The King of Fighters 2001 (KOF 2001, or KOF ’01) is a fighting game produced by Eolith for the Neo Geo. It is the eighth game in The King of Fighters series, the third and final part of the “NESTS Chronicles” story arc, and the first game produced following the closure of the original SNK. The game was produced by the South Korea-based company Eolith and developed by Eolith and BrezzaSoft, a company formed by former SNK employees. For this reason, the SNK logo is displayed at the opening, but SNK’s development staff is not involved in the production of the game itself at all, except for the game sound. Due to the influx of Korean capital, its influence can be seen in the participating characters. The game was ported to the Sega Dreamcast in Japan only and PlayStation 2. The stand-alone PlayStation 2 version was released in North America and in Europe in a two-in-one bundle with the preceding game in the series, The King of Fighters 2000. Both the original Neo Geo version and the Sega Dreamcast version were included in The King of Fighters NESTS Hen compilation released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan.
Like in the previous game, the battles are once again between teams of four. Instead of a strict “three fighters and one striker” format, this installment introduces the Tactical Order System, which allows the player to select which characters will they control in combat and which characters will serve as strikers. Before each match, the player can form a team configuration of four fighters and no strikers, to one fighter and three strikers. The number of strikers in one‘s team will affect the length and number of stocks of the player’s Power Gauge. Teams with no strikers will have a longer Power Gauge to fill and can carry only one stock, while a team with only one fighter and three strikers will fill their Power Gauge quicker and carry up to four stocks. One stock can be used to summon a striker, perform a guard or super cancel, a blow-away attack, or a Super Special Move. MAX-level Super Special Moves requires two stocks to perform. Players can now cancel an attack into a Striker Summon with use of a Cancel Striker, while some characters now have Wire Whip techniques which will send an opponent flying into the air and arrive at the other side of the fighting area.
One year has passed since most of South Town was decimated by the now-destroyed Zero Cannon. Another KOF tournament is being held and this time, it’s hosted by the NESTS cartel, the group of antagonists behind the events of the previous two games.
K′ and Maxima return to put an end to NESTS once and for all. They are now joined by former Ikari Warriors Team member Whip and the assassin Lin formerly from Benimaru’s Team, both of whom are seeking the destruction of NESTS as well. NESTS sends their own team to compete in the tournament, composed of NESTS agents Kula Diamond, K9999, Foxy, and Ángel. Kyo Kusanagi joins his former teammates of Benimaru Nikaido and Goro Daimon, reuniting the original Japan Team along with Shingo Yabuki, while Iori Yagami joins a team composed of agents Seth, Vanessa, and Ramón. Yuri Sakazaki rejoins the Art of Fighting Team, while King and Mai Shiranui once again lead the Women Fighters Team along with the returning Li Xiangfei and Hinako Shijo. Heidern also makes his KOF return, taking Whip’s place in the Ikari Warriors Team, while Kim Kaphwan‘s young student May Lee takes over Jhun Hoon’s place in the Korea Justice Team, the latter being unable to compete due to an injury.
The King of Fighters 2001 includes 10 teams of 4 fighters, a sub-boss, a final boss, and three strikers, totaling 45 combatants. New characters to the franchise are listed below in bold.
|K’ Team (Hero Team)
Ikari Warriors Team
|Fatal Fury Team
Art of Fighting Team
Women Fighters Team
NESTS Team (Rivals Team)