korean drummers, women in typical dance costumes with fans and the game's special logo in the left, besides the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the background.
New York State, USA
The amusement park Adventureland, in East Farmingdale, New York. The fight occurs in a ring full of confetti near to a river. Can be seen some park toys and attractions, some with the game's name, people dressed as pets holding a poster with the word GENZ, videographers, a little band of country, air balloons and a steamboat.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The Circuit de Monaco, in the Rascasse Curve. The fight takes next to the city of Monte Carlo. Can be seen a crowd in the left and on the stairs of the curve, an animated panel, a palm tree, videographers, tires, flags, plaques with the tournament's sponsors, a Satella's veihcle, light posts and, in the background, a yatch and the buildings of the city. This stage is also available in The King of Fighters XIV, as a DLC stage.

Bousou Stages

Stage's Name
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Kof97 japan(orochi).gif

Kof97 korea(orochi).gif

Kof97 monaco(orochi).gif

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Bousou (Various Locations)
Orochi Iori & Orochi Leona
The bloody version of all stages. It's the last stage of Team Play.

Boss Stages

Stage's Name
The Altar of Orochi's Heavenly Kings
Awakened Orochi Team
A fortress with big pillars, a hole in the center and moutains in the background. The stage varies according to the active character in the fight: for Orochi Chris, it's covered by purple flames; for Orochi Shermie, lightning bolts can be seen breaking the hole and the pillars, striking at random intervals; and for Orochi Yashiro, the mountains, the hole and the remaining pillars are full of lava while an earthquake strikes the now apocalyptic area.
Note: in KOF '98: Ultimate Match, in Versus mode, the stage follows the order described earlier, no matter who's fighting. In Team Play, in addition to the familiar order in which characters appear (Chris/Shermie/Yashiro), the another order is: (Chris/Yashiro/Shermie).
The Altar of Orochi
The same fortress, but without the mountains and light beams coming out of the pillars, besides light effects.


  • This game differs from other games in the series in that aside from the New Faces Team and the Orochi Team, no team has a theme song. Instead, only certain characters have a theme song and if the player fights a character who does not have a theme song, only stage ambience will play.
  • The Special Team is the second team in the series (first one being Bosses Team in The King of Fighters '96) where each member of the team has their own theme song. All of their theme songs are taken from Real Bout Fatal Fury Special.
  • This is the first game in the series to have a playable section after the final boss. If the player plays as the Hero Team, the player will fight Iori Yagami as Kyo Kusanagi after the final boss. This is also the first 1 vs 1 fight in the regular arcade mode.
  • This game, The King of Fighters '96 and The King of Fighters XIV are the only mainline games where it is possible fight against randomized teams in Story Mode.
    • In KOF XIV, the mix occurs with regular and DLC characters.

See also



External links

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