The King of Fighters XIV is home to characters from all sorts of SNK series. Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Ikari Warriors, Psycho Soldier, and Samurai Showdown characters all show up. This means there’s a certain sense of familiarity present, because all of these people have appeared in games that have been localized. We know who they are, either due to the original titles or recurring The King of Fighter appearances. That isn’t so for Alice, Love Heart, and Mui Mui, as all three found their footing in pachinko games.
Alice is unique, in that she has quite a history behind her. She’s supposedly inspired by Alice Chrysler, who was supposed to be a background character in Fatal Fury, but instead found her way into other games. Her first official appearance was actually in the SNK Days of Memories dating series. She appeared in the sixth game, Days of Memories: Junpaku no Tenshitachi, which was only released on mobile phones in Japan. She’s a nurse-in-training who’s tending to the player after he’s injured while riding a horse. The one carry over from Days of Memories to The King of Fighters XIV is her personality, as she’s a very bright and energetic young woman.
In the Garou Densetsu: The Legend of Wild Wolf and Garou Densetsu Special pachinko games, Alice has a larger presence. Both are games inspired by the Fatal Fury series, with players following Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, and Joe Higashi. While those three are the main characters, going through events taken from and inspired by Fatal Fury, Alice can appear as a roulette character or appearing during other sequences. It’s these appearances that most inspire her portrayal in The King of Fighters XIV. She’s a huge Terry fan, wearing a hat he once gave her, and constantly trying to train and mimic his style, thus getting his attention. I suppose you could consider The King of Fighters counter part to Street Fighter’s Sakura.
Love Heart, the second The King of Fighters XIV pachinko heroine, is more famous than Alice. She’s the star of the Sky Love series, of which there have been four. She’s head of the Peace Pirates crew, flying around the world on the Elicion III to right wrongs and continually battle the Devil Pirates. She’s joined by Earth Justice, her childhood friend who does all-purpose tasks on the ship, Raiko Tanaka, a sorcerer, and Zack Meat, the muscle who keeps their ship intact. Love Heart is a very capable and dedicated leader, known for her sword-fighting abilities. She’s also appeared in the Sister Quest: The Wonder & True Story pachinko game.
Naturally, she’s not carrying a huge sword around for The King of Fighters XIV. She instead focuses on some rather devastating punches and kicks. Her demeanor is actually rather elegant and proper, considering she’s a pirate. She slaps her opponent for one standard attack, rather than deal a typical punch. Her conversations with other characters also reference her role in her own world and relationships there-in. Love has a similar relationship with Earth as Athena does with Kensou. Earth has a crush on Love, like Kensou does Athena, and she seems to handle and address the situation in the same way.
Mui Mui is the most famous The King of Fighters XIV pachinko heroine of all. She’s basically SNK’s pachinko mascot, having appeared in Dragon Gal, Sister Quest, Samurai Spirits Gaiden: Cham Cham, and The King of Fighters 2. She’s a capable young woman and martial artist with the power of a dragon. In her game, she’s set off to reclaim her family’s stolen seal, a gift from the aforementioned dragon. She’s joined by a few friends, like Lee, Paku, and Pui Pui the panda, on her way. Her strength and speed are often highlighted.
Yet, her defining character trait in both games tends to be her appetite. In Dragon Gal, one of the minigames sees her competing for the most nikuman pork buns. This voracious appetite is referenced multiple times in The King of Fighters XIV as well. In particular, she’ll complain about our world’s dim sum with Kensou. This will prompt him to agree to take her out for food later.
The good thing about all three pachinko heroines’ inclusion in The King of Fighters XIV is that you don’t need to know about their series’ lore to appreciate them. Each heroine can stand tall on her own, without that additional information. All you need to know is that Alice is a cheerful fighter who idolizes Terry, Love Heart is a respectable pirate captain, and Mui Mui is an energetic martial artist.
The King of Fighters XIV is immediately available in North and South America. It will come to Japan on August 25, 2016 and Europe on August 26, 2016.