Released in July 1997.
Yuri has a long record of taking movements from other characters, especially Capcom (see previous KOF entries). In this new opus : Yuri's new special attack 'Hien Rekkou' is a knock off of Ken's Shoryuu Reppa.
Roddy and Cathy from "Top Hunter - Roddy & Cathy" appear in the Kowloon background at the extreme left.
Other characters appearing in the Kowloon stage are : Roddy Birts and Lenny Creston from "Art of Fighting 3 - The Path of the Warrior".
The American Sports team from "The King of Fighters '94".
Lee Pai Long, Tung Fu Rue and Jubei Yamada from "Art of Fighting" and "Fatal Fury Special" and King's Waitresses with Rugal's panther.
The Terry's theme music was originally from "Real Bout Fatal Fury Special".
The Ryuji Yamazaki and Mary's Blues theme music was originally from "Real Bout Fatal Fury Special".
The Athena Asamiya thene music come from "Psycho Soldier
The name of the 3 characters instrumental in the defeat of Orochi have some relation to the original legend :
1) Kyo Kusanagi : The Kusanagi is the name of the sword that was used to kill the Great Serpent.
2) Iori Yagami : One of his moves, the Ya Sakazuki, means '8 wine cups', which were needed to get the Great Serpent drunk.
3) Chizuru Kagura : She was the last surviving member of the Yata clan and the mirror used to seal Orochi away was a homage to the mirror in the legend (in the legend, it was a mirror created by the Great Serpent's tears).
In this iteration of KOF and the following games where he is a playable character, Choi Bounge gains a special throw (using the D button) where he pokes his claws up the opponents rear, this is actually supposed to be a Japanese prank, but the pranksters do not use claws.
About Ryuji Yamazaki : To bring the story that had grown too large and out of control back on track, the members of the Orochi 8ketsu Clan were teamed up in '97. By doing this, the dev. team thought, the story would reach its conclusion for the time being... but among the 3 new faces including Leona's father Gaidell, the dev. team lacked one more member for the 8ketsu. What should we do?... And along came Ryuji Yamazaki to bail us out of our predicament. A snake charmer that even looked like a snake, he became a popular villain. He once humbled himself, joined up with the Fatal Fury team, and blended into the world of KOF more than we had predicted. The game planner at that time really knocked himself out to provide new moves for Yamazaki. Idea after idea got a short trip to the circular file (Attract opponent after Snake Charmer move; Seven Serpent Dagger Throw, etc.), and those failures led to successful moves like the Sand Sweeper.
About Blue Mary : Receiving the strong support of fans in a magazine's popularity poll, Blue Mary made her name known to the public, appearing in KOF from '97. Losing to Blue Mary in the popularity contest, as a matter of fact, was Duck King. This popularity contest truly decided the fate of these 2. From '97 to '03, Mary became a regular to the series for the staff. Duck, on the other hand, hit the skids, and he was relegated to cameos at the side of screens, in backgrounds, or as a Striker character. Doesn't this fleeting episode make you think about the impermanence of everything? Since the designer in charge of Mary preferred her outfit in "Fatal Fury 3 - Road to the Final Victory", she's kept that look until now. It seems to have worked.
About Yashiro Nanakase : Yashiro's team was created to offset the remaining top 3 characters. With the combination of their use of 3 elements-Kyo and Chris representing fire, Benimaru and Shermie signifying lightning, and Daimon and Yashiro standing in for the earth-the concept for Yashiro and his cohorts as rivals to the series' heroes was further emphasized. It also explains the battle of hairstyles (and bands, too) between Yashiro and Iori. In consideration to events going on in the world today, designers have expiated some of Yashiro's more wicked ending lines-such as, 'Execution, accomplished.'-and tossed them into the dustbin of game history. Incidentally, some of the production codes for his Super Special Move commands consisted of moves like the '260 Million Slams'. Some of his dumped moves included 'Human Surfing'.
About Shermie : Shermie is a glamorous girl who works as a fashion designer and plays in a band as a hobby. But in fact she is one of the 4 Orochi leaders who's adept at body slams. Come to think of it, she's quite an enigmatic character. The material for Shermie the 'Raging Lightning Flash' comes from L the Third. And even more trivia : the character of Yashiro comes from Bl.. G... Xa..gle and the character of Chris is derived from A.T. V...ms. The design for Shermie was easily decided on. Given her long bangs that will absolutely never reveal her eyes, she was called Tesse from "Waku Waku 7
" at one time. Her hidden eyes burn with a homicidal glare it is said, but there's no material that reveals what her face actually looks like.
About Chris : Chris can kill with an innocent smile on his face-kind of a creepy personality trait, come to think of it (but he looks so cute, doesn't he?). To pull things together and bring the story concerning the leaders of the Orochi and the 8-ketsu clan to its climax once and for all in '97, a lot of story elements were forced onto Chris who became the vessel fort the Orochi (this actually began from the early stages of production). And there's a story behind Chris's Super Special Move line, 'Ripping the chrysalis, the butterfly flutters'.
About Orochi : At first, designers planned a rather extreme setting in which a buck-naked Chris battled with a glowing energy ball, but for better or worse went with the current design (A survey of the designers garnered a mere 2 votes for the design for a buck-naked Chris). Incidentally, his design codename was 'Chief'. A lot of people were against the name 'Orochi', too, but these days it has become a firmly established proper noun in gaming lingo.
About Orochi Iori : The powers that be, who created the stories for the boss characters to heat things up for the series with KOF '97, first decided to make the final boss an Orochi to conclude the series' "Orochi Saga". The stage bosses were an easy choice : the 3 remaining characters of the Four Orochi Deities. This was followed with the suggestion to make the final boss Iori, 'berserk with the Orochi blood rage'. So the 'Minor', 'Middle', and 'Major' bosses were decided, with the 'Orochi Iori' we know and love rounding off the quartet as the final boss. Because this character was originally designed as a player character at the time, he's designed to mow down the other characters with relative ease.
About Orochi Leona : If Iori appeared berserk with the Orochi blood, the other successor in the bloodline of the 8-ketsu Clan, Leona, was also destined to go berserk someday. That's how this character came about. But inexplicably the design team wanted to heat up battles against the computer. So various sequences such as televised broadcasts were added, and provided a turn of nail-biting events that sent players to a 'fork in the game' that would pit them up against either Orochi Iori or Orochi Leona in the end. But savvy players who knew how to get a character to appear would be able to select their particular routes.
About Kyo Kusanagi Version '94 : Along with KOF '96 game system changes, Kyo got a new arsenal of different Special Moves, and the wielder of the 'Dark Thrust' was as popular as ever. And designers also added the KOF '94 version of Kyo Kusanagi to satisfy all our fans. Designers were apprehensive about returning to the old character design, but this all disappeared with the warm acceptance of fans.
About Shingo Yabuki : : The code name for this character in the early stages was 'Shingo Suzuki'. The plainness of his name conversely suited Shingo quite well, we thought, but what do you think ? He was originally based on Kyo with the concept of becoming a comic, everyday guy foil, but in spite of our intention to promote him simply and plainly, he was splashed all over the place and his silhouette appeared in pre-promotion campaigns in magazines, becoming an extensively hyped character. And his voice was supplied by the famous Japanese voice actor Taketo Koyasu. And one more thing, Shingo is a character who can't shoot flames. And probably never will.
The dialogue heard during the Title Screen music (4th Fire) goes as follows:
"They're back to the heat... For the answer they've long been searching for.
Is it their fate, or just a bloody coincidence? It shall be clear, as three powers will be as one...
Now, the fourth phase is about to begin!
The King of Fighters '97.
The story moves towards its violent destiny."
A hack of this game is known as "The King of Fighters '97 Plus
" and allows you to play evil versions of Leona, Iori and the Orochi team plus Orochi himself.
Another hack is known as "King of Gladiator
Leona, Ralph and Clark are playable characters in the Foma 90x Series Mobile Phones game 'Metal Slug Survivors'.
Pony Canyon released a 2 CD limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (The King of Fighters '97 - PCCB-00273) on 20/08/1997.