Pitchfork's KoF Extravaganza (Part 6 of 25) - Page 3
by Pitchfork

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KRIZALID
Appearances: Endboss of KoF '99. Appears as a secret Striker in KoF '00 and one of Original Zero's Strikers in '01.
Spams: Typhon Rage

Storyline:
Ah, yes. The much maligned NESTS story arc. This gets really convoluted really quickly, but I'll try to keep it as simple as possible.

When the dust settled after the battle against Orochi, everything seemed like it had gone back to normal -- except nobody knew where the hell Kyo was. Benimaru was curious, Yuki was worried, Shingo was confused, and Iori was absolutely heartbroken.

Unbeknownst to any of them, Kyo had been kidnapped by the NESTS cartel, an international syndicate with designs of world domination. Since its beginning, the King of Fighters tournament has been secretly monitored by the NESTS, and the Kusanagi power piqued their interest. As soon as the Orochi threat had been neutralized, they made their move, snatching Kyo and whisking him off to a secret facility. NESTS scientists ran all kinds of tests on him and extracted a big chunk of his genetic material before Kyo eventually made his escape. At that point, it didn't matter if he was gone -- NESTS already had all they needed from Kyo.

Now all they had to do was figure out how to best put the Kusanagi power to use. For their first experiment, they took a young man they had captured, gave him a memory wipe, and infused him with some Kusanagi genes in hopes of creating a flame-wielding super soldier. The experiment ended in failure. The subject was able to wield the flames, but had no control over them. NESTS had him fitted him with a special control glove to keep him from burning himself alive with his new flames, gave him a post as a low-ranking agent with the codename K' (reflecting his incompleteness), and moved onto the next project.

After the apparent failure of K', NESTS decided they should at least try to cut their losses. So they took some of K's DNA, hammered out the bugs, and used it to create a new clone, which was given the name Krizalid. (Nobody is able to decide if Krizalid was created from the ground up or if he was simply somebody else who got a memory wipe and some gene-splicing.) Deeming the project the success, they gave Krizalid some of K's erased memories, told him that K' was actually his clone (it's like Wolverine's origin story all over again), and assigned him an important role in their next major operation.

During this time, NESTS had been systematically creating genetically identical Kyo Kusanagi clones from the ground up. These clones were almost completely identical to the real Kyo, only they had a tendency to drop dead with a very short time after their creation. NEST's newest plan is to dispatch a couple thousand of these clones in the world's biggest cities and have them all go ballistic at once. (It's not exactly the same as blowing up a subway or some buildings or whatever, but I guess unleashing a mob of human flamethrowers into a crowded city street is kinda scary, too. I guess.)

Now here's where it starts getting silly. Krizalid is fitted with a special suit which serves two purposes: feeding Krizalid fighting data to use in combat, and recording the data of whoever Krizalid is fighting against. The suit is wired to a whole bunch of special machines in an underground NESTS facility which are linked to the Kyo clones scattered throughout the world. NEST's plan is to hold a King of Fighters tournament and use agents K' and Maxima to lead the strongest fighters to the secret facility to against Krizalid. The suit will absorb all of the fighting data/energy/whatever, thus activating all the Kyo clones. (Seriously, couldn't they have just built a bomb or something?)

Everything goes off without a hitch. K' and Maxima lead Benimaru and Shingo (I bet NESTS was expecting Daimon) to the underground facility, where Krizalid turns on all of them, including his own subordinates. But the plan hits a major snag when a contingency which NESTS had never even considered occurs: K', the "failure," fights back and defeats Krizalid, neutralizing all the Kyo clones. Krizalid is then executed by his superiors for failing, while K' and Maxima take off, pursued by both NESTS agents and Heidern's troops.

SNK BOSSMAN Rating:
EXTREMELY HIGH. After Orochi and Omega Rugal put up such pathetic fights in '97 and '98, SNK got things back on track with Krizalid, who is basically the original Rugal all over again. His first form is relatively wimpy, sporting only a projectile and an air-to-ground flying kick that he rarely uses. The fight really begins after he throws off his coat and activates all the cool equipment in the background. Even though he sports a fast and invincible anti-air move, a long-range throw that will grab you off guard every single time, and a bunch of sick DM's, Krizalid often prefers to kill you by just standing in a corner and kicking tornadoes at you all day. And you can pretty much forget about winning if he ever fills up his stocks and goes into Armor mode. The guy from SNK who designed him later admitted he might have overdone it a little with Krizalid. Eesh.





KULA DIAMOND
Appearances: Midboss in KoF '00; playable character in KoF '01, 02, and XI
Most useful Super ever: Freeze Execution

Storyline:
After K' defection and escape, NESTS realized it had a big problem on its hands. A living weapon, whose capabilities they severely underestimated, was now on the loose and evading them at every turn. K' was not only a great physical threat, but he and his partner Maxima both possessed knowledge about NESTS that could very easily fall into the wrong hands if somebody else got to them first.

A pair of NESTS executives named Diana and Foxy got to work on the solution and produced a genetically-engineered NESTS soldier specifically designed to neutralize K'. The aptly codenamed "Anti-K'" was created in the form of a young girl, given neurally-implanted fighting data, and infused with a reversed form of the Kusanagi gene which gave her ice powers instead of the usual crimson flames. (As with Krizalid, it's unclear whether Kula was a straight-up clone or another kidnapped child, but evidence seems to suggest the former.)

Despite their involvement with NESTS, Foxy and Diana are pretty decent people who raise Kula like a younger sister instead of the biological weapon she was intended to be. As a result, Kula's personality is rather cheerful and kindhearted, despite her role in life as a superpowered assassin.

The first time Kula faces off against K' is during the latest King of Fighters tournament in Southtown, and she makes almost as impressive an entrance as Goentiz. K' manages to repel her, but as luck would have it, Kula actually isn't after him. She, Foxy, and Diana are after a different target.

SNK BOSSMAN Rating:
Pussycat. Beating Kula is a cinch when she appears as a miniboss in KoF '00. She doesn't even have her signature "ballerina" kicks yet. She's much more of a threat in her appearances as a normal character later on -- especially in XI. Also, she is probably tied with K' (and maybe Billy) as my favorite KoF character. The only super move in any fighter than has saved my ass more than Freeze Execution is Alex's Hyper Bomb in Third Strike.





ZERO
Appearances: Endboss of KoF '00
Signature Move: Deadly anti-air swipes with his man-skirt.

Storyline:
More weird NESTS stuff. I might have to go back and try to figure it out as I'm writing this.

Okay. Here we go. Zero was Krizalid's superior during the Kyo clones project, and was also the one who killed him off when he failed. So we know right away that the guy's a tool. He becomes an even bigger tool when he decides he's tired of working for NESTS and wants to give world domination a shot on his own. To this end, he secretly constructs the Zero Cannon, an orbiting laser cannon capable of leveling entire cities. Zero plans on using the cannon to annihilate NESTS and bring the world to its knees.

Of course, this isn't the kind of doomsday device that you can just press a button and fire at any time. No sir. That just wouldn't be sporting. The Zero cannon is powered by a generator built with the same technology as Krizalid's battle suit, meaning that Zero needs to find a couple powerful fighters to help to activate the damn thing. (SNK was obviously having trouble coming up with story ideas at this point.) To this end, he infiltrates Heidern's Southtown operation while masquerading as Ling, one of Heidern's officers. Heidern throws another King of Fighters tournament in order to attract rogue NESTS agents K' and Maxima, while Zero (as Ling) dispatches Vanessa to drag K' and Maxima to Southtown to join Heidern's tournament because I hope to god they wouldn't have been stupid enough to show up otherwise.

When K' and his teammates are in position, Zero's subordinates hold Heidern at gunpoint while Zero enacts his evil plan.(Zero also has a clone of himself running around somewhere, but it's not really that important.) While K' and pals struggle against Zero, the underground generator syphons the energy released from the battle and remotely feeds it to the cannon.

Even after a sound beating at the gloved hands of K', Zero continues to gloat, as the generator has received more than enough energy to fire the cannon. Zero hits the switch...and nothing happens. He hits it again. And again. And again. Still no good. Just then, Foxy and Diana teleport in and stand on both sides of him, and Zero realizes he's screwed. After Diana and Foxy have their fun taunting Zero, Kula trains the cannon on his exact position and fires it manually as Foxy and Diana warp back out.

The resulting blast levels Southtown and scatters K' and his teammates, but Zero still isn't quite dead yet. Whip, who has some questions for him, returns to blast site and finds him beneath the wreckage. Zero answers Whip's questions by pointing her to a certain project file, assuring her it's what she's looking for. We never actually see the contents of the file, but it's probably where Whip learns that she's actually a clone herself -- of Sara, K's dead sister. Whip is decidedly not pleased about this and takes it out on Zero by putting a bullet through his head. (This part gets cut out in the US version of the game.)

SNK BOSSMAN Rating:
Meh. Most SNK fans, including myself, will tell you that Zero is the worst KoF boss to date. He's a pretty lackluster design to begin with, and even though he has his good and his bad days, he's not that tough to beat. And he has a farting attack. I'm dead serious. I think it's supposed to be an invisible energy wave, but just look at it. Anyway, Zero basically sucks.





ORIGINAL ZERO
Appearances: Midboss of KoF '01
Seriously needs to stop: Simultaneously calling out Ron as a Striker (whose attack is unblockable) and pulling his full-screen "black hole" DM.

Storyline:
The Zero that died during an attempt to betray NESTS and dominate the world himself was, as it turns out, only a clone himself. This Zero is the original, and unlike his mustached duplicate, is a chivalrous fighter that's utterly loyal to NESTS.

After the conclusion of the latest tournament, the winning team is whisked off on a zeppelin, which breaks off into a spacecraft in order to reach NESTS's central base: a space station. Zero steps out to greet the victors and test them before they come face to face with NESTS' head honcho. As per the latest King of Fighters tournament rules, Zero is backed up by three Strikers of his own choosing: his pet lion Gorgon, Hizoku traitor Ron, and a mysteriously resurrected Krizalid.

SNK BOSSMAN Rating: VERY HIGH. Zero sucked as boss, and SNK knew it. So they gave him a makeover and unleashed him once again as the vicious midboss of KoF '01. The ironically-named Original Zero is much more likable than "clone" Zero and much more difficult to beat. He doesn't retain all of clone Zero's moves -- just the good (ie: most annoying) ones. The largely useless shadow-grabs and fart attacks have been replaced by the ability to call in his Strikers whenever he wants at however many at a time he wants. Definitely an improvement, despite the mind-bending cheapness.




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