The King of Fighters '98 UMFE/FAQ
This FAQ will be focused on KOF 98 UMFE but will also contain some links and resources for 98UM and vanilla 98 as well.
I'm new to KOF or KOF 98 UM FE, where do I start?
- Check out the Guides page for some helpful videos.
- Go to the System page to read about KOF 98 UM FE's system mechanics.
- Look at the Controls page to familiarize yourself with common KOF notation.
- Join the KOF 98UMFE Discord if you have further questions!
How do I play this online?
- 98UMFE is only available on Steam, will soon be patched with rollback netcode.
- 98UM can be played online on Xbox 360 and Xbox One via backwards compatibility, only has delay-based netcode.
- 98 is playable online via Fightcade 2 and RedGGPO with rollback netcode.
What are the differences between KOF 98 and 98UM?
There are a lot of differences between the two, enough that it's better to consider 98um to be a different game built with kof 98 as a base rather than an updated version of kof 98.
The most prominent changes system mechanics wise is the rebalancing of the advanced and extra mode system to make extra mode a valuable pick compared to 98 where it was mostly a seen as a gimmick. In addition it also adds the ultimate mode which lets you pick between the different features of advanced and extra mode to create a specialized mode.
Extra mode specifically received some important changes. You can now tech throws in extra mode which was the single biggest weakness of the mode in 98. The forwards step dash from extra mode also got a change. It is now no longer possible to use command normals during it, rendering the infinites and a lot of the cheapness that the mode was known for in 98 impossible to do. You can still use air specials and supers during the step dash though.
Advanced mode was left mostly untouched but with the addition that you can now use SDMs at any time for 3 power stocks. In 98 they were only available during the Max Mode.
98um adds a couple of extra characters to the roster of 98, adding in all the remaining characters of the Orochi Saga: Kasumi, Eiji, Geese, Krauser and Mr.Big. Additionally the game expands upon the concept of EX characters from 98 by fleshing out the existing ones and adding in some new ones as well. The EX versions of characters share the same sprite as the regular ones but their moveset has been changed to match previous versions of those characters. The new EX characters in 98um are: AoF2 King, RB2 Yamazaki, RB2 Ex Geese, RB2 Ex Blue Mary. This gives the game a total of 16 EX characters to pick.
In addition to adding more characters all the characters have received changes from 98. Some characters got nerfed but the vast majority of the cast mostly received buffs to bring their consistency and potential up. The most broken stuff about kof 98 has been removed, like Daimons otg ground pound glitch or toned down like Chizurus supers. While the most broken aspects of these characters have been removed their core gameplan and tools still remain the same so that they are still good in 98umfe, though not as dominant as kof 98. This buffing of the weaker characters and nerfing of the strongest stuff about characters in 98 leaves 98umfe as a game where low tiers feel stronger and more consistent than the ones in 98 and the overall power gap between the higher and the lower tiers is smaller than that of kof 98.
The mood system of 98 that gave or took away meter depending on how your characters were feeling has been removed in 98um.
Additionally, there are a lot of minor but cool quality of life changes from 98. the biggest one is that most DP moves will now launch on the first hit so that you don't get the situation where the first hit of a DP connects but the second one whiffs leaving you open for a full punish.
They also adjusted the counter hit system so that some supers or specials no longer do way more damage when they happen to counterhit multiple times.
Some of the really weird hitboxes of kof 98 have also been changed to be more in line with what the moves actually look like. The two best examples of this are Kims f+B and Luckys F+B.
What are the differences between KOF 98UM and 98UMFE?
The changes between these 2 versions aren't as drastic as the former. For a full list, please see the changelist page. Gameplay wise 98UMFE can be seen as a big character balance patch to 98UM. Nothing was changed about the system mechanics. A lot of moves have been tweaked in hitbox, framedata and sometimes damage. For some characters this results in better pressure, easier confirms or even new combos (most notably Benimaru now has a launcher and a DM that hits from cr.B). Though some other characters got nerfed with more recovery and less damage on many moves (most notably Krauser).
How do I pick EX/Orochi characters?
You simply highlight the corresponding character on the member select screen and hold the "Select" button before picking them: their character portrait will change to have a different pose and blue background, and you will be able to select their EX/Orochi version.
Here's a list of all the legal characters with alternate forms:
- Kyo -> EX Kyo (based on KOF 95)
- Terry -> EX Terry (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury 2)
- Andy -> EX Andy (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury 2/KOF 95)
- Joe -> EX Joe (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury)
- Ryo -> EX Ryo (based on KOF 94)
- Robert -> EX Robert (based on KOF 94)
- Yuri -> EX Yuri (based on KOF 94)
- King -> EX King (based on Art of Fighting 2)
- Mai -> EX Mai (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury)
- Yashiro -> Orochi Yashiro
- Shermie -> Orochi Shermie
- Chris -> Orochi Chris
- Yamazaki -> EX Yamazaki (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury)
- Blue Mary -> EX Blue Mary (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury)
- Billy -> EX Billy (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury)
- Geese -> EX Geese (based on Real Bout Fatal Fury)
What are some recommended characters to pick when learning the game?
Most characters in the game are fine for learning the game with so picking whoever you like the best is a totally fine way to pick a team. But in case you don't know who to pick you might want some recommendations for good starting characters. Here are some suggestions for characters grouped into common fighting game archetypes so that if you're familiar with other fighting games you can have an idea of who to pick for different styles. Do note however that archetypes in kof are way less easily defined than in other fighting games due to the similar structure most characters are built upon and the moveset combinations for a lot of characters that make them not fit neatly into any one archetype. Therefore the archetypes are mostly meant to serve as reference points for people with previous fighting game experience rather than categories that strictly define how the characters play.
Here are some suggestions for characters to pick:
Shotos: Ex Andy, Joe, Ex Kyo, Ex Robert, Ryo/Ex Ryo, Takuma
Grapplers: Clark, Daimon, Orochi Yashiro, Vice, Shermie
Zoners: Athena, Heidern, Kensou, King/Ex King, Ex Yuri
Rushdown: Andy, Blue Mary, Iori, Kyo, Orochi Chris, Terry, Yuri
Poking: Benimaru, Billy/Ex Billy, Chang, Mai/Ex Mai, Ralf
As previously stated most characters will be perfectly fine for learning the game with. However there are a few characters in the game that breaks from the standard kof formula and moveset design making them a bit less valuable for learning the game with. This does not mean that you can't pick these characters if you really like them of course, they will still teach you valuable skills in the game. As long as you don't start out playing a full team of these characters you should be fine.
These characters are: Brian, Chang, Chin, Choi, Chizuru.
What's the tier list?
Because the meter system used (Advanced or Extra) has a large effect on how characters are played, and some characters work much better with one system than another, KOF 98UMFE has two tier lists, one for when characters use the Advanced meter system and one for when they use the Extra meter system. As the game is still relatively unexplored in competitive play (at least compared to the original KOF 98), tier lists can be up for some debate, but the Chinese ratio tier lists (shown below) are considered to be the most up-to-date and accurate.
SSS: Iori (run), Yuri, Benimaru, O. Chris
S: EX King, Eiji, Geese, EX Geese, Krauser, O. Yashiro, Blue Mary, EX Blue Mary, EX Yuri, Chris
A: Rugal, Lucky, Vice, Heavy D!, EX Mai, Choi, Kyo, EX Kyo, Mai, EX Ryo, King, Ryo, Daimon (run), Robert, Leona (run), Yashiro, Andy, Mature, Saisyu, Kim (step dash), Iori (step dash), Brian (step dash), Clark, Shermie, Chizuru, Mr. Big, Takuma, Heidern
B: Ralf, EX Andy, Yamazaki, O. Shermie, EX Robert, EX Billy, Shingo, Joe, Kasumi, Daimon (step dash), EX Terry, Athena, Leona (step dash), Brian (run), Kim (run), EX Yamazaki
C: Billy, Terry, Chang (sidestep), EX Joe, Kensou, Chin (run)
D: Chang (roll), Chin (step dash)
SSS: Eiji, EX Blue Mary (sidestep), EX King, O. Chris
S: Iori (run), Yuri, Geese, EX Geese, Benimaru, O. Yashiro, Kim (step dash), Brian (step dash), Heavy D!, Choi, EX Ryo, Krauser, EX Blue Mary (roll)
A: Rugal, Lucky, EX Yamazaki, EX Yuri, EX Mai, Chris, Kyo, EX Kyo, Mai, Blue Mary, King, Ryo, Daimon (run), Robert, Leona (run), Yashiro, Andy, Mature, Saisyu, Kim (run), Iori (step dash), Brian (run), Clark, Shermie, Chizuru, Mr. Big, Takuma, Heidern, Vice
B: Ralf, EX Andy, Yamazaki, O. Shermie, EX Robert, EX Billy, Shingo, Joe, Kasumi, Daimon (step dash), EX Terry, Athena, Leona (step dash)
C: Billy, Terry, Chang (sidestep), EX Joe, Kensou, Chin (run)
D: Chang (roll), Chin (step dash)
Banned No Matter What: O. Iori, O. Leona, Omega Rugal, Goenitz, Orochi
How do you use the training mode recording function?
The recording function can be found in the training mode menu under the name Command.
Both P1 and P2 have separate recording slots, which means that if you want to record something with the dummy you need to record it using P2s controls. In order to access P2 in training mode, follow these steps:
- Put the control setting to player
- Go into the menu and the command tab using P2s controls
- Choose the record option
- Press select to start the recording and go at it
In order to save the replay you simply hit the start button to go back to the menu after you're done recording. Then, select the Exit option to save the recording. There are 2 options to play back the recording:
- Assign a button to the command option for P2 in the button settings. Each time you press this button, the recording will play.
- Set the control setting to CPU and choose the command option in the attack setting. Then, the dummy will automatically do the recording repeatedly.
Still having a hard time? Here's a tutorial in video form as supplemental aid:
Why does timing special moves on wake-up or during combos feel so difficult/inconsistent? Do I need to be frame perfect?
98 UM FE actually does have a hold buffer for special moves and supers. If you do the motion and hold down the button, the game will buffer the special/super for up to 30 frames, making timing specials and supers much easier.
So, when you're trying to do a DP on wake-up or trying to time a special move in a combo, you can do the motion a little early and hold down the button to make it come out frame perfectly, and holding the button after doing special/super motions will in general make them come out more reliably: this is known as the button hold trick.
Note: you cannot buffer normals or command normals using the button hold trick.
How many frames of input delay should I use when playing online?
This depends on the ping between you and your opponent (amount of ms) and how many frames of input delay vs how much rollback during a match you are comfortable with. Generally, the higher the ping, the more input delay frames you want. Increasing the input delay will make your inputs and movements more delayed, but it will also reduce the amount of visible rollback you may see during a match.
Don't use the "recommended" input delay given by the game, it is usually way too high, it is better to start with a lower input delay (for example 0 or 1 frame) and increase it if the connection is not as good and you're seeing too many rollbacks than you would like, or decrease it if you feel the connection is good and you want less delay.
desmond_kof made a useful video detailing how many frames of input delay you may want to use based on the ping (amount of ms) you get with your opponent.