Fatal Fury

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


The Bogard saga is a long one. We're still dealing with it after it spawned into the King of Fighters series, and now more recently in the Vs. brawls. Fatal Fury was their first, introducing some ideas that were dropped, some that were original, and others that would force the game into knock-off territory.

fatalfury1.png (21709 bytes)Fury's one-player game is meager. There are only three characters to choose from, and the action is short lived. The game barely even registers a difficulty until Billy Kane, and at that point, it becomes just short of impossible.

Gameplay is solid for such an early title. The dual planes of movement are a feature that would stay with the series and make it unique. That doesn't mean it works. It's an aggravating switch, one that makes it seem desperate to make the game stand out, rather than provide strategic material. Moving between them and attacking is a matter of timing and luck, not skill.

The slim two button controls that power the game pull off a wide variety of moves, including some wonderful animation routines on detailed, colorful sprites. Collision detection seems odd, especially when you can clearly see a foot (or fist) pass through the opposite sprite with no effect. This gives the game its rather floaty feel, and it lacks the depth the Street Fighter series would feature.

fatalfury2.png (22824 bytes)Certain characters can actually change mid-match. Tung Fu Rue becomes a lumbering beast instead of an old man. This can radically alter the match, much as the button mashing mini-game can radically alter your wrists from exhaustion. There is another oddball feature, a brief co-op mode when someone joins in. Instead of immediately facing each other, two players can take on a single opponent. This is a great example of the sprite pushing power of the console, and it's a shame it's not a full feature.

Most of this is acceptable for a first attempt, but the sequel is simply too hard to ignore. That game changed everything, including adding tolerable US box art. Fans who have stayed behind SNK for years will find this interesting to see how things started, and then simply move on to better playing titles.


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Last updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 11:33 AM