Review by Mr. Sparkle

"Fatal Fury at near perfection!"

Fatal Fury has always been dubbed as a crappy serious, and is often compared to Capcom's Street Fighter as SNK's franchise fighting game (though they are significantly different games). Well, in any case, I like FF more. The fact that it has two planes to move across gives the game an almost 3D touch and is one of the very few 2D fighting games that recognizes the importance of dodging, and not just blocking.

Well, anyways, onto the game I am reviewing; Real Bout Fatal Fury Special. This is actually one of my favorite fighting games of all time. I always thought Fatal Fury 1-3 and Real Bout 1-2 had some serious flaws, but Real Bout Fatal Fury caught my attention. It was a rather good game, but SNK cleaned up some problems in that game, and has made an ALMOST perfect Fatal Fury game.

AUDIO & GRAPHICAL JARGON

In terms of sound, like always, SNK has good soundtracks and sound effects. The music ranges between rock and Chinese music, and the tunes fit well with the levels. The voices sound good, and the punches and kicks sound as good as they always have been...

The animation is really nice. The backgrounds are really well detailed with lots happening, and some of the characters have been improved graphically. Oh well, enough about the technical specs of the game; it's basically good old SNK 2D wizardry. I also love how all the levels have certain things that can be broken by beating on excessively, like walls, a panda bear's cage, etc!

GAMEPLAY

As you know, Fatal Fury games run on 2 lines, so you can jump back onto the other line to dodge an attack by pressing a button. Mastering it when dodging moves is a necessity, because blocking won't do; you can't counter very well after blocking. By dodging, you can easily pump in a powerful attack...

The other 3 buttons are punch, kick, and a powerful attack. I prefer this layout over the 6 button control of Street Fighter games; you don't have 4 worthless buttons. Each one is valuable. Punch and kick are for linking combos and doing certain moves, while powerful is the slower and strong attack button, which is probably used most often.

The moves mostly consist of the standard quarter circle and forward-down-forward movements, so nothing new here. There is the power meter, which gradually fills up when you are hit or do a special move. At different levels, special moves can perform extended combos and are more powerful. For my standard attack, I most oftem used the powerful attack button to sweep and hit the opponent. Does good damage, but, if you overuse it, the opponent will easily be able to counter, so you have to diversify your counters and attacks.

The computer opponents, like normal SNK AI, are rather difficult, but once you get used to the difficulty and gameplay, you'll be able to win the game. It's tough though. I believe you fight 8 characters (not sure). The last boss is actually surprisingly easy. There are three characters who I find to be incredibly tough (and cheap), and not surprisingly, they all yield weapons. Especially this one character Billy Kane, who has a kendo stick that reaches across the entire screen. All 3 have extremely long and cheap combos, and they drive me nuts. You jump at them, they uppercut you with the weapon at a distance (meaning you barely ever actually hit them through a jump attack). They're very frusterating. They're quick and strong... SNK really should not keep these guys with weapons... They're really unfair...

One thing that annoys me is the fact there is no way to break a combo. Especially the guys with the weapons get 7-10 hit combos with ease, and they cause a lot of damage. Too bad SNK didn't think about that... The powerful special attacks are also a bit annoying. I believe you can do them any time (without having your power meter full), and they take away over one whole bar of energy (you have two full bars each round). Fortunately, you can usually dodge them easily, but the computer still manages to slap them to you rather easily win in need of a win...

In the normal one-player mode, this game can be a bi*ch, but like all SNK fighting games, the true challenge is with other gamers. It has great replay value!

CHARACTERS & STORY

Really good character selection. There are around 20 characters, if I remember correctly, and all them are cool... Except for those blasted guys with weapons; god do I hate them. ;-) Andy Bogard and Blue Mary are my favorite fighters by the way...

The story in this game isn't really present, and the endings are a bit cheap, but oh well. The game itself is great, and that's all that matters...

FINAL VERDICT

Great, great fighting game. I haven't gotten around to playing Garou: Mark of the Wolves too much since it's so rare and expensive, but I'm really satisfied with this game. I highly recommend 2D fighting fans give this one a play...

OVERALL -- 10/10

I must go now, my planet needs me.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/08/01, Updated 07/08/01


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