Review by Velfarre2001
"The best Fatal Fury game yet, and one of the best 2D fighters ever."
Another wonderful yet under appreciated game by SNK.
In a strange twist of fate, after knocking Geese Howard of a building for the umpteenth time, (and apparently FINALLY killing him) Terry is left with the responsibility of raising Geese's son Rock, now, years later, in Second Southtown,rebuilt after its destruction in KOF 2000, Rock's uncle and Geese's brother-in-law Kain, has come to Southtown with the goal of using Rocks inner dark power to fulfill Geese's final wish and turn Southtown into a place only the strong can survive.
An interesting story, and one of the coolest SNK has come up with yet. Especially since all the endings are well thought out and enjoyable, a rarity in fighting games.
At first it seems a lot like any other Fatal Fury, but the differences soon become clear. For example. the moves seem to have a lag on them, requiring better timing when performing combos. Second, there is a new system known as Just Defending, which is like reverse parrying, you press away at the exact moment you are hit, and instead of taking chip damage you regain a sliver of life. Of course this system makes fireballs all but useless. Another new feature is the TOP system, where when your life reaches a certain point, your offense and defense go way up, you gain a new move, and you slowly regenerate. This means you have to be watchful where your opponents life is.
The characters are also a diverse bunch, there is Andy and Mai's student Hokutomaru, Kim's sons Don Hwang and Jae Hoon, Freeman, a psychopath with an unusual yet cool looking fighting style, a much older Terry Bogard (the only returning character), Rock, who plays like Geese and Terry combined, even a Kyokugen practitioner, Marco Rodriguez, as well as a host of other interesting characters.
As far as Fatal Fury games go, this one is rather easy in comparison, the computer is still strong, you need to do incredibly to fight against Kain himself, and Kain is a nightmare if you are not good at Just Defense, but with a little practice, this game actually becomes easy and the computer gets quite predictable, especially once you get JDing down.
As far as music goes, this game is quite good, the music is crisp and clear and seems to fit the characters well, the sound effects are good too, but on the Dreamcast version, the sound tends to be out of sync, the voices too, also some of the sounds when you attack are rather bizarre, but overall a good score.
Quite possibly the best I have ever seen from SNK. The characters have their own little quirks, like Rock smoothing his hair down when he performs a move and although the backgrounds get kind of bland, they are well animated and even change at times. The character animations are excellent if bland as well, and the super moves are kind of plain, but some are incredible, for example you have GOT to see Gato's neck snapping DM.
Unfortunately, while this game seems to have a decent replay value, it is not an outstanding one. While each character is unique and mastering them all is fun, there is simply not enough characters to pick from. It is a fun game, but the replayability is only standard fare.
END RESULT: A must have for fighting game fans. If you see this game, BUY IT! you will not regret it.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/22/02, Updated 04/22/02
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