KOF '97follows the same format as the previousKOFgames, but introduces two distinct
playing styles which the player can select before choosing their team:Advance andExtra.
Advance mode is based on the previous
game in the series,KOF '96, but features a revamped
Power Gauge. Instead of charging the Power Gauge, the Power Gauge is now filled
whenever the player strikes the opponent or by performing Special Moves. The
player can stock up to three Power Gauges. The player can use one stock of the
Power Gauge to perform a Super Special Move or enter a "MAX" mode, in
which the player's defensive and offensive strength are increased. Performing a
Super Special Move while in MAX mode will make the player perform a more
powerful Super Special Move.
Extra mode is based on the first two
games in the series,KOF '94andKOF '95. Like in those games, the
player fills the Power Gauge by charging it or defending against the opponent's
attacks. After the gauge is filled, the player enters MAX mode and like in
Advance, their character's offense and defense will increase. The player can
only perform Super Special Moves in MAX mode or when the life gauge is near
empty and flashing red. When the player performs a Super mode in MAX mode while
the life gauge is flashing red, then the Super move will be even more powerful.
The Emergency Roll maneuver fromKOF '96used in Advance mode is replaced by
the side-step fromKOF '94andKOF '95.
Despite the events at the end of
The King of Fighters '96, the 1996Tournamentwas a huge commercial success and
sparked a world-wide fighting craze. Within a few months of the tournament
ending, various large corporations had held smaller KOF tournament qualifiers
and constructed special King Of Fighters stadiums around the world, building
the excitement up for the 1997 tournament. News of the tournament spread
through every form of media and fans and new fighters from across the globe
come to watch the preliminary matches. Determined to harness the secret power
of the Orchid, Geese Howard has created and entered a new '97 Special Team',
which consists of Ryuji Yamazaki, Blue Mary and Billy Kane. Also, a mysterious
New Faces Team, composed of three band-members (Sherrie, Yashiro Namesake and
Chris) enter the tournament with the terrible intentions of raising Orchid from
his slumber (ItTurnsout that in the back story of KOF '97, the American Sports
Team (Heavy D!, Lucky Glibber, and Brian Battler) were originally invited to
compete in the tournament, but like the same incident with Iori Yagami's team
in 1995, they had their invitations stolen by the New Faces Team). Eventually,
theHeroTeam (Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru Nikaido and Goro Daimon) wins
the tournament and prepares to accept their hard-earned prize, but not before
facing off against a psychotic Iori Yagami, who becomes possessed by the Orchid
blood that flows through his body.