The King of Fighters '97/FAQ

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Tier List

Tier Lists from China

(Currently as of writing the Chinese tier lists are the most accurate, unbiased tier lists of KOF97).

General competitive rules:

  • infinite combos, raw supers and character-floating glitches are not allowed.

Banned over-powerful characters:

  • Orochi, O.Iori, O.Leona. Other hidden characters are usable.

Character Ranking by Yaotouling Cheshen in 2014, concluded from all available competitive matches by then and supervised by several top Chinese KOF97 players. Each line is sorted in descending order.

  • Top: Iori, Chizuru, Chang
  • High: Yamazaki, Daimon, Mary, Choi, O.Yashiro
  • Good: Benimaru, Kensou, Kyo, Terry, O.Chris
  • Middle: Joe, Leona, Athena, Yashiro, Kyo 94, Robert, Clark, Chris, Shermie, Ryo, King, Mai, Ralf, O.Shermie, Kim
  • Low: Billy, Yuri, Chin, Andy, Shingo

Video of the ranking:

An earlier version made in 2010 can be found here:


  • If the restrictions on infinite combos and raw supers are lifted, Terry and Yamazaki will be top-tiered. Characters like Benimaru and Mary will be slightly stronger, while characters like Chang and Daimon will be relatively weaker. Reference match:
  • If no rule is applied, two characters will dominate the game - Orochi and O.Iori. Other characters have negligible influence on the match result. Game will be like this:
  • Extra mode is considered inferior to the Advanced mode in KOF97. Thus, tier lists are based on the latter mode only.

Outdated Tier Lists Below

This is one with Boss Characters

  • SS: O. Iori, O. Leona, Orochi
  • S: Iori, Benimaru, Terry, O. Chris, Kyo, Daimon, Mary
  • A: Robert, Yamazaki, Joe, Ralf, Clark, O. Yashiro, O. Shermie
  • B: Mai, Ryo, Chang, Choi, Athena, Kensou, Leona, Kyo 94
  • C: Yuri, Shingo, Chizuru, Kim, Chin, Yashiro, Chris, Andy
  • D: Shermie, Billy, King

Without Boss Characters

  • SS: Iori e Terry
  • S: Japan team, Mary, O.Chris, Chizuru
  • A: Joe, Ryo, Robert, Chang, Clark, Athena, Kensou, Mai, O.Yashiro, Yamazaki, Leona, Kim, Kyo 94
  • B: Yuri, Ralf, King, O.Shermie, Chris, Billy, Choi, Chin, Yashiro, Shermie
  • C: Shingo e Andy

In conclusion (Combining both tier list):

  • Orochi Iori and Leona are Tourney Banned due that they are only speedish versions of the normal ones.
  • Japan Team(Kyo,Benimaru and Daimon) is the best team in the game.
  • Terry Bogard is semi-god due to their Power Charge crouching A glitch infinite,and Yamazaki have one with the dp+B move but isn't useful as Terry one.
  • Orochi Chris is the only decent EX version of the boss team of the game.
  • Blue Mary and Chizuru are the femme fatales of the game.
  • The rest can be mid-tier everyone else except of Normal Shermie and Andy that can be the Low Tier ones
  • Shingo is the joke character by excellence.

My (HanzoHimemiya) Personal tier list can be like this:

  • Banned: Orochi Iori,Orochi Leona and Orochi
  • Top: Iori and Terry
  • High: Japan Team,Blue Mary,Chizuru,Orochi Chris,Yamazaki
  • Mid: Everyone Else with 94 Kyo
  • Low: Andy and Normal Shermie
  • Joke: Shingo

--HanzoHimemiya (talk) 20:52, 29 November 2015 (MSK)

Game Versions

  • Arcade (Neo Geo)
  • Sega Saturn
  • Sony Playstation
  • Sony Playstation 2 as part of the Japanese Orochi Collection
  • Nintendo Wii American Orochi Collection
  • Android
  • Android HD Remix


Are there any ROM hacks for KOF97?

Being one of the most played KOFs in the series, especially within China, on top of being the climax of the Orochi Saga, there are tons of different and unique ROM hacks that have been made for 97 over the years, as well as some pretty unnoteworthy ones. Many of them will add characters, make some balance changes, speed up the performance so as to prevent lagging, hide order select, among many other things that the below list of ROM hacks can only do so much to explain.

KOF2003 ROM Files
Game Name zipname Notes
* The King of Fighters '97 (NGM-2320)
* The King of Fighters '97 (NGH-2320)
* The King of Fighters '97 (Korean release)
* kof97
* kof97h
* kof97k
Normal game ROM for KOF97.
* The King of Fighters '97 (Optimized Edition) [Hack]
* The King of Fighters '97 (Optimised Edition 2020) [Hack]
* kof97t
* kof97t2020
Self-explanatory. ROM hack that optimizes performance and reduces slowdown.
* The King of Fighters '97 (Practice Mode) [Hack, need AES for practice mode] * kof97pm Self-explanatory. Adds a training mode option for the AES bios release.
* The King of Fighters '97 Plus (bootleg) [Bootleg]
* The King of Fighters '97 Plus 2003 (bootleg / hack) [Bootleg]
* The King of Fighters '97 oroshi plus 2003 [Bootleg]
* kof97pls
* kof97pla
* kof97oro
Bootleg ROMs that unlock all bosses by default except for Orochi, starts each round with full meter and every attack grants a full bar of meter. Alright for practicing super combos. Pressing start also shrinks the character's sprite to micro size. 2003 adds Orochi onto the character select screen, however it's also incredibly easy to softlock the game as Orochi. oroshi plus 2003 fixes this problem though also significantly tones down Orochi and introduces minor graphical glitches.
* The King of Fighters '97 - Final Battle (hack) [Hack] * kof97xt Unlocks all bosses except Orochi by default, improves performance and changes the UI. Character portraits also changed to their KOF98 portraits.
* The King of Fighters '97 - Combo Training (Hack, Ver. 2018) [Hack]
* The King of Fighters '97 - Random Combo (Hack, Ver. 2010) [Hack]
* kof97cbt
* kof97rc
* Changes the UI slightly, unlocks all bosses including Orochi, and adds a few new moves for characters. Other changes unknown/TBA. Random combo allows for random select and also allows for players to make teams of three of the same character.
* King of Gladiator (The King of Fighters '97 bootleg) [Bootleg]
* King of Gladiator Plus (The King of Fighters '97 bootleg) [Bootleg]
* kog
* kogplus
Infamous bootlegs of KOF97 for adding nude sprites for Mai, Shermie, and Blue Mary, but only on some moves. Music is changed around significantly, as well as the UI and even the NeoGeo startup screen is tinted orange. Uses KOF2000 sprites on the title screen. Bosses unlocked, full meter available with hits providing one full bar of meter, and even several clone characters on the character select screen which are just sped up versions of existing characters with questionable color palettes. Character select screen does not always give the correct character chosen. Order select is also removed and defaults to the order characters were chosen.
* The King of Fighters '97 - Anniversary Edition (Build 2.1.0212) [Hack] * kof97ae ROM hack that overhauls KOF97 as a whole with balance changes, new UI, optimized performance, and for whatever reason, K' and Kasumi are playable here, replacing Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona respectively using their KOF99 sprites. Order select is also hidden for fairness, decided by buttons pressed instead of a cursor.
* The King of Fighters '97 (10th Anniversary Chinese Edition, EGHT hack) [Hack] * kof97cn Changes unknown.
* The King of Fighters '97 (Imitation Playstation final improved version 2016-10-29) [Hack] * kof97ps Changes unknown.
* The King of Fighters '97 (Invincible Plus) [Hack] * kof97inv Unusual ROM hack with UI changes, new character select portraits and background, Goenitz and Omega Rugal playable, and Goku from Dragon Ball Z in the opening title screen, among other (probable) balance changes made.

Community Links

Game Navigation

Blue Mary
EX/Boss Characters
EX Kyo
Orochi Chris
Orochi Shermie
Orochi Yashiro
Orochi Iori
Orochi Leona