In celebration of the release of King of Fighters for Girls (read as: I’m hopelessly addicted to something weird again), I decided to play the predecessor game. Weirdly enough every article I came across in the English language seemed really confused why they made King of Fighters for Girls rather than continue the predecessor series, but after playing it, I have an inkling as to why.
For those less informed, King of Fighters (KOF) is a series of…fighting games (badumtish finger guns). Like most things in the 90’s, several romantic spinoff games under the series Days of Memories (DOM) were made for KOF where players could date the heroines and then in one game, the heroes. For the purposes of this blog post I’m focusing on the single title that was released for girls, not the other 5 for men.
The otome-targeted title, Days of Memories – Kare to Watashi no Atsui Natsu- (roughly, his and my hot summer), was first released for mobile in 2006 and ported to the Nintendo DS along with two other DOM titles for men in 2008. I understand it was probably a content volume issue that they needed to put these three titles together, but honestly it was a pretty dumb move consolidating two titles for men and one for women in the same physical game.
Probably like most otome gamers, my knowledge of KOF is pretty elementary, having played a total of one game on the original Gameboy of all things when I had 1 brain cell so I may have missed some more important references. But I’ll try my best to fill in the gaps with googlefu.
Apologies in advance for half-edited half-unedited screenshots because I’m lazy and I don’t want more comments asking if the game is in English. Please read the warning on my sidebar.
Makoto Satou (name changeable) is a 16 year old tomboy with more interest in karate than boys. Her bestfriend Kaori Asanaga laments that Makoto is wasting her youth but Makoto doesn’t really know how to spice it up. In the last month before her 17th birthday, Makoto’s school sees the transfer of the “princely” Rock Howard, along with his guardian and new teacher Terry Bogard. At the same time, due to her father’s work, Makoto begins living with the mysterious but serious Alba Meira. She spends her time learning karate from Ryo Sakazaki, the master of the Kyokugen fighting style, and playing around with her childhood friend Kyo Kusanagi. However she’s also reunited with her other childhood friend K’ (Kay Dash) who has developed a cold streak… Not to mention her narcissistic classmate Ash Crimson is causing trouble whereever he goes. Kaori, desperate for a summer time happening, drags Makoto to Iori Yagami’s live as well. With all these new and familiar faces, Makoto’s last summer as a 16 year old becomes an unforgettable one.
If my summary sounds like a mess, it’s because the game is a mess.
The game routes are pretty short so my summaries will probably be lacking so…brace yourself.
He’s the older brother-type childhood friend. His route is basically him deriding Makoto for being a tomboy and not cute but he was actually just hiding his feelings for her. After Krizalid kidnaps him and tampers with his memories for his world domination plot, Kyo suddenly becomes timid and Makoto is forced to take care of him. When asked why she’s bothering with someone like him, Makoto confesses she likes him and Kyo returns her feelings. Krizalid kidnaps Makoto but Kyo is too preoccupied with his own shortcomings to go rescue her, so Shingo goes in his place and….baits Iori to fight Krizalid. Kyo finally regains his memories and rescues Makoto and they end up dating.
As Kaori puts it, Iori is a “rough on the outside but soft on the inside” kind of guy. Makoto is dragged around by Kaori to all his lives and is forced to wait around for him despite being afraid of him. One day she spots Iori feeding a stray cat with food he specifically bought for it and one-sidedly acknowledges that he probably is “a sensitive guy on the inside”. One day Iori spots Makoto singing to herself while on a walk and decides to scout her (read as: force her) to join him as a vocalist to enter the Band of Fighters band competition. He forces her to train ultra hard without really asking her if she wanted to do it and well, ultimately somehow Makoto decides she wants to be in a band with Iori for some reason. They lose the competition but Makoto decides its too early to give up and Iori agrees. That’s it, that’s the route.
But the route had some good straightman from Makoto with glorious conversations like:
Iori: I’m going to work you to the bone with no mercy from now on.
Makoto: A-ahaha… It’s almost like you are saying you had mercy before this.
Kaori: Someone lonesome and proud like Iori-sama, waiting to go out with you is a miracle. A miracle I say!
Makoto: I can’t stand all those miracles piling onto eachother though…
Kaori: First world problems. Stop complaining, I would kill to switch with you!
Makoto: Ok. Switch with me.
Ryo became Makoto’s teacher after he saves her from a really aggressive pickup artist. His straight-laced and over the top exercises causes most students to quit putting his dojo in a cash bind but Makoto doesn’t give up. Ryo was meant to enter a fighting competition with his younger sister Yuri Sakazaki but after a surprise attack lands her in hospital, Makoto is requested to replace Yuri in the competition. Krizalid also appears, saying he needs Ryo’s Kyokugen style for world domination but Ryo refuses and they both disappear. On the day of the competition, Makoto is forced to face off against Eiji Kisaragi and Malin on her own. Ryo finally appears in the ring but is already preoccupied with fighting Krizalid….They win the competition despite this sudden third party. Makoto confesses to Ryo who also returns her feelings, but because he didn’t want to become involved with others, he wasn’t sure it would be the right choice to stay with Makoto so he goes off on a journey of self discovery. He returns soon after and asks Makoto very loudly to be with him, at her school, while she’s in class. Yeaaaah.
K’ was Makoto’s friend in kindergarten but suddenly moved away without a word. Makoto bumps into him at school again many years later and realises he’s the K’ that she used to know and then just nonstop bothers him despite him saying he doesn’t know her. Turns out he’s lost his memories of childhood but Makoto pays no mind to that and…nonstop annoys him about the past. I really mean nonstop. There’s an event where Maxima tells Makoto that K’ is really bothered by his lack of memories and not to prod him too much and…literally the next event, she’s bringing up his past.
Krizalid, again, pops up to threaten K’ into helping him world domination plan and literally kidnaps the wrong person. Makoto and K’ go to save Kaori who was wrongly kidnapped because Krizalid thought K’ liked Kaori when it was actually Makoto (I honestly do not even know why he ended up liking Makoto). Krizalid mentions that he was the one who messed with K’s memories and takes K’s sister Whip hostage but Makoto convinces both K’ and Krizalid that Whip doesn’t want either of them to be sad because *insert complicated backstory where they’re all siblings but also clones according to wiki*. Krizalid gives up and K’ admits he likes Makoto.
It’s wild how everyone just accepts that K’ (KAY DASH) is an actual name and doesn’t question it once.
Ash is Makoto’s arrogant narcissistic rich kid classmate who as a result is always alone. Because of his annoying statements, everyone in the class hates him and he tells himself he is ok with that. As Makoto gets him to open up to her about his family situation, things around the town start going missing, starting with a trophy from their school. Weirdly enough everyone suspects it was Ash, despite him being the super rich kid who has no need to steal shit. Makoto constantly defends him but then Ash has enough and admits it was him. Makoto refuses to believe him and follows him to a stadium where he’s trying to steal a clock but in his stupidity, knocks over an ash tray which sets the whole place on fire. At death’s door, Ash reveals that he was stealing all the pieces of art his beloved grandfather created because his parents refused to buy them back. He tries to save Makoto by locking her in a fire safe closet but she breaks out and drags his sorry ass out of the stadium. She convinces him to start working for the money required to buy all the pieces back and they start dating. Hahahahahahaha what.
There’s literally an event where he’s throwing away jewels and shit because he’s bored and wants to watch peasants fight over it but no, stealing art is the way to go! He could’ve just sold that shit for the money to buy the art back.
The hot new American transfer student. He normally acts cold to others but is very attached to Terry. All the girls love him and all the guys hate him. Without much effort, he becomes the top star of the school’s basketball team and Makoto joins Kaori in becoming the team’s managers. Throughout the whole route, Makoto learns about why Rock acts the way he does and slowly gets him to open up to her. Kaori just asks her if she likes Rock and the answer is always “nope why would you say that” and then when Kaori is like “ok then I’ll go for him”, Makoto does the classic “what is this feeling”. In the end Billy Kane appears in Japan with the intention of bringing Rock back to South Town and replacing his late father Geese Howard, who Rock harbours intense hatred for. Rock is originally swayed by Billy’s attempt to bring him back to South Town since he felt “Geese Howard’s blood boiling inside him” but Makoto convinces him to stay and that everyone there wants him to be there. They all send Billy running home by…..yelling at him. Rock then asks Makoto out and they date.
Also the hot new American in school, but this time a teacher! Makoto joins the basketball club again as its manager working with Terry to help the team. With all the rumours about Terry and Rock flying around, she learns that Terry was trying to get revenge on Geese Howard for murdering his adoptive father. During their fight Geese falls and Terry tries to save him but Geese slaps away his hand and falls to his death. It was then that he took in Rock who had no relatives and began to travel with him. Throughout his route, he mistakes Makoto’s attention to him as interest in Rock and tries to set them up. Billy turns up again to try to take Rock with him but Rock constantly refuses. Terry realises that Billy only knew where Rock was because of him and tries to distance himself from Rock by leaving to travel the world again. Makoto tries to convince him to stay and Rock tries to convince Terry to take him too and in the end Terry leaves with Rock. After 6 months of travelling, Rock kicks Terry to come back for Makoto and they reunite.
Alba is the super efficient serious employee visiting from America to help Makoto’s father with stuff for a month. On the surface he was there to help the company set up a new store but in actuality, he was visiting Japan in order to find the killer of his adoptive father. The whole time, he’s living with Makoto and acting as her guardian while her parents were busy with work or whatever the hell they do and Makoto begins to feel attached to him. Alba picks up a pair of stray cats and they decide to take care of the pair in secret since Makoto’s mother doesn’t like pets. Knowing that Alba has to leave at the end of July, Makoto tries to spend as much time as possible with him and complains to Kyo that Alba doesn’t see her as a woman. Kyo suggests she confess to get him to notice her and before she could, Alba finds the target he was looking for, Krizalid. Alba beats Krizalid up but despite warning Makoto not to follow him, she does and gets injured. Alba takes responsibility and confesses what happened to Makoto’s parents who immediately kick him out. Makoto refusing to let it end like this, chases after Alba and confesses her feelings for him and he confesses he returns it but he cannot stay with her in Japan. She says that she’ll follow him to South Town and…her parents, overcome with emotion that Makoto has grown so much, are happy to leave her in Alba’s hands. They end up marrying and taking the kitties with them to South Town.
…………………………………………………….Her parents were okay with leaving Makoto and Alba all alone in their house while they went off on an overnight trip but after a little injury caused by Makoto not listening her father suddenly acts all fatherly. Then reverts back to “sure I got angry before but I entrust my daughter to you” in the next screen. UUUUUUuuhhhhhhh.
Generally spoilery talk:
- Iori’s route was actually really weird, like I found it really really weird. They use that cat trope so much. It’s even in KOFG. Does he just really like cats?
- In general the game doesn’t take itself super seriously, but it was kind of annoying when it came to Alba’s ending.
- Kaori is the type of char that you would expect to be an annoying love rival but she was actually a pretty good friend. She pushes and shoves Makoto when she refuses to grow two brain cells and is honestly more like the types of players who pick up this kind of game.
- Also she has this kind of scene which, honestly is great
- I couldn’t be bothered screenshotting but there’s a lot of….variation in art quality. I’m not entirely sure why since I know Usuba Kagerou was/is pretty good. Terry always seems to look different in his CGs as opposed to his sprite.
Spoilers end here
The story on its own is pretty nothing but that’s something I’ve come to expect from a game like this. There are some pretty enjoyable parts where Makoto and some of the other chars play straight man to corny jokes about the series itself, and then there are scenes that just make no sense. But given the original material is at its core just a fighting game, it probably suits this kind of light story.
I did take issue with the fact that almost every “romantic” event just suddenly ends. Like for example a char could have a scene where they go on a date or something with Makoto but that event would just end at the part where Makoto agrees. For that reason alone, the game is pretty bad as a romance game.
As a product of its time, I think writing in visual novels definitely got better. The writing in this game was at best elementary, with some elements you’d normally only see in amateur webnovels nowadays. There was a heavy focus on using onomatopeia as an indication of action but…if the sprites don’t move, there’s no actual sound and there’s no description of any sort, it really has no effect. Makoto also constantly does this weird self-deprecating laugh “dohoho” when she says or does something stupid and it…it really reminds me of a child’s writing.
For better or worse, the each route was incredibly short, reaching around 3 or so hours in my first play through and about 2 every subsequent playthrough. That was the only reason I managed to play this, or I’d have wept tears of blood. Like I’m not even angry this game was bad because I suffered for such a short period of time. (๑`･ᴗ･´๑)
This game was more like the old school “pick a number of actions a day, certain actions trigger events” style. It was pretty simple, as expected of a mobile game port.
What was less straight forward were the event trigger conditions. There are accessory choices, perfume choices which affect the outcome of events which ultimately felt random to me but I was using a walkthrough. From my test playthroughs, even if you choose a bunch of wrong choices, as long as you stalked your boy long enough, you can still get into their romance route/romance ending (´°ω°｀)…Why? Don’t ask me.
All the options in the game was really bare bones, with only speed of text adjustments, skip, save and load. But there wasnt really any need for anything else I guess….?
Usuba Kagerou did the art. Need I say more?
Yeah it was weird seeing the beefy KOF dudes in Usuba Kagerou’s art style but sometimes people like me need it in their life.
Sometimes the art style is inconsistent. I noticed this the most with Terry. Like his past-self in the CG looks older than his sprite, but then looks the exact same in future CG. So…..what happened? It just looked different so it wasn’t even like the quality of the DS screen was just bad.
The sprites blink but aside from face changes for the main chars, they all probably only have about 6 or so variations of the same pose. Only some chars have sprites outside of the main eight guys but when they do appear, they don’t change, ever. （｀ω´；）
I wanted a route for this bad bitch:
Guess I’ll just have to make do with his story in KOFG.
This game has like weird 8-bit sounding BGMs which I just turned down the sound for after a while.
Also its not voiced. At all.
Like at least KOFG has the generic voices for the unvoiced lines but this one, nothing at all.
Dream of Memories crawled so King of Fighters for Girls could run.
Run into glorious gacha money. ( ﾟ∀ﾟ)ｱﾊﾊ八八ﾉヽﾉヽﾉヽﾉ ＼ / ＼/ ＼
Sucks as an otome game. But somewhat still entertaining for what its worth. Helps that Kagerou art is easy on the eyes.
- Kinda funny?
- if you’re a hardcore KOF fan who always wanted G rated romance with the dudes!!!!
- Mostly here for the lols
- Pretty much everything so I doubt anyone not looking for KOF guys would like this game
Okay now for final thoughts:
Plot ranking of routes (best plot to lolwtf?):
- Everyone else (hell I can’t even remember the chars)
I really really hated Makoto in K’s route so I couldn’t understand how they ended up together.
However if I ranked chars alone…:
So in this case I’d recommend people play in the order:
I’m not sure if I went easy on this game but then I remember I played Will o’ Wisp on the damn DS and that was full voiced and Kagerou art and felt 1000x better so I’m not sure what to think anymore.