Lost In Translation/King of Fighters 2003, The

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The King of Fighters 2003
Neo-Geo marquee.
No screen shot.
Neo-Geo control panel.
Manufacturer SNK Playmore
Released 2003
8-way Joystick
4 Button(s)
Main CPU Neo-Geo
68000 (@ 12.000 MHz)
Z80 (@ 4.000 MHz)
Sound CPU Stereo
YM2610 (@ 8.000 MHz)
Raster (Horizontal)
320 x 224 pixels
59.19 Hz
4,096 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 26 ROMs
95,748,096 bytes (91.31 MiB)
MAME ID kof2003 · kf2k3bl · kf2k3bla · kf2k3pl · kf2k3upl

About The Game

The King of Fighters 2003 is a one-on-one fighting arcade video game.

A new edition of the KOF series with 32 selectable fighters plus Evil Kusanagi, Chizuru and Maki Kagura, Adelheid Bernstein and the final boss Mukai.

Additional Technical Information

Players : 2

Control : 8-way Joystick

Buttons : 4

=> [A] Light punch [B] Light kick [C] Strong punch [D] Strong kick


Released in November 2003, KOF2k3 represents the latest opus in the series to run on the SNK Neo-Geo MVS hardware.

Two new systems have been adopted : 'Tactical Leader System' which sets up a leader favorably treated in capability in a team and 'Multi-Shift' in which player characters can be changed freely during 3 on 3 battle.

Noteable Characters

Ash Crimson

Unlike the usual KOF hero characters, Ash was designed with the intent to create an 'attractive evil character'. Because the supervising designer created a rough design that fit the desired appearance to a 'T', little was changed for this character's design. Incidentally, the team story quotes casually from Robert Browning's 'Spring Song', but no one on the staff took interest in this (Boo hoo). And the bit about Shanghai Crabs was the original material for the character 'Rojin'.

Duo Long

When speaking of the Flying Brigands, you have quite a collection of especially unique-looking characters, but Duo Long is, unlike those of his ilk so far, an orthodox, handsome character. The model for this character is a certain Romanian vampire and hunter with the same first letter for his name. A subtly embroidered dragon is depicted on the back of Duo Lon's costume, but according to the illustration's supervising designer Falcoon, this character sports a detailed character that follows the steady work of traditional craftsmen with the scales drawn one at a time...

Shen Woo

The first concept for this character was a wild and sexy guy. The development codename for him was 'The Third Man', and along those lines he became Woo Shen, his name 'flip-flopping' to the current name, and the latter moniker seemed to stick. Because Ash has his particular appearance (LAUGH), Shen, no matter how you look at it, appears more like the main character. His character closely resembles certain aspects of Ralf and Yashiro in many ways, so designers toiled to create distinctive moves for this character. According to the supervising designer, 'What knotted my stomach most was the shortness of time we had for development'.


To tell the truth, Raiden was to appear in KOF 2003, but before the characters were finally decided on, Tizoc took his place. Along with the change to KOF 2003's game system, designers were able to create movements heretofore impossible with KOF until now, allowing us to add the style of Tizoc for that very reason. It's unclear whether there were plans or not to introduce Grant from "Garou - Mark of the Wolves" along with Tizoc for a friendly tag team battle. It may not be very well known, but the Japanese name for Tizoc is 'Griffon Mask'. But we felt Tizoc for the English version had a nice ring to it.


Keeping the demands of the Chinese market in mind, designers included a user of orthodox Chinese boxing in the game to follow our marketing plans and enter the battle with Tizoc from "Garou - Mark of the Wolves". Halfway through the development process, he became the character that was busy getting burned, frozen, and slapped around with a giant metal ball by other characters to experiment with the overhauled program. When Gato appeared, many groundless rumors circulated that 'Hotaru had made a comeback' and other such rumors to the same. Whatever command you enter, be aware that Hotaru Futaba is nowhere to be found in KOF 2003, and Gato is here to stay!


KOF 2003 saw the absence of Choi Bounge, so why not make a nimble and cute girl character?! And with that sentiment, Malin was born. It took quite an effort to arrive at the initial design for this character, but when we entered the actual work for KOF 2003, the creation of this character was a piece of cake. In the appearance sequence, the supervising designer poured his sincerity into the transformation scene. But the Arcadia magazine realized that she wasn't included in their feature articles and regretted their mistake. If you consider our preferences, designers insisted on the spelling for this character to be 'Malin' and not 'Marin'. This is the humble preference of the supervising designer and a mystery to us all.

Maki Kagura

If the younger sister Chizuru Kagura is the stork, the elder sister Maki Kagura's name comes from the tortoise (storks live a thousand years, but tortoises live 10,000). The background story for these two twins comes from KOF '96, but with their appearance in KOF 2003, some designers suggested Maki's hair be shortened to distinguish her from her kid sister. She appears in KOF 2003 as she always does (Her bangs are slightly different, however, so people who have confidence in their powers of observation, beware!). For the location test of KOF 2003, many players who defeated Chizuru were vanquished by the awesome elder sister Maki. So the fate of players was often decided with the appearance of Maki-you just don't mess around with this character!


To widen the worldview of KOF with the desire to add a separate story to the main tale, designers added this character devised as a set with her kid sister Rose. Designers think many picked up on this, but Adelheid is a common female name among Swiss and Germans, and is the name from which the diminutive of Heidi's derives. In the Adelheid stage of KOF 2003, the soundtrack begins with Chopin's 'Revolutionary Etude', but including something like this on the NEO-GEO system required a huge amount of memory which overwhelmed the voice data of other characters. Designers believe it was worth it, but producers may have dissed the supervising designers of other characters in the process.


If Hinako was the modern, unconventional 'na?f', Rose is the classic 'sophisticate' character. She has an overpowering sense of pride and high-handedness. She's also selfish and moody. If things don't go her way, watch out! But she's a real babe and not only that, she's rich! (Laugh). The voice actor for Rose also worked on Malin and Maki Kagura. Because she had a tough schedule providing the voice for three characters in one day, she was really put through a tough trial. The staff regrets this and gives their thanks from the bottom of the ocean.


With the belief that a fighting game boss 'must be easy to understand', designers adopted the 'ability to fossilize' to give impact to Mukai's presence. Designers then matched the design of this character to this ability. So as far as the procedure of development is concerned, Mukai was quite an unorthodox creation. The concept and design came off without a hitch, but arriving at his name was a difficult process. He's among the first of the KOF series boss characters who would be graced with the Japanese honorific of '-san'.

Leona, Ralph and Clark are playable characters in the Foma 90x Series Mobile Phones game 'Metal Slug Survivors'.

Scitron Digital Content released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (The King of Fighters 2003 Original Sound Trax - SCDC-00337) on 24/04/2004.

Hacks of this game are known as :

  • "The King of Fighters 2004 Plus".
  • "The King of Fighters 2004 Ultra Plus".

Tips and tricks

Play as Evil Kusanagi

Hold Down, then rotate control stick clockwise to Upleft then rotate counter-clockwise to Upright, then press any button.

Play as Chizuru and Maki

Hold Up, then rotate control stick counter-clockwise to Upright then rotate clockwise to Downleft, then press any button.

Final Bosses

To fight Adelheid, defeat Kusanagi (the mid-boss) without using a Desperation Move as your final hit that KOs him. To fight Chizuru/Maki followed by Mukai, defeat Kusanagi (the mid-boss) using a Desperation Move as your final hit that KOs him.

Game Endings

There are different endings for beating either Adelheid or Mukai. You can also see an extended ending for a non-Team-Edit team when you beat Mukai. Here are the teams with extended endings (the order the characters are selected does not matter) :

  • Ash, Duo Lon, Shen
  • Terry, Joe, Tizoc
  • Ryo, Robert, Yuri
  • Kim, Chang, Jhun
  • Leona, Ralf, Clark
  • Gato, Yamazaki, Billy
  • King, Mary, Mai
  • Shingo, Benimaru, Daimon
  • Athena, Hinkao, Malin
  • K', Maxima, Whip
  • Kyo, Iori, Chizuru
  • Kyo, Benimaru, Daimon (picture only after staff roll)
  • Mai, King, Yuri (picture only after staff roll)


  1. The King of Fighters '94 (1994)
  2. The King of Fighters '95 (1995)
  3. The King of Fighters '96 (1996)
  4. The King of Fighters '97 (1997)
  5. The King of Fighters '98 - The Slugfest (1998)
  6. The King of Fighters '99 - Millennium Battle (1999)
  7. The King of Fighters 2000 (2000)
  8. The King of Fighters 2001 (2001)
  9. The King of Fighters 2002 - Challenge to Ultimate Battle (2002)
  10. The King of Fighters 2003 (2003)
  11. The King of Fighters NeoWave (2004)
  12. The King of Fighters Maximum Impact (2004, Sony PlayStation 2)
  13. The King of Fighters XI (2005)
  14. The King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2 / The King of Fighters 2006 (2006, Sony PlayStation 2)
  15. The King of Fighters Maximum Impact - Regulation A (2007)
  16. The King of Fighters '98 - Ultimate Match (2008)
  17. The King of Fighters XII (2009)


Executive Producer
Eikichi Kawasaki
Kazuya Hirata
Teruki's Dad
Cyber Kondo
M. Usk
Bok Mannami
Demo Designers
M. Ruyun
Aka (lv60)
T. Mieno
Woo Cc
Music & Sound Designers
Tate Norio
Yasumasa Yamada
Masahiko Hataya
Bug Checkers
Iwao Futatsu
Watanabe Ug
Special Assist
Toshi Kita Maz
K-Natsui (Nuts)
Akito K.

Voice Actors

Sounosuke Nagashiro
Duo Lon
Tsunehito Maruo
Kouji Suizu
Terry & Kim
Satoshi Hashimoto
Nobuyuki Hiyama
Hikaru Hanada
Ryo & Daimon
Masaki Usui
Mantaro Koichi
Kaori Horie
Hiroyuki Arita
Kazuya Ichijo
Masae Yumi
Ralf & Benimaru
Monster Maetsuka
Yoshinori Shima
Gato & Yamazaki
Koji Ishii
Atsushi Yamanishi (as Seijiro)
King & Mary
Harumi Ikoma
Akoya Sogi
Shingo & Announcement
Takehito Koyasu
Haruna Ikezawa
Ayako Kawasumi
Malin, Maki & Rose
Kazuyo Inosako
Yuuki Matsuda
Katsuyuki Konishi
Shiho Kikuchi
Masahiro Nonaka
Kunihiko Yasui
Yukiko Sugawa
Mitsuo Iwata
Tetsuya Tanaka
Toshihiro Shigetsuka

Back Designers

Before Gate & Steam Locomotive
Desert & Boss
Seaside, Sky Noah & Cave
Nobuyuki Kobayashi (as Kobayashi)
Hunting Time
H. Y.
Y. Hirakawa

Front Designers

Duo Lon & Maxima
C.A.C. Yamakasi
Tizoc, Ryo & Yamazaki
Adelheid, Ralf & Clark
K' & Mukai
Athena & Whip
Ryoko Tanaka
Kyo, Leona & Mary
Reiko Masuyama
Malin & Jhun
Maiko Mishiro
Benimaru, Daimon, Iori, Kim, Hinako, Shingo & Ash
Aco Yamaoka
Billy, Mai & Duo Lon
Robert & Yamazaki
Tamaguchi Ritsu
Malin, Joe & Chang
Cinderella Lisa
Ash & Kusanagi
Gato, Terry & Yuri
Taku & Takukko
Shen & King

Cabinet and Artwork


Sony PlayStation 2 (2004)
Microsoft XBOX (2005)
Sony PlayStation 2 (2005, "The King of Fighters 2002 & 2003")
Microsoft XBOX (2005, "The King of Fighters 2002 & 2003")

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
The King of Fighters 2003 Arrange Tracks Consumer Version SCDC-00386[1] 2004-11-17 Scitron Digital Content CD version.
The King of Fighters 2003 Original Sound Tracks SCDC-00337[2] 2004-03-24 Scitron Digital Content CD version.
KOF 15th Anniversary Special Soundtrack N/A[3] 2009-07-30 SNK Playmore CD version.


The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.