So then… Fatal Fury. A long running series of games that died somewhere in the late nineties after largely being ignored as a bit of a Street Fighter 2 rip-off. I mean, yeah, it blatantly was in the most blatant of blatant ways blatantly possible. It was harder to pull of special moves. It was harder in general. It featured a roster of hugely uninspiring characters, most of which would never grace a game again (MICHAEL MAX, ANYONE? ANYOOOOOONE?). However, it did feature an old man morphing into a rather enormous superhuman who shot fire from his feet and spinning clotheslined his way across the entire fighting area so at least it had SOMETHING going for it.
Clutching at straws anyone? CERTAINLY.
So catapult us neatly into the late nineties, some eight or so years later and we have the Neo Geo Pocket Color version of Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: an example of how to be very safe with a series of games that wasn’t really going anywhere FAST. No disclaimers needed for this one. We’re into some seriously overwhelming territory here as we were beginning to get with the Fatal Fury series. I mean, look what happened to it afterwards: we got Fatal Fury Wild Ambition on the PS1 and for all intents and purposes, SNK dropped a massive, massive, massive clanger with that piece of crap. Aside from being 3D (and awful), it was an absolute car crash of craptastic nothingness.
This wasn’t really peddling the series to a new generation at all. It was the safest of safe ideas. Essentially, a conversion of the last proper 2D Fatal Fury effort before it actually changed into an entirely new game, it is actually fairly woeful in more ways than one.
Right, let’s get the formalities out of the way: this may be a Neo Geo Pocket Color game but that’s no excuse at all. In fact, that actually makes this even worse than it ought to be for that very reason. SNK had provided enough fighting games on the system for it to be a winning formula and yet somehow this ended up being the most lacklustre effort yet.
Terry Bogard, eh? ARE YOU OK?
No, Terry. No I am not. I am sorry but your piddling roster of characters does not appease me in the slightest. 11? You’re based off a game that gave me twice that many originally and you can only offer me 11. Granted, a large amount of them are new to the system in that they don’t appear in other games on the NGPC. Terry and Mai are the only two that made it into other games. Yes, we get all the proper characters and they have all their movesets and all that but to be honest, I’d much rather have a larger roster of more interesting characters. Where’s Blue Mary? Where are the weird Jin brothers? WHERE THE FUCK IS DUCK KI- no, no, SNK, I actually thank you for that one. Thank you for not giving us fucking Duck King.
I KNOW systems like this had limitations but to be honest… King of Fighters R2 managed 15 at the very least. SNK vs Capcom ended up with 20. Was it THAT hard to fit in a couple of characters? Given the cutbacks you made to this mess of a game, perhaps you ought to reconsider what you did with this franchise and start afresh with- oh… you tried that. Well… er… look. You know I’m going to tear this thing to pieces. Let’s fucking do it, OK? ARE YOU OK?
REASONS TO DISLIKE THIS SODDING AWFUL GAME? CHECK.
1) That fight intro scene:
LOOK AT HOW EPIC IT IS.
If it were moving, you could agree with me. Instead, it is a static screen with a bit of wavy colour in a ‘kid’s coding project’ kind of way. Can you see the delightful colour scheme they’re giving us? BE PREPARED. WE’RE ABOUT TO BE DAZZLED BY NUMBER 2!
2) That colour scheme:
Wait… WHAT? What the everloving fuckery is this fuckery supposed to be fuckerying? These backgrounds are by far and away some of the most dull and backdrops in gaming existence. I swear the Master System had fewer colours in its pallette but some of their games had better backgrounds than these. They’re pretty, given the source material, but are you taking the piss, SNK? They don’t even move. They’re the graphical equivalent of taking a colourful picture by a five-year-old and chucking it into the mud like a school bully would do. “You’ll still put it on the fridge, right?”
“Yes Johnny, we will…”
And after it’s taken down quickly, little Johnny cries himself to sleep because his artwork is just a muddy-coloured mess. That’s some bad parenting right there. Are you happy, SNK? You made Johnny cry. ARE YOU SATISFIED? ARE YOU OK? BUSTER WOLF?
There’s so little atmosphere, I’m not entirely sure I remember there being SHADOWS in the game. THAT’s how lazy it feels to be playing this game. Let me just check that again to see if there are and I’m just trying to find more faults than there actually are…
NOPE. NONE. NOT EVEN A CIRCLE OF GREY/BLACK UNDERNEATH. I MEAN, REALLY. This game cut so many corners, it’s a fucking circle.
3) The speed of the thing…
Look, SNK, you really haven’t got any excuses when it comes to creating decent fighting games. King of Fighters R2 ran at a decent, solid pace throughout. The fights were fun, frenetic and everything felt smooth and fluid. When you gave us SNK vs Capcom, that was even more connected, fluid, exciting and downright fucking amazing to play.
What the fuck did you do here? Slowed the pace down dramatically so that it felt like we were playing it somewhere akin to slow motion; that’s what you fucking well did. It doesn’t feel anywhere near as much fun and fluid as any of the other fighters on the system and they’re all made by YOU. Yeah, Fatal Fury hasn’t been the fastest and most intense fighting game experience ever created but again… how can you be excused for doing something that you’ve done time and time again and getting it… WRONG? There’s a distinct lack of pace throughout the fights and it feels like playing Fatal Fury 1 all over again after having played Street Fighter 2 or any of your other Fatal Fury games… except Wild Ambition but that would be like putting your face into a bed of nails and you don’t want to be doing that TAKE THE HINT AND DON’T PLAY THAT SHIT GAME (or do to see what I’m talking about BUT DON’T DO IT). Fatal Fury 1 plays like a brick nowadays by comparison. This one, while no way near as slow as that, is a step back in terms of speed. How they get around this? Stripping back the win poses and beginning each fight with a yellow block background literally yelling ROUND 1 at the start of the fight. It’s… disastrously lacklustre. I mean, one of the great thing about fighting games was the way characters interact at the start of fights, including the unique ones where players like Andy and Mai do their little “I LOVE YOU ANDY, MARRY ME” – “NO FUCKING WAY, I AM IN LOVE WITH FIGHTING ONLY” skit. We get none of that. They’re all gone. No reason behind it. It’s meant to make things go quicker. BUT WHEN THE GAME RUNS AS SLOWLY AS IT FEELS IT DOES, WHAT EVEN WAS THE POINT OF THAT?
God, that colour scheme makes me wince.
4) The TOTAL lack of endings.
I couldn’t get myself in the mood to play through to the end of this piece of crap game but suffice the say one of the more unacceptable things about this game, and the Neo Geo equivalent, was the complete lack of any real endings. In the first game, Geese dies and it’s made to look all epic and shit. This time, you’re just sorta given a screen that says CONGRATULATIONS alongside some generic looking artwork of your character looking all victorious and stuff.
In fact, just to show you, here’s one I stole from online. Seriously. This is it. Congratulations! You made it through to the end! HAVE A PICTURE.
THANK YOU, I SHALL TREASURE IT ALWAYS BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING ELSE IN MY LIFE.
I hate it when companies throw in copout endings like this because there’s a lack of story. I mean, the original fighters back in the day still had endings. They weren’t the most exciting things in the world but at least we knew that Ryu would carry on fighting for the rest of his life and that Chun Li was going to back to being a single girl TEE HEE HEE and that M Bison would rule the world and Johnny Cage would become the world’s greatest actors, probably. Instead?
CONGRATULATIONS FOR WINNING. NOW PLAY AGAIN TO WIN AGAIN!
I’m done here.
You can take your crappy colour scheme and your shitty endings and your slow gameplay and your corner-cutting and your shitty character roster and you can shove them rather unceremoniously up your arse until you come up with something better.
UNTIL YOU GIVE US A SEQUEL TO GAROU: MARK OF THE WOLVES, YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE, FATAL FURY. You were ruined by being too safe and too lackadaisical with what you had. It wasn’t even THAT good to begin with. You changed your ways but by then, we’d grown tired of your promises and your lies. You cried wolf so often… that when you gave us Mark of the Wolves, they’d eaten your own sheep. THIS IS THE WORST ANALOGY EVER AND YET I AM NOT EVEN BOTHERED. IT’S IN THERE SOMEWHERE. SHUSH.
I can only offer you solace in knowing that we never saw most of these characters ever again.
And we never got a sequel.
And Mark of the Wolves is still one of the greatest fighting games to have come out of the franchise.
No thanks to this in the slightest. Unless they realised they wanted to make the opposite of this game in case, it fucking well worked.
God, I’m depressed now. I need a pick me up. Anyone know a good game featuring a murderous goat or something?