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Omega Rugal

"I'm more than a god!
I'm a superstar!
Hah, hah!"

Thought to have been destroyed in the destruction of his private aircraft carrier, the Black Noah, in 1994, the criminal mastermind Rugal Bernstein, hiding behind the laughably obvious "secret" identity of R, mysteriously returns to host the 1995 King of Fighters tournament . . .


  • Rugal Bernstein first appeared in The King of Fighters 1994 SNK Neo-Geo arcade video game. Originally, Rugal was supposedly intended to have the ability to learn and use any given character's special moves, once they had been used against him once (i.e., if you performed Terry Bogard's "Rising Knuckle" at any time during the battle, Rugal would then be able to perform it), reinforcing the idea that Rugal was truly a master amongst masters when it came to fighting. Unfortunately, this concept was dropped by SNK due to memory constraints (it would have required many extra frames of animation to accommodate all of the other character's special attacks). That's too bad, as it would have made for some interesting gameplay mechanics.

  • Rugal stands 6'4" in height and weighs 227 lbs. He was born on February 10th, but the year of his birth is unknown, and, consequently, his age is a mystery.

  • Rugal is almost always accompanied by his pet, a fearsome black panther named Rodem.

  • Rugal, or his alternate form, Omega Rugal, appears as a character in King of Fighters '94, '95, '98, '00 (Striker only), '02, and R-2 (Neo Geo Pocket). He also appears in Capcom Vs. SNK 1 & 2.

  • If you look closely at Rugal's collection of statues, in the cut scenes found in KOF '94, many of the frozen figures resemble Capcom Street Fighter II characters. This is also referenced in Capcom Vs. SNK when Rugal fights Guile--a special introduction animation scene takes place where a statue of Guile, presumably one of the aforementioned trophies from the Black Noah, appears between the two fighters, which Guile then proceeds to demolish in anger.

  • Due to his German-sounding surname, similar features (mustache and long hair), and use of the Kaiser Wave, some have speculated that Rugal Bernstein is somehow related to Wolfgang Krauser. No connection between the two has ever been proven/disproved.

  • Rugal has two children, a son, Adelheid, and a daughter, Rose. The mother's identity is unknown, but it has been speculated that it may be Vice or Mature (Mature being arguably more likely, from a genetic standpoint, due to her and Rugal both having blonde hair, which the children also have).

  • Is Rugal really dead? The bonus artwork found on one of the Playstation KOF games includes an image of a laboratory stocked with several Omega Rugals held in stasis pods. NESTS clones? Nobody knows for sure, but it's possible the Omega Rugal encountered and killed in '95 is not the real Rugal. Also, in KOF '00, "dead" characters acting as Strikers disappear after they attack, when Rugal is used as a Striker, he does not disappear, but simply runs off screen like any "normal" character . . .

Not much is known about Rugal Bernstein prior to his appearance on the world scene as a notorious arms dealer, operating out of his nuclear-weapons-equipped aircraft carrier, the Black Noah. Rugal had the perfect business set up--everyone knew about his illegal arms dealing, but no nation could act against him directly, for fear of nuclear retaliation. Even so, many countries dared to send covert operatives on raids against Bernstein, but he, and his mercenary forces, easily slew them (It was during once such attack, that Heidern lost his family and right eye at Rugal's hands). In addition to his criminal activities, Rugal was also a big name in the underground fighting circuits. Unfortunately for his opponents, Rugal had the sadistic hobby of "collecting" the defeated and dipping their bodies in liquid metal, creating life-size trophies to commemorate his victories.

Sometime prior to the King of Fighters '94 tournament, Rugal sensed a great power calling out to him. Intrigued, he steered the Black Noah towards the source, which turned out to be a small, uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. Exploring the barren landscape alone, Rugal discovered the sleeping might of the ancient Japanese 8-headed dragon, the legendary Orochi. However, before Rugal could act on his find, he was confronted by a man named Goenitz, one of Orochi's chosen few on the Earthly plane. The two men clashed, with Goenitz easily defeating Rugal, ripping out the criminal's right eye in the process. Surprised that a mere mortal like Rugal had actually survived a blow from an Orochi King like himself, Goenitz not only allowed Rugal to live, but let him absorb a small amount of Orochi's power, knowing that if Rugal ever overused it, not being of Orochi blood lineage like himself, his body would not be able to handle the immense energy and it would destroy him. Just to be on the safe side, Goenitz also arranged for two of his disciples, the deadly femme fatales, Vice and Mature, to gain Rugal's trust and serve as his eyes on the Black Noah. Rugal did not suspect a thing and employed the two women as his personal assistants.

Time passed, and, bored with his usual pursuits, Rugal decided to become the host of the 1994 King of Fighters tournament, only with a twist--no longer would single participants be accepted, fighters now had to be part of a three person team in order to compete. Arrogant as ever, Rugal reasoned that fighting the three winners of the tournament at once would give him the challenge he so desperately craved. The matches preceded smoothly, and the champions, the Japan Team--Benimaru Nikaido, Kyo Kusanagi, and Goro Daimon--found themselves confronting Rugal inside the control tower of the aircraft carrier. Rugal defeated Goro and Benimaru relatively easily, but Kyo proved too much for him. Unable to accept his loss, especially to someone as young as Kyo, Rugal activated the Black Noah's self destruct mechanism, sending himself, and all of his prized possessions, to a watery grave.

But that wasn't the end of Rugal.

The dormant Orochi power that Goenitz had allowed him to absorb years before saved his life. However, he did not escape the blast unscathed--parts of his damaged body had to be replaced with cybernetic implants, including his entire right forearm which had been holding the Black Noah's detonator. Hungry for revenge, the newly rebuilt Rugal began to organize the 1995 King of Fighters tournament, under the guise of "R". He even went so far as to prepare a special surprise for Kyo: his father, Saisyu Kusanagi, brainwashed by Vice. However, all of his scheming came to naught, as Kyo and his comrades bested Rugal--now transformed into Omega Rugal via the power of Orochi--once again, and Saisyu overcame the mind control he was under. Before the battered Omega Rugal could do anything, his body, pushed to its limits, and beyond, by the Orochi power within, exploded, finally ending Rugal Bernstein's murderous life.


  • Cyborg Enhancements

  • Badly injured after the explosion of the Black Noah, Rugal's ravaged body was rebuilt with the aid of many cybernetic implants. The most obvious of these improvements are his artificial right eye and hand. These mechanical components enhance Rugal's already formidable strength and speed and are much more resistant to damage than flesh. Rugal's artificial eye also provides enhanced vision (it allows him to see in the dark, detect heat, and zoom in on faraway objects).

  • Power of Orochi

  • Awakening the sliver of Orochi power Goenitz allowed him, Rugal transforms into his ultimate form: Omega Rugal. His blonde hair turns white, his remaining pupil disappears completely, a large tattoo of the Greek Omega symbol appears on his back, and his muscle mass increases considerably. Unlike Iori Yagami or Leona, when they fall under the "Riot of Blood", Rugal retains his higher thought processes.

  • Peerless Unarmed Fighter

  • Rugal Bernstein has mastered most known forms of hand-to-hand fighting, including "House of Strolheim" and "Hakkyokuseiken" (the arts practiced by previous King of Fighter tournament organizers Wolfgang Krauser and Geese Howard, respectively), in addition to inventing original techniques, such as the much-feared "Genocide Cutter". Rugal has battled, and killed, dozens of martial arts masters, never knowing defeat until he ran afoul of the Orochi King, Goenitz. In a fair fight--assuming a fight against Rugal could ever be considered fair--an opponent has only the slimmest of chances of surviving the encounter.

  • Incredible Wealth

  • Years of highly profitable criminal dealings have made Rugal one of the richest men on Earth. Money is never a concern for him (how many people do you know that can afford to own, and maintain, a fully stocked and armed aircraft carrier?). His deep pockets have also bought him the allegiance of countless corrupt politicians, law enforcement officers, etc. the world over.


  • Arrogance

  • Rugal Bernstein has an incredibly inflated ego, even going so far as to declare himself a deity. While he is certainly one of the most dangerous men in the world, he is not invincible.

  • Orochi Incompatibility

  • Rugal Bernstein has no Orochi blood in his lineage, which, unfortunately for him, makes it impossible for his body to handle the power of the legendary eight-headed serpent that Goenitz allowed him to absorb. The dormant Orochi power saved his life when the Black Noah exploded, but transforming into Omega Rugal fully awakened it--a decision which lead directly to his death, as Rugal's body couldn't cope with the energy.

  • Sore Loser

  • Rugal is incapable of accepting failure and goes berserk, with strong suicidal tendencies, when faced with the ignominy of defeat. His loss in the King of Fighters '94 tournament is what prompted him to foolishly activate the self-destruct mechanism for the Black Noah.

  • Cyborg Appearance/Wanted Dead-Or-Alive Everywhere

  • Rugal's glowing right eye is a dead giveaway to his location in low light conditions and his right hand whirs and clanks noisily when in use (the medical technicians could have made this mechanical appendage silent, but Rugal likes the racket it makes and insisted they leave it that way). If necessary, he can hide his hand inside a glove or pocket and turn the eye off if he needs to move about in public without drawing undue attention. However, the fact that he tops the "most wanted" list of criminals in just about every country, with a hefty reward attached, makes sightseeing ill advised to begin with.

Newsprint, cardboard from a cracker box, tissue paper, white paper, wire twist ties, wire from a Sega Saturn controller, white glue, hot glue, and acrylic paint.

(*The dimensions for this model can vary, depending on how the joints are positioned. The numbers given are for the figure in a 'neutral' standing pose.)
7.5 cm/3.0 in. x 3.7 cm/1.5 in. (highest point x widest point)

Nineteen points total: Neck (2), waist, shoulders (2), elbows (4), wrists (2), hips (2), knees (4), and ankles (2).

Three days; construction ran from 12/7/07-12/9/07.

Omega Rugal photo collage.

Mid-Construction Photos

For comparison purposes, below are several images of Omega Rugal from two different versions of The King of Fighters '95 video game. The first three are from the arcade original and the final two are from the (Super Game Boy enhanced) "Nettou" Game Boy port (I recolored the final image depicting him throwing a Kaiser Wave).

Rugal win portrait.    Rugal taunting sprite.

Rugal end-of-game loss portrait.    Gameboy Rugal win quote.

Gameboy Rugal performing Kaiser Wave.

(In no particular order of importance.)

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