A martial arts tournament known as the
"King of Fighters" tournament, is being held in the fictional American
city of South Town and sponsored by local crime boss Geese Howard. Ten years
prior to the events of the game, Geese murdered a rival martial artist named
Jeff Bogard who was on his trail. Now, Jeff's sons, Terry and Andy, along with
their friend Joe Higashi, enter the tournament to get their revenge on Geese.
In many ways, Fatal Fury was SNK's
answer to Capcom's wildly successful new 2D fighter Street Fighter 2
(released in early 1991). In Fatal
Fury, the player takes the role of one of three heroes (Terry, Andy, or Joe),
and works their way up the tournament circuit. The first four CPU opponents are Richard
King, Tung Fue Rue, and Michael Max. Players can select the order of their
opponents - a unique attribute to Fatal Fury. After defeating the
first four opponents, the player will then face off against Hwa Jai, Raiden, and Billy Kane (in that order) before fighting the
I'm glad Terry lost the
Comparably to the arcade
smash hit that was Street Fighter 2 (and yes, we must
compare) the gameplay
engine of Fatal Fury is a bit stuff, and feels slower also. To put it
bluntly, character movement
isn't nearly as
responsive as it is in SF2. However, Fatal Fury characters can move around a bit
"differently" than characters from Street Fighter. The most
noteworthy gameplay innovation of Fatal Fury
is the ability to "jump" into the background
or foreground and continue fighting. Character sprites will appear
smaller in the background, and then bigger and more detailed in the foreground.
This graphical effect looked kinda weird, yet somehow visually impressive at the
same time (considering the time period).
Yeah, I think it was a borderline "graphical achievement" for the
Jump spin back kick to the
Fatal Fury's character
designs are unique and memorable in their own right, but in my book, they
don't quite match up to the charismatic roster of SF2. The fighters of Fatal Fury had some serious development to
do (and thank goodness they did in the later games). To me, the first Fatal Fury
installment was simply an alternative
to Street Fighter 2 (perhaps for the players who were tired of getting their asses
handed to them at the arcades.
Just kidding). Little did we know at the time, Fatal
Fury was the foundation of what would become an iconic fighting game
franchise... one that would introduce many memorable characters, whom would
later cross over to numerous other fighting games.
No matter how big of an SNK fan you think you are, you'd have to admit that Fatal
Fury wasn't a great fighting game. SNK themselves would admit that they were riding the coattails of the
unprecedented success that Street Fighter 2 was seeing at arcades around
the world. C'mon, even the "red & yellow" Fatal
Fury logo is basically a rip-off of Street Fighter 2's.
Nonetheless, Fatal Fury was of course an important stepping stone in SNK
history... a monumental one that would pave the way for future hit fighting
games. Most importantly, Fatal Fury's characters developed greatly in
later sequels and would appear in many SNK (and Capcom) crossovers.
While Fatal Fury was a decent "effort" from SNK, the gameplay
and early iterations of characters left much to be desired. While a true classic to look
back at (and maybe laugh at), what Fatal Fury lacked was a solid gameplay
engine that was worth spending time on. Furthermore, the game only had three selectable characters, which paled in comparisons to Street Fighter
2's iconic eight. SNK would later release some excellent sequels which were considerably better
competition for Capcom's behemoth, Street Fighter 2. ~TFG