"SNK and the Dreamcast go out with a bang."

Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves is SNK’s answer to Street Fighter III. The game is terrific, it is easily one of the best fighting games I’ve ever played. Now onto the review.

GAMEPLAY:

The game play retains many of the styles of earlier SNK fighters but still manages to be quite innovative. For one thing the game sports a parry system not unlike the one in Street Fighter III. However rather than pressing forward just before an attack hits you have to press back (much easier huh). Mastering the skills of parrying will be a great asset to you since you recover small amounts of life each time you perform one successfully. The TOP system is another interesting new feature. After you select your character you can set the top to left, right, or center on your life meter. When your life meter reaches that point in battle you will you recover small amounts of life and are open to use some new skills. But perhaps most important the game retains the classic SNK feel that we all know and love.

AUDIO/VIDEO:

The graphics in this game are nothing short of amazing. They are on par with Street Fighter III. This is pretty incredible considering that the Neo Geo board is over ten years old. Clearly FF:MotW is a true testament to the power of the Neo Geo’s hardware. Now admittedly they do have some problems in the resolution, which is not the best, but overall the game is really impressive in this category. The special moves particularly are a pleasure to watch. The music also doesn’t fail to impress. Like most fighting games once I listened to the music it was instantly stuck in my head.

STORY:

The story is set ten years after Terry Bogard defeated the evil menace of South Town Geese Howard and won the King of Fighters tournament. Now a new cast of characters is honing their skills in hopes of winning the titles. All of the games characters are new to the scene (except for Terry who returns with a new look) however many have connections to characters from earlier Fatal Fury/Art of Fighting/King of Fighters games. Each character has their own unique story but to see them all unfold you will have to play the game for yourself.

CHALLENGE:

They game is actually quite challenging even on the default settings. That’s all good and well if you’re an experienced player but if not you would probably be best to fine-tune your skills in the practice mode before taking on the story mode. Beating the game and viewing your character’s ending is also a lot easier said than done. In order to advance to the eighth and final stage in the game you need to have a high number of points (don’t expect to get there if you continue). Luckily once you get there you can save to that stage (gotta love that level save feature) and continue from there anytime you like. They survival mode is also quite challenging to beat but well worth it to unlock some secrets.

FUN FACTOR:

The game is very fun to play. Between the awesome game play, graphics, sound, and challenge the game will provide plenty of enjoyment and hold your interest.

REPLAY ABILITY:

They game is not that big on secrets (even the bosses are available from the start if you scroll to the right of the character select screen) but it does manage to be quite replay able nonetheless. They game sports a fair amount of challenge and coupled with the fact that it is a lot of fun to play and you have plenty of replay value. They also included an art gallery showcasing some of the early character designs and other game art. By viewing character endings and beating the survival mode you can expand on the gallery.

TO BUY OR TO RENT?:

If you’re a serious SNK fan this game is a definite must buy and if want a copy I suggest you start searching extensively right now before the game becomes impossible to find (only a very limited number of copies were produced) . If you’re a casual fighting game fan I would still recommend this game since it is extremely good and odds are you will enjoy it. Now that the Dreamcast and SNK are both officially dead there is all the more reason to pick up this game as the last great Dreamcast fighter and the last great effort by SNK (and probably their best ever).


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/02, Updated 03/29/02


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