The King of Fighters '14 (also known as The King of Fighters: Dream Match '14 and commonly abbreviated to KOF14) is the 14th installment in the franchise, following The King of Fighters XIII. Following in the steps of The King of Fighters 2002, the game is more of a "dream match" type game; featuring characters that were killed off in previous installments. The game titling also returns back to it's yearly format it had before King of Fighters XI, with a happy convenience that both titles actually align with both the numerical order of the franchise and the year.
New fighters to the King of Fighters of Series are some of the cast from Waku Waku 7, a game that was not developed by SNK but was co-published by SNK.
It was released for the Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and later ported to The V². The game was developed by Toroko and SNK, while being published by SNK. This is the first game developed by Toroko to be on a Sony and Microsoft console. A PC release has been hinted at but not confirmed.
This is not to be confused with The King of Fighters XIV, a game that came out in 2016 and is the official "King of Fighters 14". However, I'm not sure how one could be confused on that manner, as the games don't even share the same title, just the numbering in the series.
The King of Fighters series is undoubtedly SNK's magnum opus, the culmination of all of their expertise in 2D fighting games, combined into one massive series. There's an outstanding amount of history shown over the series' lifespan, and watching how it has grown over the years is something truly amazing. It's the dream of every SNK fighting game fan out there.
But its history means that it can also be extremely overwhelming, at least to beginners. Back in the early days of the Neo Geo, SNK tried different things to differentiate themselves from Capcom - Fatal Fury introduced the multi-plane system, Art of Fighting had gigantic characters, Samurai Shodown had weapons and World Heroes had wacky time traveling characters. The King of Fighters' gimmick is that there is simply a ton of characters, and each player gets to pick three characters to send them into battle one after the other. When one fighter falls, the next in line takes their place. Add in your usual array of super moves, and that's pretty much KoF. Of course, it's evolved significantly over the years - each game adds and subtracts characters, tweaks balance, and adds new subsystems, so the near ancient KoF '94 is a big stretch from the recent episodes.
The gameplay of the King of Fighters '14 is similar to the last game, the King of Fighters XIII. EX Mode, which converts each character's super moves into more powerful versions that allows one bar from the player's power gauge for EX Special Moves and two bars from the player's power gauge for EX Super Special Moves, returns. Another returning feature is the Hyper Drive mode, which gives the player unlimited use of Drive Cancels for a while once the Hyper Drive Gauge has been maxed, and the last new feature confirmed for the game is the Drive Cancel, which opens up new combo possibilities. The game keeps the multi-bar power gauge that was introduced in The King of Fighters '97. In addition to standard and EX Desperation Moves, the class of Desperation Move called Neo Max is included in this game and require that three stocks of gauge be exchanged to perform one, making it similar to Hidden Super Desperation Moves from The King of Fighters 2002 and Leader Super Special Moves from The King of Fighters 2003. These can also be cancelled from standard Desperation Moves, making them similar to the Dream Cancels from The King of Fighters XI.
Returning from The King of Fighters '99 and 2000 is the Striker System. Instead of the three character teams from previous KOF games, each team now has four members. Before a match, the player chooses three of the characters to use in the actual fights, while the fourth member becomes the designated "Striker", a character the player summons during battle to help their character out by performing one of their Special Moves against the opponent. A striker can only be summoned a limited number of times during a single match, which is determined by the number of "Strike Bombs" at the bottom of the screen.
The player can choose to use the regular character or an alternate character officially known as Another Striker, a character used exclusively for striker attacks. These alternate Strikers are characters from previous KOF games and other SNK franchises. There are exclusive strikers for each console.
A brand new feature this time around is the Omega Strike. If you fill up five bars for the power gauge and use no strike bombs, you get a guaranteed hit move that knocks off a opponent's health by half.
Elisabeth is the last known remaining Blanctorche, a family of nobles in France who supposedly protect the innocent. She is a childhood friend of Ash Crimson and they were raised in the same mansion together. She used to act as his older sister figure, until a fire burned down the mansion and many of her clansmen to the ground. As the sole Blanctorche, she lives with her butler, Jacques, near the remains of her family's home. She is a very serious and strict high class member of nobility. Once she has decided to do something, she'll do whatever it takes to get it done. Perhaps due to her upbringing, she doesn't find it urgent to always keep her promised meetings with her teammates of lower stature. Though she is the one who invites them to her dwelling, she arrives tardy and usually denounces them within a few moments of their conversation. Elisabeth attacks with a short ranged riding crop. She also uses magical light powers to trick and trap others. Her fighting style is very similar to the France martial art of Savate.
Shen Woo was raised in Shanghai, where he created his own brutal style of street boxing. He soon came to be very feared, and grew to enjoy the thrill of the fight. Eventually, he came to know the enigmatic fighter Ash, who entered Shen, himself, and Duo Lon as the "Hero team" into the KOF 2003 tournament. Despite he and Duo Lon having suspicions of Ash's agenda, Shen couldn't care less as he was too eager to find and face stronger opponents. Shen Woo has a wild, rowdy personality and is always on the lookout for a good fight. Shen Woo developed his own, devastating street-fighting boxing style best described as "violent". He can duplicate damage caused by his punches using chi energy.
He is a member of the assassin group, the Flying Brigands (known as the Hizoku (飛賊, Hizoku) Clan in Japanese), and the half-brother to Xiao Lon. As the son of the clan's leader, he is known as a "prince" and is the eldest of Ron's sons. Like his brothers, he left the village in his youth to train and perfect his art. After Ron's betrayal, his reputation with the remaining members declined as he was labeled "that traitor's son". Hoping to hunt down the clan's traitor, he partakes in several jobs as an assassin. As he does so, Ash Crimson mysteriously appears before him and makes his acquaintance. Through Ash, Duo Lon also meets Shen Woo. Liking their company enough to be friendly with them, he agrees to enter the 2003 tournament with them, but disappears when he senses Ron's presence. After discovering Ash's true objectives, he teams up with Elisabeth Blanctorche and Benimaru Nikaido to punish his former teammate. His fighting style is probably a different Kung Fu style, mostly likely the Snake style, which can be seen in his Sutemi Juuryuu/Apprentice Dragon of Submission technique. It also emphasizes his necromantic abilities in moves like his Benpatsuken (Pigtail Fist) technique, and Juon Shikon (Dead Soul of the Cursed Grudge). It is unknown if his foot can actually phase through surfaces, or if it is just an apparition.
Ash is a cunning, self righteous, and flamboyant individual. Confident in his own powers, he doesn't take things too seriously and considers things that are of no interest bothersome. Even when faced with serious situations, he is calm and somewhat blasé. He isn't one who considers working with others, but instead uses others to achieve his goals. He tends to flaunt the superiority of his halfhearted effort and speaks in a playful and condescending manner, which often irritates the characters he is speaking to. He views Elisabeth as his older sister figure, and notes that she is "too serious". He feels that Duo Lon and Shen Woo are his good friends, although he appeared to them with mysterious intentions. He also has a habit of calling people pet names such as "Betty" for Elisabeth, and "Ozzy" for Oswald. Ash fights using an acrobatic style combined with fire abilities to give a graceful fighting style. Despite his stature, he is extremely powerful. He is a good character for people who like to zone and poke their opponents, but he also has many other tools at the player's disposal that can be used to rush down efficiently, all while keeping the pressure on them. He also employs Iori's and Chizuru's powers into his moveset.
K' (real name unknown) was a normal child who lived happily with his sister, Seirah. One day, they were captured by NESTS, a crime syndicate who dealt with drugs, genetics, robotics and biotechnology. K' was kept under NESTS and trained to be some kind of weapon. In 1998, K' was made to participate in the Kusanagi cloning program. He was infused with Kyo Kusanagi's DNA, which gave him the power of pyrokinesis. During the program, K's memory was tinkered with, and he was made to believe that he was Krizalid's clone. Any real memories from his past has either been erased by NESTS, forgotten, or repressed. During the King of Fighters, he learns that he is not a clone and began a resistance against NESTS. K' has a very serious personality but is very easy to enrage due to his more high-strung side. K's fighting style is said to be "Pure Violence", but it has several similarities with Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. He even uses some of his famous moves, such as the One inch punch and Flying Kicks. As a nod to hinting of said "violence", K's moves tend to show very violent mannerisms due to his high-strung nature. This ranges from violent elbow strikes, enraged battle cries, and even resorting to throw his sunglasses at his foe and following up with a beatdown, no holds barred.
Maxima was a Canadian soldier who led a normal life until he found out that his comrade-in-arms Rocky was killed in an incident involving NESTS. To avenge Rocky, he decided to sacrifice his previous life; he had his face and name changed and his "ordinary" life destroyed. To infiltrate the cartel without being recognized, he had his body cybernetically modified by Dr. Makishima, hence his codename of Maxima. These systems are powered by a miniaturized nuclear reactor called the "Maxima Heart", although it's unclear whether his real heart remains as part of those 20% of his body which is still organic or if it was replaced with its artificial analogue. The Type-M fighting style probably created for (or by) Maxima focuses on striking, grappling and the use of Maxima's weapons. Most of his attacks have autoguard, making Maxima capable of blocking when attacking. His style employs a combination of striking combinations and grappling. Some of his moves seem to be inspired on pro wrestling, with him being able to do a dropkick, a mongolian chop, a bear hug/suplex combination and a sommersault senton. Maxima also has an array of built-in weapons, which he uses to increase his fighting ability. His main weapon is the M-4 Vapor Cannon, a steam-powered impact cannon which is designed to deliver powerful punches that can send an unprepared opponent flying. The Vapor Cannon may also negate projectiles thrown at Maxima. Maxima also have a pair of built-in jets on his feet, which he can use to quickly move forward in a line, or to jump.
She is a normal housewife who discreetly serves as a mercenary agent. Working under the orders of commander Ling, Vanessa and fellow agent Seth are commissioned with the job of joining the King of Fighters tournament, held by Ling himself. They are to follow the footsteps of the NESTS cartel, which Ling and his agency persecuted. The two agents part from one another with Vanessa recruiting prime suspects, K' and Maxima, as her teammates. She also scouts the talents of Mexican wrestler Ramon to complete their team. Her objective from then on is to observe the activities of the NESTS defectors based on Ling's orders. She becomes a free agent after Ling's defeat — who was impersonated by Zero — often teaming up with Ramon and Seth. Vanessa uses a very agile boxing style. Her style closely resembles Rick Strowd's, a similarity made obvious with her appearance in KoF 2002. She can punch projectiles back with some of her attacks.
He is a famous Lucha Libre wrestler who is loved by his fans in the wrestling circle. He was approached by Vanessa, who requested in his cooperation with forming a team for The King of Fighters 2000 tournament. Feeling he could expand his horizons and competitive spirit further, he accepted to cooperate with her. Since then, he has a one-sided infatuation with Vanessa. After The King of Fighters 2000, he continues to team with Vanessa upon her request, often along with Seth. Ramon is high-flyer luchador with a fighting style surrounding around body slams. He uses moves like the cross body, drop kicks, spinning heel kicks and a variety of slams. His desperation move, Tiger Spin, alludes to the anime character and real life professional wrestler, Tiger Mask.
Fatal Fury Team
Terry and Andy were orphans who raised themselves on the streets. They were soon adopted by Jeff Bogard and eventually lived in Southtown. When Terry was 10, he witnessed the death of his father at the hands of Geese Howard. Knowing that they needed more training to confront Geese, the brothers made an oath to spend a decade to fine tune their martial arts before trying to avenge their father. Unlike his brother Andy, who left Southtown to train in Japan, Terry chose to wander in his home country, combining the skills learned from his father, his father's mentor Tung Fu Rue, and abilities gained from the streets. Terry uses a mixture of boxing, karate, kung fu, kickboxing and street fighting moves to create a very unique fighting style. He learned chi techniques from Hakkyokuseiken master, Tung Fu Rue. He had also learned martial arts directly from his adoptive father, Jeff Bogard. Other sources state his fighting experience was also gained from brawling on the streets for years to hone proper techniques for himself, where he tested out varying methods of fighting to his tastes.
Terry is an all-around fighter, with extensive knowledge of many martial arts techniques. He uses many variations of punches, such as hooks and uppercuts and can also kick with ease. One of his signature moves, the Power Dunk, was inspired by Terry's love for basketball.
Andy is one of Jeff Bogard's adopted sons and the younger brother to Terry. When their father dies at the hands of Geese Howard, Andy decided to perfect his own martial art over at Japan to differentiate himself from his brother. During his time in Japan, Andy was taught the Shiranui-ryuu Ninjutsu (Shiranui Style Ninja Technique) and a form of empty-handed combat called Koppouken by Hanzo Shiranui. Andy employs Koppouken as his fighting style. Koppouken is an old Japanese martial art that has some Karate and Ninjutsu moves. Some time after mastering Koppouken, Andy went to learn the Shiranui-ryuu Ninjutsu with Hanzo Shiranui.
Although Joe's place of origin is Japan, he spent the majority of his time in Thailand, where he trained Muay Thai. It was through his victories that he earned the nickname "Hurricane Upper" Joe Higashi. He seems to have a running gag of sorts where his legend is "just beginning" in his endings throughout the series. After Joe earned his title as the Muay Thai champion, he heads to South Town to prove himself in the King of Fighters tournament. On his way, he spots Andy and Terry Bogard, who were on the hunt for their father's killer, Geese Howard. As soon as he informs them that Geese is hosting the tournament, they became steadfast companions. In the tournament, he met with a bitter Hwa Jai and was able to defeat him. After this, they eventually became friends and rivals back in Thailand. Joe uses traditional Muay Thai moves as well as some limited aerokinesis, the power of controlling air and wind.
Mary grew up in a police family, and soon joined the police herself. She fell in love with a man named Butch, who worked with her father in the secret service. Butch also taught Mary a lot about Commando Sambo (her fighting style). While on a mission protecting the president, Butch and her father were both shot and killed by terrorists. The leather jacket she wears is a keepsake given to her as a gift from Butch. Blue Mary employs the fighting art of Commando Sambo. This Martial art uses striking and grappling techniques.
Art of Fighting Team
Ryo is the son of Takuma Sakazaki and Ronnet Sakazaki and the older brother of Yuri Sakazaki. As Ryo was deemed to be Takuma's successor, he began his martial arts training at an early age. His father instilled him with the difficult principle of self-reliance, where a person's own strength can form their worth in the world. Ryo was taught to be the "tiger" of Kyokugenryu Karate, ironic since his nickname calls him the dragon. He seems to use ordinary Karate. His main strength relies on his fierce punching attacks, which is closer to his father's techniques. His infamous Tenchi Haou Ken (Heaven & Earth Supreme King Fist) is a good result of this type of style as such a punch often was able to automatically put opponents in stun upon impact, despite the low damage it did compared to other DM's (KOF XIII amped this up with a stronger version of this technique as his Neo Max).
Robert is the first known foreign practitioner of Kyokugenryu Karate, earning the title "The Raging Tiger" or "The Mightiest Tiger". Robert is the son of Alberto Garcia, a wealthy Italian businessman and best friend of Takuma Sakazaki, the master of Kyokugenryu Karate. When he was younger, Robert was fascinated with the fighting style as he saw it as a way to escape from his father's shadow in the stifling high class society. Against his father's wishes, Robert trained under Takuma Sakazaki and often sparred with Ryo. As time passed, Ryo became his best friend. To counter Ryo, Robert was taught to be the "dragon" of Kyokugenryu Karate, ironic since his nickname call him a "tiger". Robert's style focuses upon lethal kicks, his signature move being the Gen'ei Kyaku (Phantom Leg), along with his Mahha Geri (Mach Kick) as a possible feint attack. He of course, also tends to sport some of the same techniques as Ryo, like the Haou Shoukou Ken. Robert is one of the few characters able to pull of an aerial attack during his backdash.
Takuma is the most established known Kyokugenryu Karate practitioner, and he is the only one in the discipline who can make full use of the discipline's most difficult moves. He is also somewhat eccentric, donning his tengu mask and insisting he's Mr. Karate, and delivering speeches that are supposed to rally morale, but often make him look silly. He mainly relies on strong and focused strikes from his arms and legs. In The King of Fighters series, he can eventually hurl his own ki to hurt his opponents in an invisible manner, being the only practitioner to do so. Takuma can also channel his ki energy into his arms to deliver multiple punches at high speed.
Kasumi is just like any teenage girl: she wants to enjoy her life. She loves her family very much and, when her father went missing, she wanted to restore his honor so her family would be together again. She had a relatively sheltered upbringing so she doesn't always know how to react to society's standards. She s a user of Todohryu Aikijutsu, a form which employs Kendo, Kobudo and Aikido. Her moves relies in counter grabs, using her father's Kasaneate and her high priority kicks. She can also chain her attacks and fire a projectile of cutting energy.
Ikari Warriors Team
Leona is a reticent individual who has trouble expressing herself outside of combat or a mission. Aside from Ralf (whom appears to show feelings towards her), Whip, Clark and Commander Heidern, Leona does not talk to anyone. Due to her past, she often keeps her emotions in check as she is afraid of losing control and hurting her friends because of her Orochi blood. She battles mostly with her hands, cutting and piercing anyone that gets in her way. She also can also create auras that cut and pierce as well, her attacks being described as "explosive". Many of her moves are sentai homages and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure references.
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. 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. 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.
She is a cybernetic clone of K's sister and once worked for NESTS as an assassin. She is an enigmatic and quiet individual who acts towards her own goals. According to Maxima, she is a pure and honest person who judges others fairly. She treats both K' and Kula Diamond as a little brother and sister. Her fighting style is based on Soubenjutsu, the Japanese martial art of the use of the whip and also takes inspiration in other kinds of whip fighting. Her whip, probably designed by NESTS, can transform into a blade or a gun. She also has a concealed Desert Eagle which she can fire at the opponent.
Fiolina 'Fio' Germi
A clever girl, Fio is also very friendly in spite of her family's background. Strangely, she still remains calm, mild, and childlike even with her extensive military experience. She always thinks optimistically. She was trained in hand-to-hand combat by the military, but she doesn't quite know how to fight yet. In The King of Fighters '14, she excels in keep away tactics with her short yet simple combos. She can use a gauge of her super bar to also whip out twin tonfa to boost her attack damage. Fio is also armed with a hand axe, fire bombs, grenades, and two heavy machine guns.
Psycho Solider Team
Athena is a modern day high school girl in Japan. She teamed up with her friend, Sie Kensou, to fight in the name of justice. In Psycho Soldiers, she was one of the "heroes of light" who defended the world from the Shiguma forces. Her psychic powers are believed to be transmigrated to her rather than inherited by her family. As such, she is sometimes referred to as the resurrected Athena who is gifted with esper-like powers. Athena was taught Kung Fu by Chin Gentsai, probably the style of Wing Chun. Her stance was loosely based on Liuhebafa. While Athena is a capable hand-to-hand fighter, she mostly relies on her psychic powers to fight. Athena is not feared for her martial arts training, but she is respected and can somewhat hold her own against some fighters. Even though she has know-how on chinese martial arts, Athena is not exactly a seasoned veteran, and probably wouldn't be able to compete at a legit level without her powers, like Kensou did. Athena's fighting style revolves mostly around simple yet effective strikes, and around speed and acrobacies, rather than strength. She uses her psychic powers to full effectiveness when in combat, improving her martial capabilities, controlling the battlefield and getting the enemy off guard with several surprise tactics.
He is one of the young disciples of Chin Gentsai who wields psychic powers -dubbed by SNK as Psycho Powers. Both he and Athena are trained by Chin to prepare for "the worst case scenario of oncoming evil" and use the tournaments as a method of training for such an event. Kensou learned Kung Fu from Chin Gentsai, especially the particularly more acrobatic styles such as Northern Shaolin. Though holding such level of power like that of the said Dragon Spirit, he doesn't seem to use too much psychic powers while fighting, and mostly relies on his fighting style. (The opposite often is sometimes said to occur nodding to Sie's distaste for training.)
He is the elderly mentor to Athena Asamiya, Sie Kensou, and Bao, who instructs them to better harness their psychic powers (or Psycho Powers as it is dubbed by SNK) in the mountains of China. Chin teaches them in preparations for "the worst case scenario of oncoming evil" and uses the tournaments as a way of training his disciples. For a time, he was skeptic that their fame won in the tournaments crippled his students' determination and wanted to continue their secluded lifestyle. However, they convince him otherwise and has since believed in his students. Although a proficient master of all Chinese martial arts, he tends to fight using the Drunken Fist style, a martial art in which the user mimics the movements of a drunken man. He can blow fire from his mouth or encase himself on fire as part of his moveset.
Bao was an abandoned orphan left by his parents in the care of a mountain temple in China. Asked by the head priest to adopt him, Chin Gentsai agrees as Bao exhibits psycho power. Before it could get out of control, Chin decided it necessary that Bao should train with him in order to control such power, introducing the boy to Sie Kensou, his other adoptive student, and Athena Asamiya. As Bao trains with them, Kensou gradually loses his powers until they become obsolete. It is unknown how it happens, but Bao and Kensou continue to lose and gain their powers as the years progress as both of them share the same source of energy: the Dragon Spirit. Bao mainly fights with his powers, but he also knows the discipline of Kung Fu just like his teammates, some of his moves may be based on Tai Chi. Bao can envelop his own body with psychic energy and create psychic barriers.
Women's Fighting Team
Mark of the Wolves Team
Waku Waku Team
Rai is a delinquent school boy who ditches school for long rides on his bicycle. Donning his goggles, scarf, and jacket, he dreams of one day becoming a great hero. He is in the hunt for the Waku Waku balls for the thrill and his only wish is to continue to his journey. Rai is a balanced fighter with no real strengths or weaknesses. He is easy to use and his fighting style is the counterpart to Arina's. With the help of his gloves, Rai can control electricity, which he can use to power up his punches and create lightning to attack.
Arina is a normal student who likes to hang out with her friends. Arina utilizes many quick punches and kicks into her moveset, in some of her specials she changes colors through the whole rainbow spectrum. She can send out energy orbs to attack as well, with one of her specials charging a single large one.
Mario hops into battle and fires three fireballs and then proceeds to kick a koopa shell before exiting through a pipe.
Flips the opponent upside down, sending them out of the stage before reversing their gravity again to make them fall to the ground. She then flips herself out of the match.
Appears from the left side of the stage in a Warthog vehicle, firing and running over any opponents in his way. He disappears as soon as the Warthog hits the right side of the screen.
Appears from the left side of the stage in a jeep driven by Joseph Morello before jumping out with a desert eagle and firing all over the place before getting back into the jeep and driving off. If Kyo is in the match, Strafe gives him a quick thumbs up.
Like in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS, amiibo can be used as customized CPU opponents that react and learn based off what is taught by the player's fighting. amiibo can be assigned a name and a specific alternate costume as well. As they gain levels, amiibo can potentially "learn" techniques from other characters: if a player frequently uses long-ranged, camping techniques, then the amiibo will also begin to emulate this behavior. This learning continues even after the 50 level cap is reached. In addition, an amiibo can gain improved fighting statistics, such as improved damage, knockback, and reaction times, the higher its level is. Finally, higher-leveled amiibo can adapt to individual matches faster than lower-leveled amiibo; if an opponent takes on an aggressive, rush-down style against an amiibo in one match, for instance, it will begin to make more use of defensive techniques.