In terms of plot, KOF 2002 does not have a
story and was developed as a "dream match" with characters from all
previous installments of King of Fighters (similar to KOF '98).
King of Fighters 2002 discards the 4-on-4 "Striker Match" format used in the
previous three installments and returns its 3-on-3 roots. The theme of this year's team format are teams that represent "each
the KOF series," and is considered a "Dream Match" (like The King of
Fighters '98)... and once again, there's no official storyline.
39 selectable characters +
5 more on PS2!
This time around, there are actually no new
characters introduced. However, classic and fan-favorites make their epic
return, including: Yashiro, Shermie, Vice, and Yamazaki. They aren't just old
rehashed sprites either, and have a slew of new animations & moves. The
newcomers introduced King of Fighters 2001
(Angel & K9999) also make their
return. Besides tweaked character priorities and movelists, the main difference
found in KOF 2002's gameplay lies in its Power Gauge system.
amount of Power Gauges the player can stock up is increased by one with each
member of the team, with the first member of the team being able to stock up to
3 Power Gauges, while the third member can stock up to five. A single Power
Gauge stock can be used to perform a Counterattack and Evasion technique while
guarding an opponent's attack, use a Super Special Move, or initiate the MAX
Activation state, in which the player's offensive and defensive strength is
increased for a short period and can cancel any attack into another. A super
special move can also be unleashed without using a power stock while a character
is in the MAX Activation state. Max Super Special Moves (requiring 1 stock) and
Max 2 moves (requiring 2 stocks) can also be unleashed during Max Activation.
"Old school" team
screen... Love it!
As always, the new installment
contains brand new backgrounds and some "fan service" cameos as well. KOF
2002 still uses the same old engine... so one might say it's visually
lacking when compared to other fighting games of the era. There's still a
certain charm to the classic 2D sprites, and while some have been updated
significantly, others look ancient (that's bad). A
remake of KOF2002 entitled King
of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match was released in 2009, adding additional
playable characters, moves, and backgrounds.
layeth the smacketh down.
Geo, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, XBLA
Oct. 10th, 2002
Dec. 18th, 2002
June 19th, 2003
Mar. 25th, 2004
Mar. 24th, 2005
I got some enjoyment out of KOF 2002...
the character selection was solid, but for some reason I still preferred many other
2D fighting games over 2002. The 8-year old graphics & gameplay
engine is showing its age, and is easily outshined by other 2D fighters in the
time period. However, diehard KOF fans had one of the best installments
yet with KOF 2002.
Even though the animation & graphics have
slightly improved, in the eyes of many, the KOF series definitely needed
"something else" for it to remain competitive in the fighting genre
(outside of the hardcore fans). It seems SNK thought so too, as they introduced a fresh 3-on-3 tag team gameplay system
in the next installment, King of Fighters 2003.