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Korea Team: South Korea

    Kim Kaphwan - South Korea 
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Profile
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Tae kwon do
  • BIRTHDAY: December 21
  • HEIGHT: 176cm
  • WEIGHT: 78kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type A
  • BIRTHPLACE: Korea
  • HOBBY: Karaoke
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Wife and two children
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Korean barbecue. Kimchi
  • DISLIKES: Evil
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Gymnastics

"Hey guys, how about it? Let's do the Tae Kwan Do thang!"
Voiced by: Satoshi Hashimoto ('94-XI), Kazuhiko Nagata (XII onward), Brett Beyer (Maximum Impact series, English), Hiroshi Isobe ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Kunihiro Kawamoto (The King of Fighters: Destiny)

Korean Taekwando master and arbiter of justice. He first showed up in Fatal Fury 2, and upon hearing that Terry Bogard was also invited to Krauser's tournament, declared Terry to be his rival and set out to beat him. Terry won, but the two have remained good friends since then. Kim is also a proud family man and has trained his sons Jae Hoon and Dong Hwan to be fine martial artists in their own right. Oh, and he Can't Hold His Liquor. At all. In XI, Choi and Chang convince Kim to enjoy himself, prompting him to take up Terry on his offer for joining that year's Fatal Fury Team. Impressed with his disciples' maturity, Kim believes that his first "rehabilitation" efforts have paid off and set his sights on two other villains from the past, Raiden and Hwa Jai.

In XIV, Kim rewarded Chang and Choi with a week break, but they did not return. Instead, he received a visit from his master Gang-Il and the latter's newest lover Luong, the two brought news that both Chang and Choi are seen hanging around with the legendary criminal Xanadu. Kim resolved to enter the tournament with Gang-Il and Luong in order to find out what happened to Chang and Choi.

  • Animal Motifs: The Phoenix, but more so the Fenghuang (a Chinese firebird of made of of two others) due to the usage of the term Hou'ou (the Japanese on'yomi reading of Fenghuang) in his movelists. Can sometimes inexplicably summon one at the end of his Hou'ou Kyaku (Fenghuang Leg) DM.
  • Ascended Glitch: His ability to perform the Hou'ou Kyaku in midair was retained from a bug that affected certain command moves in '94 and '95.
  • Badass Creed: "Aku wa yurusan!" See below.
  • Badass Normal: All he knows is Taekwondo. That, and JUSTICE! Kim still manages to be a fierce competitor and is revered as a national hero in Korea.
  • Boxed Crook: Pretty much forces this on Chang and Choi, and later Raiden and Hwa Jai.
  • Brick Break: He does a pretty neat spin on the trope in Capcom vs. SNK 2 by throwing up several wooden boards into the air and breaking them away before they touch the ground. Not quite as impressive as him breaking a large column of ice in the Real Bout Fatal Fury series, but still.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: The whole reason this transpires.
  • Confusion Fu: Despite his simplistic moveset, Kim in gameplay has been solid space control and offensive pressure character due to the range and speed of his moves, and some solid mixup as well. He's pretty much one of the most notable staples of TKD practitioners in fighting games who love any form of physical offensive focus. It's lessened in XIII, though.
  • Detect Evil: "Aku wa yurusan! HA!!" ("Evil is unforgivable!") Usually coupled with a finger point that rivals Phoenix Wright or a gleaming Death Glare.
    • Lampshaded in a group of bonus illustrations for KOF '99: Kim sees Anti-Hero K' lurking in the background and wonders if he's evil.
  • Extremity Extremist: He only uses punches with his normal weak punch moves—inputting a strong punch makes him kick, like the other two buttons. His special moves are also mostly kicks.
  • Fighting Spirit/Animal Battle Aura: See Animal Motifs above.
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Flash Step: Just when you thought the Hou'ou Kyaku couldn't be any more painful, his Neo MAX version of the attack (Rei Shiki Hou'ou Kyaku) involves Kim moving so fast that he's simultaneously whaling on his foe from both sides. He then jumps sky-high and brings his heel crashing down upon the opponent. OUCH.
    • This move reappears as his Climax move in XIV.
  • For Great Justice
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Whenever he gets a creepy idea for his rehabilitation program or does the Death Glare as seen above. The former instance usually gives him a Cheshire Cat Grin.
    • Which makes his KOF 2001 victory render downright scary. Thanks a freaking bunch, Nona and Eolith.
  • Happily Married: with 2 children.
  • Hot-Blooded: He oozes a lot of passion, either during fights or when talking about justice.
  • Hunk: Handsome, manly, and all about justice.
  • Hurricane Kick: His Kuu Sajin special in older games is one; in a variant, he does it while jumping upwards.
  • Justice Will Prevail: Essentially, this is Kim's Catchphrase (see Detect Evil).
    • Flanderization: Said upholding and love of justice, which now seems to be the topic of choice in every conversation. Duck King does not let this trait of Kim's go unnoticed. Needless to say, Kim is not amused.
    Duck: "Chill! We're drinking here. Teachings? Justice? Who needs to hear that crud now?"
    Kim: "...Crud?" (death glare)
    Duck: "No, it's a great theory on education. Let me stretch a bit, then I'll hear you out."
    Kim: ".........."
    Duck: "OK, let's hear it. Shoot."
    Kim: "In a nutshell! True jushtice... Itsh all in the hamana hamana teaching."
    • Let us note that Kim is completely hammered during that speech.
    • It should be noted that the International Taekwondo Federation's oath is "I shall be a champion of justice and freedom." and "I shall build a better and more peaceful world." Kim's demeanor (which extends to many of his cohorts) could be this philosophy taken to new heights.
    • Mocked mercilessly by just about everyone in XIII. Kensou, in fact, states that the word "justice" no longer has a meaning thanks to Kim.
    • However, to be fair, one of Kim's win quotes in XIII reconstructs this term. Kim is aware that people will call him a freak and he's a weirdo for his extremism. However, he'll stand by his philosophy that justice will prevail no mater what and he'll continue to fight to uphold it.
    • In XIV Najd of all the people calls Kim's concept of justice, twisted.
  • Kiai: Kim seems to unleash his inner Kenshiro during some of his moves.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: During his Haki Hyaku, he stomps the ground in front of him. If the opponent is standing, the attack hits their shin, momentarily stunning them. If not...
  • Last-Name Basis: His name is usually rendered in Asian order, and as such, Kim is actually his family name. He's never been acknowledged by his given name and later games would drop the Kaphwan from his name, almost exclusively referring to him just as "Kim."
    • Rumors speculate that he was named after the president of Viccom (the Korean publisher of the SNK games), who had a similar pronunciation to Kim's name (金甲煥). Additionally, Kim's sons are also named after the real Kim's son (Jae Hoon) and younger brother (Dong Hwan). After the fallout of the first online game (KOF World), produced by Viccom, "Kaphwan" was removed from Kim's name.
  • Legacy Character: Chronologically speaking, maybe. It's implied that Kim Sue II from Kizuna Encounter is his descendant and Kim Hae-Ryeong from Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny is his ancestor due to the fact that they all possess the same family name (Kim), have a similar fighting style, and share several moves, notably the Hienzan, Hishou Kyaku, Hangetsuzan, and Hou'ou Kyaku. Hae-Ryeong even pulls an "Aku wa yurusan!" on The Dragon from his game. Given that Kim Kaphwan came first (game-wise), these two are probably expies.
  • Martial Arts Uniform: wears the Korean dobok.
  • Martial Pacifist
  • Megaton Punch: more of a Megaton Kick, but still, his Hou'ou Hiten Kyaku
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His signature Hou'ou Kyaku DM. His HSDM, LDM and Neo MAX tend to be a variant of this, Up to Eleven.
  • Slide Attack: His Ryuusei Kyaku (Meteor Kick) in some games; he may decide to follow it up with a jumping axe kick.
  • Spam Attack: His Shakka Shuu (Miraculous/Scorching Fire Assault) attack in past Fatal Fury games (which makes a return in the Maximum Impact games).
  • Stance System: He compared to other TKD characters doesn't have much in the way of this, but some games give him stances where he faces the background much like his old stance in Fatal Fury (like in Capcom vs. SNK) or even have him turn his back (in the Maximum Impact games).
  • Team Dad: To Chang, Choi, his kids, May Lee, Chae Lim, and everyone in his TKD school.
  • Theme Deck: A more notable example. Kim's Hienzan (Flying Swallow Slash), Hishou Kyaku (Soaring Legs), Hangetsuzan (Half Moon Slash) and Hou'ou Kyaku (Fenghuang Leg) have been a staple part of not only Kim's repertoire (effective and popular enough to be retained in every game), but have nudged themselves into the movesets of his fellow Taekwondokas and disciples as well as that of Kizuna Encounter's Kim Sue II and Kim Hae-Ryeong from Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny. In the case of the latter two, the inclusion of these techniques, their names (the surname of Kim), and their general similarities to Kim in appearance and methodology are a large factor in the belief that they are blood-linked to Kim's family tree.
  • Three Strike Combo: His Sanren Geki special in older games is a 3-hit rekka-style special with 2 possible endings.
  • Twinkle Smile: One of his win poses. Complete with an Audible Gleam.
  • Vocal Evolution: Until KOF '96, Hashimoto gave Kim a rather soft, youthful voice. Since then and until XI, he voiced Kim with a much deeper tone — unless he went all "ATATATATATATATATA!! WATAAAA!!!" on his rivals. His new seiyuu, Kazuhiko Nakata, has kept the tradition.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: If Kim is so much into justice, then he should know that some of the charas he deems as evil are... well, not necessarily villainous. Seems Kim tends to take MANY things at face value when he shouldn't!
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    Chang Koehan - South Korea 
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Profile
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Tae kwon do + power attacking (loses the former in XIV)
  • BIRTHDAY: October 21
  • HEIGHT: 227cm
  • WEIGHT: 306kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type B
  • BIRTHPLACE: Korea
  • HOBBY: Bashing things
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: His iron ball
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Cows roasted whole (he especially likes eating the last leg)
  • DISLIKES: Centipedes. Days of training (but don't tell Kim!)
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Ping-pong

"A crushing victory! Eh, heh, heh, heh!"
Voiced by: Yoshinori Shima ('94-'95), Hiroyuki Arita ('96 onward, The King of Fighters: Destiny)

A Korean criminal who was busted by Kim following a bank robbery and strong-armed into Kim's reformatory program. He found a friend in Choi, and the two have vowed to go on a big crime spree once they can get away from Kim.

His big break came in XIV, when Kim gave him and Choi a week break, but they ended up causing chaos outside his surveilance and they were sent to prison, where they met Xanadu, whom they saw as a way to return to the roots of criminal and wash off Kim's training.

  • Acrofatic: Slightly subverted and played for laughs. Starting in '96, Chang attempted to do Kim's Hien Zan attack (think Guile's Flash Kick). Chang could only flip belly-up and then crash on his back.
  • Ascended Glitch: Due to a programming error early in the franchise, Leona Heidern would offer Chang a salute when she was originally supposed to offer it to teammate Ralf. This got a few nods in future installments as far forward as XIV, where they salute each other before battle.
  • Ass Kicks You: His Close heavy kick in The King of Fighters XIV and close medium kick in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium
  • Bald of Evil: He reforms in 2003, but is back again as a crook as of XIV.
  • Beard of Evil: a full beard and mustache of evil!
  • Chained by Fashion
  • Costume Evolution: At first he wears an orange prisoner's getup, then he changes it to a Korean dobok as part of Kim's training. He went back to the orange getup in XIV as he goes heel again.
  • Counter Attack: One of his specials (Tekkyuu Taiko Uchi) is him standing upright and picking his nose. When attacked, he sneezes and hits the enemy with his head.
  • Death from Above: One of his DMs (Tekkyuu Assatsu) is him jumping high to deliver a powerful belly flop from above.
  • Dumb Muscle: Chang's not all that bright. Some of it might be due to his tendency to bash his head against his giant iron ball. 2000 has an alternate form for him called "Smart Chang" (appearing only as a Striker), who's svelte and not quite as dumb looking.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: An Epic Flail, to be exact.
  • Fat and Skinny: The fat to Choi's skinny.
  • Fat Bastard: Played for utter laughs.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Eventually develops a friendship with Kim, which is why he's part of Kim's team in '03 even though he's considered reformed by that point.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He started out as a Heel, being a criminal, but after an encounter with Kim, he's forced to turn Face, even wearing a Taekwondo gi in his outfit. In XIV, he's back to being Heel when Xanadu recruits him and Choi to the Villains Team and he's once again free from Kim's supervision, being able to wear orange normal clothes again.
  • Home Run Hitter: His Climax DM in XIV has him spinning with his ball, hitting his foe multiple times, before doing a strong final swing (complete with slo-mo) to smash his foe far away... who orbits the Earth before falling behind Chang.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Chang had a ball & chain attached to him to try and slow him down. Instead, he just uses it as a weapon.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: He has Kim's Haki Kyaku in some games.
  • Meaningful Name: Koehan means "thug" in Korean. Guess what Chang is.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: His command throw Dai Hakai Nage.
  • Mighty Glacier: Very slow, but hits very hard with his iron ball. In XIV following the 2.0 update; he has a 1200 health rating unlike other characters who fit the trope until the 3.10 update that reduces it to 1100 along with the others of said trope.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: One of his DMs (Tekkyuu Dai Bousou) is a standard "ranbu" style DM. Also his Tekkyuu Dai Bokusatsu DM where he smashes his foe with his iron ball repeatedly.
  • Plucky Comic Relief
  • Shoryuken: attempted: His version of Kim's Hienzan (in older games) has him try to do a somersault kick, but fails and then drops down instead. He might hit the opponent on the way down.
  • Signature Move: his Tekkyuu Dai Kaiten, Tekkyuu Funsai Geki specials and Tekkyuu Assatsu DM.
  • Stout Strength: He's a very big man and his weapon of choice is a huge iron ball attached to a chain.
  • Spin Attack: His Tekkyuu Dai Kaiten special where he spins his iron ball around him.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: His strongest attack doesn't involve his iron ball (at least not directly), but his belly. He also bangs his head against his iron ball before a fight and in his current time out losing animation, breaks the chains that wrap his body.
  • Time Stands Still: In 2002UM this is his MAX 2. This happened in the original as well, but it was only for one powerful belly flop.
  • Unpredictable Results: the finishing attack for his Tekkyuu Dai Bousou may vary from a belly bump, a Rolling Attack, a front kick, and some others.
  • Use Your Head: Aside from the Counter Attack above, one of his throws has him smashing his head to the opponent's.

    Choi Bounge - South Korea 
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Profile
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Tae Kwon Do & Speed Attacks (loses the former in XIV)
  • BIRTHDAY: October 25
  • HEIGHT: 153cm
  • WEIGHT: 44kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type B
  • BIRTHPLACE: Korea
  • HOBBY: Slicing stuff
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: The talons he made for himself
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Crab
  • DISLIKES: Konnyaku jelly
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Rhythmic gymnastics

"A quick win. A quick victory. This time, I'm really free!"
Voiced by: Atsushi "Monster" Maezuka (games, The King of Fighters: Destiny)

A former serial killer who picked a fight with Kim Kaphwan, and subsequently got his ass handed to him. Instead of handing him over to the police, Kim decided to use him in an experimental "reformatory" program of his own, along with Chang Koehan. The two crooks became the best of friends, and they both anticipate the day they can escape Kim's watchful eye.

Like Chang, Choi got sent into prison in XIV during his one week break by Kim. Within the prison, they met 'the most evil criminal', Xanadu. He quickly roped them to join his entourage, with Choi hoping that he will be able to get back to his criminal roots and wash away any justice teachings he got from Kim.

  • Licking the Blade: Fond of licking his metal claws.
  • Meaningful Name: Bounge (more appropriately spelled and pronounced as "Bungeh") means "lightning." It's fitting, considering that Choi is nimble and eccentric.
  • Nice Hat
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He can use Kim's Hou'ou Kyaku. He no longer has it in XIV, however.
  • Plucky Comic Relief
  • Rolling Attack: One of his specials (Kaiten Hien Zan) has him rolling with his claws, doing a lot of hits.
  • Set Swords to "Stun": His claws never seem to cause lasting damage, despite the fact that they clearly draw blood.
  • Shoryuken: he originally has Tatsumaki Shippuu Zan (Flying Whirlwind Slash) as his uppercut move, he later gets Kim's Hienzan as well.
  • Signature Move: His Tatsumaki Shippuu Zan, Kaiten Hien Zan specials and his Shin! Chouzetsu Tatsumaki Shinkuu Zan DM.
  • Speed Blitz: there's his Shakushi HSDM in 2002 where he disappears and multiple slashes randomly appears on screen. Also his Climax DM in XIV where he knocks his opponent to the air, then does multiple zig-zagging slashes to the airborne foe a'la Maximum Spider.
  • This Is a Drill: One of his specials (his Senpuu Hien Sashi and its followup) and one DM has him doing a powerful drilling attack.
  • Verbal Tic: Most of his sentences end in "de yansu."
    • In the English translations, this is symbolized by Choi ending most of his sentences (at least, in cutscenes) with the words "buddy boy."
  • Wall Jump: Aside from jumping off the wall normally, he also has a special move where jumps back to the wall, then launches himself at a direction with claws outstretched.
  • Wolverine Claws: Wears a pair of gloves with knives on the fingers, just like Freddy. He meets Vega in SVC: Chaos and tries to strike up a friendship, but Vega being Vega, this does not go well.

Sports Team: USA

    Heavy D! - USA 
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Profile
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Boxing
  • BIRTHDAY: March 25
  • HEIGHT: 208cm
  • WEIGHT: 113kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type A
  • BIRTHPLACE: USA
  • HOBBY: Listening to the "NEW JACK SWING"
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Cat he keeps (her name is Pooh)
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Mainichi Honebuto (Milk)
  • DISLIKES: Fine words
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Wrestling

"Slow. Your attack's too slow. I read you like a storybook."
Voiced by: Toshikazu Nishimura (games), Takayuki Nakatsukasa (The King of Fighters: Destiny)

A bare-knuckle boxer who formed the USA Sports Team.

    Lucky Glauber - USA 
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Profile
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Basketball + Self-taught Karate
  • BIRTHDAY: December 2
  • HEIGHT: 222cm
  • WEIGHT: 105kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type AB
  • BIRTHPLACE: USA
  • HOBBY: Take part in a prize competition by postcard
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Basketball he uses during a battle
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Boiled Beans
  • DISLIKES: noise of scratching glasses
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Baseball

"Wake up! It's too early for bedtime!"
Voiced by: Kazuhiro "Kay" Inage (games), Haruo Yamagishi (The King of Fighters: Destiny)

Best friend of Heavy D! who uses basketballs in his own style of kung fu. Appears to be a L.A. Lakers fan, based on his colors (except if you pick him in another color scheme...).

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    Brian Battler - USA 
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Profile
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Power attacks based on American Football
  • BIRTHDAY: April 15
  • HEIGHT: 219cm
  • WEIGHT: 152kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type O
  • BIRTHPLACE: USA
  • HOBBY: Car Racing
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Viper (beloved car)
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Mashed Potatoes
  • DISLIKES: Hardworking Efforts
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Hunting

"Your defense means nothing. Nothing to my tackling, that is!"
Voiced by: Eiji Yano (games), Taro Kiuchi (The King of Fighters: Destiny)

An MVP-rated football player who was invited by Heavy D! to join the USA Sports Team in '94. After their loss, he left to return to his football career. Despite being invited back to various tournaments, he and his teammates always get beaten up and their invitations stolen by others, such as the New Faces Team in '97.

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    Rugal Bernstein - Unknown 
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Profile
  • MODE OF COMBAT: A composite with mastery of all fighting styles.
  • BIRTHDAY: February 10
  • HEIGHT: 197cm
  • WEIGHT: 103kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Unknown
  • BIRTHPLACE: Unknown
  • HOBBY: Resurrection
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: His evil heart
  • FAVORITE FOOD: He has no likes or dislikes.
  • DISLIKES: Justice, people who perform selfish evil.
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: None in particular, he can do them all.

"Repeat this after me: I will never take on a god again!"
Voiced by: Toshimitsu Arai, Norio Wakamoto (2002), Banjo Ginga ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Tsuguo Mogami (The King of Fighters: Destiny)
Portrayed by: Ray Park (live-action movie)

The series' most infamous Big Bad. Rugal was one of the most feared people in the criminal underworld, not only with his silver tongue but with his fighting abilities as well. Not one single person had been able to defeat him, and those he deemed as Worthy Opponents were bathed in liquid metal and showcased as his "trophies". He decided to revive the original KOF tournament held by Geese Howard previously. Before the tournament began, he faced Saisyu Kusanagi, the father of Kyo, and brutally maimed him, leaving him for dead. When he fought Team Japan in the finals, Rugal was defeated after taking down Daimon and Benimaru first. Unwilling to accept defeat, he blows up his aircraft carrier. He was believed dead but resurfaced in '95 under the pseudonym of "R." During this time, he brainwashes Saisyu (with Saisyu earning some... displeasure from Vice), and in the finals forces him to fight Kyo. After Saisyu is defeated and brought back to his senses, Rugal reveals a secret to the finalists: he has awakened his Orochi power, and promptly transforms into Omega Rugal, turning his hair silvery-white and his skin deathly grey, allowing him to nearly defeat Team Japan. Eventually however, he tries to use the full extent of his power, but cannot control it because he is not of Orochi blood. The power consumes him, and he dies. Chizuru reveals in '96 that Rugal received his Orochi power from Goenitz, who gouged his right eye out. Outside of the official storyline, he appears in every Dream Match game. In canon, he is succeeded by his son Adel and his daughter Rose.

  • Abusive Parents: Implied to some extent. Adelheid mentions that are still unsolved issues between them both. Yet he left behind his large wealth and possessions to his children.
  • Arms Dealer: To the extremity that he actually lived on a Nimitz-class supercarrier, and his kids have their own armored fortress airship.
  • Artificial Limbs: His right hand from KOF '95 onward, and his glowing red eye.
  • Attack Reflector: His Dark Barrier special, accompanied by an appropriate taunting laugh.
  • Audible Sharpness: The Genocide Cutter leaves out this. And it comes from his legs.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: A talent he apparently has. Initially this was meant to be a part of his fighting style, as using any special move on him in '94 would have granted him the ability to do the same move to you. However, this turned out to be far too unfeasible for the game to handle and thus was only given some moves from Geese and Krauser along with a few unique moves.
  • Back from the Dead: As of XIV. Verse's winquote to Mature and the endings confirm that he is one of the many souls inside of Verse who gets released into the world upon defeat.
  • The Backwards Я: His normal theme in '98, "The ЯR."
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: That elegant red tuxedo he wears when you first face him in '94. He loses it in all subsequent installments (the only exception is if Omega Rugal is waiting on the sidelines in '95), but always wears it in the Capcom vs. SNK series, even as God/Ultimate Rugal.
  • Badass Longcoat: His suit evolves into this in Capcom vs. SNK.
  • Badass Mustache: It fits his wealthy, yet villainous appearance.
  • Battle Aura: Omega Rugal gains one in his '98 Victory Pose.
  • Blood Knight: His original motivation for reviving the tournament.
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif: As SNK's sound team likely wanted to avoid heavily reusing themes, Omega Rugal was given "Guitar, Omega and Rugal" in '95 as opposed to another arrangement of "Ketchaku R&D." Rugal would gain another theme in the form of "The ЯR" from '98, but his original song was just as emblematic of Rugal's claim to SNK Boss infamy as the man himself that it became the music of choice for Omega Rugal's reappearances, albeit under different titles ("XXX" in '98, "Unlimited R" in 2002UM).
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Very much so. His personal treasure is his "evil heart" and one of his official dislikes is justice. In '95, Rugal tells the Hero Team that he seeks revenge for them having foiled his "evil plans".
  • The Coats Are Off: When Rugal takes off the shirt and jacket of his tuxedo for Round 2, it's a sign he's about to get serious on your ass.
  • Cool Ship: The BlackNoah. It manages to serve both as a battle arena and his personal residence.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: As Omega Rugal and as God/Ultimate Rugal from Capcom vs. SNK 2.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Using the Orochi power without being of the Orochi bloodline was apparently the ultimate cause of his death.
  • Depending on the Artist: The length of Rugal's hair. He was first depicted with a mullet that ended above his shoulders while his Omega form gave him longer hair that went past them. Both forms had the same sprite in 98, and many official illustrations of both forms depict him with different hair lengths.
  • Disappeared Dad: To his children, Adel and Rose. Adel idolizes his father enough to mimic his fighting style, and both copy his fashion sense, but Adel remarked about never being able to do things with him. On the other hand, Rugal granted them access to his vast wealth and they live quite lavishly.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Perhaps one of the most unholy examples ever and bleeds over with Kick the Dog. Heidern was apparently annoying him with his probes into his operation (not even talking thorn-in-the-side bad, simply getting Rugal's attention) and his response is to kill his entire family and mercenary squadron of fifty men. From Rugal's view, it was meant as mockery and provocation. Unconventionally, also counts as his Moral Event Horizon (as this is the first genuinely heinous thing he does in the series).
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: His "Dead End Screamer" DM (KOF '98 move only).
  • Evil Laugh: The prime example in KOF. He even does it as he is about to die (again) in KOF '98.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: In CR The King of Fighters and The King of Fighters: Destiny, he's given a much deeper voice than before.
  • Eye Scream: Goenitz sliced out Rugal's eye when trying to kill him. Impressed that Rugal survived a fatal attack, Goenitz then gave him some of the Orochi power. Regardless... Rugal still died.
  • Fingerless Gloves: He loses one glove (and the corresponding hand) after surviving the explosion of the Black Noah, but later installments either restore it or simply give him regular gloves.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Under the tuxedo, Rugal wears a skintight body shirt with mesh.
  • For the Evulz: The underlying theme of his actions, sadistic humor, and snark. At least some of the other villains had more (relatively) altruistic goals.
  • Flash Step: One of his '98-only specials as Omega Rugal. Notable in that Rugal actually hits you while dashing past you.
  • Flung Clothing: Tosses the top part of his tuxedo off in KOF '94 in Round 2, and in 2002 his jacket falls off, along with the wires on his shoulders.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: His cybernetic eye since KOF '95 (back in '94, the eye was pitch black) and as God Rugal. And both are red.
  • A God Am I:
    "Repeat this after me: I will never take on a god again!"
  • Grapple Move: His God Press special and Gigantic Pressure DM has him running towards his foe, then if he connects, he slams them towards the opposite wall.
  • Hypocrite: One of Rugal's dislikes? People who perform selfish evil. He more than fits that description.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: The Kaiser Wave, taken from Krauser. Can be charged to become unblockable; when he's charging, the energy ball formed in his back can hit the opponent if they try to go past him.
  • Meaningful Name: In Japan they tend to pronounce names starting with an L as an R and thus may sometimes misromanize R as L. The word 'lugal' was a Sumerian sign and later became what they called their king, so Rugal Bernstein becomes King Bernstein, perfectly fitting with a power-hungry narcissist.
  • Narcissist: The first clue was the portraits of himself adorning the command room of the BlackNoah.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In '94. If Kyo didn't assume the worst when he saw his unconscious father, he would have never gone into an Unstoppable Rage-induced Heroic Second Wind and Rugal would have won. Kyo gets lucky for a second time in the next game when Rugal's own power destroys him.
  • Neck Snap: His KOF '98 (non-boss) incarnation has the "Dead End Screamer," which in its SDM/MAX version starts with Rugal doing this to the opponent neck (then he follows by spinning over him/her while laughing maniacally. Ouch).
  • Not Quite Dead: Survived detonating his ship in KOF '94. Strongly hinted to have survived his apparent death in '95.
  • One-Winged Angel: Omega Rugal.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Leads to his Plotline Death. See Deadly Upgrade and Superpower Meltdown.
  • Pillar of Light: At the end of his Gigantic Pressure DM.
  • Poisoned Weapons: His hands. One of Omega Rugal's '98-only DMs involves impaling the opponent and supercharging them with green, poisonous Orochi energy. This attack is made even cheaper in Capcom vs. SNK 2, where God Rugal receives this move as a normal special. And it involves flash stepping.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Rugal's hair goes from blond to silver.
  • Power Echoes: As God Rugal in Capcom vs. SNK 2.
  • Recurring Boss: Pops up in two consecutive games in the series' canon. Afterwards, he was seen as the ultimate end-boss and is so well-loved by fans, that Rugal became the Final Boss of every subsequent Dream Match.
  • Red Bionic Eye Take Warning: After Goenitz ripped off his eye, he replaced it with an artificial, glowing red one.
  • Replacement Goldfish: When Mature and Vice became Ascended Extras in '96, Rugal received two additional secretaries named Aya and Hermione in '98.
  • Right-Hand Cat: His panther Rodem, who acts as Rugal's "partner" in '94 and '95.
  • Running Gag: A meta example; his penchant for "dying" (although it only canonically happened once) has been Played for Laughs to the point that Rugal's hobby in his official bio is listed as "resurrection."
  • Shoryuken: his ever-popular Genocide Cutter.
  • Signature Move: his Genocide Cutter, God Press special and Gigantic Pressure DM. Also his Dead End Screamer for the meme, although it only appears in '98.
  • Slasher Smile: Omega Rugal from KOF '98 onwards.
  • Slouch of Villainy: The end credits of 2002.
  • SNK Boss: Trope Codifier. Rugal is the SNK Boss. Tales of his unfairness and infuriatingly difficult AI have established a legacy spanning two decades and counting.
  • Sore Loser: See Villainous Breakdown below.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": "Luger" popped up infrequently in the first two games. This is arguably Woolseyism, as a Luger is a German weapons brand while Rugal is a (presumably) German arms dealer.
  • Starter Villain: Every Story Arc in The King of Fighters has the first boss inferior to the subsequent ones from a storyline standpoint in some capacity, whether it be on the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat or simply a matter of title/rank, although this doesn't always hold up from a gameplay perspective (not all SNK Bosses are equal; Krizalid, for example, is rivaled only by Igniz gameplay-wise in the NESTS Chronicles and remains one of the hardest KOF bosses period). Rugal is no different, as he was taken out rather nonchalantly by Goenitz (who gave him a portion of Orochi's power as a reward for surving a fatal attack, losing nothing but his eye from the attack), who is in turn subservient to Orochi, a deity with world-destroying powers. Rugal was the low man on the KOF totem pole originally and really existed only as a force responsible for kickstarting the series in the first place. What makes Rugal unique is that he not only came back in a stronger form in the next game (even if it was mostly done to set up the overlying plot with Orochi in '96 and '97), but he's seen as the boss in KOF lore and held up high by characters in the story post-death as an evil and powerful villain in both the main games and spin-offs like Sky Stage where he becomes The Chessmaster behind all the villains. (It doesn't hurt that he's one of the biggest examples of a SNK Boss in not only this series, but for SNK as a whole.) It is for this reason that Rugal enjoys his long tenure as the ultimate end boss in the series' dream match games.
  • Status Quo Is God: He is always the end boss in every KOF game he appears; only in KOF '98: Ultimate Match was he the default boss with Goenitz and Orochi being of higher levels.
  • Superpower Meltdown: Omega Rugal, both in KOF '95 and the original 2002.
  • Take Over the World: Omega Rugal's hobby is "World conquest." This, combined with the lingering question of if Rugal is truly dead and his appearance alongside the members of NESTS in 2002, has the fans scratching their heads.
    • 2002 is a Dream Match Game, so it's non-canon. Still, when you beat him in Unlimited Match, the game drops you a subtle little hint:
    Omega Rugal become extinct... ?
  • Taking You with Me: As mentioned above, in KOF '94; also used in '98, R-2 and 2002: Unlimited Match.
  • This Cannot Be!: Gets one in '94 when you beat him.
  • True Final Boss: His second round in KOF '94. Even more fittingly, him in 2002UM; you can only fight him by not losing more than 2 teammates against the "Final Boss," and you can't unlock your team's ending picture unless you beat him. Oh, and you can't continue if you lose against him.
  • Useless Useful Spell: His Kaiser Phoenix HSDM in 2002, in which he spams Kaiser Waves over and over. It sounds good in theory, but if the first one hits, it can launch you into the air and the others tend to miss while you're airborne or on the ground, though its damage is comparable to other HSDMs. In 2002UM, it was given OTG properties... but its damage output was drastically lowered. He also tends to stop it prematurely.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Happens twice. The first time, he blows up his own aircraft carrier with himself still on it. The second is his Superpower Meltdown, and proceeds as follows:
    Omega Rugal: "Even with my new power I lost. What? My body.....????? NO! To meet such a fate! But I'll be back... YOU JERKS!"
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Omega Rugal ('95 only).
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Goenitz definitely thought so when he restores Rugal.
  • We Can Rule Together: He makes this offer to the Rivals Team in '95. They refuse.
  • Willfully Weak: When you first face him in '94. Then, his Rubber Band A.I. kicks in... Oh god...
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