Template:Infobox VG The King of Fighters XI is a 2D competitive fighting game produced by SNK Playmore originally released in Template:Vgy as a coin-operated arcade game for the Atomiswave platform. It is the eleventh official installment in The King of Fighters series following The King of Fighters 2003, although a spinoff titled The King of Fighters Neowave was previously released for the same platform. A home version for the PlayStation 2 was released in Japan in Template:Vgy, followed by releases in the PAL region and North America in Template:Vgy.
The four largest innovations KOF XI brings to the franchise are the Quick Shift, the Saving Shift, the Skill Bar and the Dream Cancels. The Power Stocks that existed previously are still present, and are filled in the usual fashion. Nevertheless, there are now Skill Stocks as well, which gradually build up over time. Each team begins a match holding the maximum of two Skill Stocks. Offensive maneuvers, such as Desperation Moves, Guard Cancels, and Tag Attacks, continue to use Power Stocks. However, more defensive or tactical maneuvers, such as Guard Evasion, Saving Shift, and Quick Shift, use Skill Stocks.
KOF XI utilizes the Tactical Shift System from KOF 2003. The Quick Shift allows to change into another character in the middle of any combo, prolonging it, or in the middle of any attack, canceling the frames of animation of the attack, if it's needed. The Saving Shift allows to take out a character when he is being hit as soon as he is hit, at the cost of both skill bars. The last new feature of KOF XI is the Dream Cancel. Like the Super Cancel that first appeared in KOF '99, Dream Cancel allows players to use stocks to interrupt a move in the midst of its execution with a more powerful move, allowing devastating combos.
Should the timer run down in a match, the winner is no longer decided based upon who has the most life remaining. Instead, the judgment bar, a new bar of circular shape composed of two colors, each one representing one player acts as a quantifier of the skill of each player. Whichever player has the judgment bar towards his or her side will be the victor if none of the teams win defeating all three characters from the opposite team; rarely, if the bar is exactly in the center, the match will end in a draw and both sides will lose. The bar is affected by each attack that the players get in, combos affect progressively more, and when a character of the opposing team is defeated, the bar suffers a big change against that player.
Mukai, a member of a mysterious group known as "Those from the Distant Land", stole the Orochi seal in the last tournament and broke it, causing confusion and destruction to happen from within sight. Taking advantage of the situation at hand, Ash Crimson attacked Chizuru Kagura in her weakened state and stole the Yata Mirror from her while draining her powers from within the process. In the advent of a new KOF tournament, new faces are handed invitations, while Eiji Kisaragi, returns first time since his appearance as a member of the Rival Team in KOF '95, in the Anti-Kyokugen Ryu Team along with Malin and Kasumi Todoh. Among the new KOF participants are Oswald an Irish card player who joins Ash to find the whereabouts of a powerful new drug. Elisabeth Blanctorche, a young French woman who is acquainted with Ash Crimson, creates a Rival Team along with Benimaru Nikaido and Duo Lon to investigate Ash. Duck King, a South Town veteran fighter himself, joins the Fatal Fury Team as Joe Higashi left to focus on his Muay-Thai traning. Having recovered his powers lost in previous games, Sie Kensou returns to the Psycho Soldiers Team along with Athena Asamiya and Momoko, a cheerful Capoeria-using girl. A new Agent Team is formed by Vanessa, Blue Mary and Ramon. A new team known as Garou MOTW is formed by B. Jenet, Gato and Tizoc. Due to an emotinal trauma her character has, Leona leaves the Ikari Team and Whip leaves K' Team to replace her. The former Nests agent, Kula Diamond, joins K' having been absent in the series since KoF 2002. Due to Chizuru's state, Shingo replaces her in the Sacred Team to recover her powers from Ash. All these fighters will find themselves in a tournament full of mysteries and secrets started by motives that they’d ignored before. Behind this healthy competitive tournament hides a hidden force called "People from the Past" with a mysterious goal.
The character roster for the game receives a major shake-up, with no returning team remaining unaltered from the previous installment, and with five long-time regular characters (Chang Koehan, Joe Higashi, Mai Shiranui, Leona and Robert Garcia) absent for the first time in the series, however, Eiji Kisaragi returns. Characters new to series includes Oswald, Elisabeth and Momoko, as well as Duck King from Fatal Fury and B. Jenet from Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Characters from Savage Reign and its sequel Kizuna Encounter, as well as Buriki One, appears in the game as secret challengers.
The PlayStation 2 version of the game features seven additional character taken from Neo Geo Battle Coliseum. They become available once the player clear certain challenges in the gameTemplate:'s Challenge Mode.
- Hero Team
- Fatal Fury Team
- Rival Team
- Ikari Team
- Agent Team
- K' Team
- Anti-Kyokugen Ryu Team
- Kusanagi & Yagami Team
- Art of Fighting Team
- Garou MOTW Team
- Psycho Soldier Team
- Mid Bosses
- Gai Tendo: The lead character from Buriki-One.
- Sho Hayate: The lead character from Savage Reign and Kizuna Encounter.
- Adelheid Bernstein: The alternate final boss in KOF 2003.
- Jyazu: The antagonist of Kizuna Encounter.
- Silber: The antagonist Buriki-One
- Sub Boss
- Shion: An assistant of Magaki skilled in the use of martial arts and weapons, particularly a long spear and Flying Dart.
- Final Boss
- Magaki: The final boss of the game and a herald of Orochi.
PlayStation 2 exclusive characters
- Mai Shiranui (Fatal Fury 2)
- Robert Garcia (Art of Fighting)
- Geese Howard (Fatal Fury)
- Tung Fu Rue (Fatal Fury)
- Mr. Big (Art of Fighting)
- Hotaru Futaba (Garou: Mark of the Wolves)
- EX Kyo Kusanagi (Kyo in his KOF '99 outfit)
On March 24, 2006, Scitron and SNK released Template:Nihongo, a soundtrack from the game. It is made of 2 CDs, both featuring 37 tracks. While some tracks are identical to the ones from the game, other have been arranged. The disc one is from the Arcade version, while the disc two is from the PS2 version. The tracks were composed by SHA-V and arranged by Koji Takata, Masuo Okumura, Masanori Kuki. Template:TracklistTemplate:-
Since the first game from The King of Fighters series, each of them were released every year; the last of them to be released in this manner was The King of Fighters 2003. In December 2004, Falcoon, the series' main illustrator, mentioned that the next game the SNK Playmore staff were trying to release was different from KOF: Maximum Impact or what could have been a The King of Fighters 2004. Development of the game began when the SNK staff finished making Neo Geo Battle Coliseum. On September 8, 2006 Ignition Entertainment announced they licensed KOF XI for European release. SNK Playmore USA announced the game on November 13, 2007. Ben Herman, president of SNK Playmore USA said "With the release of THE KING OF FIGHTERS XI, 2D-fighter fans have hours of the classic gameplay they love, plus brand-new game-enhancing features, at their fingertips".
The additions of the mid-bosses from Buriki One and Kizuna Encounter were meant to surprise gamers. Since their original moves did not "fit" in KOF XI, developers had to change some of them. The boss character Magaki was designed to "disgust and disturb fans with his movements", giving more characters to the antagonists, Those from the Past. Additionally, he was meant to be a hated and nonredeemable character due to the difficulty players could have to defeat him.
Template:VG Reviews Ryan Clements from IGN gave the game an 8.0, commenting that while it is "a very old-school 2D fighter" since the style from the games has not changed so much since KoF 94, it is well organized due to the large number of playable characters and how variable were their fighting styles. He also added that some fights were very difficult for players unless they learn the special moves from the characters, causing them to spend some time learning them. Reviewer from GameSpot, Andrew Park, also gave it an 8.0. He mentioned that the game was well-balanced with several characters to play and a good artwork for the illustrations. He mentioned that while the sub-boss Shion, is "terribly powerful", the final boss, Magaki, is "absurdly overpowered" although his voice is not well done and his appearance is not impressive. Eurogamer reviewer also gave the game an 8, saying the it is an "excellent 2D game", being comparable to other good games such as Street Fighter III. The reviewer complained about the lack of popular characters like Leona and Joe Higashi, although he praised the addition of bonus characters like Mai Shiranui, Mr. Big and Robert Garcia.
- The King of Fighters XI at the official Japanese website of SNK Playmore
- The King of Fighters XI Official European website of Ignition Entertainment.
- The King of Fighters XI Press release announcing the official North American release
- SNK NeoGeo USA Consumer Message Board features KOF board
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