KoF is just about the best fighting game series ever. All arcade games, they are done by SNK for the NeoGeo (of course, that platform is being phased out soon), and ported to the PSX and DreamCast. The series is set apart by being based upon a team of fighters, exceptional art and sound, tons of moves and desperation moves, a power meter system, and lots of characters. (of course, gameplay is a small factor for it being popular, too)

The most notable first impression from a King of Fighters game is the sheer amount of characters to choose from. These characters are partially culled from previous games (like the Fatal Fury series) and partially brand new.

Oh, also, there are a few doujinshi series based on KoF, such as Athena and Friends and Yuri and Friends.

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