Review: New Netcode The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Final Match Edition Means One of the Best Fighting Games Just Got Better

Screenshot: King of Fighters '98 One of the best fighting games of all time has gotten a Christmas upgrade from SNK and Code Mystics: The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Final Match Edition. If you weren’t aware, The King of Fighters ’98 has been released numerous times over the years, with its 2014 “Final Edition” meant to be the definitive edition of this classic fighter. Its’ great to see that SNK and Code Mystics are keeping up with this classic—and if you’ve never played it before, you definitely need to check out this piece of history. The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Final Match Edition is a fighting game from the golden era of arcade fighting games. If you’ve played fighting games in the ‘90s, and know mostly of the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter series, that’s not necessarily bad, but you’re missing out on a whole slew of amazing arcade fighting games pumped out by SNK for the Neo Geo.  King of Fighters ’98 is the conclusion to the Orochi storyline and a sort of culmination of everything that came before it.  That means lots of fighters. Screenshot: King of Fighters '98 While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has recently compiled one of the most impressive fighting games rosters ever, The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Final Match Edition has it rivaled. It includes a huge selection of fighters—64 in total. That’s every fighter from the King of Fighters series. The 2014 Final Match Edition saw a rebalance of each fighter, but if you want the classic version, that’s included too. Each fighter has a unique fighting and visual style. Some are grapplers, others are boxers, and some may even remind you of fighters from other popular fighting franchises. So why is this seven year old version of a remake of a fighting game originally from 1998 getting attention now? It just had a major rework of its netcode. This netcode rollback was announced during the Tokyo Gameshow 2021, and is finally fully implemented after months of beta testing. Two of the biggest new features, besides better network stability, is Online Lobbies and a Spectator Mode—the latter of which I love, because I can watch players much better than myself and even learn a few new tactics. It looks like the community for King of Fighters ’98 is alive and well. Screenshot: King of Fighters '98 I couldn’t help but take the opportunity to write about one of my favorite fighting games, and I’d even argue that King of Fighters ’98 is one of the best fighting games of all time. With the numerous updates over the years, it’s the definitive culmination of the Orochi Saga, and this netcode update makes it the perfect time to pick up this classic.   The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Final Match Edition is available for PC on Steam, and it’s currently 50% off for the Steam winter sale.       A Steam code was provided to us for the purposes of this review.
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Antal Bokor

Antal is video game advocate, retro game collector, and video game historian. He is also a small streamer, occasional podcast guest, and writer.