In January 1999, SNK's iconic Fatal
Fury series made the bold jump from 2D to 3D on SNK's Hyper Neo Geo 64
system board (and was also one of the last games released on it). The game was
later was ported to the PlayStation in June 1999 (Japan) and December 1999
This installment is a retelling of the story in the original Fatal Fury game,
featuring many recognizable classics as well as some new faces to the series.
Wild Ambition's presentation was on par with other recent fighting game releases
featuring a pretty sweet intro (at the time) and slick character artwork. Unfortunately, the
actual gameplay and graphics didn't
end up complimenting the presentation or
...Terry's got some big arms.
this game is bad news. The 3D rendered characters are sickeningly blocky and animate equally as stiff. Character models also aren't
"light sourced" at all, and
to polygonal glitching. The backgrounds are nothing but low-quality 2D images, pasted
behind a flat square with awful textures (that's supposed to be a floor?).
Lastly, the character endings actually use the horrible in-game graphics,
giving you a disturbingly close look at how bad the character models are.
Compare these shoddy endings with Street Fighter EX's endings (almost 3
years old), and it's even more embarrassing. Unsurprisingly, the gameplay
of Wild Ambition is nearly just as bad as the graphics.
This is just embarrassing.
Like in previous Fatal Fury games, characters can "roll" in
of the background to dodge attacks. The new Heat Gauge replaces the Power Meter
system from Real Bout Fatal Fury 2. Players can fill the Heat Gauge by
attacking (or taunting), but if they take damage the meter will decrease. Like
in previous games, the Heat Meter enables more
damaging attacks, and of course your character can perform a super move. The
Heat Gauge can also be "overheated" if a player takes too much damage
or performs too many counterattacks, rendering them dizzy and vulnerable to
their opponent's attack. Wild Ambition also introduces the Guard Impact
technique, allowing the defending player to take no damage when they attack and
push the opponent away slightly if they perfectly time a block.
At the end of the day, Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition's gameplay just feels
sluggish overall, and clearly, everything just looked and felt better in the
previous 2D games. While the 3D animation presents many recognizable attacks from the
Fatal Fury icons, the animations are beyond clunky. While some moves look alright (at
their very best), others
just look sloppy and "slow" in 3D (which negatively effects the
SNK was ambitious with this 3D reboot of Fatal Fury (or at least they
were just trying to match Capcom's SFEX series), but Wild Ambition
was easily one of the most dull and clunky fighting games of the era. For a
quick comparison, put a few rounds into Capcom's Street Fighter EX2
(released around the same time as FF: Wild Ambition) and you'll find a
game that's actually playable, and looks & animates much better.
Capcom controversially brought the Street Fighter franchise into the 3D realm
a few years prior with Street Fighter EX
(and barely made par). Naturally, SNK just had to "try their hand"
with a 3D game to keep up with their longtime rival... but the outcome obviously
wasn't a success this time around, and they were pretty late to the
"3D" trend as well. When you consider many of the other fighting games
going strong in 1999, Wild Ambition looked like a "last-gen"
mess of sorts.
As an early 2D/3D fighting game by SNK, it was practically doomed from the
start... but I suppose many Fatal Fury fans still have this game in their
Hey, the box art is pretty sweet at least. In my opinion, the only truly "good thing" to come
from this game is the artwork. ~TFG