The King of Fighters 2000 is a 2000 competitive fighting game produced by SNK for the Neo Geo arcade and home platforms. It is the seventh installment in The King of Fighters series for the Neo Geo, as well as the final one produced by SNK before the bankruptcy begins. The game was ported to the Sega Dreamcast (in Japan only) and the PlayStation 2 in 2001. The stand-alone PlayStation 2 version of the game was released in North America in a two-in-one bundle with its immediate sequel, The King of Fighters 2001. The Neo-Geo and Dreamcast versions of the game were also included in The King of Fighters NESTS Hen, a compilation released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan.
The gameplay is based on The King of Fighters '99 and expands on the "Striker Match" format introduced in that game. The game now has an Active Striker System, which allows the player to summon the Striker member during any situation, whether the player is attacking or being attacked by the opponent, allowing the player to use their strikers in combos. Additionally, the player can now replenish Strike Bombs by taunting the opponent (at the expense of one filled stock of the Power Gauge).
The player now has two choices after selecting the Striker member of the team. The player can choose to use the regular character or an alternate character officially known as Another Striker, a character used exclusively for striker attacks. These alternate Strikers are characters from previous KOF games and other SNK franchises (such as Fio Germi from Metal Slug 2 and Duke Edwards from Burning Fight), as well as alternate versions of characters in the game such as Iori and Robert. There's also another set of alternate Striker characters known as Maniac Strikers, which are selected in the arcade version by inputting a specific codes for each. The console versions includes additional Maniac Strikers by completing a certain number of matches in the "Party Mode".
After the incident at the previous tournament, the commander of the Ikari Team, Heidern, is determined to figure out the objective of the NESTS cartel so that he can stop them from achieving their ruthless ambition. A fellow commander and long-time friend of Heidern, named Ling, tells the veteran fighter that K′ and Maxima were once operatives of NESTS and that they may hold the key to locating the whereabouts of the mysterious organization. Using this information, Heidern decides to focus his efforts in using the next KOF tournament as a way to lure both K′ and Maxima out so that they can be captured and interrogated into telling the authorities about the NESTS cartel. Unknown to Heidern however, Ling has his own agenda.
The Hero Team from the previous game was split into two, with K′ and Maxima now joining forces with female agent Vanessa and Mexican wrestler Ramon, while Benimaru Nikaido formed his own team which consisted of Shingo Yabuki, agent Seth, and assassin Lin. The Fatal Fury Team replaced Mai Shiranui with Blue Mary, while Yuri Sakazaki left the Art of Fighting Team, with King taking her spot. Mai and Yuri returned to the Woman Fighters Team, this time being joined by Kasumi Todoh and high school student Hinako Shijou, who uses her own Sumo Wrestling style. Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami once again returned as Team Edit characters. A third Team Edit Only also appears in the form of Kula Diamond, a young girl genetically engineered by NESTS to be the "Anti-K′".