Fatal Fury Special

Game Gear

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8.5

Gameplay: 8.5

Overall: 8.5

Fatal Fury Special (UE)-03.gif (7420 bytes)Sometimes you have to play a game simply because you're curious about how it turned out, not because you actually want to. Fatal Fury Special is definitely one of those games. Lets face it: What could you expect from a 100+ meg Neo Geo game translated into a meager Game Gear cart? Apparently, a lot.

Takara worked their magic yet again. After the small miracle that was Samurai Shodown on the Sega's color handheld, Fatal Fury Special not only plays just as well, it may even be better. There's a large roster of characters and Ryo (from Art of Fighting), who was hidden in the Neo Geo rendition, is selectable right from the start. Old standby's like Terry, Andy, Mai, Geese, and more have been crammed into this tiny cart. Each one looks exactly like they did in the bigger version; no super-deformed look here. Note that the music has been retained reasonably well, but there is no voice anywhere to be found.

Not only have the look of the characters been retained, but the backgrounds as well. Each is a more than reasonable facsimile of the it's brethren, with surprisingly very few sacrifices. Check out Duck King's club, complete with flashing strobe lights and a large crowd staring in awe at the ensuing fight. Moving back and forth into the background is no longer possible, but it was more of a gimmick than anything else.

With only two buttons at your disposal, the amount of strategy has decreased, but the gameplay has been retained with acute accuracy. The Game Gear's d-pad is surprisingly accurate. Only your stronger attacks are available in this port, but it doesn't take long to make the adjustment and even start executing toned down combos. Gameplay is smooth, though jumping feels slightly stunted. It's a change only those experienced with the arcade version will have trouble with.

Fatal Fury Special (UE)-04.gif (7561 bytes)If there are any issues that bring this one down, it's the lack of replay value. Since the unlockable character is available from the start, what's the point? All fighters share the same ending and it's not overly difficult to succeed except on the hardest level. Once you've set it on hard, be prepared to be bombarded with super moves once your opponent is breathing his last breath. Thankfully, you can connect and take on a friend which does make up for a few of these issues. The one-player game should be more engaging, though the gameplay is worth far more than any special features.

There are two games every Game Gear owner must own: Samurai Shodown and this one. Even if you're not big into the fighting game fad of the mid-90's, both of these games take the hardware to the max unlike so many other games on the console. Rest assured this is quality software for an otherwise dry console.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 02, 2005 09:22 AM