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The King of Fighters '98 (Neo Geo)

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Title Screen

The King of Fighters '98

Also known as: The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest (US/EU), The King of Fighters '98: Dream Match Never Ends (JP)
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK
Platforms: Neo Geo, Arcade (Neo Geo)
Released internationally: July 23, 1998

GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

Now it comes and here we go. K-O-F is here again. Nothing's gonna stop, it's 1998.

Unused Graphics

Like in all KOF games up until The King of Fighters 2002 and SNK vs. Capcom - SvC Chaos, you can turn on a Debug Object Viewer by setting the Debug DIP Switch 1-1 to on (whether it be through modified arcade machines, or through emulators). Using this allows us to see unused animations and sprites for some of the characters in the game.


Kyo's alternate stance

An original, unused stance, reminiscent of his fighting stance from The King of Fighters '95. Likely to have been meant for EX Kyo, whose moveset was based off of his '95 incarnation.


The first part, a hook punch
The second part, a leaping kick

A two-part attack - starting with a right hook to the face, and ending with his CD attack animation. Has no hitboxes. This was likely meant to be a prototype for two new moves Terry received in The King of Fighters '99 - his DP+P and DP+K move - both start up with the same punch, but their ending attacks are different.


Two handed fireball

An unused animation which sees him throwing out a projectile with two hands. Maybe an alternate version of him sending out a Haoh Shokouken.

One handed fireball

Another unused animation which sees him throwing out a projectile, this time with one hand. Likely a rough version of him sending out a Ko'ouken - may have been used for EX Ryo, who's Ko'ouken attack differs from regular Ryo.

Gut Punch

Two unused animations, one where Ryo punches his opponent in the gut, and another where he uppercuts his opponent. These sprites and animations are used during his Ryuko Ranbu super, but these specific animations by themselves are unused.

Mai and Andy

Wedding Dress
Andy with Rose

A leftover from the previous game show that the Mai and Andy wedding special intro was planned to be in game, but later was unused because the color in Mai's bride dress was Glitched.


Shermie Handstand

An alternate startup of the whiffed version of her Shermie Flash DM. Likely a prototype, as the animation flows smoother, instead of emphasizing the part where Shermie is completely vertical. There is no SDM verison.


A shocking grab!

An alternate finisher to his Maiden Masher DM, where instead of an explosion happening after he grabs his opponent, a very small bit of lightning appears instead.


Lucky Spin
Lucky Kick

An alternate version of his alternate Death Shoot attack (which happens if Lucky cancels into his Death Shoot attack from certain attacks, like 2C). Lucky fakes shooting a basketball, but instead does a unique aerial spin kick which is not seen in the final game at all.

Death Heel Prototype
Death Heel Prototype 2

Similar to the previous animation, Lucky fakes shooting a basketball, but does a prototype of his Death Heel attack, instead of the spin kick. In the final game, Lucky will simply kick upwards, no matter which strength he performs his Death Shoot, however, these two attacks likely correlated to two different strengths, like most special moves in the game. This may have meant his feint attack could be done without having to cancel into it at one point.

Unused HUD Elements


From the first to the previous game KO'ed characters have their icon crossed, and from this game this not used anymore. However, a large version of this marking a complete team appears here. Possibly in 1 Player Mode the icons of the defeated CPU Teams was crossed instead of grayscaling them. The color showed in this graphic is not original.

Version Differences

In the AES version, Omega Rugal is playable and has the following exclusive graphics:

  • Three alternate colors, like the other characters.
B button C button D button
KOF98-OmegaRugal-Color2.png KOF98-OmegaRugal-Color3.png KOF98-OmegaRugal-Color4.png
  • Win portrait when he is not the team member who wins the match (also with the alternate colors).

To see them in the MVS version, change the address 10A85A (for P1) or 10A86B (for P2) to 01 and select Rugal - who will be changed to Omega Rugal - as your first character. Does not work in the Kawaks emulator.

Opening Theme Lyrics

The opening theme to the game, "Cipher", has a pretty infamous sampling of a vulgar lyric that goes "Pay dat shit like he just got yo motherfuckin'-" wherein the Fuck in Motherfuckin' is quite audible.

The arcade version has two main revisions in MAME, the NGM (kof98) and the NGH (kof98h) sets. The NGM version contains the lyric, while the NGH version replaces it with more static. It's likely the NGH version is the latest revision.

In terms of the various re-releases and which version they use, The Orochi Saga collections on PS2 and Wii (as well as the standalone Virtual Console release on Wii) have the lyric, the Neo Geo Mini and Arcade Stick Pro don't have it, and the Arcade Archives version removes all of the lyrics - even the ones later in the intro that have nothing to do with the offending line. The soundtrack releases on streaming services do not contain the line, and are identical to the NGH version.