HOW TO BEAT FATAL FURY WITH RELATIVELY LITTLE PAIN

Written by Michael W. Dean (mdean@negia.net)

February 16, 2006
Final Version (unless I think of something else to add)


Note:  This document is Copyright 2001 Michael W. Dean.  This document is 
for private use and may not be reprinted in part or whole without 
permission of the author.  Fatal Fury and its roster of characters are 
trademarks of SNK, and I lay no claim over them, but the text of this FAQ 
is another issue.


INTRODUCTION

Back in 1991, when Street Fighter II was ruling the arcades, the Neo Geo 
gave us a head to head fighter of its own:  Fatal Fury.  Fatal Fury was a 
simpler game than Street Fighter II, featuring only three attack buttons, 
three selectable characters, and eight enemies.  The game went mostly 
unnoticed, heavily overshadowed by its famous competitor.  Little did we 
know that this humble game would spark numerous sequels and off-shoots, 
including the popular King of Fighters series.  Fatal Fury also launched 
SNK's dubious tendency towards cheap, insanely difficult fighting game 
bosses.  He's the first, and still one of the best:  Geese Howard.

These days, the game that gave us Joe Higashi and the Bogard brothers is 
something of a curiosity to SNK fighting game fans, a sort of living 
museum piece.  More than a few of the newer fans have given Fatal Fury a 
spin, just to see how far things have come, only to be flummoxed by the 
game's difficult CPU characters.  Then there are those of you who have 
played the game for years, but have never figured out how to get past 
Raiden or Billy Kane or, most likely, Geese Howard himself.

This FAQ is loaded with anti-computer strategies that have served the 
author well since the game was fresh in the arcades.  Perhaps they can 
help you out as well.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

BASICS

Joystick legend (these directions are relative to the opponent's 
position):
d = down                                   da = down-away
a = away                                   ua = up-away
u = up                                     uf = up-forward
f = forward                                df =  down-forward

Buttons:
A = punch
B = kick
C = throw (only works if the joystick is pressed forward)
D = not used

As is the case with most 2D fighters, moving the joystick down causes the 
character to crouch, up causes him to jump, while forward and away cause 
him to walk toward and away from the opponent, respectively.  Moving the 
joystick away and down-away also causes the character to block incoming 
attacks.  Up-away and up-forward cause him to jump away from and toward 
the opponent, respectively.

Each character's punches and kicks change depending on how close the 
character is to the opponent when the strike is executed.  Terry Bogard, 
for example, throws an aerial spinning side kick with the B button at long 
range, a roundhouse kick at medium range, and a knee strike at close 
range.

Fighting in Fatal Fury takes place in two rows:  one in back, one in 
front.  When your opponent is a different row, pressing the punch or kick 
buttons causes your fighter to leap at the opponent with a strike.  The 
strike will usually knock the opponent down, but if blocked, leaves you 
very open to a counter.  To change to your opponent's row without a 
strike, simply press the joystick up (to move to the back row) or down (to 
move to the front row).  This is the safest way to change rows.

Throws in Fatal Fury are very powerful, taking off about 25% of the 
opponent's energy per successful application.  Against the computer in 
particular, always be ready to throw; it is one of your best weapons!

A word on crouching attacks:  while the three main characters each have a 
crouching punch and a crouching kick, none of these are sweeps or 
knockdown moves.  You must remove any ingrained sweeping strategy from 
your thinking when you play the game.  Instead, use the crouching attacks 
as components of your combos.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

CHARACTERS

All three of the selectable characters are of equivalent striking power 
and speed.  Andy is perhaps a little bit faster than the others and Joe 
has the best range, but aside from that there's little difference between 
them.  It is their special moves that set them apart the most.  A look at 
each individual character follows:


TERRY BOGARD

Terry wears a red ball cap and jacket, with sneakers and blue jeans.  He 
is the most balanced of the characters in terms of range and speed.  He 
has good combos and some powerful special moves.  His Burning Knuckle is 
particularly fast and strong.  Details of his special moves follow:

Power Wave - d, df, f + A

The Power Wave is a slow but powerful projectile attack.  It travels along 
the ground and automatically snuffs out after it reaches about two thirds 
distance.  It can be used in combos, but is generally best avoided...it's 
just too slow to snuff the bad guys' quicker attacks.

Rising Tackle - d (charge), u + A

Terry inverts himself and leaps straight into the air feet first, arms 
extended and body spinning.  This is a solid anti-air move that can snuff 
just about any jumper.

Crack Shoot - da, uf + B

Terry jumps forward and somersaults into an axe kick.  Another anti-air 
move, a little quicker and easier to use than the Rising Tackle.  It can 
skip right over most low attacks, but must be used at relatively close 
range.

Burning Knuckle - d, da, a + A

Terry abruptly glides across the ground with one fist extended and 
wreathed in energy.  This knockdown move covers about two thirds of the 
screen.  It is fast and powerful, but you can be knocked out of it.  It is 
best used as a long distance counter after the enemy somehow leaves 
himself open.  More on this later.


ANDY BOGARD

Andy appears as a golden-haired fellow in a white sleeveless outfit with 
orange boots.  While quick, Andy suffers from relatively short range and 
some strange attack angles.  His long range kick is an odd sort of aerial 
hook that hits higher than Terry and Joe's aerial spinning side kicks.  
His specials are unremarkable, with the notable exception of the Zaneiken 
rushing elbow, which is easily the best special in the game.

Hishoken - d, df, f + A

This is Andy's projectile, a standard fireball that travels about two 
thirds of the screen before snuffing out.  Most characters can jump it and 
hit Andy before he can recover.

Shoryudan - d (charge), u + A

Andy leaps off the ground with his arms extended and spins.  A good anti-
air move, similar to Terry's Rising Tackle.

Kuhadan - db, uf + B

Andy leaps forward and arcs toward the opponent with both feet extended.  
This is a decent counter that can catch retreating enemies and skip over 
low attacks.

Zaneiken - a, f + A

Andy does a rushing slide across the ground with an elbow extended.  This 
knockdown move travels about half the screen and is both fast and easy to 
use.  Once an opponent is knocked down, Andy can often cheap them to death 
by executing another Zaneiken each time they try to stand.


JOE HIGASHI

Joe fights in his Muay Thai garb, which consists pretty much of orange 
shorts, a headband, and hand-wraps.  Often underrated by gamers, he is 
actually a powerful character with some very good normal attacks.  His 
crouching B is a sliding knee strike that is actually quite useful, unlike 
the crouching kicks employed by the Bogards.  His crouching A elbow strike 
and his sliding knee can be strung together for simple but lengthy combos.

Bakuretsuken (a.k.a. TNT Punch, a.k.a. Megaton Punch, etc.) - Press A 
repeatedly

Joe launches into a long series of rapid fire jabs, ended with a hard 
cross.  Once Joe cranks this one up, he has to execute all of the punches, 
which means he'll just stand there punching for several seconds.  Be very 
careful timing this.  If the opponent backs away before you start hitting 
him, you will be very open to counters.

Hurricane Upper - d, df, f + A

Joe throws a uppercut which launches a mini-tornado projectile.  The 
tornado travels about two thirds of the screen before dissipating.  Like 
all of the player fireballs, this move is of limited usefulness.  It's 
very big, however, and can be difficult to avoid.

Tiger Kick - da, uf + B

Surrounded by a fiery aura, Joe glides across the ground with one knee 
extended for a strike.  This is a knockdown move and travels about two 
thirds of the screen.  It is fairly powerful, but predictable, as Joe 
pauses for a second before he throws it.

Slash Kick - f, df, d, da, a + B

Joe executes his typical long range B kick, but as he extends it he glides 
across the screen while flame trails from his foot.  This knockdown move 
travels almost the entire length of the screen and is very fast.  It 
pretty much renders the Tiger Kick superfluous.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

ENEMIES

Most of the bad guys in the game are unbalanced; they are for the most 
part very strong, but have weaknesses that the clever player can exploit 
for a relatively easy win.  Each character is detailed below.


DUCK KING

Duck King, an athletic punk with some seriously huge M.C. Hammer pants, is 
one of the more balanced enemies.  His offense consists mostly of spinning 
and flying kicks, a sliding kick from the ground, and a powerful aerial 
rolling body attack.  His main weakness is his jump-in kick; it doesn't 
knock you back if it catches you on the ground, so even if you fail to 
block it, you can counter easily.  Your best counter is a throw, if Duck 
lands close enough.  Once knocked down, Duck can be victimized by a long 
range B attack as he stands up.  More dangerous is Duck's rolling body 
attack; it is pretty much invulnerable.  Once blocked, Duck will bounce 
off you into the back row (or the front row, if you're fighting in the 
back one).  The second Duck bounces off your guard, hit the attack button 
to follow him into his new row.  Most likely, your row-switch attack will 
hit, and can be followed up by a quick crouching punch.

Fight Duck defensively, always ready to block.  Sometimes you can nail 
Duck with a standing A before he can launch one of his trademark spinning 
kicks, but your best bets are to counter his jump-in kicks with throws, 
and to follow his spinning body attack with the one-two combo mentioned 
above.


RICHARD MEYER

A deceptive Capoeira fighter, Richard can be a bit confusing the first few 
times you face him.  He kicks at you from handstands and while hanging 
from the ceiling, and will leap at you in a spinning flurry of 
outstretched legs.  He also crouches frequently for low kicks.  Once you 
get used to his tactics, however, he's really not so tough.  His jump-in 
pinwheel kick (you will know this when you see it) can be blocked into a 
throw with little effort, and most of his regular moves can be stuffed 
with simple standing A punches...watch for his crouching kicks, however.  
When he jumps up and grabs the ceiling, don't try for a counter unless you 
are out of his range; from there, a fireball is your best bet.

One particular trick of Richard's is to hit a handstand and just stay 
there, lashing his legs out continuously.  This tactic negates your 
ability to throw him and makes standing moves difficult.  However, if 
you're playing as Joe, this is the perfect time to punish Richard with a 
series of sliding knees.  Do it until Richard gets the message and rights 
himself.  If you are Terry or Andy, crouching punches work reasonably well 
instead.

As a general rule, Richard is a victim for rushing moves like the 
Zaneiken, Burning Knuckle, or Slash Kick.  You can use these almost 
anytime Richard is on the ground and at a distance from you.


MICHAEL MAX

 Probably the easiest CPU enemy to beat, Michael Max is a mean looking 
boxer who takes you on by the seashore.  Michael's standing punches are 
fast and damaging and he has his own version of Joe Higashi's Hurricane 
Upper (the perhaps more accurately named Tornado Upper).  However, these 
attacks are easy to avoid.  All you have to do is jump in on Michael with 
a kick, then follow up with a crouching strike.  Rinse, repeat.  If you're 
using Joe, the sliding knee should again give you an especially easy time 
of it.  None of the characters should have too much trouble, however.

One word of warning:  don't try to get in Michael's face and match him 
blow for blow unless your blocking game is very good.  His punches are as 
fast or faster than anything the player characters can put together.  It's 
also very hard to get a throw in on him.  Attack from the air or from the 
ground, and be ready for counters.


TUNG FU RUE

Tung Fu Rue is two different characters.  He starts out as an unassuming 
little old man, but after taking a few hits he changes into a hulking 
brute.  He transforms into his roid rage form after you knock him down to 
about 75% health.  He transforms back to geezer form at about 25% health.

In geezer form, Tung is deceptively strong.  He has no projectiles and no 
moves that send him hurtling across the screen, but his punches and kicks 
have very high priority and take off noticeable chunks of damage.  In 
addition, he's so short that most of your regular standing moves will 
whiff right over his head.  If you try to walk up to Tung and punch him, 
you will miss and he will clobber you repeatedly.  Jump-ins are the key to 
approaching the old man, and your best bet once you close the distance is 
to stay low and poke him with crouching shots.  Again, Joe's sliding knee 
is highly recommended.  Tung has a way of changing rows if you try to hit 
him with a special, but if you hit the attack button promptly, you will 
jump after him.  Most of the time you will get a hit in this way, and 
often you can follow it up with a crouching strike.

During Tung's transformation into a gigantic twisted freak, he is 
invulnerable.  The change takes a couple of seconds, after which he will 
assume his fighting stance; at that point, he can again be hit.  Take 
advantage of the transformation time and set yourself to get some shots in 
on Tung before he starts fighting.  If you're playing as Joe, one solid 
move is to set up the rapid fire punch, timing it to go off just as Tung 
becomes vulnerable.  This will do decent damage, but Tung will usually 
manage to block the second or third punch, which will scoot him away 
before the combo is finished.  He usually won't try a counter until Joe is 
done punching, however.  No matter which character you are playing, learn 
to time Tung's transformation so you can get a free hit or two on him at 
the moment his invulnerability wears off.

You cannot throw Tung in his giant freak form.  In addition, he gains a 
projectile (a hellish big one at that) and hurricane kick sort of move 
where he flies at you spinning with both arms extended.  Your best option 
now is a cautious offense; come at Tung with a jump kick, immediately 
crouch and follow up with a ground strike, then block.  Tung will usually 
counter after the second hit, which will knock you back into decent range 
for another jump kick.  Standing moves are not your friend against big 
Tung; jump and crouch, jump and crouch.

Once you knock steroid Tung down to about 25% health, he will transform 
back into his geezer form, and from there it should be your fight.


HWA JAI

Hwa Jai is another Muay Thai stylist; he's basically a palette-swapped Joe 
with a different head.  He has Joe's basic moves and after taking a few 
hits, he gains a special called the Rocket, an improved version of the 
Tiger Knee.

At the beginning of the match, Hwa Jai isn't much of a problem.  He throws 
a few punches and kicks, and occasionally leaps in with a punch.  Once you 
get him to about 70% health, however, a green-suited man (undoubtedly one 
of Geese's lackeys) throws him a bottle of some dubious liquid.  Hwa Jai 
turns invulnerable as he catches the bottle and chugs it.  Once he's done 
he becomes vulnerable again, but his skin turns red, he starts drooling, 
and he gains the ability to use the Rocket maneuver.

The juiced-up Hwa Jai is stronger and faster than he was in the beginning, 
but it's the Rocket that's your real worry.  The move is very quick and 
has extremely high priority, and he can throw it over and over and over 
again.  It can knock a jumper out of the air and stuff almost any special 
move.  Hwa Jai can turn the tide of the match in a hurry with this move.

The first thing you want to do is weaken Hwa Jai as much as possible 
before he juices up.  The best recipe for this is a pair of throws.  Two 
throws in a row will have Hwa Jai at a mere 50% health before he starts 
rocketing around the screen.  Your best bet for a throw is right after Hwa 
Jai jumps in with a punch; then you can do it cleanly.

Once again, Joe has an especial advantage in this fight.  While Hwa Jai is 
sucking down his joy juice, you can set him up to receive some rapid fire 
punches once he becomes vulnerable again.  With proper timing, this move 
can finish Hwa Jai before he can do anything.  You will have to practice 
this a few times until you finally get the timing of it exactly right.

If you're playing as a Bogard or if you miss the timing on Joe's rapid 
fire punch, you'll have to take Hwa Jai down the old fashioned way.  Don't 
give the guy any breathing room at all!  You have to keep the pressure on 
him at all times or he'll just Rocket you to death.  Stay close to him and 
throw quick strikes to stuff the Rocket before Hwa Jai can launch it.  If 
you're Andy, look for an opening to hit the Zaneiken, and give Hwa Jai a 
taste of his own medicine.


RAIDEN

Raiden is a tremendous masked wrestler, and almost impossible to take down 
in a stand up fight.  Both his range and power are incredible, and he's 
not nearly as slow as you'd expect.  Aside from his punch and ground kick, 
he has a throw with absurdly long range, a grab and choke maneuver, a 
flying body splash, and the ability to spit a cloud of damaging mist.

If you attack Raiden head on, he will likely make you regret it.  His 
throw is a particular danger up close; he can apply it from well outside 
of what most gamers think of as proper range.  Instead, it is best to keep 
your distance and counter Raiden with throws and special moves.  It is 
important that you learn the range of Raiden's mist attack; you want to 
play just outside of that range, waiting for the big guy to give you an 
opening.

Standing outside of mist range and throwing random punches often seems to 
spur Raiden into action.  Generally he will do one of three things:  jump 
at you with a body splash, spit his mist, or jump into the back row.  If 
he goes for a splash, block it and throw him as soon as he lands, then 
back quickly out of his range.  If he spits mist, wait for it to go away 
and hit Raiden with a special:  Terry should use his Burning Knuckle, Andy 
should bust out a Zaneiken, and Joe should go for a Tiger Knee or a Slash 
Kick.  If Raiden jumps to the back row, immediately jump after him.  
Typically, he will jump back to the front row to avoid you.  Keep 
hammering on the button so you follow him.  Most of the time, you will 
eventually hit him doing this, usually scoring a knockdown.  After a 
little practice, you'll get a feel for the method.

So, as an overview, you should never walk or jump at Raiden.  You should 
only approach him with a row jump or one of the specials listed above.  
Otherwise, let him come to you and throw him.  Sometimes you'll find that 
Raiden is simply in the wrong range for one of these tactics, however; in 
that case, block and look for an opening to back away.  If you get 
cornered, try to knock Raiden down with a special.  This won't be easy, 
but it is preferable to trying to match the big guy blow for blow.  Once 
in a while a desperate combo of regular moves will catch him off guard, 
but this is in no way dependable and should only be used if you're having 
trouble using a special.


BILLY KANE

Billy's a punk with a bandanna, motorcycle boots, and a big red staff.  He 
is a dangerous fighter who will poke you to death while remaining well out 
of your range.  He has two special moves, one of which is his greatest 
strength and the other of which is his greatest weakness.

In Billy's strong special, he uses his staff to vault toward you and boot 
you in the head.  This move is fast and it hurts, and up close it seems 
unblockable.  The trick is, you have to press the joystick toward Billy to 
block the move, which takes pretty sharp timing (Street Fighter 3 players 
should be up for it, though).  You can also jump over Billy as he vaults, 
but you won't be able to get a clean counter in.  If Billy uses the move 
from long range you can block it normally, but it's tougher to get a 
counter.  Basically, at close range it's an automatic cross-up.

In Billy's weak special, he throws his staff and sends it spinning at you.  
If you happen to be jumping at the time, the move will knock you down, but 
otherwise it's a minor inconvenience at best.  While Billy's staff can hit 
a human being all day with no trouble, it shatters instantly when it hits 
the ground.  Without his weapon, Billy cowers with his hands over his 
face, which for some reason renders him invulnerable.  However, he cannot 
attack...he just stands there, being invulnerable.  This will end when a 
green-suited fellow in the crowd - the same dickweed who gave Hwa Jai his 
power drink - throws Billy a new staff.  This is your chance to destroy 
Billy Kane.

Billy leaps into the air to catch his new staff.  As he comes in for a 
landing, just walk right up and throw him.  As he hits the ground he will 
drop his staff again, where again it will shatter.  Green Suit throws him 
a new one, you throw him again, the staff shatters, and so forth.  You can 
easy spam this technique until Billy is done.

Otherwise, it's best to approach Billy from the air; unless he does his 
staff throw, you can usually get in on him.  Once you're close, you can 
try for a throw, which will of course set up the pattern mentioned above.  
If the throw isn't happening, low punches and Joe's knee slide are OK 
offense, but never throw more than a couple of strikes in a row before you 
start blocking.  Billy does have some potent offense, and he can beat you 
in a hurry if he catches you napping.  Waiting him out works quite well if 
you're good at blocking his vaulting kick special, but otherwise you're 
going to have to give him a little offense to interrupt his specials.  
Keep him off balance and always look for a 
throw opportunity.


GEESE HOWARD

Here he is, it's the big man himself, and he makes every other bad guy on 
this list seem about as tough as a wayward gang of Care Bears.  He doesn't 
look too bad; he's a moderately sized blonde man in a gi and hakama pants.  
In addition, he only has two special moves...but let me tell you right 
now, they are more than enough to get the job done.

First off is the Reppuken, Geese's projectile attack.  It looks just like 
Terry's Power Wave, except it's blue in color, much faster, travels the 
entire length of the screen, and does somewhere around 40% damage!  Geese 
can only have one Reppuken onscreen at a time, but they are so fast it 
will seem like he is throwing them in full autofire.  The move has 
absolutely zero recovery time; if you try to jump over it and boot Geese 
in the head, you are liable to meet the Ateminage, Geese's second special 
move.

The infuriating Ateminage is Geese's all purpose counter.  You never see 
it coming, it just kinda happens.  You'll be tossing a move at Geese, any 
move at all other than a fireball or a throw, and suddenly you will freeze 
for a second and Geese will throw you for heavy damage.  That's it, that's 
all there is to the move.  There are a few ways around it, which will be 
discussed below.

The major rule when fighting Geese is DEFENSE.  Always be ready to block!  
Never jump at him...jump-in attacks are not defensive.  Stand your ground 
and stay on full alert at all times, ready to block at the drop of hat.  
With Geese, you must choose your moment to strike very carefully.

There are basically two ways to deal with Geese, and both of them require 
careful timing.  The best method is to cautiously approach him, still 
ready to block at any moment, and throw him.  That's right, just walk up 
and throw the guy.  When you get close enough, he will typically try for a 
spinning kick, but you can usually get the throw in beforehand.  Don't use 
any regular moves or specials, as Geese is too likely to use the Ateminage 
on you.
  
The real trick here is the approach.  When the match opens, Geese will 
frequently start tossing Reppukens like there's no tomorrow.  Jumping over 
one towards Geese is a bad idea, as discussed above.  Jumping straight up 
is also ineffective, as you will just wind up landing on a second Reppuken 
on the way down.  Your best bet is to just stand there and block.  
Although a blocked Reppuken takes off about 5% damage, you'll have to grin 
and bear it.  Eventually Geese will get tired of Reppukens and try some of 
his other moves.

Study Geese as you fight him.  You want to learn what the Reppuken 
animation looks like so you can block it the second he starts to toss one.  
If you can do that, you can approach Geese and set him up for a throw.

As a side note, you can get an easy throw on Geese if he tries to hit you 
with a jump kick.  Blocking the move leaves you in perfect throw range 
almost every time.

A second side note:  if Geese starts walking backwards as you approach 
him, he's yours.  March right up to him and throw him down hard.

The second anti-Geese tactic is generally inferior to the one mentioned 
above, but it is included here to provide the reader with an alternative.  
For this method, you must be very familiar with the maximum range of your 
B kick.  Approach Geese cautiously, in the same manner listed above, but 
in this case you throw your B kick at the absolute outside edge of its 
range.  Most of the time Geese will go for a Reppuken to counter, but so 
long as he doesn't start throwing the fireball before you start your kick, 
you will hit him right out of it.  After hitting him, reacquire the 
correct range as soon as possible and repeat the method.  He will very 
rarely use the Ateminage when you're at this range...almost never.

Again, you must approach Geese cautiously; after you kick him away, he 
will occasionally barrage you with Reppukens.  You must ride out the 
storm, then you can again try to get Geese in range for a swift kick.  
Also, if Geese row jumps, use the joystick to roll to his row; there is no 
sense in flying at him and leaving yourself open for pain.

BONUS STAGES

After every two matches, you get to do a short bonus stage for extra 
points.  It's the same stage each time...you challenge an arcade arm 
wrestling machine.  To win, all you have to do is jam on the A button like 
a madman.  If you lack the finger speed for this, try using the two-handed 
approach:  drum both index fingers on the button in an alternating 
pattern.  For some people, this increases their button-mashing speed 
dramatically.

AUTHOR'S NOTE

Some people enjoy writing gigantic author's notes, but I am not one of 
them.  That's it, end of FAQ...good luck!