Review by Exo_Kopaka
GAROU: An instant classic
The legendary Terry Bogard is back! Well, a few years older, but still awesome! The Fatal Fury franchise gets an extension with Garou: Mark of the Wolves. New characters, a new system, everything is friggin' new! But is this for the better or the worse?
What I really loved about this game in particular was that it took the classic Fatal Fury stories, and took it a step further. Little to none of the classic characters return. Instead, we get a new roster. Geese Howard's son?! Kim Kaphwan's children?! Yup, these are the new characters we will be dealing with. But don't worry, they don't stray much from their predecessors. It's very interesting to see the new personalities and stories in which the writers took on for the future of the Fatal Fury franchise. A nice touch that most fighters don't really bother with.
Yes, a lot of new features have been added to the fighting engine. Defensive maneuvers, supers, and a lot more have been improved. The action is fast pace, and more stylish than it is frantic. Special moves can be used by both beginners, and take a long time to master. There's also a new feature called TOP, which, whenever you hit a critical portion of your lifebar, you can unleash some insane moves. Though, this feature isn't much to get excited about. If you like 2D fighters, you'll easily love Garou's gameplay.
Oh man, this is almost the best part. Coming from a fan of 2D fighters, I promise you'll friggin' go ga-ga over the graphics. Characters have a ridiculous amount of frames, and look very smooth an realistic. They are also at a relatively high resolution. You'll see clothes wrinkle, hair flinch, and slow breathing. None of that jittery, lazy animations. When you use your special moves, the effects really show. It's amazing how they didn't just turn to particle or transparency effects to give it more "flare". To this day, I have yet to see any game put this much effort into their sprites. Awesome stuff.
Voice overs, kicks, punches, grunts, growls, and even that "Shwiiing" sound effect when you unleash your super move are all crisp and clear. As for the music for this game, it's as catchy as ever. I love the music to this game. It ranges from good, calm beats to crazy guitars, which, reflect each character's personality and background. A very nice touch. Man, just wait until you hear Rock Howard's song. It's awesome!
Whoa whoa whoa. Fun Factor? Pfft. Trust me, you'll be spending YEARS of your life playing this game.... with a friend, that is! The single player modes are only exciting if you like beating your own score. There's a few galleries to unlock, but it's not much. There aren't any unlockable characters or anything to get excited about. However, with this game's engine so flawlessly polished, you'll be spending ages playing this game with some friends.
Take it from me, out of all the 2D Fighters out there (King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, etc), I happened to spend the most time playing Garou over the other fighters. Though, it might have been the fact that it was the first game in my Dreamcast library, or the fact that it is more well polished when compared to other 2D fighters in today's market.
I don't know where the hate is coming from, possibly people who have been too attatched to their Marvel vs Capcom or King of Fighters, but Garou is definately an instant classic. You won't be spending time trying to unlock new characters, rather, just having some awesome fun with a few friends. The graphics, music, and sound are top notch, and, if you love following the Fatal Fury franchise, you'll love the nice little touches and homages that this game makes to it's predecessors. I would definately like to see a new Fatal Fury sequel.
Buy or Rent? Well, by now, you probably can't rent it, but if you happen to stumble upon it at a garage sale, flea market, or online, it's definately something you should add to your collection, no matter how much you pay.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves (US, 11/23/01)
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