The King of Fighters 2000 is a 2D tag-team fighting game developed and released by SNK for arcades (running Neo Geo MVS hardware) on July 26, 2000. It was subsequently released (in all regions except North America) for the Neo Geo AES later that year.
The seventh installment of the King of Fighters series (and the sequel to The King of Fighters '99), King of Fighters 2000 builds on the "Striker" system with additional accessibility (leading players to use Strikers to extend combos). In addition, each character has their own unique alternate Striker (including characters from previous games, guest characters from other SNK franchises, and alternate appearances).
As the second part of the three-part "NESTS Saga" arc, the story takes place after the events of the previous King of Fighters tournament (where NESTS agent Krizalid was defeated, his army of Kyo Kusanagi clones are destroyed, and K' and Maxima are revealed to be NESTS defectors). Determined to investigate the secret organization, the Ikari Warriors commander Heidern (with assistance from fellow commander Ling) secretly hosts a new King of Fighters tournament in South Town to lure K' and Maxima out for interrogation. In the background, however, a new agent of NESTS is sent to exterminate K' (the mysterious cryokinetic Kula Diamond).
The game is notable for being the last game developed by the original SNK studio before they entered bankruptcy.
The King of Fighters 2000 plays like a traditional 2D fighting game, using four buttons (Light Punch, Light Kick, Strong Punch, and Strong Kick). Most of the gameplay remains the same as its predecessor, with some new additions and changes (including updated movelists for all characters).
The game now includes two team-based modes (which can be switched by the arcade operator or in the home version):
- Team Mode - Players choose four characters for their team. Prior to each match, each player chooses three characters to fight (in the order chosen). The remaining character is the player's Striker for that match. Fights are played in single-elimination rounds, with the winner of each round receiving some of their vitality back. The match ends when all three fighters of one team are eliminated.
- Solo Mode - Players choose two characters for their team. Prior to each match, each player chooses the character they wish to fight with. The other character is the player's Striker for that match. Fights are played in traditional rounds (one-round, best-of-three, and best-of-five).
Main Changes from King of Fighters '99
- Updated Striker system. Players can summon Strikers while attacking or being attacked. Players can replenish Strike Bombs by losing rounds and by taunting (with the latter costing a stored Power Gauge).
- Each fighter now has their own MAX Super Special Move, which uses all three Power Gauges. Low vitality doesn't affect normal Super Special Moves.
- Players no longer lose their stored Power Gauges when their fighter is defeated.
- Players can now replenish their Strike Bombs by taunting (also using up a stored Power Gauge).
- Backwards dodges no longer performs a forwards dodge afterwards.
Each player has their own Power Gauge, now displayed at the top of the screen under the lifebar. The gauge is charged mainly by performing special moves, but is also charged at a slower pace by both giving and receiving damage. When a player fills the gauge up, it is stored and, if the player has less than three gauges stored, a new gauge replaces it. When a fighter is defeated, the progress of the current gauge is lost, but all stored gauges are kept.
Each stored gauge can be used to activate one of three things: a Super Special Move, a Guard Cancel Dodge, or a Guard Cancel Attack. It can also be used while taunting to replenish a Strike Bomb slot. If the player has three stored gauges (replacing the "POW" on the gauge with "MAX"), they can use all three to perform either a more powerful MAX Super Special Move or one of two timed power-up states:
- Counter Mode, an offensive-oriented power-up (with the player flashing red). Performed by pressing both Light buttons and Strong Punch (or A+B+C) simultaneously, fighters in Counter Mode deal additional damage and have unlimited access to Super Special Moves. The gauges are disabled and they cannot perform Guard Cancel Dodges and Guard Cancel Attacks in this state. Lasts for 24 seconds.
- Armor Mode, a defensive-oriented power-up (with the player flashing gold). Performed by pressing both Strong buttons and Light Kick (or B+C+D) simultaneously, fighters in Armor Mode have additional damage resistance and cannot be stunned or knocked down by enemy damage. The gauges are disabled and they cannot perform Super Special Moves, Guard Cancel Dodges and Guard Cancel Attacks in this state. Lasts for 18 seconds.
If either power-up state finishes mid-round, then the Power Gauge also disappears for 12 seconds (where it cannot be filled up).
Each player has access to a unique limited-use assist character (or "Striker") that jumps into the fray and performs a unique assist attack (done by pressing both Light Kick and Strong Punch, or B+C, simultaneously). Unlike the previous game, Strikers can be summoned at any time during the match (even when attacking and when stunned by attacks).
Players can only call-in their Striker by using up a limited amount of "Strike Bombs" given. At the beginning of the match, each player has three Strike Bomb slots filled up. When a fighter on their team is defeated, they are given an additional Strike Bomb slot (giving them a maximum total of five). Players automatically replenish one of their Strike Bombs after a fighter on their team is defeated, and can also replenish one manually using a taunt (alongside a stored Power Gauge).
Each character has their own unique assist attack (usually based on one of their special moves or Super Special Moves). Some characters are unique in that their attacks change based on whether or not the enemy is in the air and whether or not the enemy is in-range of their attack.
- Holding forward or backwards on the joystick wile pressing a Strong button at a close distance can make the fighter perform an unblockable throw. Strong Punch performs a forwards throw, while Strong Kick performs a backwards throw.
- Double-tapping the joystick backwards can make the fighter perform a hopping backwards dash, allowing players to widen the gap between both fighters. Double-tapping (and then holding) the joystick forwards can make the fighter perform a forwards run, allowing players to close the gap between both fighters at a more controllable pace.
- Pressing Down on the joystick quickly before jumping (or jumping during a forwards run) performs a more effective jump (as shown with the fighter leaving an "afterimage" trail). Tapping Up on the joystick (rather than holding Up) performs a shorter hop for quicker recovery.
- Pressing both Light buttons simultaneously (A+B) can make a forwards dodge used for avoiding attacks (including projectiles). Players can dodge to the other side of the enemy (for cross-up opportunities) and can attack out of it for a unique attack. Doing the same maneuver while holding Backwards on the joystick performs a backwards dodge for quick attack evasion. The backwards version can be performed at the right time while being knocked down for an instant recovery.
- Pressing both Strong buttons simultaneously (C+D) can make the fighter perform a knockdown attack that pushes away opponents (knocking them down in the process). While stronger than normal Strong attacks, it has a lengthy animation that leaves the fighter vulnerable to attacks.
The game's roster is mostly unchanged from The King of Fighters '99, including 35 playable fighters (32 of which are split into 8 teams).
The roster includes 6 new additions (one of which is a hidden sub-boss), some of them replacements. The Hero Team is split-up into two (the new "Hero Team", led by K', and the "Benimaru Team", led by Benimaru), each with new characters to fill both teams. Some characters in the Women Fighters Team are switched with fighters in other teams (namely Blue Mary is switched with Mai Shiranui for the Fatal Fury Team and King is switched with Yuri Sakazaki for the Art of Fighting Team). Along with both Kyo Kusanagi clones, only Li Xiangfei departs from the roster (being replaced with newcomer Hinako Shijo).
Fatal Fury Team
Art of Fighting Team
Ikari Warriors Team
Psycho Soldier Team
Women Fighters Team
After choosing the three fighters in their team, players can opt for an alternate, or "Extra" Striker based on the remaining character. These are non-canonical.
From Previous Games
- Billy Kane
- Brian Battler (PS2 version only)
- Chizuru Kagura
- Eiji Kisaragi
- Geese Howard
- Goro Daimon
- Heavy D! (PS2 version only)
- Heidern (PS2 version only)
- Krizalid (PS2 version only)
- Li Xiangfei
- Lucky Glauber (PS2 version only)
- Mature & Vice
- Mr. Big (PS2 version only)
- Orochi (PS2 version only)
- Rugal Bernstein
- Ryuji Yamazaki
- Saisyu Kusanagi
- Wolfgang Krauser (PS2 version only)
- Yashiro Nanakase
From Other Series
- Athena (guest character from Athena)
- Duck King (guest character from the Fatal Fury series)
- Duke Edwards (guest character from Burning Fight)
- Fio Germi (guest character from the Metal Slug series)
- Gai Tendo (guest character from from Buriki One: World Grapple Tournament '99 in Tokyo)
- Kaede (guest character from the Last Blade series)
- Kim Dong Hwan (guest character from Garou: Mark of the Wolves)
- Kim Jae Hoon (guest character from Garou: Mark of the Wolves)
- Kim Sue Il (guest character from Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle)
- King Lion (guest character from the Savage Reign and Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle)
- Lilly Kane (guest character from the Fatal Fury series)
- Nakoruru (guest character from the Samurai Shodown series)
- Neo McDonald & Geo Kentucky (guest characters from the Quiz Daisousasen series)
- Ryuhaku Todoh (as "Unknown", guest character from Art of Fighting)
- Rocky (guest character from Robo Army)
- Benimaru Nikaido ("Another")
- Chang Koehan ("Smart")
- Choi Bounge ("Cool")
- Iori Yagami ("Another")
- K' ("Another")
- Robert Garcia ("Another")
- Sie Kensou (outfit from Psycho Soldier)
- Baitang (a panda befriended by Bao)
- Candy Diamond & Foxy (companions to Kula Diamond)
- G-Mantle (SNK's original mascot, makes a minor cameo in other games)
- Kang Bae Dal (a mysterious Taekwondo fighter, believed to be a "prototype" of Jhun Hoon)
- Kaoru Watabe (a friend of the Pscyho Soldier Team, originally appeared in their ending in The King of Fighters '97)
- Kyoko (a cosplayer who dresses like Kyo Kusanagi during the "Orochi Saga" arc)
- Syo Kirishima (based on a concept sketch of Kyo Kusanagi)