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Position in the series
Saga/Story Arc
Chapter
Is it canonical?
4th
Orochi Saga
3rd
Yes

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.

-Intro

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

-Tagline

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.

Story

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!"

Development

In order to decide who would become the members of the '97 Special Team, three polls were conducted by the video game journals Weekly Famitsu, Gamest and Neo Geo Freak, in which readers voted who was the character they wanted to see in the team. The Neo Geo Freak's winner was Billy Kane and Famitsu's winner was Ryuji Yamazaki. Blue Mary was first in the Gamest poll, barely beating Duck King from the Fatal Fury series who was second in the poll via a few mere votes. Additionally, the three journals created a team, which players can view an image of them after beating the game in the Japanese version. The special team created by the Neo Geo Freak's staff was a team of fire wielders: Billy, Kyo Kusanagi, and Mai Shiranui. The Gamest's team created was composed of Terry Bogard, Blue Mary and Joe Higashi, while Famitsu created a team composed of Chang Koehan, Choi Bounge and Ryuji Yamazaki. Although Blue Mary already had two designs in the Fatal Fury series at this point (her original Fatal Fury 3 design and her Real Bout Special design), her designer wanted to use her Fatal Fury 3 design as he liked it more. In order to have all of the eight servants from Orochi confirmed by this game, Yamazaki was chosen to be the new member as the staff noted him to be a good villain and liked that he was similar to a snake (as the ancient Orochi was a giant snake). In order to adapt him to KOF, the game planner had to provide new moves to Yamazaki. The new moves were initially noted to be failures, but designers later thought of them as successful.

The New Faces Team was created to offset the remaining top three characters. Their members were developed to be the Hero Team's counterparts; Chris manipulates fire like Kyo, Shermie uses lightning like Benimaru Nikaido and Yashiro Nanakase is a giant man like Goro Daimon. The plot element of Chris acting as Orochi's new body was developed since initial stages of production, but the staff had already thought of using other ideas. At the inception of production, the plan was for Chris to use the "Flame of Darkness (Black Flame)," but due to difficulties of seeing the black flame in the screen it was changed to the purple ones. The final boss character, Orochi, was first meant to be "a buck-naked Chris" fighting with a shining energy ball. However, it was opted to his current design after developers made a survey in which there were only two votes in favor of the first design. His design codename was "Chief", but several people were against of giving him the name of "Orochi".

Iori Yagami in his Orochi form was originally meant to be the final boss of the game after the player beats the New Faces Team in their Orochi forms. However, it was later decided to make Orochi Iori the mid-boss with Orochi becoming the final boss and the New Faces Team as the sub-bosses. Series flagship director, Toyohisa Tanabe, states that the staff was initially reluctant to add this version of Iori to the series' roster — worried about fans' reactions — but did so to add more impact to the Orochi Saga's climax. He was particularly pleased to see surprised reactions from female fans to this form during KOF '97's location testing. After deciding Iori as the mid-boss character, developers also were focused in adding Leona as an alternative mid-boss character if players were already using Iori in the game. As such, several advertisements were added such as televisions broadcasts, sent to be given as a message to the player about a "fork in the game" to give hints about Orochi Leona.

In The King of Fighters '96, several moves from Kyo were changed in order to adapt him to the new game system. However, the original moveset was still popular between gamers and as such, an alternative version from Kyo was added to KOF '97. The introduction of this version was noted to be "a hit" with gamers. The staff kept adding new alternative versions of other characters to the sequels. This later led to the creation of the Kyo clones (Kyo-1 and Kyo-2) from The King of Fighters '99.

Gameplay

This game has two systems: ADVANCED and EXTRA.

ADVANCED MODE

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.

EXTRA MODE

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.

Icon
Relation
Effect
Smiley1.png
Happy
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.
Smiley2.png
Neutral
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.
Smiley3.png
Angry
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.

Characters

Overview

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

1135700033-31.jpg
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.
Tumblr me1zzhLQBe1qmuhxzo1 1280.jpg
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.
Blue mary 97.jpg
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-97.jpg
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-97.jpg
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.
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 series (after two tournaments off) and joins with Yamazaki and Mary in the Special Team;
Furthermore, Iori Yagami, like Shingo, enters the tournament alone, after killing his two teammates in the previous tournament.
The other teams remain with the same formations.
In his awakened form, the New Faces Team becomes Orochi Team, the sub-bosses of the game.

Official Team Roster

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

Kyo97.gif
Kyo Kusanagi
Benimaru97.gif
Benimaru Nikaido
Gorodaimon96.gif
Goro Daimon

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

Terry96.gif
Terry Bogard
Andy96.gif
Andy Bogard
Joe96.gif
Joe Higashi

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

Ryo96.gif
Ryo Sakazaki
Robert 97 animation 3.gif
Robert Garcia
Yuri96.gif
Yuri Sakazaki

Ikari Warriors Team

Leona96.gif
Leona Heidern
Ralf96.gif
Ralf Jones
Clark96.gif
Clark Still

Psycho Soldier Team

Athena97.gif
Athena Asamiya
Kensou96.gif
Sie Kensou
Chin96.gif
Chin Gentsai

Women Fighters Team

Chizuru96.gif
Chizuru Kagura
Mai96.gif
Mai Shiranui
King96.gif
King

Korea Justice Team

Kimkaphwan96.gif
Kim Kaphwan
Chang96.gif
Chang Koehan
Choi96.gif
Choi Bounge

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

Yashiro97.gif
Yashiro Nanakase
Shermie97.gif
Shermie
Chris97.gif
Chris

Special Team

Yamazaki97.gif
Ryuji Yamazaki
Bluemary98.gif
Blue Mary
Billykane97.gif
Billy Kane

Single Entries

Iori96.gif
Iori Yagami
Shingo97.gif
Shingo Yabuki

Alternate Character

Kyo96.gif
Kyo Kusanagai ('94 Version)

Mid-Bosses

Wildiori97.gif
Orochi Iori
Wildleona97.gif
Orochi Leona

Sub-Bosses

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

Orochiyashiro97.gif
Orochi Yashiro
Orochishermie97.gif
Orochi Shermie
Orochichris97.gif
Orochi Chris

Boss

Orochi97.gif
Orochi

Special Edit Teams

3 Sacred Treasures Team

Kyo97.gif
Kyo Kusanagi
Iori96.gif
Iori Yagami
Chizuru96.gif
Chizuru Kagura

Kusanagi Team

Kyo97.gif
Kyo Kusanagi
Shingo97.gif
Shingo Yabuki
Gorodaimon96.gif Terry96.gif Andy96.gif Joe96.gif Ryo96.gif Robert 97 animation 3.gif Yuri96.gif Leona96.gif Ralf96.gif Clark96.gif Athena97.gif Kensou96.gif Chin96.gif Chizuru96.gif Mai96.gif King96.gif Kimkaphwan96.gif Chang96.gif Choi96.gif Yashiro97.gif Shermie97.gif Chris97.gif Yamazaki97.gif Bluemary98.gif Billykane97.gif
Any regular character (except Iori or Benimaru)

SNK Heroes Team

Kyo97.gif
Kyo Kusanagi
Terry96.gif
Terry Bogard
Ryo96.gif
Ryo Sakazaki

Ego Team

Kimkaphwan96.gif
Kim Kaphwan
Benimaru97.gif
Benimaru Nikaido
Joe96.gif
Joe Higashi

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

King96.gif
King
Mai96.gif
Mai Shiranui
Yuri96.gif
Yuri Sakazaki

Classic Heroes Team

Athena97.gif
Athena Asamiya
Ralf96.gif
Ralf Jones
Clark96.gif
Clark Still

Japanese Version Teams

Neo Geo Freak Team

Kyo97.gif
Kyo Kusanagi
Mai96.gif
Mai Shiranui
Billykane97.gif
Billy Kane

Gamest Team

Terry96.gif
Terry Bogard
Bluemary98.gif
Blue Mary
Joe96.gif
Joe Higashi

Famitsu Team

Yamazaki97.gif
Ryuji Yamazaki
Chang96.gif
Chang Koehan
Choi96.gif
Choi Bounge

Stages

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
Stage's Name
Description
Kof97balibg.gif
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.
KOF-'97-China-Stage.jpg
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.
KOF-'97-Japan-Stage.jpg
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.
Kof97koreabg.gif
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.
Kof97usabg.gif
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.
Kof97monacobg.gif
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
Stage's Name
Character
Description
Kof97 bali(orochi).gif

Kof97 china(orochi).gif

Kof97 japan(orochi).gif

Kof97 korea(orochi).gif

Kof97 monaco(orochi).gif

Kof97 usa(orochi).gif

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

Mid-Boss & Boss Stages

Stage
Stage's Name
Team/Character
Description
KOF-'97-Orochi-Chris-Stage.jpgKOF-'97-Orochi-Shermie-Stage.jpgKOF-'97-Orochi-Yashiro-Stage.jpg
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).
KOF-'97-Orochi-Stage.jpg
The Altar of Orochi
Orochi
The same fortress, but without the mountains and light beams coming out of the pillars, besides light effects.

Reception

In Japan, Game Machine listed The King of Fighters '97 on their September 1, 1997 issue as being the second most-successful arcade game of the month. According to Famitsu, the AES version sold over 19,900 copies in its first week on the market.

Trivia

  • 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 the stages ambience will play during the match.
  • 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.

See also

Gallery

Trailers

External links

The King of Fighters series
Mainline '94'95'96'97'98'992000200120022003XIXIIXIIIXIVXV
Remakes Dream Match 1999'99 Evolution'94 Re-Bout'98 Ultimate Match2002 Unlimited Match
Offshoots R-1R-2EX: Neo BloodEX2: Howling BloodNeowave
Spin-offs Quiz King of FightersThe King of Fighters: KyoBattle de ParadiseKOF: Maximum ImpactKOF: Maximum Impact 2KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"KOF Sky StageOnline'98 Ultimate Match WebSNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy
Mobile The King of Fighters -Mobile- / R-2-Volleyball-KOF Gals MahjongThe King of MillionaireThe King of ReversiMahjongKOF Kentei - Mezase Cult Quiz Ou!Moeyo! KOF DaiundokaiKOF x Garou DensetsuBattle Festa-i/AndroidEncounterThe Rhythm of Fighters'98 Ultimate Match OnlineBeast Busters featuring KOFWorldDestinyAll StarOrochi GoM: Fighting Stars AssemblyKOF: Chroniclefor Girls
Pachinko The King of FightersChapter of NESTSMaximum ImpactIIICR The King of Fighters
Compilations Orochi CollectionThe Orochi SagaNESTS Collection
Cancelled Online (UnoTechnology)Fighters' WorldKOF MI "A2"KOF: Maximum Impact 360Online (DragonFly/Triple A Games)
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The King of Fighters games
Prologue The King of Fighters '94
Orochi Saga The King of Fighters '95The King of Fighters '96The King of Fighters '97
NESTS Chronicles The King of Fighters '99The King of Fighters 2000The King of Fighters 2001
Tales of Ash The King of Fighters 2003The King of Fighters XIThe King of Fighters XIII
Shun'ei Saga The King of Fighters XIVThe King of Fighters XV
Dream Matches The King of Fighters '98The King of Fighters 2002The King of Fighters XII
Remakes The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999The King of Fighters '99 EvolutionThe King of Fighters '94 Re-BoutThe King of Fighters '98 Ultimate MatchThe King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
Maximum Impact series KOF: Maximum ImpactKOF: Maximum Impact 2KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
Offshoots King of Fighters R-1King of Fighters R-2The King of Fighters EX: Neo BloodThe King of Fighters EX2: Howling BloodThe King of Fighters Neowave
Spin-offs Quiz King of FightersThe King of Fighters: KyoThe King of Fighters: Battle de ParadiseKOF Sky StageThe King of Fighters Online (DragonFly)The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match WebSNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy
Mobile The King of Fighters -Mobile- / R-2The King of Fighters -Volleyball-KOF Gals MahjongThe King of MillionaireThe King of ReversiMahjongKOF Kentei - Mezase Cult Quiz Ou!Moeyo! KOF DaiundokaiKOF x Garou DensetsuBattle Festa-i/AndroidEncounterThe Rhythm of FightersThe King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match OnlineBeast Busters featuring KOFThe King of Fighters: WorldThe King of Fighters Destiny (Game)The King of Fighters All StarOrochi GoThe King of Fighters M: Fighting Stars AssemblyKOF: ChronicleThe King of Fighters for Girls
Pachinko The King of FightersChapter of NESTSMaximum ImpactIIICR The King of Fighters
Compilations The King of Fighters Orochi CollectionThe King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi SagaThe King of Fighters NESTS Collection
Cancelled The King of Fighters Online (UnoTechnology)The King of Fighters' WorldKOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A2"KOF: Maximum Impact 360The King of Fighters Online (Cancelled)
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