Fatal Fury Special

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


A year after the success of a re-imagining of the Fatal Fury series in Fatal Fury 2, SNK blew everyone away. The third entry, while it may seem like a quick cash-in, is easily one of the best games of the core Fatal Fury series. Special throws everything into one cart, including the compelling gameplay, and comes through with one of the best fighters from the early era of the Geo hardware.

fatalfuryspecial1.jpg (63542 bytes)Resurrecting characters that were dropped from the sequel, the massive roster containing 15 fighters easily beat out any other fighter on the market. Bosses Geese Howard and Wolfgang Krauser are playable for the first time. Sprites from the first sequel have been re-used, while others like Duck King have been upgraded to fit in.

Gameplay has hardly been compromised. It's basically the same game, with a few small tweaks. All special moves can now be performed on any stage, so there are no limits depending on the character chosen. The same feel is here, with somewhat floaty jumping that may turn people off from what they're accustomed. Even with the all the characters, the balance here is spectacular, and the two head bosses are toned down in multi-player struggles.

The biggest gripe is here, the multi-plane fighting field. It still feels out of place, and the company's stubbornness to remove it is aggravating. It can bring a quick end to an otherwise tense struggle, and in a fighting game, that's hard to forgive. It's too easy to accidentally move up or down as well in this four button brawler, leading to unintended moves.

fatalfuryspecial2.jpg (46099 bytes)All of that is seemingly forgotten as player's battle in Krauser's stage, which is unforgettable. It's widely considered the pinnacle of fighting game stages, where any of the quirks of the engine are instantly ignored. Blaring Mozart in the background was a brilliant move that adds to the majesty of knocking out one of the top characters in the game. Other stages have been taken from Fatal Fury 2, while others have been revamped for the better (Tung Fu Rue especially).

Most people though don't rush out and buy a video game for their locales. There are far more important things to be concerned with here. That's a classic Geo game, easily catching up to the Street Fighter series with each new addition. If you only have Fatal Fury 2, this is a mandatory upgrade. If you have Special, don't bother with earlier title. It eclipses it on practically every level.


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Last updated: Friday, September 09, 2005 03:04 PM