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The King of Fighters '96
Box artwork for The King of Fighters '96.
Distributor(s)GameTap, PlayStation Network
Release date(s)
Arcade icon.png
Neo Geo icon.png
Neo Geo
Neo Geo CD icon.png
Neo Geo CD
PlayStation Network icon.png
PlayStation Network
System(s)Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, Game Boy, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable
ESRB: ESRB T.png Teen
Preceded byThe King of Fighters '95
Followed byThe King of Fighters '97
SeriesThe King of Fighters
Neoseeker Related Pages
TwitchThe King of Fighters '96 Channel
YouTube GamingThe King of Fighters '96 Channel

The King of Fighters is an annual tournament uniting fighters from across the world, starting in 1994. Those deemed worthy of entry into the King of Fighters receive a letter of invitation from an anonymous sponsor of the tournament. Fighters are divided into teams of three and battle other teams in order to advance to the finals.

In The King of Fighters '94 and The King of Fighters '95, the sponsor of the King of Fighters tournament turned out to be Rugal Bernstein, a notorious criminal and fighter who held the tournament in order to satisfy his thirst for competition. He was consequently defeated at the end of the first two tournaments by the team from Japan, consisting of the story's main protagonists, Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru Nikaido, and Goro Daimon.

In 1996, the King of Fighters tournament was announced again, though the letters of invitation sent out to fighters were no longer sent by Rugal. The letters also announced many changes, the first of which being a massive overhaul of the tournament's approach. During the time that had passed between the tournaments in 1995 and 1996, and the King of Fighters tournament's fame had grown immensely, to the point that it turned into a major international event, which had not happened before. Huge corporations transformed the King of Fighters tournament into something widely televised, commercialized, and celebrated, drawing in many crowds.

The Japan Team reached the finals of the tournament again, where the sponsor turned out to be a woman named Chizuru Kagura. Her intent was to make contact with Kyo Kusanagi, as well as his rival and enemy, Iori Yagami. After fighting Kyo and losing to him, Chizuru revealed to him that a larger power was afoot, known as the Orochi, and that he would soon have to battle against it.

New characters introduced in this episode include Kasumi Todoh, who became a member of the Ladies' team and acts as a rival to the Art of Fighting Team; Leona Heidern, who joins the Ikari Team in place of her mentor, Heidern, to investigate Geese Howard; Mature and Vice, two of Rugal's assistants who join Iori Yagami and aid him; and the Boss Team, composed of Geese Howard, Wolfgang Krauser, and Geese's right-hand-man, Mr. Big.

This is the first game to achieve KOF's distinct look; its graphics and sound more closely resemble the newer King of Fighters games than they do those of KOF '95.

Table of Contents

Character Select[edit]

Portrait KOF96 Kyo.png Portrait KOF96 Benimaru.png Portrait KOF96 Daimon.png Portrait KOF96 Terry.png Portrait KOF96 Andy.png Portrait KOF96 Joe.png Portrait KOF96 Ryo.png Portrait KOF96 Robert.png Portrait KOF96 Yuri.png
Portrait KOF96 Leona.png Portrait KOF96 Ralf.png Portrait KOF96 Clark.png Portrait KOF96 Chizuru.png Portrait KOF96 Goenitz.png Portrait KOF96 Athena.png Portrait KOF96 Kensou.png Portrait KOF96 Chin.png
Portrait KOF96 Geese.png Portrait KOF96 Krauser.png Portrait KOF96 Big.png
Portrait KOF96 Kim.png Portrait KOF96 Chang.png Portrait KOF96 Choi.png Portrait KOF96 Kasumi.png Portrait KOF96 Mai.png Portrait KOF96 King.png Portrait KOF96 Iori.png Portrait KOF96 Mature.png Portrait KOF96 Vice.png

editThe King of Fighters series

Main Series: '94 · '95 · '96 · '97 · '98 · '99 · '00 · '01 · '02 · '03 · XI · XII · XIII · XIV

Remakes: '94 Re-Bout · '98 Ultimate Match · Neowave · 2002 Unlimited Match

Compilations: Orochi Collection · NESTS Collection

Maximum Impact Series: Maximum Impact · Maximum Impact 2 · Regulation A

Handheld: Nettou '95 · Nettou '96 · R-1 · R-2 · EX · EX2