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Intro & Characters
Fatal Fury

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Fatal Fury 2
Fatal Fury Special

Page 3:
Fatal Fury 3
Real Bout Fatal Fury

Page 4:
Real Bout Special
Dominated Mind

Page 5:
Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
First Contact

Page 6:
Wild Ambition
Garou: Mark of the Wolves

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Anime
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by ZZZ, with additions by Sam Derboo - updated September 7, 2013 (originally posted October 22, 2007)

Garou Densetsu Battle Archives 1 Cover

Garou Densetsu Battle Archives 2 Cover

The original Fatal Fury is SNK's second fighting game ever, preceded only by Street Smart. Other than having jump started the production of fighters by the genre's most prolific developer, it's also the point of origin of the King of Fighters tournament, and it directly spawned SNK's most internationally popular series. The fictional city of Southtown was also created here, and has since become the setting for innumerable SNK games. A great number of its characters have become KoF regulars and made other appearances in SNK related cross-over fighters, quiz games, card battle games, video board games, and elsewhere. Despite its significance, Fatal Fury isn't quite as popular as King of Fighters and it doesn't have quite as intense a cult following as Samurai Shodown, but it's easily just as good as those two series.

SNK's fighters always have some kind of fairly simple feature that makes them stand out from the crowd. Samurai Shodown has weapons, King of Fighters has teams and huge character rosters, Art of Fighting has amazing visuals and innovative techniques, World Heroes has crazy characters and death matches - even their lesser known games each have some kind of novel concept to their gameplay. With their Fatal Fury series, it's the ability to move into the background in a multi-plane playing field. However, opinions about this technique tend to be mixed among fans. It began as a mere novelty in the original game, but became a genuinely beneficial method of evasion in the sequels.

Something that really stands out about Fatal Fury is how much SNK often changed the dynamics from game to game. This could be said about both Capcom's Street Fighter and SNK's own Samurai Shodown as well, but in Fatal Fury the differences between each incarnation are so much more severe. Skills that you've mastered in one game don't necessarily translate to, or even prepare you for, another. So fighting game fans with all kinds of tastes are likely to find a game in the series that appeals to them, and it's an exceptionally rewarding fighting series to get into as a whole. There really isn't any be-all-end-all game that obsoletes all the others either, so it might have the most "must have" titles of any SNK fighter series.

In Japan Fatal Fury is called Garou Densetsu, which translates to "Legend of the Hungry Wolf." The series spans eleven iterations, all of which are available for a home or portable console in some form or other, and seven of the games have been compiled for PlayStation 2 as part of the compilations Fatal Fury Battle Archives 1 and the Japan exclusive Garou Densetsu Battle Archives 2.

Fatal Fury details the fall and subsequent aftermath of the criminal empire of Geese Howard. These events generally revolve around the King of Fighters tournament, with the chief protagonists being brothers Terry and Andy Bogard, and their Muay Thai practicing friend Joe Higashi - the trio is collectively referred to as "The Lone Wolves."

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury 3 (Neo Geo)

Garou: Mark of the Wolves (Neo Geo)


View all "Fatal Fury" items on eBay


Characters


Fatal Fury: King of Fighters / Garou Densetsu: Shukumei no Tatakai (餓狼伝説: 宿命の闘い) - Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, Genesis, SNES, X68000, PlayStation 2, Wii, PlayStation 3, PSP, PSVita (November 1991)

Japanese Neo Geo Cover

American Neo Geo Cover

Japanese Mega Drive Cover

American SNES Cover

While often inaccurately perceived as a Street Fighter II clone, Fatal Fury (known in Japan as Garou Densetsu: Shukumei no Tatakai, or "Legend of the Hungry Wolves: The Fated Battle) was actually in development at the same time as Street Fighter II. What's more, all of SNK's fighting game operations were helmed by Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto, who had formerly created the very first Street Fighter for Capcom in 1987. So the game's similarities are the result of them being different re-interpretations of the same source. Street Fighter director Takashi Nishiyama even referred to Fatal Fury as "my Street Fighter II."

Several years prior to the events of the game, two young men named Geese Howard and Jeff Bogard were being trained by a martial arts master named Tung Fu Rue in the American west coast city of Southtown. Geese intended to exploit his teachings to gain influence over Southtown's criminal element, which Tung Fu Rue did not approve of, despite continuing to teach Geese anyway. When Tung decided to make Jeff his successor Geese developed resentment toward both men, and after becoming Southtown police commissioner, he killed Jeff. This event was witnessed by one of Jeff Bogard's children, Terry. Tung Fu Rue would take in Terry and raise him, while the other Bogard brother, Andy, was sent to Japan to learn martial arts from Hanzo Shiranui. Years later, the two brothers enter Geese's King of Fighters tournament with the goal of confronting the man himself to avenge their father's death.

For those familiar with Street Fighter II it was probably off-putting that only the two Bogard brothers and their friend Joe Higashi can be selected to play as, with every other character being a non-playable boss character. The first opponent can be chosen from a set of four. After these four are defeated, more bosses follow, which ends with fights against Billy Kane and Geese Howard, in that order.

Yes, this is a pretty small character selection, but each character is excellently designed with their own individual feel and a large number of moves. The controls are very simple, with A for punches, B for kicks, and C for throws. The game's physics are relatively intuitive, but the joystick motions for specials are a bit awkward, with too many diagonals for their own good. This is debatably the worst flaw of the game, but opposed to the original Street Fighter, it's possible to get the moves right every time when paying attention, so the game still stands up pretty well.

The original Fatal Fury is probably most well known for introducing the line switching system, where fights can move between the background and foreground. During play, the CPU will often jump into the background and pushing any attack button makes the hero jump at them and attack. It's not yet allowed to just switch planes at any time, but certain moves knock one of the combatants to the other plane. This is more of a novelty than anything else, but it is interesting and it does set it apart from other fighters. A few levels only have one plane. Attacks that would normally knock the opponent to the other plane instead make him collide with some kind of obstacle in the background, bounce off of it and land back on the ground.

There is also a very odd attack chaining system in Fatal Fury. The basic normals are called Base attacks. When performing two consecutive Base attacks from the same range without them being blocked, and then following up with a third normal from the same range, then this normal will become an Alternate attack. This is pretty much the same thing, but with a different animation. If this attacks hits, then the next normal will be a Base attack with a slightly different animation. The moves thus alternate between Bases and Alternates and keep going as long as each attack lands.

Fatal Fury: The King of Fighters is essentially what the original Street Fighter should have been. It takes the same ultra simplistic yet relatively modern gameplay, but actually executes it well enough for the game to be legitimately good. The best thing about the game, though, and what really makes it stand out from any other fighter, is that somebody at SNK had the absolutely fantastic idea to give it a two player co-operative mode. This means that two players can team up to fight against a CPU controlled opponent at the same time. This makes defeating bosses easy by simply surrounding them, because they can't block from both sides at the same time. Co-operative mode is definitely the main draw of the game, and it's baffling why this did not become more popular in the genre, and only ever briefly reappeared in some versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3. Regardless, it really is an awesome idea and it definitely makes Fatal Fury worth playing even today. After each co-operative fight against a boss, a fight among the team mates breaks out, and the winner will continue. This is no problem when playing a port of the game, but in the arcade it means that it takes quite a few quarters to play through the entire game in co-operative mode.

Fatal Fury also does an amazing job of fleshing out Geese Howard, whose legacy lasts through the entire series. Compared to Sagat or M. Bison of the Street Fighter games, who simply show up at the end and fight, Geese is constantly watching your progress and makes comments after every match. If you beat him (since this is an SNK game, he's a tough bastard), you send him flying off the top of his tower, although he apparently survives to return in later games. In an interesting twist, losing during the Geese fight triggers a special continue countdown screen with the hero falling towards the ground.

Compared to its successors, Fatal Fury's graphics aren't that spectacular, and its music doesn't even begin to compare to later SNK fighters, but both elements stand up relatively well. Its background designs are easily among the best in any fighter at the time of its release. Hwa Jai's level is set in Southtown's streets with a deep view of the city in the background. Geese's level is set at the top of Geese Tower with the sky visible through the ceiling in the background. The details throughout the game in general are pretty great, and change very slightly each round as the game progresses to later periods of the day. The rain in Tung Fu Rue's stage, the two level carousel in Raiden's stage, the trains in Duck King's stage, and the odd references painted on cars in Billy Kane's stage are all among the best details in the game. There are also a few odd bonus levels of an arcade arm wrestling game against a digital opponents. The music generally is only okay, except for the introduction of Geese's legendary theme. Also, the player vs. player music is taken from Street Smart, an earlier fighting game from SNK.

Fatal Fury was popular enough in the arcades to get ported to SNES and Genesis. This was handled by Takara, who did many of SNK's home ports. Their controls are not quite as good as the arcade version, and the graphics and music obviously aren't up to the same level. The arm wrestling bonus games have been replaced with more typical Street Fighter II type games too. However, in some respects these two 16-bit ports might actually be the best versions of the game, because they solve the biggest problem of the arcade version: Every character in the game is now playable in two player mode. However, the Genesis version lacks Billy Kane and Hwa Jai completely. The version for X68000 computers is almost identical to the arcade game, but the system's resolution results in the visible part of the playing field being much more narrow. Years, later it was ported to PlayStation 2 as part of Garou Densetsu/Fatal Fury Battle Archives 1. All of ports on these versions are practically arcade perfect. A brand new arranged soundtrack was made for this version, since there was never a full arrange soundtrack for this game - the Neo Geo CD version simply uses recordings from the arcade game.

Quick Info:

Developer:

SNK

Publisher:

SNK

Director:

Takashi Nishiyama

Planner:

Takashi Tsukamoto
Seigo Itoh

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Contemporary: Urban
80s


Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)


Comparison Screenshots


Geese Quotes


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro & Characters
Fatal Fury

Page 2:
Fatal Fury 2
Fatal Fury Special

Page 3:
Fatal Fury 3
Real Bout Fatal Fury

Page 4:
Real Bout Special
Dominated Mind

Page 5:
Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
First Contact

Page 6:
Wild Ambition
Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Page 7:
Anime
Other

Back to the Index