Released in July 2000.
About Ramon : This character was designed with one of Neo-Geo's major markets in mind, South America. He's a stout, masked wrestler who uses tricky body slam moves. These 3 points form the major concept behind the creation of Ramon. Ramon's designer at the time loved pro-wrestling fighting moves, and we remember him carefully studying these. The fruits of this labor crystallized themselves in the Lucha Dolore known as Ramon. With his use of 'Lucha Libre' moves and not those of traditional 'pro-wrestling', the staff team hope you can enjoy experiencing the attention to detail, intensity, and enthusiasm of Ramon's designer at that time.
About Vanessa : Vanessa's entrance in KOF at the time put a stop to the parade of increasingly younger characters appearing in the game, especially the women characters who were all teenagers for the most part. This is the reason for creating the concept of a thirty-something woman who broke all the rules and overflowed with adult appeal. Her style has become the topic of many humorous comic strips. In her first appearance in the Sega Dreamcast version of KOF '99 as a Striker character, she was a bit irreverent. And in KOF 2000, she officially entered the tournament as a player character. Designers wanted to introduce her as a player character in KOF '99, but legend has it that she had to sit it out due to certain time constraints.
About Lin : This character was selected out of the encyclopedic character background materials (whose volume would rival the Encyclopedia Britannica!) of the supervising planners. Lin is tied to the Flying Brigands 'HIzoku', who were introduced as a KOF side story in the NESTS Chronicles, but without the knowledge of the staff, and when Ron showed up in the ending sequence, there were some awfully surprised designers. With all the special moves and actions for this character the programmers and planners had a rough time working on this character. He brought tears to the eyes of the developers, but not for the usual reasons.
About Seth : Seth was created as part of a set with Vanessa, appearing for the first time in the Sega Dreamcast version of KOF '99. His initial name was 'Dick'. The name had deep significance for his designer. Based on the strong wishes of the supervising designer, the powerful image of a big, dark, middle-aged man with a Mohawk haircut who used the arts of self-defense was decided on. Since Seth was created first, Vanessa's clothes were designed to match his. This made some people surmise things like Seth was Vanessa's husband.
About Hinako Shijo : At first designers sought to create a character similar to Chie in the Japanese comic Jarinko Chie (Downtown Story) who used sumo moves. The supervising designer, however, succumbed to insistent requests to use 'a debutante', and Hinako gradually transformed into a wellborn young maiden. She was to fight barefoot, but that idea got eighty-sixed. The tape remaining on her fingers is a tiny remnant of her original concept. Since her appearance grew further and further away from that of a sumo wrestler, the names for her moves use those of actual sumo moves to preserve the essence of the sumo wrestler in her original character.
About Kula Diamond : To add dimensions to the villainous NESTS organization of the NESTS Chronicles and excitement to the story, the need to create an enemy for the huge and individualistic K' arose. Manipulator of the 'Anti-K' Arts', her ice symbolizes the foil to the flames of K'. That's what Kula Diamond's all about. During production Designers elicited the opinions of newly hired female designers regarding Kula's mannerisms to "make her girlish gestures appropriately girlish" (but left the actual design work to the veteran supervising designer). Designers think we succeeded in faithfully depicting a 14-year-old girl... Asking Kula's designer about his impressions at the time, he immediately answered : "Kula had an easy delivery. She didn't give me any pain". The actual work appeared difficult, but it seems he enjoyed his work.
About Candy Diamond : Candy is the robot you can see during Kula's Special Move displays, animated sequences, and as a Striker. Since Candy's not a player character she doesn't stand out like the other characters, but she does appear in the gut-wrenching episode that depicts her emotions for Kula when she's torched saving her mistress in the Kula ending of KOF 2000. If you haven't yet seen this, what're you waiting for? Hurry up and clear the game with Kula to find out!
About Zero : Zero is the boss of Krizalid from KOF '99, but his position in a company would be similar to that of 'division chief'. Because of his black beard and noble manner, designers are sure he's regarded as a rather scary 'division chief' in the organization. His guiltless betrayal of Krizalid speaks volumes about his true personality, in stark contrast to his dislike of traitors listed in his profile. Incidentally, The names of some of Zero's moves come from the Japanese anime 'Hokuto no Ken'.
About Diana : Diana's the Amazon featured in Kula's sequences. She used to be a top executive for NESTS but is portrayed as Kula's guardian in the background story. If you compared NESTS to a company... designers often use this metaphor, but designers don't have a clue which position would fit her or Foxy. Judging by her loathing of elite managers (college boys), designers could say she's a 'big-sister section chief' who climbed the corporate ladder with extremely hard work. Working with a "fabulous babe" boss like her would be whack (but a bit scary, though)!
Robert's 'Ryuugeki Ken' is a knock-off of the Sonic Boom (It isn't in "The King of Fighters '99 - Millennium Battle" because of its looks, despite the charging motion).
There are 2 symbolic things that tell you how the people at SNK were forseeing the end of their company. Kyo's theme is called 'Good Bye Esaka', Esaka is the avenue where the SNK building and Neo Geo Land are (Esaka means 'entrance to the hill'). The second thing is the destruction of the city that started all : South Town (Home of "Fatal Fury - King of Fighters" and "Art of Fighting" - however, note that in "Garou - Mark of The Wolves
", Second South was rebuilt near South Town. Also noted is the fact that every Kyo theme before 'Tears' had 'Esaka' in it ('Esaka' in 94, 'Funky Esaka' in 95, 'Esaka?' in 96 and 'Esaka Forever' in 97).
The reason for those names is that in "The King of Fighters '94", Kyo's team stage is below a bridge in the Esaka area near SNK. In "The King of Fighters '95", they fight in front of Neo Geo Land, again, in Esaka in front of the SNK building. In "The King of Fighters '96", they fight in top of a bridge also in the Esaka area. In "The King of Fighters '97" there is no Esaka stage, however, this was supposed to be the last KOF as SNK planned to move to the Hyper NeoGeo 64, it was like a glorious farewell to KOF, however, things went different. Finally, in "The King of Fighters '98 - The Slugfest", the Esaka stage appears again; they fight below a bridge in front of the Neo Geo Land.
Origin of Alternate Strikers :
Another Benimaru (Benimaru) : Alternate art for Benimaru.
Another K' (K') : Alternate art for K'.
Another Robert (Robert) : Alternate art for Robert (inspired from the early "Art of Fighting" days).
Athena (Athena) : Athena as she appeared in her first game, "Athena
Baijang (Chin) : (Not too sure, but it could be Tung Fu Rue's panda).
Billy Kane (Andy) : "Fatal Fury - King of Fighters" (Andy is second banana for the good guys, Billy is second banana for the bad guys).
Chizuru Kagura (Mai) : KOF, Mai's teammate in '97/'98.
Chris (Whip) : KOF, part of the New Face Team.
Cosplayer Kyoko (Shingo) : A girl dressing up as Kyo (in his old outfit), Kyoko is the 'feminine form' of Kyo (ie, what Christina would be to Chris) - Voice by Haruna Ikezwa.
Duck King (Joe) : "Fatal Fury - King of Fighters".
Duke Edwards (Ramon) : "Burning Fight" - Voice by Kong Kuwata.
Eiji Kisaragi (Lin) : "Art of Fighting".
Fiolina Germi (Vanessa) : "Metal Slug - Super vehicle-001
Foxy (Kula) : KOF, Kula's guardian.
Gai Tendou (Takuma) : Main character in "Buriki One in Tokyo - World Grapple Tournament '99
", where Ryo has a cameo - Voice by Nobuyuki Hiyama.
Geese Howard (Terry) : Terry's old nemesis from "Fatal Fury - King of Fighters".
Goenitz (Leona) : KOF, final boss in "The King of Fighters '96".
Goro Daimon (Seth) : KOF '94-'98 (retired at the time to raise children).
Kaede (Ryo) : "The Last Blade".
Kang Baedal (Jhun) : Original design for Jhun - Voice by Eiji Takemoto.
Kaoru Watabe (Bao) : KOF (Kaoru is an Athena fan who lost both her legs and her fan letter to Athena was what made her join the '97 tournament, Kaoru now has artificial legs, thanks to Athena) - Voice by Ayako Kawasumi.
Kensou (Kensou) : Kensou as he appeared in his first game, "Psycho Soldier
Kim Dong Hwan (Chang) : "Garou - Mark of the Wolves
", Kim's older son.
Kim Jae Hoon (Choi) : "Garou - Mark of the Wolves
", Kim's younger son.
Kim Sue-Il (Kim) : "Kizuna Encounter - Super Tag Battle" - Voice by Yoshiaki Fujita.
Lilly Kane (Hinako) : "Fatal Fury - King of Fighters", Billy's younger sister and Joe's girlfriend - Voice by Yumi Kakazu.
Li Xiangfei (Kasumi) : "Fatal Fury - King of Fighters", Kasumi's teammate in '99.
Mature/Vice (Iori) : Iori's teammates from '96/'98.
Nakoruru (Yuri) : "Samurai Shodown".
Rocky (Maxima) : Player 2's character from "Robo Army".
Ryuji Yamazaki (Mary) : "Fatal Fury - King of Fighters", Mary's teammate in '97/'98.
Shermie (Clark) : KOF, part of the New Face Team.
Shishi-Ou/King Lion (King) : Main villain in "Savage Reign" - Voice by Katsuhisa Nakatsuka.
Sho Kirishima (Kyo) : Original design for Kyo.
Yashiro Nanakase (Ralf) : KOF, part of the New Face Team.
Maniac Striker Origins :
Another Iori (Iori) : Alternate art for Iori.
Cool Choi (Choi) : Alternate art for Choi.
G-Mantle (Ryo) : This character is King, appears in "Art Of Figthing 2" previous her battle in history mode.
Neo & Geo (Ramon) : They are not the SNK mascots :), they appear in the game "Quiz Daisousa Sen - The Last Count Down", where they are the private eyes Neo MacDonald and Geo Kentacky.
Thier last names are a spoof to two Fast Food restaurant chains.
Kentacky is the Japanese reading for Kentucky - Voice by Hiroyuki Arita.
Rugal Bernstein (Kula) : KOF, considered to be the 'franchise boss' (much like Bison for SF).
Saisyu Kusanagi (Kyo) : KOF, Kyo's father.
Smart Chang (Chang) : Alternate art for Chang.
Unknown (Kasumi) : "Art of Fighting", Kasumi's father (Ryuhaku Todo) - Voice by Arita Goto.
Leona, Ralph and Clark are playable characters in the Foma 90x Series Mobile Phones game 'Metal Slug Survivors'.
Aug. 23, 2000; The King of Fighters 2000 [SCDC-00035] - Scitron