The King of Fighters '94 is a 2D 3-on-3 fighting game developed and released by SNK for arcades (running Neo Geo MVS hardware) on August 25, 1994. It was subsequently released for the Neo Geo AES and Neo Geo CD later that year.
The first in a long-running series of fighting games, The King of Fighters '94 was developed as a crossover featuring not only characters from SNK's other fighting franchises (Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting), but also from some of SNK's previous games (including Ikari Warriors, Psycho Soldier, and some of their sports games). It introduces the series's standard Team Battle System, a form of "team elimination" matches where players form a team of three characters and must fight subsequent one-on-one rounds until all enemy opponents are knocked out.
The story of the game revolves a revival of the martial arts "King of Fighters" tournament, hosted by the mysterious "R" (later revealed to be ruthless arms dealer Rugal Bernstein), to bring together the strongest fighters from all over the world. Along with new tournament rules for teams, this tournament also introduces a new team of protagonists (led by pyrokinetic Japanese high school student Kyo Kusanagi).
The game was later digitally re-released for the Wii (via Virtual Console by D4) on January 7, 2008 and both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (both via PlayStation Network) on December 21, 2010. It was also included in the SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 and The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga compilations for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii. It also received an enhanced version ten years after the original release as The King of Fighters '94 Re-Bout.
The King of Fighters '94 plays like a traditional 2D fighting game, using four buttons (two punches and two kicks, split into Light and Strong attacks).
Pressing both Light buttons simultaneously performs a quick dodge (called an "Attack Avoidance"), shifting the player's fighter to the background to avoid attacks. Pressing both Strong buttons simultaneously performs a stronger attack (called a "High Damage Attack"). Pressing Strong Punch from far away performs a taunt. Double-tapping forward or backward on the joystick performs a quick dash.
The power gauge and super moves takes elements from both the Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury games. Each player has a power gauge on the bottom of the screen, which can be charged by holding down Light Punch, Light Kick, and Strong Punch simultaneously. Once the gauge is filled, the player's basic attacks become stronger for a short time. Players can also perform a "Super Special Move" either during this state, which consumes the entire gauge, or when their life gauge is 75% empty and flashing red.
Instead of a best-of-three fights between two fighters, teams of three compete against each other in single elimination rounds. The players, after choosing their team, choose the order that the characters will fight. The winner of each fight receives some life back (if needed) and goes on to fight the next person on the opposing team. This continues until all the characters of one team are eliminated. Some versions of the game, namely the home versions, allows players to play traditional best-of-three fighters between two fighters.
The King of Fighters '94 allows the player to select from eight different teams, each consisting of three fighters. Though these groups represent different countries around the world, there are some teams where none of the character's nationalities match the team's country (most notably Italy, Mexico, and Brazil).
Japan (Japan Team)
Italy (Fatal Fury Team)
Mexico (Art of Fighting Team)
Brazil (Ikari Warriors Team)
China (Psycho Soldier Team)
England (Women Fighters Team)
U.S.A. (American Sports Team)
Korea (Korea Team)