Developed by Eolith Co., Ltd.
Released in October 2002.
About Kusanagi : As the NESTS Chronicles began, Kyo's school uniform changed to a white outfit but his trademark was his black school uniform (even though he's over 20!). Because of some desired the return of the old Kyo, he was inserted into the game at the last moment. In KOF 2003, KUSANAGI was treated as phantom that Chizuru produced with the power of the Mirror of the Yata. But you can't have Kyo without a school uniform. Maybe in Chizuru's mind Kyo will always be a high school student.
About Orochi Yashiro : The characters commonly referred to as Shadow Yashiro, Shadow Shermie, and Shadow Chris were first formulated to balance out the Japan Team of Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimon. Needless to say, Yashiro was 'a character who used powerful body slams associated with the earth and earthquakes' in the same vein Daimon did. He's a dynamic guy who doesn't fret over tiny details, but his hobby is playing guitar in his band. The band's name has never been officially revealed, but it is known as 'C.Y.S.' He idolizes the guitarist Paul Gilbert, and has quite a detailed background story to him.
About Orochi Shermie : If Yashiro offsets Daimon, Shermie is Benimaru's counterpart who ''manipulates lightning and thunderclap attacks''. But the supervising planner made sure, through trial and error, Shermie would simply not become a ''female Benimaru''. Various ideas were added to make her a new, unique character. The ''Moonless Thundercloud'' Shermie heaves up with a belch is an example of this, as is the ''Willow Whip'' move she uses to mow down opponents with flailing arms. Incidentally, these moves were called the ''Explosive Belch'' and the ''Back off, You Beasty'' moves during development.
About Orochi Chris : Chris, of course, is Kyo's counterpart, 'a manipulator of flame'. At the inception of production, the plan was for Chris to use the 'Flame of Darkness (Black Flame)', but the black flames were hard to see so the designers settled for purple ones. When it came time to name Chris's arsenal of moves, we remember the director saying, 'The Dark Orochi Wave sounds good'. But other planners objected : 'It's dumb for an Orochi character to have 'Orochi Wave' as a move name. It's like saying, Call me Mr. Chris'. Regardless, the director won out.
The little kid that appears in Terry Bogard's win poses is none other than a young Rock Howard from "Garou - Mark of The Wolves
". Since Garou takes place in 2008, Rock is still a young kid in training during this game.
KOF2002 contains pieces of music from older KOFs. Here's a complete list of themes, the teams (or individuals) they belong to and the games they were taken from :
Tears (Kyo Kusanagi) - "The King of Fighters '99 - Millennium Battle" (Kyo Kusanagi's theme music).
Kurikinton (Fatal Fury Team) - "Fatal Fury 2
" (Terry Bogard's theme music).
Beauty & The Beast (Art of Fighting Team) - "The King of Fighters 2000
" (Art of Fighting Team's theme music).
Jungle Bouncer (Ikari Team) - "The King of Fighters '94" (Ikari Team's theme music).
Psycho Soldier (Athena Asamiya) - "Psycho Soldier
" (what part of the game?).
Diet (Gals Fighters Team) - "Art of Fighting 2" (Yuri Sakazaki's theme music).
Arashi no Saxophone 2 (Iori Team) - "The King of Fighters '96" (Iori Team's theme music).
Bloody (New Face Team) - "The King of Fighters '97" (New Face Team's theme music).
KD-0079 (Hero Team) - "The King of Fighters '99 - Millennium Battle" (Hero Team's theme music).
KD-0084 (2000 Team) - "The King of Fighters 2000
" (Hero Team's theme music).
Seoul ni Ikou (Kim) - "Fatal Fury 2
" (Kim theme music).
Nov. 20, 2002; The King of Fighters 2002 Original Sound Trax [SCDC-00221] - Scitron
Some known hacks of this game are known as :
"The King of Fighters 10th Anniversary - All Team Battle
"The King of Fighters 10th Anniversary 2005 Unique
"The King of Fighters 10th Anniversary Extra Plus
"The King of Fighters Special Edition 2004
"The King of Fighters 2002 Plus
"The King of Fighters 2002 Magic Plus
"The King of Fighters 2002 Magic Plus II
Leona, Ralph and Clark are playable characters in the Foma 90x Series Mobile Phones game 'Metal Slug Survivors'.