In XIII, Mature and Vice warn Iori that if he takes back the Yasakani-no-Magatama, he'll be subjected to his clan's curse once more. Seeing as they're agents of Orochi, it's possible that they were hoping that if Yagami didn't take the Yasakani-no-Magatama, the Three Sacred Treasures would no longer be complete and Orochi would finally be freed from its seal once the time came. However, it could also qualify as a Pet the Dog moment; maybe they did care about Iori enough to place his well being over their mission to resurrect Orochi.
Athena's crush on Kyo and its treatment in current canon. Did her feelings for him really exist outside KOF: KYOnote where she moves to Osaka specifically to keep an eye on him and then remains in his circle of friends even after learning he's with Yuki, the '98 CD drama note where she and Shingo are worried over Kyo's crisis and struggles and the 2000 CD drama note where her concern over Kyo's well being is Played for Laughs until they share a quite more serious conversation at the end? Or did they just slowly idle out as she became more focused in her Idol Singer/Action Girl careers, thus cooling off and shifting to friendship without any Love Hurts process? Keep in mind that in XIII their pre-fight talks come off as quite non-romantic (and if she speaks to NESTS!Kyo, she pretty much tells him "Yuki supports your quests alongside everyone else"), and both normal!Kyo and NESTS!Kyo's talks with Kensou do not make any allusions to Athena's feelings for Kyo - noticeable since Kensou gets PISSED if it even seems someone might take Athena's romantic interest away from him.
Americans Hate Tingle: Ash Crimson, along with Choi and Chang. The Japanese pretty much loves Ash, while the West hates him with a passion (his end fate notwithstanding).
Anti-Climax Boss: Orochi. Not of his game (KOF '97 was rather easy anyway), but of the Orochi Saga as a whole. He remains one of the easiest end bosses to beat. Possibly justified in that Orochi is the last of a group of Sequential Bosses (unless you defeat him with Kyo, prompting a final battle with Iori) including Orochi Iori/Orochi Leona and the Orochi Team.
Clone Zero. Despite the fact that he's got a fast-loading super meter and abuses his supers on a regular basis, he's surprisingly easy to defeat, much easier than Krizalid. He's pretty much the easiest Final Boss in the entire NESTS saga.
Awesome Moments: Any time Ralf's Galactica Phantom succeeds in hitting the opponent. Even more so against human opponents, since they are ten times less likely to fall for it than the AI. (For those needing further clarification, the Galactica Phantom is absurdly powerful [to the point that it had to be toned down from its OHKO status in '98], but also has an ungodly charge time; a fully-powered one requires seven or eight seconds. It is, essentially, a Death-or-Glory Attack cranked Up to Eleven.)
Base-Breaking Character: A number of characters have a fair share of fans and haters, but Sylvie takes the cake; an adorable modern idol with a hidden sadistic streak, or a God-forsaken kawaii POS that was an out-of-place abomination from as early as the leaked concept art?
Many South American fans (excluding Brazilians) do not like the South American Team, or at least say they should have called Team Brazil. Why? Because despite the name of the team, its member are all Brazilians. Even Zarina, despite being Colombian, lives in Brazil and has more brazilians elements than colombians in her design.
Nakoruru's teammates from the Another World Team (Mui Mui and Love Heart). One part think they're pretty cool additions and showing that SNK is pretty fair to even their Pachinko titles even as they are leaving the venture behind. The other camp is the camp that assumes that they're instantly bad characters solely because of how reviled Pachislot games are to just them at least after the bad taste to Pachinko left by Konami. Or just people who were pretty salty that SNK did not use actual old arcade series that they'd know already, like those featured in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum (majorly World Heroes and The Last Blade). Even sometimes Nakoruru took small heat on it because they thought her team is 'Team Pachinko', only to be reminded that Samurai Shodown existed long before Pachinko (though the series did get several Pachislot series after getting a Franchise Killer game)
To some, the whole thing between K9999 and Nameless. The first camp believes that K9999 really is that badly designed carbon copy of Tetsuo and a sign of Dork Age better left forgotten (and it doesn't help that he's a complete Jerkass), while Nameless is really a more compelling original Tragic Hero or Tragic Villain character. The other camp believes otherwise, believing that Nameless came off really dull due to his monotone delivery, and K9999, while being a complete jerk and a carbon copy, at least still has a personality, even if a nasty one, to entertain them. Proving that, yes, as much as SNK hated the guy, there are still K9999 fans.
Broken Base: The series going 3D again in the KOF XIV announcement trailer. Some welcome it, believing that 3D models will be much more efficient and allow them to put more characters into the game, while others believe the initial graphics presented in the trailer look like a PS2 game, drudging up memories of the already-divisive Maximum Impact series, and others still believe that the new entry should have either kept the high-quality sprites of XIII or went with a graphics style more like that of Guilty Gear Xrd (3D models with shading to make them look like sprites).
Iori Yagami was a very reliable character in the hands of a good player, having very solid offense and damage output once you get back some of his possibly clunky moves and slow walking speed. This is mainly due to the fact that his moveset is simple and very effective, but he lacks in solid pressure due to some unsafe attacks on block or on whiff.
The Orochi versions of the New Faces Team were used much more than their original versions; Orochi Shermie was the least used, and meanwhile, Orochi Yashiro was considered a high tier character.
Goro Daimon, due to his high damage potential as a grappler and some very reliable gimmicks compared to other grapplers of his kind.
Takuma Sakazaki, due to his powerful offensive game when he corners his opponent.
In '98, and more so in the Ultimate Match version, the EX versions of the characters were overused in several tournaments. EX Yamazaki, EX Billy, EX Mary, EX Ryo and EX Yuri being very frequent in the scene.
Due to that case, EX Geese (who was a rebalanced version of Nightmare and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 Geese in one) was used a lot more than normal Geese, possibly due to his better zoning with actual projectile-based Reppuuken attacks.
Kim Kaphwan was as a staple for several offensive Tae Kwon Do characters; due to the nature of the KOF series overall, he was a very perfect character for space control and offensive pressure alike.
K' wasn't often as frequent in the past, but a lot of current installments make him very frequent due to his nasty and simple combo potential and his very solid space control game.
Krauser, as mentioned in the Game Breaker section below, ESPECIALLY his Ultimate Match incarnation. He was thankfully nerfed quite a bit in the Final Edition version.
A bit averted in XIII; almost every single character due to their improvements for the pacing of the new engine has been in tournament limelight, despite the fact that some DLC characters were really out there (like EX Iori who was pretty much the original incarnation everyone played-the-hell-out-of, and EX Kyo). Billy and Saiki get a lot of love too.
Kyo/Yuri. It has a surprising fan following that's quite impressive for two characters who are on decent terms, but barely know each other. Two official KOF pictures of them being together only adds more fuel to the fire.
Creator's Pet: Not many people like Ash, yet SNK let him get away with pretty controversial stuff, such as stealing Iori's powers. For very good reasons, in the end. And he gets an Alas, Poor Scrappy send-off that made him gain some people's partial forgiveness.
In a reversal of the above Ash example, K' serves as this to the Japanese fandom; he's substantially better-received outside of Japan, though.
Kyo's girlfriend, Yuki, is loathed by Kyo x (insert: Iori, Shingo, Athena, etc.) shippers.
Athena, who's otherwise likable, is also hated by rabid Kensou fans of both genders who accuse her of being an ungrateful slut who plays with his feelings since she refuses or ignores his advances, and sometimes she's twisted into a self-centered skank who plays with both Kensou and Kyo's feelings solely for her own pleasure. Never mind that the worst she has done is either ignoring or turning Kensou's affections down, while also caring for him when he needs it. Although she does start dating Kensou in the Maximum Impact continuity, but has to keep it a secret given her idol status.
Andy is a similar case to the above. People can't believe that he doesn't throw himself at the feet of an attractive and popular character like Mai who chases after him, so they bash him to death since "OMG THE HOTTEST WOMAN EVER LIKES YOU, YOU MUST BE AN IDIOT OR GAY TO NOT F*CK HER!"
2002 averts this to some extent even though it's made by Eolith. It's still one of the most played versions in the series competitively, and even after the release of 2002: Unlimited Match you'll still see some original '02 tournies being played. Now, 2001 on the other hand? Nope.
Ear Worm: "Follow Me", the theme of XIV, is ridiculously energetic and catchy. It's hard not to get excited while listening to this song.
Shermie. A one-shot villain who never officially appears in future non-dream match installments, but remains very popular and ends up being included in both SNK Gals Fighters and Neo Geo Battle Coliseum. It helps that she's got a killer rack and nice legs.
Speaking of Shermie, her teammates Yashiro Nanakase and Chris are also Ensemble Darkhorses in their own given right.
Eiji Kisaragi, the no-nonsense ninja from Art of Fighting 2. Very popular among the fandom. Discounting his appearance in the KOF: KYO manga, SNK finally brought him back in XI to please the crowd after an eight game absence. (Note: his last in-game appearance was in '95, the second game in the series.)
Ron, the badass NPC who shows up in KOF 2000, is a notable example.
Even the American Sports Team has a surprisingly large following despite the fact that they only appeared canonically in the very first installment.
Oswald made only a single playable appearance, with XI as his only game. The combination of being one of the best characters in the game and just having a pretty damn cool character design made him one of the most popular characters on the roster. That's pretty impressive for who is essentially a one-off character.
Angel, even though she only appears in 2001 canonically, gets a lot of popularity due to being very powerful gameplay-wise and being quite the bombshell. Enough that she even reappears in XIV when people would least suspect her (with Ramon to boot).
In the new XIV, King of Dinosaurs' introduction was met with favorable reception, mostly because he's basically a dinosaur-themedTizoc.[[note]] Especially since he is Tizoc trying to perform a Face–Heel Turn...emphasis on "trying".
Hein, Geese's Battle Butler from XIV also has been received favourably. Especially after early loketest footage showing off his moveset were posted online.
The Official Invitation Team. Sylvie is a minor Base Breaker but still fairly well-liked, Mian is seen as a character with a unique design and fighting style and Moe personality due to her shyness and Kukri's edginess being ramped Up to Eleven with his meanspirited and insulting winquotes makes some see him as a hilarious Troll and tongue in cheek take on edgy characters.
Meitenkun from the China team seems really well-liked thanks to his looks and rather adorable mannerisms.
Epileptic Trees: While many fans hope that this doesn't come to pass (or at least not in the terms described), a prevalent theory is that, should SNKP ever go bankrupt again (as in, for good), their last action will be to create one final "dream match" title, but Up to Eleven: a The King of Fighters Universal Match which would bring back every character that was ever in a KOF game back for the last hurrah.
Evil Ash has a DM where the screen is filled with black flames, in direct contrast to Elizabeth's Neo MAX, which bathes the screen in white light.
The Maximum Impact series is just rife with this. The series' cast features aliens with bizarre powers (even by KOF standards) among their ranks; main antagonistJivatma is one of said aliens and controls one of the sub-syndicates of Addes, an organization whose seal is that of the Grim Reaper, uses Metatron as its public name, and whose known branches take their names from various corners of angelology and demonology (they're respectively named Children of Kokaviel,Kusiel,Mephistopheles, and Belphegor).
Foe Yay: Iori Yagami, who spends roughly ninety-eight percent of his time thinking about what Kyo is doing, following Kyo around, and fantasizing about ways to kill him. (Meanwhile, Kyo just wants to live his life as a fighter at the fullest and be left the heck alone, and not to mention he barely cares about the whole Orochi deal unless either he and/or his friends are directly involved.) This is actually lampshaded in the Dating SimSpin-Off series, Days of Memories—which sometimes has the two play the role of romantic rivals—and in XIII.
Maxima [to NESTS!Kyo, after he asks if he's still "babysitting" K' and Kula]: "Well, at least I don't have a psychotic stalker!"
Ash Crimson [to Flames!Iori]: "You're pathetic. You know what? Kusanagi this and Kusanagi that... What are you? His crazy ex?"
Armor Ralf in Maximum Impact 2. As the name implies, it's Ralf decked out in armor. This version of Ralf is a contender for the most broken non-boss fighting game character of all time. He has super armor, cannot be thrown normally, has infinite priority, does EVEN MORE DAMAGE THAN NORMAL RALF, and cannot be knocked down. He was so broken that he was actually removed from the Regulation A upgrade to the game, though his data and model are still on the disc. His only real disadvantage is a universal one: Sabaki reversals can't be used against projectiles.
Angel in 2002. She is meant to be played by players with experience in string-system combos; however, since this system would be considered hard to use properly, the game rewards Angel with long invincibility periods while doing her moves. This translates in the opponent having to guess what Angel will do and attack in the hopes that her next move won't have invincibility. Also, one of her moves in the string is a uppercut that can hit the opponent while he is recovering in the air. Should Angel spam this on the corner, we have an infinite combo that requires absolutely no power stocks.
Billy Kane fights with a stick that gives him a unfair advantage at zoning. He also has a incredibly fast 2-hit attack that can be abused and can combo with other way stronger moves, should it hit near the corner. His MI2 incarnation is far worse. The Tekken-esque dial-a combos only bolster his rushdown game, his specials come out far quicker with less recovery time, and he gains devastating new attacks revolving around his bo. In other words, he can do all sorts of wicked shit. This match from MI2 and this match from Regulation A are good examples of what you're up against.
Alba Meira, supposedly being a "cooler Falcoon," receives godly tools like an anti-air command throw and a triple projectile, making him the most versatile character in the game.
In Maximum Impact: Regulation A, Alba is outclassed by the series' proverbial Creator's Pet, Ash Crimson, as he gains a ton of new moves he hasn't gained in the original games he's been in that of course, give him a ton of variation. And now you know what the "A" in Regulation A stands for.
Athena has a fireball with almost instant recovery, as well as a teleport and a bug that makes her retreat at absurd speed when doing a backdash. Should you be at a lower health when the match time is about to finish, unless you're a very fast character yourself there's pretty much nothing you can do other than try and follow her while avoiding her fireballs and watching out for a DM that jolts you if you touch her.
Choi is a dwarf; his hitbox is about half the vertical size of a regular character. Most attacks, including specials and a good number of super moves pass right above his head; essentially cutting in half the viable options, strategies and combos of practically every other character in the game. Because of this, he's been top-to-god tier in almost every single installment of the series, and a staple Tier-Induced Scrappy.
Iori Yagami in '98 is beatable due to his clunky moves and his slow movement, yes, but he is also a god-tier character. Pretty much all of his moves, normal or not, have a longer range than they look, and are solid combo tools giving him deadly hit confirms. His air attacks hit extremely low, so much that his jumping C can easily hit a crouchingChoi Bounge, and lets not get into his very reliable cross-up kick that pulls in opponents on hit. He has a invincible grab (Kuzukaze/Scum Wind) that makes the opponent open to anything, and anything he does can combo into his Aoihana (Hollyhock Flower), a 3-input move that deals high damage and quickly stuns the opponent. And, he has a fast projectile of his own, allowing him to zone. AND, his Ya Otome AKA Maiden Masher DM rushes toward the opponent with high priority, low enough to go under any midair projectile and it's its possible to hit midair opponents with it. Go ahead, try to find a pro-level match where Iori isn't present.
As mentioned before, Iori is more of a shotoclone-like character, but due to his unique moves and his actually high damage output, he's often used a lot as he provides massive combo potential and decent mixup. Though he's a bit of a case of Difficult but Awesome due to the fact that his moves are clunky, as in very easy to punish if misused, and his walking speed is quite slow. In it all, Iori is powerful, but still a difficult character to manage due to some of his more unsafe tools.
Wolfgang Krauser in '98UM. Normal moves have good reach and damage, simple but damaging Bread and Butter combos and an auto-combo DM that can serve many functions like Iori's Maiden Masher DM. Eventually in the Final Edition version of that game, he was heavily nerfed in terms of total damage done on several of his moves and a bit of range and more recovery on them, while other characters received some nice buffs.
Rugal's Genocide Cutter in KOF '94. At maximum power, it can be a One-Hit Kill. Coupled with his SNK Boss status... Word of God apologizes for "going a bit overboard" with the damage ratio. The move was toned down in later installments, but is still quite devastating.
Daimon in '98, thanks to a glitch. Averted in Ultimate Match, which removed said glitch.
Ralf's Galatica Phantom in EX2: Howling Blood. This version has a much, much shorter charge time and is a regular move instead of a (S)DM. As a trade-off, it loses some of its power, but still eats about 50% off of an opponent's lifebar. Go buck wild with it, and watch the body count skyrocket.
A highly technical combo involves Ralf cancelling out of his Blazing Vulcan Punch on the last hit and performing the Galatica Phantom. In other words, the moment the opponent recovers, they're greeted by Ralf's (unblockable) fist.
Orochi Iori was playable via a rather simple code in the KOF '97 arcade, as was Orochi Leona and the Orochi New Faces Team. And they were not brought down.
Gato and Kula received one too many buffs in XI, thrusting them into top-tier. Oswald, too, thanks to his speed and versatility.
Krizalid. Yes, he might be a SNK Boss, but the Typhoon Rage gives Rugal's Genocide Cutter a run for its money with its omni-priority, high damage output, juggling ability, and the ability to fill his super meter at the speed of sound. In 2002: Ultimate Match, this fact alone makes Krizalid more broken than Clone Zero, Original Zero, "lovable" Igniz, and Omega Rugal himself. Only Nightmare Geese can outdo him. And none of this is counting the rest of Krizalid's devastating moveset, chief amongst them Lethal Impact, an attack throw which triples as an AA, an overhead, and a counter. The supervising designer of Krizalid even noted, "I think I overdid it a little."
Speaking of Nightmare Geese, he basically has faster Reppuukens, and non-negateable Shippuukens (meaning they pass through all projectiles and CAN'T BE CANCELLED BY ANOTHER NIGHTMARE GEESE'S SHIPPUUKENS) and that he can fire FOUR of them at once, a powerful multi-hitting OTG version of his Raging Storm, a throw much like Iori's where he can toss you aside and leave you open to a free combo (one of his throws in past Fatal Fury games) AND even has an infinite combo involving one of his old command normals chained into his x4 Shippuuken. Averted in XIV where Nightmare Geese is simply a skin for Geese.
Foxy is so broken of a character that to this date, she is the only playable character completely banned from any official KOF contests - unblockable low kicks, lightning fast moves with high priority and supers that can be easily chained with her moves to deal huge damage combos. Oh, and did we mention that one of her supers is a suicide-bombing move? Luckily, 2002UM toned her down by reducing her attack speeds and move priorities.
Chin in the early games, particularly due to his DM. It was easily spammable, had virtually no startup time, and the chip damage was ridiculous. Any time a Chin player saw themselves with a low lifebar, it was time to RUN AWAY. (Hence why it was made into his NEOMAX instead in newer titles.)
Nakoruru in XIV, due to a combination of things, her heavy and EX Annu Mutsube can be made safe on block for one. Then there's her bird, Mamahaha, which acts as a projectile that comes in at a diagonal angle, making it work both as a long range poke and an anti-air move. Add to this the fact that it cannot be stopped by hitting Nakoruru which means it can break her out of combos, and even stop DMs in their tracks. There's a reason Mamahaha has been nicknamed Bird Jesus by some players, and this would really bring back the nightmares of how broken she was in Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000.
Chang, along with Choi, is one of the franchise's most popular characters in Korea. Now you know why Chang was included in the CvS2 lineup (with Choi along for the ride) and how Choi himself made it into SvC: SVC Chaos.
K' is much more popular in the States than he is in Japan; some American KOF fans regard him to be a better character than previous protagonist Kyo.
The series is very popular in Central and South America, where arcade owners found it more cost-effective to utilize Neo Geo cabinets and keep up with the latest entries by simply purchasing new cartridges, as opposed to whole cabinets. As a result, audiences in those regions were more exposed to KOF than its more expensive (and better known elsewhere) competitors such as Street Fighter. Characters such as Ramon and Angel were made to acknowledge the popularity of the games and the audience in those regions.
The Amazing Flying Jhun glitch in 2003. To elaborate, one of Jhun's aerial moves involved stomping on your head. Performing a roll quickly after successfully executing this technique would leave Jhun hovering in the air. On top of that, his pushback was no longer functional, allowing him to smash anyone open with the purest of ease. For examples, see here and here. However, as seen here, it can also go horribly wrong and end in utter, hilarious humiliation.
According to developers, Takuma had several extended combos in 94 that weren't supposed to be there initially. But when they removed the combos during testing, they felt he was weaker without them, so they left them in. Some of these combos would stay in for later games that Takuma appeared in.
Growing the Beard: General consensus is that KOF '96 was the point where the series really began to take off. The Orochi Saga was in full swing, overall gameplay felt smoother and more accessible, forward dashing was omitted in favor of running, rolling replaced the dodge mechanic, and music shined across the board as opposed to the previous two games (arguably) having only a handful of notable tunes.
Ho Yay: Aside of the Kyo/Iori super hyper Foe Yay? For someone who was apparently said to be Camp Straight by the developing team themselves, some of Benimaru's pre-battle quotes against handsome males in XIII were rather... flirty. Especially against Shen and Duo Lon.
Shingo's hero worship of Kyo can be very easily seen as a man-crush, most noticeable in their special pre-match intros for both '98 and '99.
With a possible side of Fandom Nod: In the M.U.G.E.N fanbase, the KOF-centric Vans gave his version of Kyo an aerial version of the Orochinagi. Come XIII...
K9999's official profile on the KOF 10th Anniversary website blatantly acknowledges his resemblance to Tetsuo. Shortly after 2002: Unlimited Matchwas released, his picture on the site was mysteriously deleted.
I Am Not Shazam: The Sega Saturn port of '95 refers to him as "Omega Rugal", even when recapping the events of the previous game... when he wasn't Omega Rugal. Likewise, the O in his name stands for Omega, notOrochi, a common misconception, seeing as he draws upon the Orochi power.
Iron Woobie: Heidern, Iori, K', most likely Duo Lon. And especially Ash.
All things considered with the Yagami/Yasakani's 1600-year blood curse and the hints that Iori is possibly the only one who can redeem his clan, Iori still manages to be a massive Jerkass while doing... practically anything, with few exceptions. There is also Ash, an odd variation in that he starts out acting like a grade-A jerkass, but when the act drops and his backstory is fully revealed (in XIII), he then earns major Woobie points.
Also, Yashiro, in the New Face Team's ending. He kills Chris and Shermie to power up Orochi, but then he cradles the fatally injured Shermie in his arms to comfort her as she she bleeds to death — and when she's gone, he offs himself.
Gang-il's physical appearance, especially in the face, bears an eerie resemblance to DarkSydePhil. This has not gone unnoticed.
Nakoruru's pet falcon Mamahaha has been dubbed "Bird Jesus" by some players due to its near Game Breaker status.
Mis-blamed: It would seem that Nona is getting flak for the most recent entries in the series, due to their new art designs. While he was the art director for XII (and draws for the pre-fight exchanges in XIII), it's actually Eisuke Ogura, the artist for Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, who handled the artwork. For some odd reason, Nona is also being blamed from the story developments, an area that he has minimal influence in at best.
Similarly, people have whined against fellow artist Falcoon for his work in Maximum Impact. While he is the artist in charge, it doesn't mean he handles all the decisions in regards to the artwork, and he didn't certainly have ALL the shots in regards to the character roster and story.
Moe: Athena (more so starting in XII), Hinako, Kula, Momoko, Hotaru. Leona might count, but this overlaps with her status as The Woobie. XIV ups the ante by bringing in SNK's (or Japan's) champion Moe character, Nakoruru, along with some legit Moe characters like Mui Mui and Sylvie... though the last one is a psychotic Moe. And although she's just on the way of doing so, Mian's Shrinking Violet personality might push her into this territory. Meitenkun is a male example, being a sleepy androgynous young boy, his voice helps.
A KOF '94drama CD has him killing his servants for making minor goofs and not being "perfect". That same action is repeated in Tatsuya Shinjyouji's KOF '94 manga, where in the second volume he bloodily murders a barely teenaged maid for merely bringing him the wrong wine for dinner. As he slowly approaches the poor little girl, you see him walking and looming over the poor girl as she begs him to not hurt her... and then "SPLAT."
In the third volume of the same manga, Rugal orders one of his subordinates to kidnap Kyo's girlfriend Yuki and lock her in a room with a time bomb only to force Kyo, Benimaru and Daimon fight the Women Team in the streets of Osaka, in a sort of Deadly Game where instead of fighting to the death, they fought to rescue poor Yuki. Thank God the bomb was fake and Yuki was rescued in the nick of time. Rugal didn't even really need to have them fight that way, and did just to troll Kyo and co. For the Evulz.
And then, there's the wicked pleasure he took on having Saisyu Kusanagi tortured within an inch of his life and then Brainwashed and Crazy to make him his servant in '95. Double when you play with the Japan Team and he gloats about it in front of Saisyu's son Kyo, who understandably ends up screaming "This Is Unforgivable!!"
There's also his mauling of Heidern's family and mercenary unit (mind you, this was single-handed and that Heidern's unit was fifty men strong). Apparently done for no other reason than to provoke and slight Heidern. It was also featured in Shinjyouji's manga, with an added bonus: Clara and Sandra were killed while trying to protect the badly injured and now eye-less Heidern.
Goenitz, in response to Gaidel turning down his offer to join him in the attempt to resurrect their master Orochi, awakened Leona's Orochi blood for the first time when she was still a child, causing her to destroy her whole village and kill every inhabitant, her own family included.
Also, he has several in Ryo Takamisaki's KOF: G. First, he gives Mai Shiranui a cruel Breaking Lecture when she's at a very low point, which causes her to go Unstoppable Rage on Kyo and Athena. Second, he wreaks havoc in the finals, and we get to see the people collapse and almost surely die when his power rises and destroys everything, with the side-effect of making Benimaru snap completely on Kyo and sending other fighters into Brainwashed and Crazy states. Third, he almost beats both Kensou and Chizuru to death, and shows up bragging about it while lifting the badly beaten Chizuru by her head. And fourth, remember what he did to Leona in her past? In this version, he does this again, making her go into the Riot of the Blood with words alone so she'll kill everyone for him, with only Clark and Ralf's timely intervention keeping her from doing so.
Yashiro Nanakase, Shermie, and Chris: Revealing themselves as members of the Orochi Clan and becoming the sub-bosses. In the Sacred Team's pre-fight talk, add revealing that they plan to use Yuki as a Human Sacrifice, and mocking her boyfriend Kyo's anger and concern. The last one is worse in the KOF: KYO manga, as in the original '97 game they still have not gone searching for her, but here it's done in front of a restrained Yuki, who has already spent at least two days as their hostage.
Jivatma ordered the death of Lien's parents and family because her father would not join Addes.
Ron, former leader of Hizoku, crossed this point when he razed his own village and murdered a sizable number of his clansmen to offer his services to NESTS for reasons unknown. Ron was labelled as a traitor by the clan and nearly every survivor of that massacre who didn't jump ship with Ron is now hunting him down for answers and retribution.
Saiki, already established as a massive Jerkass and a master of horrendous underling treatment (despite Those from the Past's plans going off with only the most minor of slip-ups), has his when he callously kills his most loyal and sympathetic servant, Mukai, right after he had offered to fight in his stead. Seeing him take over Ash's body to transform him into Evil Ash and keep fighting the heroes is not much better.
More Popular Spin-off: Of both Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting. Even here at this very wiki, people mention some FF and AOF characters as being from The King of Fighters even when those characters, at best, only make cameos in the series.
Most Annoying Sound: The "OOOOOOOUUUUUUAAAAAAAAGH" sound Andy makes when you hit him. Not so prevalent in the Fatal Fury series but it cropped up quite a bit in early KOF titles. It got ridiculous in '99 onward where for no apparent reason they made it his KO cry. You will hear this especially in 2002 and Unlimited Match, where he groans this practically every time you hit him.
"KOKO DESU KA? KOKO DESU KA? KOKO DESU KA? KOKO DESU KA? KOKO DESU KA?" This is the sound of Goenitz's Yonokaze murdering you.
Some of Malin'syells have her sounding like a strangled duck.
Angel's voice (mostly her 2002 seiyuu; the 2001 one wasn't so grating on the ears).
Whip's "teleport", which has her screaming "HYAAAAAH!!!" every time. The CPU loves to abuse this in '99 so get used to it...
SNK's Dodgy Engrish usually are downright HILARIOUS in otherwise serious circumstances. From the slightest misspellings to Rugal's almost babyish "I'LL BE BACK... YOU JERKS!" line from '95.
Any time anyone insults anyone. Which happens often. "Absolute karate. That's Kyokugenryu. And don't forget it, dweebenheimer!"
And of course, the English dub of the Maximum Impact games.
Terry's mangled English has become a vital part of his character. As well as Geese's. Which led to his hilariously cheesy reveal trailer at XIV (although this quote was instead taken from his Capcom vs SNK incarnation): "PREDICTABO!!"
Never Live It Down/Old Shame: Athena. It doesn't matter how many KOF or fighting games she appears in, most older NES owners are still gonna remember her awful game on that system, which was actually a disastrous port of a decent arcade game.
If Magaki's highly unsettling "true form" doesn't give you nightmares, the way he fights will.
Duo Lon's idle pose involves him holding his leading foot in such an extreme twisted inward angle that it suggests that his ankles are broken or at very least he can easily dislocate them at will. Considering how odd the Hizoku clan is to begin with, with a gamut of abilities ranging from necromancy to stretching their limbs at will to naturally producing poisonous substances from their bodies to dissipating into skeletons in order to disappear/reappear on a whim, it's safe to say they're more than a bit unsettling. Seeing as some of the other fighters are creeped out by Duo Lon (a Nice Guy and a shining example of Dark is Not Evil), it's very possible the heroic members of Hizoku are full-blown Type 4 Terror Heroes firmly settled in Creepy Good territory.
Literally in the case of Geese. He has an alternate form called Nightmare Geese that will give you nightmares trying to fight him. In this form he's one of the cheapest SNK Bosses in existence. Subverted in Maximum Impact 2 where he's balanced, but then doubly subverted in 2002UM, which introduces an even cheaper version of Nightmare Geese that you have to fight as the last Expert challenge in Challenge Mode to unlock everything.
Taken Up to Eleven with Nightmare Geese in XIV. This time, his nightmarish aspects extend to his appearance, as he actually look like he's returned from beyond the grave (despite KOF being a separate timeline from the one he dies in) with pale purple skin, red eyes, gray hair and tattered clothing. He now sports a Voice of the Legion and ghostly purple reppukens as well, giving him a truly otherworldly and frightening vibe.
Older Than They Think: Jhun's Zankou Haki Geki HSDM in 2002 Unlimited Match actually first appeared as his MAX2 in the lesser known Neowave, the sort of alternate 2002 where Jhun was playable.
Polished Port: The upcoming Steam release of The King of Fighters XIII will apparently have better netcode than the console releases.
The Dreamcast versions of '98 and '99, Dream Match 1999 and '99 Evolution respectively, feature smoothed sprites, 3D backdrops, and arranged music. '99 Evolution also included some extra Striker characters that could be unlocked (including the first appearances of Vanessa and Seth, who would become full characters in 2000).
Porting Disaster: Not an extreme case, but KOF: The Orochi Saga was marred by in-game loading, which wasn't present in the arcade versions. The same issue occurred for Metal Slug Anthology for PS2, and both compilations were made by Terminal Reality.
Word of God also jokes on the Anniversary website that Chizuru must have envisioned Kyo eternally as a schoolboy (i.e. from the time they teamed up during the Orochi Saga) when creating Kusanagi. And then in Sky Stage Kyo claims to Terry that Chizuru is almost babying him and the other fighters. Cue fans claiming she's in some type of a Loving a Shadow relationship with Kyo.
While K' managed to avoid this during NESTS (although in the very beginning he had his haters), Ash Crimson got the full brunt of hatred from fans (of the west, at least), especially when he started actively upstaging Kyo by beating Riot of the Blood Iori. His flamboyant appearance doesn't help, either. Thankfully, XIV's new protagonist Shun'ei managed to avert this: While he wasn't that greatly received, at least he did not generate the massive hate Ash got.
May Lee was once seen as this due to replacing Jhun in 2001 and then replacing longtime regular King in 2002 and taking her spot on the Women Fighters Team alongside fellow vets Yuri and Mai. The Japanese essentially screamed, "I RAGED. HARD" over the latter to the point that not even adding King back in the home ports could undo the damage. Adding fuel to the fire is that back in those days, due to SNK's takeover by the Korean company Eolith, said company demanded a 'female Korean' to be promoted, and this created May Lee, prompting some to see her as Creator's Pet. Most of this scorn has passed over since and May Lee is seen as an Ensemble Dark Horse elsewhere, compounded with how jokes about her going missing will cross into Dude, Not Funny! due to the passing ofher only voice actress.
Momoko is sometimes considered as such. To Bao of all people. Frequently cited reasons are her voice, Button Mashing, and the fact that she was based off of discharged designs of Bao.
Bao. Added to the Psycho Soldiers team in '99. Too annoying to fight as, overpowered (at least his first incarnation) to fight against; stealing Kensou's powers. The strangest thing about this? He was conceptualized as beginner friendly. How they could screw that up so much is a mystery.
Self-Fanservice: Muscle fetishists tend to fawn over a sizable portion of the female cast (namely the adult ones). They're particularly fond of Leona for some reason, but the list of likely runner-ups for fan artists includes (but certainly is not limited to) Mai, Blue Mary, Athena, Vice, Shermie, Vanessa, Angel, and even Kula.
Sequelitis: 2001, due to the game being handled by a different team, and KOF XII, due to being an Obvious Beta.
Ship Mates: Ryo/King and Robert/Yuri shippers get along very, very well.
Kyo/Yuki fans tend to ship Iori with Athena (see below), and sometimes Leona and Chizuru. If not, they'll likely go for Kensou/Athena.
Ships That Pass in the Night: Iori/Leona. Likely routed in their common ailment (the Riot of the Blood), but the pair hardly seems to think much about each other, let alone anything remotely positive. The most you'll get is Iori expressing some curiosity in XIII that Leona is showing signs of being able to control her powers.
Ship Tease: Iori and Athena, believe it or not. They both like music and Iori is seen in Athena's band in Days of Memories. He appears to think she is cute because he thinks she should "be at home baking cookies" instead of fighting in one of their pre-fight dialogues, and Athena is among the few who show some degree of worry for his sake. Also, their battle quotes have to do with Iori telling Athena to take care of herself, in his own way. Finally, in the KOF: KYO manga, Iori and Athena's hearts connect when his attack accidentally hits her; he shows regret for hurting her, she takes the time to look for him, and she tells Kensou how much sorrow she could sense coming from him. Unsurprisingly, this has been followed by the mild popularity of the Iori/Athena ship.
So Bad, It's Good: The movie. In the same vein, Andy Seto manhuas. While they loosely follow the canon of the story, there's some questionable designs in the art, ranging from Only Six Faces to You Don't Look Like You, or passing through wrong colouring, to plain standard colouring, and rarely (for dramatic purposes only), full-blown BEAUTIFUL digital colouring looking almost as good as or even better than official art. On the "good" part, the fight scenes are well done and the power attacks look amazing, almost like they were ripped from Dragon Ball Z (but you wouldn't mind it because they look, well... pretty badass).
So Okay, It's Average: The '94 manga by Tatsuya Shinjyouji. On one hand, the drawing style is very simplistic and unremarkable and the Cliché Storm is undeniable. On the other, the storytelling flows in a relatively smooth manner despite the cliches and it offers some interesting background tidbits and possible interpretations—like Heidern's story (Sandra and Clara died in an Heroic Sacrifice to save him from Rugal), how the Women's Team met in this continuity (Mai and Yuri become friends over being rejected as prospect members of the AOF and Fatal Fury team and then have to recruit King together), there's a background story in regards to the stages used by the Korea Team (Kyo, Daimon and Benimaru walked into Kim's capture of Chang and Choi, Kim recognized Kyo and immediately challenged him and his group to a fight right there) and the Japan Team (they and the Women Team improvised a stage in the streets of Osaka since Kyo and his friends were caught in a cruel Hostage Situation with his girlfriend Yuki's life at stake), etc.
Stoic Woobie: Heidern, adult Leona, K', Nameless, Clark (once you learn where his dogtags come from), Elisabeth.
As mentioned in Dork Age above, 2002 is seen as this to 2001 for some. Although others hold the game in the same regard to 2001 given Eolith's involvement, it's popularity rivals the first Dream Match game in certain regions. Returning it to the traditional 3-on-3 system without strikers, new mechanics, and seeing the return of several old favorites probably helped.
To a greater extent, XIII is this to XII. It added a lot more characters, including those that were inexplicably missing before, more modes, closed the Tales of Ash saga, and made the fighting more fun overall.
Marukare is probably the first thing to come to mind when one thinks of Orochi, although his Harue special (the projectile-esque attack that can't be nullified by anything) is pretty bad too. Just be thankful that they didn't have him spam his Honosu Sori like Goenitz's Yonokaze.
Krizalid, who could be considered NESTS' equivalent to Rugal in several aspects, has Typhoon Rage, as noted in Game Breaker above. Better get to writing your will while he's juggling you to death.
Igniz' whip attack, which can juggle infinitely when the AI feels like it. You can even play as Igniz in 2002 UM with the move completely intact in terms of cheapness and comboability.
Despite being toted as "the other protagonist" of "The Tales of Ash" saga, Adel Bernstein (noble son of Rugal) plays no role in the climax. Hell, he's not even present in XIII. Only his sister Rose appears. Subverted by the console version, which shows Adel working behind the scenes to help the Ikari Warriors in their investigation of Those from the Past. He's still not playable, despite concept art indicating that he was considered for the roster.
This is a general consensus about the revelation that Kyo-1 and Kyo-2 were two of thousands of Kyo clones created by NESTS when it was Left Hanging immediately afterwards.
The Out of Focus status of the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting cast (and to a lesser extent some of the characters from the earlier KOF games); they are either Demoted to Extra, become The Artifact, or are a case of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. SNK seems to be downplaying the fact that the KOF series is supposedly a big crossover of various SNK series and is focusing more on the characters that are more made for this series instead. However, SNK Playmore is showing some signs in trying to rectify this with XIII as they are starting to flesh out the older characters more.
Choi Bounge. He wasn't the most popular character (outside of Korea, of course) to begin with, but after his appearance in 2002, he became flat out despised.
There is also a respectable number of people who have come to despise Kula after KOF XI.
K' is seen as such in XIII, right next to Raiden. The best teams have both as staple members with a rotating third.
While revisions for the console version have knocked down Raiden a peg or two (mainly due to lengthening the charge time for his dropkick, a staple part of Raiden's lockdown and pressure game), fans are divided on whether the changes to K' have really made him less of a threat, as some have actually served to improve his ability to string together hits in a combo.
Bao. A Japanese magazine had to place the male symbol character along with his name when introducing him; and probably also to explain his special intro with sexy female characters. It didn't help that one of his Spanish quotes for KOF '99 was worded as if he were a girl.
What an Idiot: It's already strongly implied that Eiji was on the receiving end of a Yagami beatdown at the end of '95, but his XI backstory states that he also challenged the entireKyokugenTeam after the tournament. If the latter happened immediately after the former, we all may need to reconsider Eiji's status as a threat. Maybe.
Saiki gets this in XIII, due to a big case of a Villain Ball. Sure, one of your strongest minions who has nothing but loyalty for you offers to fight in your stead, which would really help if you needed to duck into the door to the past in a hurry... and your response is to kill him for no reason other than that he spoke up to you. Yeah, that's REALLY going to help. Especially when you follow it with taking over the body of your own descendant despite knowing clearly that he is NOT to be trusted.
Wheelchair Woobie: Kaoru started out as such, but her interactions with the Psycho Soldier Team managed to improve both her health and disposition
Chizuru is seen briefly as one, more exactly in the Story Mode of XIII.
Win Back the Crowd: XIII is this by virtue of completing the Obvious Beta that was XII (although the Russia stage from XII is mysteriously absent). Mai and K' are back as well as a true SNK Boss. You'll find every known character that was planned for inclusion in XII in XIII as well.
The Woobie: Chizuru, young Leona, Kula (especially with Candy's heartbreaking "death"), Hotaru, Krizalid, Nameless, Xiao Lon, and Elisabeth.