If you were in the mood to have a series of painful flashbacks to the ’90s, SNK has your back today with the Omega Rugal DLC. It’s an officially released, free downloadable content pack for The King of Fighters XV that brings back the series’s first boss, Rugal Bernstein.
Rugal initially debuted in KOF as the final combatant in King of Fighters ’94‘s arcade mode and reprised that role one year later in ’95. Despite dying at the end of ’95, Rugal has subsequently been the traditional boss character for KOF‘s various “dream match” games, such as ’98, 2002, and the Capcom vs. SNK crossover series.
The DLC for KOFXV contains Rugal as a playable character in Story and Mission modes. As a solo entry, Rugal can only be picked for edited teams. He’s got a slightly edited moveslist from his last appearance in KOF but retains most of his trademark moves like the Genocide Cutter, Reppuken, and Dark Barrier. He also appears to have drawn his mustache on with an eyebrow pencil, but I’m not going to be the one to tell him that.
In addition, the Omega Rugal DLC comes with a new single-player mode, Boss Challenge, which is available from the Mission menu. Here, you can pick a 3-man team to fight a version of Rugal that’s designed to resemble his juiced-up Omega version from KOF95… but substantially more difficult.
SNK is infamous in the fighting game community for its overtuned, cheap boss design, with Rugal as one of the most prominent examples. Before now, KOFXV was an exception to that particular rule, as its story-mode bosses aren’t that bad. On the other hand, Boss Challenge Rugal has been carefully designed to embody absolutely everything that used to make SNK bosses a nightmare to fight.
He has next to no recovery on any move, does immense amounts of damage, can chain his super moves together, and gains a new super where he goes red and starts marching forward like Jason Voorhees. In this state, Rugal automatically reflects all projectiles, and if his opponent gets close enough, drops them with a new, more powerful version of his Dead End Screamer super from KOF98.
Like past SNK bosses, Omega Rugal takes significantly reduced damage whenever you do manage to hit him, so you can’t level him with a 5-bar cancel into Climax the way you can with just about anyone else. The only real negative he’s got is that he doesn’t regain health between rounds, so you can wear him down if you’re persistent and lucky.
While there doesn’t seem to be a trophy or achievement for completing the new Boss Challenge in KOFXV, you receive several other rewards for defeating Omega Rugal. This includes a new music track for the DJ Station; a new background, the Strange Plateau; and the ability to choose Omega Rugal’s armor as an outfit for the playable version of Rugal.
The Omega Rugal DLC is reportedly intended as the only release for KOFXV this month. In May, SNK plans to release its next batch of DLC with Team Southtown, a new 3-man squad for KOFXV‘s roster that consists of Fatal Fury antagonists Geese Howard, Billy Kane, and Ryuji Yamazaki.