Game Reviews

The King of Fighters '98

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| King of Fighters '98
The King of Fighters '98

The King of Fighters '98 was a celebration of the series to-date - a "best of" - collecting all of the finest fighters from the franchise, alive or dead, and pitting them against one another in non-canonical three-on-three matches. And it was brilliant.

And even though in the last 16 years fighting games have begun to offer more sophisticated experiences to seasoned players, and more welcoming ones to first timers, it's still mostly brilliant on iOS too.

C'mon c'mon... let's get this party started

After the pomp and ceremony of The King of Fighters '97, there's a simpler exuberance for the scraps in The King of Fighters '98.

Battles take place on wooden boats floating down streams, or on city streets, or in quiet temples, and the spectators all seem to be thrilled to be getting a glimpse of the fight.

As well they should, because the team-based combat is smooth and deep. You can walk your character left and right, dash with a double tap, duck by pressing Down, jump by pressing Up, and block by holding away from your opponent.

Four buttons control your light and heavy attacks, which are generally variants of punches, kicks, and throws.

Combine specific directions of movement with specific attacks and you'll launch a special, with each character having a moderately large move set you can call upon in the hopes of outfoxing your opponent.

The spectacular Desperation attacks are the game's equivalent of Street Fighter's Supers, which deal massive damage and can only be activated when you've built up your Power Gauge.

When you've played a while you'll want to begin experimenting with the Advanced and Extra modes, tinkering with the character affinity settings, and tweaking the difficulty level to suit your style of play.


Pulling off flashy moves is easier than ever thanks to controller support. The virtual stick and buttons are workable, but if you're a serious fighting game fan then you'll definitely want to invest in a controller for this.

Multiplayer makes an appearance, but it's Bluetooth only with no option for online scraps.

The fighting elite will be keen to know that this is a port of the arcade outing of Slugfest, rather than any other version of '98, and that all the boob-jiggling and red blood is present and correct.

Any major criticisms are reserved for those that only have a passing interest in the genre.

The Tutorial mode is woefully inadequate. You can practise pulling off moves here, but that's about it, and if you don't know what a quarter turn is, The King of Fighters '98 sure as hell isn't going to teach you.

There's also minimal explanation of how each of the systems in the game works, when and why you'd want to perform an action, how characters differ from one another, and so on.

But really, The King of Fighters '98 isn't for new players. It's a celebration of the series, and expects you to come to it with chips and a drink, a controller, and some KoF experience.

And if you do have all those things in tow, it's one hell of a party.

The King of Fighters '98

The King of Fighters '98 is a fantastic port of an excellent game, but don't expect any frills
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.