Fatal Fury


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 2


On the SNES, Mortal Kombat didn't fare so well. The gore was gone, the controls were off, and the game lost the "feel" of the arcade cabinet. That Acclaim release was infamous, slaughtered in sales by the full-gore Genesis version. Unlike Acclaim however, Takara was always a company who took care to provide outstanding ports (of Neo Geo games) to as many systems as possible. That leaves the question: What happened here?

fatalfurysnes1.bmp (171290 bytes)This same company miraculously made Fatal Fury Special work on the meager Game Gear. Yet, they're also the company that butchered the original Fatal Fury on the Super NES. Wrong in so many ways, the two benefits over the Genesis version (all characters, more color) hardly matter when the game plays this badly.

This mess tweaks the gameplay enough to almost render it unidentifiable. Hits take a second to register, and that's assuming the controls responded at all. That late hit detection leaves a brief window open for the opponents to send out their own blow. They could have marketed that as some unique counter system and maybe succeeded. The sound even seems to be behind, with a muffled quality that comes out a split second after.

fatalfurysnes2.bmp (171290 bytes)Some special moves now prevent the player from doing certain things. For instance, Terry's ground fireball, once launched, doesn't let the player jump until it's completely cleared from the screen. This leads to an even lesser feeling of control, and it's understandable if you've given up by this point.

The biggest change however is the dual-plane system, which made the game unique in the first place. Everything stays on a single level now, and there's no jumping back and forth to launch cheap shots. Arguably, it's an improvement, but purists have a legitimate complaint considering this is what made the game stand out to begin with.

There was some strategy there of course, and certain stages offered a little sick enjoyment by bouncing your opponent off objects (and back into the ring). Considering how chopped up the backgrounds are, it's hard to imagine them working this way even if they were complete. There's more detail missing than there should be, one of the biggest graphical differences between this and the Genesis (which seems to be missing nothing).

On the Neo Geo, the game is unquestionably dated. That's not the problem with this port. It's simply awful. There's little reason why it's like this, considering the sequels would turn out fine when they finally released. That shows it's not something with the hardware, and everything to do with the coding.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 04:53 PM