Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 13:15:33 -0400 (EDT)

King of Fighters '98 Character Summary

By Shingo


GENERAL CHARACTER INFO

OK, these rankings are based on my opinions, and if you have any flames, I don't 
mind getting into a character debate. My e-mail is the same one as the one I put 
in my Blue Mary FAQ (Shingo@canada.com). This FAQ is mainly based on my views as 
an experienced player with many of the characters and as a watcher of some of 
the top players in my area. People who could kick my sorry @$$ back and forth 
with one character. 

MOST USED TOP 10

1. Blue Mary: Ok, it may seem weird that Blue Mary is at the top of the list, 
but honestly, it's true. Blue Mary is extremely versatile and quite powerful. 
Even though she was weakened since 97, she still remains one of the all time 
greatest due to her insane combos and (if it's your style) she gains some 
serious points to place your name in the high score.

2. Goro Daimon: Due to his bugs and his major increase in power, Goro is very 
powerful. 2 SDM's and it's over, no matter what. Some good SDM combos with Goro. 
I personally would never use Goro, since I find he is WAY too overpowered, and 
that isn't exactly my style, though it once was when Iori '96 was the best.

3. Real Bout Terry Bogard: This version of Terry is actually quite powerful. You 
can connect fwd+a to a Slide Kick, as opposed to Terry 98 fwd+a to a Power 
Charge. The Slide Kick is more powerful anyway, and it IS comboable into a 
Rising Tackle. A good character indeed.

4. Ryo Sakazaki: This version of Ryo is more of a powerful character than his 
'95 counterpart. You don't need the distance with his fireballs, all you need 
are some serious combos. The stun punch SDM is too good. He also has the 
unblockable command 'throw' and a counter punch that has very good priorty. 

5. Shermie: Unbelivably, she is used quite well in my area. She has the amazing 
ability to take down 75% health with her Shermie Flash SDM. She has an 
unblockable air grab, and she has that one cheap hit after most of her command 
throws.

6. Kyo Kusanagi: Of course! If the hero of the game wasn't in the top 10, 
something would've been wrong. Because of his really cheap EXTRA style, he's 
played often. Without that cheap style, he's still a good character and many DM 
combos come with this character.

7. Choi Bounge: Some serious insanity here! Not many people use Choi because of 
the incredible amounts of skill it takes to pull some of his most deadly combos, 
but he's played enough by people to be in the top 10. Drill claw x4 at an upward 
angle, once you land, you have enough time to do the Hurricane SDM, and it will 
connect!

8. Ralf Jones: Some of Ralf's combos are unbelievably funny, and powerful 
indeed. Galactica Phantom SDM rocks and Lateral Kick connected to Ralf 
Blitzkrieg SDM seriously looks painful. Ralf overall has good power too.

9. Vice: Fast, fast throws. Many comboable moves and that special command grab 
'Mithen's Robe' after a certain 2 moves. She would've been better if only she 
had some better combos and a better DM. Withering Surfaces sort of bites unless 
playing some scrubs. Negative Gain is too powerful and easily comboable.

10. Andy Bogard: The 98 version of Andy is so much better than the Real Bout 
version. Fast and mobile, he has many combos that can eat away your health. The 
Super Sonic Swirl SDM after a Dam Breaker Combo is the key combo with Andy. His 
Comet Arrow Blast is too slow, but it's comboable anyway, making it pretty good.

LEAST USED TOP 10

1. Chang Koehan: Although big, and pretty slow, he's not so bad. No one likes to 
use him except the scrubs and cheap the computer with the Whirling Ball and 
Chain. He has combos, but not a single DM combo. By far, the worst character.

2. Brian Battler: He has ONE major combo, but it takes way too much skill and 
mad timing to pull it off. Also, most of his moves lag him too much. He would've 
been first, except his Tackle DM drains like mad, and his tackle can absorb 
Ralf's Galactica Phantom. He also has no DM combos.

3. Heidern: His charge moves stink and his Storm Bringer can't drain enough from 
players. Unconnectable Storm Bringer as well. His Neck Roller makes him too 
open. If you do his Final End SDM after a fwd+b, it's comboable, which is why 
he's not second or first, but third.

4. Chizuru Kagura: Although she has some mad combos, she's never used. She has 
many confusing moves, which often confuse the player as much as the opponent. 
She also has moves which leave her open to attacks if blocked/missed. One of her 
DM's takes too long to come out unless you have the skill to place it right 
after the other DM.

5. Chris: The regular version of Chris isn't bad, IMO, but no one seems to like 
him. His Position Switch move isn't great, it can be seen coming away. His DM's 
are pretty weak too, comboed or not. His teleport saves him often and he has 
good moves which play mind games.

6. Real Bout Andy: The Dam Breaker Combo is gone, and he has a large recovery 
frame for his Dragon Bullet. His Da Dan Dan DM could've been better and his 
Windmill Punch is weaker. Other than that, he has high strength and his Da Dan 
Dan DM is comboable anyway. He's still a strong character. 

7. Mature: A drainer. Still doesn't make up for her lack of strength. She has DM 
combos, but they're a bit hard to connect. Her Ebony Tears REALLY could've been 
better if you were going to give an 'Orochi' type a fireball. The motion is 
long, the lag time is huge, she could've been better. But still, her uppercut 
has good priority and she has very fast basic moves. 

8. Real Bout Mai Shiranui: No one uses her, in fact, I'm not so sure people 
think she exists. If it weren't for the fact that her Super Deadly Ninja Bees DM 
is comboable and strong, she would've been higher than this. She plays just like 
the other Mai without the Fan Dance.

9. '94 Joe Higashi: His TNT punch is different than his 98 versions, he has NO 
DM combos and he's lost the Golden Heel, a key to playing cheap with Joe. His 
Tornado goes across the screen, but it has higher lag time and there's no second 
Tornado. But all you really need is the combo involving the Slash Kick. Still, 
no one uses him.

10. Billy Kane (any version): His new juggle kick is stylish, and it's comboable 
into the Fire Spin DM, but the kick can sometimes leave them far away from you. 
His staff extend takes too long, and if you do the uppercut, there is some major 
lag in there. His rapid attacks are too weak. He still has some nice combos that 
can be improved. Just no one uses him.

THE CHARACTERS IN BETWEEN

'95 Kyo Kusanagi: One massive juggle combo, and one massive DM combo similar to 
the one used by the '98 version. This character plays just as well as the other 
version of Kyo, but people seem to like his fire punches better than his 
fireballs.

Benimaru Nakuaido: His One-hand Bridge Collidor is better. His fireball sucks 
now but at least it drains nicely. His triple kick has serious lag time, but his 
regular uppercut is pretty good, can't be jumped over. His knee thrust is mostly 
useless. His command throw is WEAK. His fwd+b is blockable. His air-fireball is 
a good asset, since it pushes people away enough to let you land safely.  He's a 
pretty average character. 

'98 Terry Bogard: As mentioned above, he's pretty good. Too bad you can't do the 
Power Charge after fwd+A, but his uppercut has a better counter priority and he 
can at least do a Power Kaiser after the Power Charge.

'95 Ryo Sakazaki: His fireball covers the distance of the screen, but leaves him 
a bit open. The only really outstanding thing about this character is that his 
uppercut has practically no lag frames compared to his '98 self.

'98 Robert Garcia: Plays a bit worse than in '97. Can't connect fwd+b into his 
Tornado Kick. His fireball has a bit more priority again and his Backflip Kick 
has better vertical range, but leaves him wide open to a charge DM or a screen 
wide fireball. 

'95 Robert Garcia: Plays almost like '95 Ryo. His old Tornado Kick leaves him 
wide open, and is insanely weak, but at least it's comboable into fwd+b. His 
Dragon Dance DM does less damage than Ryo's for some reason.

'98 Yuri Sakazaki: She plays a lot better than in '97. She's also got DM's that 
deal mad damage. Her Phoenix Kick hurts and is comboable.  Her Tornado Kick 
doesn't have as much lag, neither does her flying knuckle. Her double uppercut 
lost strength, but her Reppa Uppercut DM gained some.

'95 Yuri Sakazaki: A goddess. Her new *unblockable* close range super (name 
unknown) does 50% damage as a DM! Even more as an SDM! She has her old air 
fireball which is done on the ground and her fireball travels screen distance. 
She doesn't have her double uppercut but she has her Mirror Shield, a not so bad 
air counter.

Leona: Some nice new moves, and some serious DM combos. Her Dynamite DM deals 
mad damage. I like her new earring grenade. It's hardly noticable when it's out 
in the screen, but if they see Leona acting funny, sometimes people are smart 
enough to block.

Clark Steel: Lost some strength since '97. His Bulldog DM lost serious speed and 
priority. He has a fwd+b but it takes some serious skill to use it in a combo. 
He has his old Backbreaker back, which is a nice touch.

Athena Asimaya: Her fwd+b is better, since you can combo her Shining Crystal DM 
into it, and her
Psycho Sword. Her old Reflector is better than the '96 reflector, since the '96 
reflector lost some major strength. Her Phoenix Arrow stills deals heavy damage.

Sie Kensou: His new style with his command 'throw' makes him better because you 
can connect a Dragon Fang after it. Too bad you can't connect his Rising Dragon 
DM into it. His Dragon Burst DM lost big damage since '97 and his Mighty Bun DM 
is still too damn useless.

Chin Chentsai: He got his old water sake blast back, which is a very nice air-
counter. His Fire God Sake Flame DM can juggle opponents in the corner and his 
Rolling Punch has more priority than ever, plus, some people can't hit you out 
of it. Two words: Drunken Dance.

'98 Mai Shiranui: Her Fan Dance lost major power and priority this year. Her 
Triple Fan DM has less of a spacing this year, so you can super jump over the 
entire DM if timed correctly. Her Fire Wheel DM can be blocked when hit from 
behind this year. 

King: Her Tornado Kick lost major damage, and can no longer be done after Silent 
Flash DM unless the opponent is cornered. Her Silent Flash DM is still one of 
the strongest DM's in the game. Her Trap Shot does more damage too, and her 
Mirage Kick has a bit more priority.

Kim Kaphwan: His Ground Buster seems useless to me, except that it can absorb 
fireballs, but it's too weak as a comboable move. It takes mad skill to juggle 
the opponent in the air with his head stomp. Neither DM got weakened, nor did it 
gain any more damage. Still has his old '97 DM combo, which always gets mad 
applause when done.

Yashiro Nanakase: Yashiro rocks. His Final Impact DM when charged to the max 
rules, plus it's comboable into A, A, B, B combos. His counter uppercut has more 
priority than many other moves and his Hammer Punch hits earlier than '97. His 
Million Bash Stream DM got weakened, even after you do maximum hits.

Orochi Yashiro: O. Yashiro got weaker. His One-handed Slam DM got a serious 
weakening. His other DM gained a lot more power, but it must be done from far 
away now. His running turn-about command 'throw' can grab out of roll, too.

Orochi Shermie: O. Shermie practically got nothing new since '97. Her Thunder 
Fist DM got weaker, but her Thunder Kick DM does more damage. She gained a few 
new combos, but that makes no difference, she's still incredibly weak and it's 
amazing that she's not in the least used 10.

Orochi Chris: Lost his 100% since '97 since his command 'throw' goes too fast to 
combo the Serpent Wave DM. His Leaping Flame hits earlier, much like Yashiro's 
Hammer Punch. He's still a strong character, nonetheless. His fireball is the 
best in the game, next to Omega Rugal's.

Ryuji Yamazaki: Both of his DM's gained massive amounts of power. For both, you 
must mash the buttons in order to deal max damage. His counter can no longer be 
blocked when hit from the air, and his axe-dust kick looks brutal. Too bad he no 
longer has his unlimited combo. 

Iori Yagami: Lost power since '97 and '96. He has lost his frontal combo with 
the command 'throw', but he still has it when done from behind (jump over 
opponent, holding back+b). His SDM is one of the weaker DMs in the game, but his 
new Leaping Flame gives him much more style and a new offensive strategy, since 
it can go through fireballs. 

Saisyu Kusanagi: It's good that he's back since '95. He's gained a few new 
moves, and with it, some good combos. His new super is kind of weak, but it 
looks pretty good, and it's comboable. His Serpent Wave comes out faster than 
Kyo's, which is helpful. 

Takuma Sakazaki: Mr. Karate, what can I say? With no uppercut, he certainly is a 
useful character. He has his old '94 combo and his new DM is unblockable, but 
weak, even when you've mashed all the buttons to get max damage from the DM. His 
fireball travels a bit higher than Ryo's or Robert's, which means people must 
jump earlier to avoid it. His counter is one of the best in the game, but it can 
be stopped by people who have fast 2-hit attacks, such as Blue Mary, or by 
someone who throws. 

Heavy D!: Against the computer, Heavy D! can kick. Once you've knocked down the 
opponent, with the right timing, the Soul Flame will knock them back down, 
repeat it for an easy victory. His Dancing Beat (powered) hurts when coupled 
with the D! Magnum SDM, which totally rocks Omega Rugal's attacks. Unfortunetly, 
Heavy D! doesn't have a lot of attacks which give him distance. Good for 
characters who like to play on a close offensive.

Lucky Glauber: His Cyclone Kick is weak, but his Knee Kick is pretty good. It 
hits high and knocks people up into the air too. His teleport is extra fast, and 
his multiple basketball tactics are very good for playing mind games. His Lucky 
Driver DM deals serious damage, and contrary to popular belief, it IS comboable 
after a fwd+b.

Rugal Bernstein: Rugal is good, but nothing in comparison to his Omega version. 
His reflector is good since it still is pretty much the ONE move you need with 
him. His Kaiser Wave is pretty good for mind games, but it's slow to come out. 
His new Dead End Screamer looks too brutal, and is good when done after a Wind 
Slash. His Gigantic Pressure lost too much strength, even his SDM is weak. Not 
good for a 'god'.

Shingo Yabuki: Major, major increase in power. His 3-hit unblockable command 
'throw' is VERY useful. His new counter is laughable, since the opponent must be 
VERY close in order for his counter to connect, otherwise you just gain some 
distance away from the opponent. His Serpent Punch with C lost it's first hit 
unless done in very close quarters. Both his DMs can be done one after the 
other, which is still good. His Shingo Kick makes him vulnerable if done too 
close, and his triple kick still has that unblockable drop. 

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Credits:

My local arcade!! Wooooooooo... thanks for keeping KoF '98 in the area for so 
long, and not selling out.

My friend, Wai Lu Ken (BAD). He's the anonymous one in my Blue Mary FAQ, the 
same guy that downloaded the vids. Ask him for the video locations, though if I 
remember right, the site has gone down. itseamyeah@hotmail.com

My friend, Billy Kim (the one who made the King FAQ on GameFaqs). I had to test 
some of this stuff on SOMEONE, right? ^_^