The King of Fighters: Neowave


:  SNK Playmore's first (AW-NET) fighting game, KOF: Neowave, reverts back to the classic 3-on-3 gameplay that the series became known for in the very beginning, neglecting the newest gameplay additions from modern installment such as the Tag System and Strikers. Like KOF '98 and KOF 2002, Neowave has no storyline, but is instead a "Dream Match" bringing together numerous characters from past installments.


KOF: Neowave character selection screen.


In addition to the standard 4-button layout, a fifth command button has been added, which activates the new "Heat Mode" (sacrificing health for attack power). Players can select their own playing style similar to (KOF '97 and KOF '98) from three different styles (Super Cancel Mode, Guard Break Mode, and MAX2 mode). This effects the techniques available to the player and the length of their Power Gauge.


"Subtle" Atomiswave signage.


looks pretty sharp on Sammy's Atomiswave hardware... Neowave features some fully 3D backgrounds, less "jaggy" character sprites than some past console iterations, and updated hit sparks. The character roster is a mix of old and new faces. The home version features bonus characters such as: Kusanagi (clone), Seth, and Omega Rugal.


Joe Higashi and Yamazaki having a taunt-off.

The PlayStation 2 version includes 2 additional bonus characters not found in the arcade or Xbox version (Angel & May Lee). Neowave gives KOF players a chance to use some of the newer KOF characters in the "old style" gameplay, which makes it a fairly interesting title for old school fans of the series.


kyo-nw.jpg (123067 bytes)            iori-nw.jpg (112041 bytes)            k-nw.jpg (105532 bytes)            terry-nw.jpg (100788 bytes)

Click here for all character artwork!


Page Updated: July 12th, 2023
Developer(s): SNK Playmore
Publisher(s): SNK Playmore
Artwork by: Nakano Tomokazu
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Release Date(s): July 21st, 2005              PS2
Mar. 30th, 2006
Apr. 18th, 2006
Oct. 13th, 2006
Characters Kyo, Benimaru, Daimon, Terry, Andy, Joe, Leona, Ralf, Clark, Chang, Choi, Jhun, Ryo, Robert, Takuma, Athena, Kensou, Chin, Mai, Yuri, Iori, Mature, Vice, Yamazaki, Mary, Billy, Yashiro, Shermie, Chris, K', Maxima, Whip, Ramon, Kula, Saisyu, Shingo, Geese, Vanessa, Seth, Omega Rugal, Orochi Chris, Orochi Shermie, Orochi Yashiro, May Lee (PS2), Angel (PS2)

Featured Video:

Related Games: KOF '94, KOF '94: Re-bout, KOF '95, KOF '96, KOF '97, KOF '98, KOF '98 Ultimate Match, KOF '99, KOF 2000, KOF 2001, KOF 2002, KOF 2002 Unlimited Match, KOF 2003, KOF XI, KOF XII, KOF XIII, KOF XIV, KOF XV, KOF: Maximum Impact, KOF: Maximum Impact MANIAX, KOF 2006, KOF: MI Regulation A, KOF EX: Neo Blood, KOF EX2: Howling Blood, KOF R1, KOF R2, KOF Collection: Orochi Saga, SoulCalibur 3, TEKKEN 5

Gameplay Engine  6.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  6.5 / 10
Animation  6.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  6.0 / 10
Innovation  6.5 / 10
Art Direction  7.5 / 10
Customization  7.0 / 10
Options / Extras  6.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  4.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  6.5 / 10

 5.0 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version     


Final Words: KOF Neowave is a 2D fighting game with a classic feel while attempting to stay modern. The new art style and presentation is something different for the series but mostly refreshing. While Neowave stays close to its roots, it doesn't offer very much in the way of new. The traditional 1-on-1 gameplay is definitely old fashioned and dated in 2005, especially when considering KOF itself has incorporated tag-team mechanics in recent past installments (which I personally think are more fun).

Probably the biggest downside of KOF Neowave is the roster. There are NO new characters (besides "young" / AOF2 Geese Howard, who does get a new sprite)! Sadly, the Xbox version features two less characters from the PS2 version, and those two characters (May Lee and Angel) happen to be the newest additions to KOF (and perhaps the most exciting newcomers in a while). So if you're going to play Neowave, go for the PS2 version.

In short, Neowave feels "old" and recycled... especially when put up against the latest and greatest fighting games of 2005 / 2006. To me, it seems like Neowave was made for new fighting game players who have no idea what KOF is. To a completely new audience, perhaps KOF Neowave isn't that bad... but a veteran SNK player would probably tell those fans there are far better installments of KOF (and far more innovative and impressive fighting games to be playing in 2005).

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
FOLLOW    ON: