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The King of Fighters '96 (ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ’９６) is an entry in SNK's The King of Fighters series. It is the third in the series, and the sequel to The King of Fighters '95.
Among other systems it was brought to the Sega Saturn in 1996, though this version was released exclusively in Japan. Despite this fact, it supports all the languages of the Neo Geo versions (Japanese, English, Spanish and Portuguese). The Saturn version was extremely late, being released on the 31st of December - almost missing 1996 altogether.
The King of Fighters '96 requires a 1MB Extended RAM Cartridge in order to function correctly. The later 4MB cartridge is incompatible - while the game will boot, graphics will be corrupted.
The King of Fighters '96 ups the character count to 27, with two extra bosses. Not all fighters return from The King of Fighters '95, and some team members have been swapped around (although like KOF '95, the player can make a three-person team from any available characters).
As in previous games, characters are pulled from older SNK franchises; Garou Densetsu (Fatal Fury), Ryuuko no Ken (Art of Fighting), Ikari Warriors and Psycho Soldier.
Garou Densetsu Team
Ryuuko no Ken Team
Shin Ikari Team
Psycho Soldier Team
Shin Josei Kakutouka Team
The Saturn version of The King of Fighters '96 stems from the Neo Geo CD and shares its arranged CD audio soundtrack. Loading times are faster on the Saturn than on the Neo Geo CD, though sound effects have been lowered in quality and some stage introduction special effects are missing. Animations on the character selection screen are missing in all CD versions of the game, as are team reactions when the player is slammed into the ground during a fight.
The Saturn compares favourably to its PlayStation counterpart, which in addition to the aforementioned cuts, lacks many character and background animations. The PlayStation port also manages to load slower than the Neo Geo CD at times, despite its disc drive being twice as fast.
Chief Director: Kuwayan
System Director: Toyochan
Sub Director: Toyochan, Haruo Tomita, Namaan-Hiroto, T.Hosokawa