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Intro & Characters
Fatal Fury

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Fatal Fury 2
Fatal Fury Special

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Fatal Fury 3
Real Bout Fatal Fury

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Real Bout Special
Dominated Mind

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Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
First Contact

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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)


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Characters

Terry Bogard

Known as the "Hungry Wolf," Terry Bogard is Fatal Fury's main protagonist and SNK's most enduring character. He sports an iconic look which most notably consists of a red denim jacket that says "Running Wild" below a star on the back and a cap labeled "King of Fighters." Amusingly, this makes him look a bit like a Dominoes pizza guy. He's Andy Bogard's older brother and is romantically involved with Blue Mary. He speaks English but with a very silly Japanese accent.

Andy Bogard

The Luigi of fighting games, Andy Bogard is Terry's occasionally neglected younger brother, who's basically an American ninja. Where his brother is easy-going, Andy is portrayed as somebody who takes his martial arts training very seriously. He's also a romantic interest for Mai, whose father trained him in the arts of the Shiranui ninja clan.

Joe Higashi

Andy and Terry's Muay Thai-practicing friend wears nothing but shorts and sports a huge hairstyle. Joe Higashi was born in Japan, but has spent most of his life training in Thailand. As Fatal Fury's comical relief character, he is known to pull down his shorts and taunt his opponents with his bare behind.

Geese Howard

His bizarre name suggests otherwise, but Geese is the most awesome villain in video game history. He's a German-American who mastered the art of karate and dresses like a Japanese aikido fighter. A former corrupt police commissioner, he rose to power as Southtown's crime boss. His most powerful move is a complicated attack called the Deadly Rave. While probably not intentional, he resembles the character of "The Aussie" from the 1988 Van Damme movie Bloodsport.

Billy Kane

Billy Kane is Geese's henchman. He wears a bandana and a jacket with a "No Smoking" symbol on the back. He wields a huge stick and possesses various flame-based attacks. His stages often have hard rock visual theme and stage music. His sister Lilly appears as in a couple of his endings in the Fatal Fury series, and is a hidden playable character in The King of Fighters 2006. His father is a pilot in SNK's Prehistoric Isle series.

Duck King

Together with King from Art of Fighting, the DJ runs a bar in Southtown. He may look like a result of the same focus group testing that produced those early 1990s "radical" platformer characters, but consider this: He's the king of ducks. How could you not like a character like that? He's accompanied by a duckling named P-Chan who mimics his every move. He attacks using a variety of breakdancing maneuvers.

Richard Meyer

Richard Meyer is a Capoeira master and the owner of the Pao Pao Cafe nightclub in Southtown, a recurring stage in the series. The first Fatal Fury game is the only time where he's a fighter. He ends up training Bob Wilson in the later episodes, although he returns as a playable characters in The King of Fighter 2006.

Hwa Jai

Hwa Jai is a Muay Thai fighter on steroids. He is not actually playable in the arcade game and only appears as a boss in the original Fatal Fury, with cameos in a couple games after that. He is finally reintroduced in The King of Fighters XIII, becoming a playable character for the first time.

Tung Fu Rue

Fatal Fury's "old master character". In the animes, Tung Fu Rue is the former teacher of Andy, Terry, Geese, Cheng Sinzan, and Terry and Andy's father Jeff. In the original game, where he is a non-playable boss character, he can become a giant muscular version of himself. In is playable appearances, this only happens for a short time during certain moves.

Raiden / Big Bear

Raiden (pronounced Rhy-den) is a masked wrestler who then makes a heel-face turn, loses his mask and then goes by the name Big Bear. He resembles real life wrestler Big Van Vader. He has been left out of the Real Bout games, but shows up Capcom vs. SNK and The King of Fighters XII.

Michael Max

Michael Max is a fairly generic boxer who retires after he is beaten by the Bogards and Joe in the first Fatal Fury. He is not actually playable in the arcade game and only appears as a boss.

Mai Shiranui

SNK's most popular character fights with fans and flame attacks. Her father taught martial arts to Andy Bogard, whom she is in love with. Probably the most shameless fan service character in fighters outside of Dead or Alive or Iroha from Samurai Shodown 6, she's known for her barely-there wardrobe, flirtatious intro and win animations, and exaggerated voluptuous figure.

Cheng Shinzan

An out of shape, middle aged and extremely wealthy business man. Despite his physical appearance, he actually has some kind of martial arts training, and can throw chi energy as green fireballs. Ever money-hungry, he joins the tournament in hopes of winning its huge prize. He actually has an extraordinarily attractive wife that cheers him on and tends to his wounds after the fight.

Kim Kaphwan

Kim Kaphwan is a highly disciplined practitioner of Tae Kwon Do whose characterization is defined by his strong sense of justice. He has two children, Kim Dong Hwan and Kim Jae Hoon, who appear in a few of his losing animations, and later become playable characters in Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Most of his theme tunes contain the name "Seoul," and are usually hard rock.

Jubei Yamada

Fatal Fury's "other" old man character. Probably the strongest seventy-year old man alive. In his old age he enjoys spending his time eating cookies (who doesn't?), tending to his Judo dojo, and bothering his former partner's granddaughter Mai, which generally leads to him getting knocked around by her. As a Judo master, most of his specials are throws, and he even possesses the first ever dash-in-and-throw move in a fighter.

Axel Hawk

Axel Hawk is a former champion boxer and Micheal Max' ex-trainer. He has a spoken quote ("Bust you up!") that's horribly pronounced with rather "interesting" results. He sort of resembles super heavyweight boxer Butterbean. He only appears as a boss character in Fatal Fury 2/Special, as his role was taken over by Franco Bash in subsequent games.

Laurence Blood

Laurence Blood is an arrogant bullfighter and bodyguard for Wolfgang Krauser, who finances his bullfighting activities. He attacks with a sword in a few of his moves, and in the Real Bout games he has a super where bulls stampede his opponent.

Wolfgang Krauser

Wolfgang Krauser von Stroheim is an extremely tall mega-badass who temporarily replaces Geese as the main antagonist for Fatal Fury 2. He lives in a huge castle in Germany and is Geese's half brother. Both of his theme songs were taken from Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor.

Ryo Sakazaki / Mr. Karate

Ryo Sakazaki is the main protagonist of SNK's Art of Fighting series. He appears in Fatal Fury Special as a secret boss, but he becomes playable via a cheat that can only be entered after reaching him. Despite Fatal Fury taking place ten years later, he appears just as he did in Art of Fighting. In the PlayStation version of Wild Ambition he returns as Mr. Karate (a common alias for both him and his father Takuma), this time properly aged.

Blue Mary

Real name: Mary Ryan. Blue Mary is a secret agent who practices Sambo, a form of wrestling (though she is more of a counter character than a grappler). After her partner was mysteriously killed, she began traveling and eventually got caught up in the events of the series. She is followed around everywhere by her dog, but lacks any Galford-style dog based attacks. In her early artwork, she looks like Android 18 from Dragon Ball Z, and also wears an overly wide belt that doesn't quite fit her.

Sokaku Mochizuki

Sokaku Mochizuki descends from a lineage of exorcists and can conjure spirits during several of his attacks. He came to Southtown to prevent the threat posed by the Jin twins and Geese in Fatal Fury 3 and Real Bout. His family has a centuries old rivalry with the Shiranui family, but it never really leads to anything in the series. He wears a straw hat and huge beads, fights with a staff, and has a huge scar on his face.

Bob Wilson

Bob was taught Capoeria by Richard Myers at the Pao Pao Cafe, where he assisted in managing. After the second Pao Pao Cafe was built, Richard made Bob its manager. Bob is portrayed as a very easy going guy. Pao Pao Cafe is frequented by many of Southtown's best fighters, and Bob is friendly with several of the series' recurring characters. Several of his moves are named after animals.

Hon Fu

Hon Fu is a police officer from Hong Kong who is looking for Ryuji Yamazaki and has tracked him to Southtown. He is obviously based on Jackie Chan. Not only does he look exactly like the Hong Kong superstar, but he is portrayed with a humorous tone reminiscent of the characters that Jackie plays in most of his movies. He fights with a nunchuck, and is the unlikely brother of Cheng Sinzan.

Franco Bash

Franco Bash took up kick boxing to take his mind off his wife's death. He eventually joins the Bogards after Ryuji Yamazaki kidnaps his child. He has a move called "Armageddon Buster," which is different in each appearance and always has odd properties that allow for many possible implementations of the move. He also sports a badass 1980s moustache.

Ryuji Yamazaki

Ryuji Yamazaki is a sadistic assassin that has been hired as a bodyguard by the Jin brothers. He has the blood of the Orochi, and as that has everything to do with the plot of King of Fighters and nothing to do with Fatal Fury, he eventually made his way into that series. He attacks with a knife and can punch really, really, really fast. Except when he's stabbing people, he generally attacks with only one arm and keeps the other in his pocket.

Jin Chonshu

Jin Chonshu is Jin Chonrei's twin brother. He appears to be the more sarcastic of the two, but is actually primarily responsible for motivating their search for immortality and omnipotence. Years later, SNK Playmore made him a playable character in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum.

Jin Chonrei

Jin Chonrei looks suspiciously like Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z and is the twin brother of Jin Chonshu. He is actually less interested in immortality and power than his brother and prefers to live a normal life. Both brothers have the spirits of their ancestors of the last 220,000 years living within them, which seems to be a motivating force for their actions. Like his brother, he is also playable in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum.

Rick Strowd

Rick Strowd is a light-weight boxer who is introduced in Real Bout 2. He searches Southtown for worthy opponents to fight and is always seeking to improve his skills. He would later appear in First Contact for NGPC and both SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash games, but has been completely absent in any other fighting games since.

Li Xiangfei

Li Xiangfei is a goofy martial artist with a big appetite. She wears her hair in a twin braided style with bells in it and is known for a super move called Majinga, which does more than 100 hits if it connects. She fights with a drunken boxing style and would later show up in a couple of King of Fighters games.

Lao

Lao is an odd one: He first appears as the poor sap getting the crap kicked out of him by Rick in the intro to Real Bout Fatal Fury 2. It's so fast you can't really see him without running the game in slow motion. Then in Mark of the Wolves, he appears in B. Jenet's intro and win animations, and in her ending as well, as a member of her Liline Knights. His lone appearance as a playable character is in First Contact. His father, mother, and sister are named Darren, Samantha and Tabitha, and his dog is named Lassie. So yeah, somebody at SNK was a big fan of 1960s Hollywood sitcoms.

Alfred Airhawk

Alfred Airhawk is a pilot who flies an old bi-plane left to him by his late grandfather (who is theorized to be a character in SNK's Prehistoric Isle). White invaded his village and killed his grandfather, but he was able to escape and shortly thereafter began flying around the world. His travels eventually brought him to Southtown where he encountered White once again. He is first introduced as a hidden boss character in Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, and becomes playable in Real Bout Special: Dominated Mind, an enhanced port of RBFFS for PlayStation and Fatal Fury: First Contact for Neo Geo Pocket Color.

White

White is featured in the PlayStation port of Real Bout Special and is based on the portrayal of the character of Alexander DeLarge from the movie A Clockwork Orange. A powerful crime boss with mind control abilities, he comes to Southtown in the aftermath of the fall of Geese's criminal empire and intends to gain control of the city's underworld via his psychic powers. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear in any other game.

Toji Sakata

A crazy old midget of a man wearing a funny hat and an evil glare. He basically takes on the same role as Jubei Yamada in Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, but doesn't really appear anywhere else, except for the second Fatal Fury pachislot machine.

Tsugumi Sendo

Tsugumi is just another high school girl character (taking after Sakura from Street Fighter Alpha 2) who only appears in Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition. She's a professional wrestler, which kind of make her a precursor to Hinako, the female sumo wrestler in the King of Fighters games. Her sole appearances in other SNK titles are in the SNK Card Fighters Clash series and alongside Toji in the pachislot Garou Densetsu Special.



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:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Takashi Nishiyama

Planner:

  • Takashi Tsukamoto
    Seigo Itoh

Genre:

Themes:


Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

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Fatal Fury (Neo Geo)

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Comparison Screenshots


Geese Quotes


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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

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