Review by Mr_Q-Bert

Reviewed: 10/29/07

A Fatal Dose of Fun

Hello, and welcome to my review of the game Fatal Fury for the Wii Virtual console. Fatal Fury is the first game in the series which would eventually spin off dozens of sequels, including the King of Fighters series which continues on various consoles to this day. As with most fighting games of the early 90s, this game mostly served to compete with Capcom's Street Fighter series (the second game in particular), and it was originally fairly successful. If they could only put one of SNK's Neo Geo games on the Virtual Console, this would be the one. But is it worth downloading, or are your points better spent on some other game? If you saw the score I gave it before you clicked here, you should already know the answer. But just in case you didn't, and you don't feel like going back to check, here's the rest of my review.

Gameplay: 8/10
This game can be loads of fun, once you get the hang of it. The different characters all have different sets of moves, so there should usually be a specific character that you play best with. The game can be quite challenging at first, but once you master the controls (and read over the operations guide a few times) it shouldn't be too aggravating. The four difficulty levels (Easy, Normal, Hard, and “MVS”) don't really increase in difficulty too much from level to level, which could be a good thing for some, but a bad thing for others. Also, I thought that you aren't really encouraged to use your special moves very much, and also that they're way too hard to pull off. When combined, these two things make it much easier to just focus on slamming your opponent against the ground over and over, which does more damage anyway. The controls are quite good, and I didn't really notice any glitches in them or anything. There's the problem with the special moves that I mentioned earlier, but ultimately, the gameplay is nice and solid.

Story: 3/10
As could be expected of a fighting game this old, the story is not the most compelling reason to play. It's basically just the same old tale we've all heard so many times: A guy's father gets killed, said guy goes away for a long time and eventually grows up, the guy goes back for revenge, etc. They even used it in the Lion King. The character introductions in the operations guide flesh out the individual back-stories a bit, but not by much. In between fights, the increasingly stressed-out bad guy observes the characters, making comments and occasionally shouting menacingly, but they re-use his scenes for other characters' stories more often than would be preferable. On the plus side, the translation is decent, although a few minor errors occasionally slip through, and there is some slight silliness (Holy Cow! You disrupted my plan again!) Mixed in with the revenge story is a typical martial arts tournament thing, which makes one wonder why they had to have a story at all. In any case, no one will be playing this for the story, so I'll let the whole thing slide.

For a game from the 90s, Fatal Fury looks, and sounds, amazing, hence the relatively steep 900 point price. What's the secret to all this? The Neo Geo was actually pretty much an arcade board inside a shell. It was essentially the PS3 of it's time. The sprites are colorful, well-animated, and distinctive. With the exception of one area set inside a restaurant, every stage progresses from mid-afternoon, to evening, and if there's a third round, well into the night. The sound is also comparatively good- there's even a little voice acting before rounds, though nothing more complicated than”Joe Higashi vs. Richard Myer!” All things considered, looking only at the Virtual Console, this is one of the most technically impressive games there is.

Play Time/Replayability: 6/10
If you're a whiz at 1-on-1 fighting games, you should be able to easily beat this within half an hour, as there are only 8 opponents in total, and each fight lasts no more than 4 1/2 minutes. In the more likely event that you're not, however, it will take much longer, because it's very tough to come up against a new opponent and develop a strategy while fighting. In any case, the replayability is high, because there are 4 difficulty levels, and 3 characters to play through them with. Plus, the game is just so darn fun. While you are allowed to save your high score and initials, this doesn't add much to the replay value, because on a console game, there's really no one to compete against but yourself. To sum it all up, while some fighting games are indeed capable of sending you on epic journeys that consume hours of play, Fatal Fury isn't one of them.

Final Recommendation: 8/10
Well, that's it for my review. Well, almost. We still have the most exciting part: the final recommendation, where you'll find the bottom line on whether this game is worth those Wii points. And the answer is: Yes. This game is, without a doubt, an excellent way to spend some time, duking it out with some of the best fighters in South Town in an attempt to become the king (and possibly avenge some guy, depending on which character you chose.) Plus, it's a good bargain- you essentially get a high-quality arcade game for just a little over 9$. And just in case you don't like it, don't worry- loss of Wii points isn't Fatal.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Fatal Fury (US, 10/08/07)

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