Fatal Fury: The King of Fighters Review

Fatal Fury: The King of Fighters (Available on PlayStation 3 & PSP)
ESRB rating: T
Number of Players: 1 to 2
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK
Release Date: December 21st, 2010

Parent Talk: Fatal Fury is rated T for teen because of 2D violence.  Back in the early nineties, when this game was released young kids used to play it at the arcade all the times, so it’s your call whether or not you believe it’s too much for anyone under 13.

Plays Like: Any 2D fighter.

Review Basis: Played through the standard arcade mode on the PS3 and tried a few online multiplayer matches.

Details: PS3 version is $8.99 and PSP version is $6.99.

What’s This About: This is the one that started it all.  The first fighting game on the Neo Geo!  Most people believe Fatal Fury is simply a rip-off of Street Fighter II, but that’s been proven false.  The truth of the matter is both games were in development in 1990, and both were released in 1991.  Fatal Fury was so successful that it broke off into two distinct fighting series, Real Bout: Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters.  Some of the most popular SNK characters like the Andy, Terry and Geese made their first appearance in this game.

The story revolves around a tournament being held by crime-boss Geese Howard.  The Bogard brothers, Terry and Andy enter the tournament hoping to avenge their murdered father.  Geese was the one who did the slaying some ten years before the events of the game.  Isn’t that just the perfect way to start a series like this?

What It’s Remembered For:

  • Have a three fighter roster including, Andy, Terry, and Joe Higashi.  That’s right, who needs more than three fighters?
  • Two-line gameplay.  Unlike every fighter since Fatal Fury, the original has two planes of action.  It was unique for its time, but never really caught on.
  • Simple but effective gameplay.  With only a kick, punch and throw button the gameplay was much more limited than another certain fighter out at the time.
  • When a second player entered the fight instead of switching out the current match with a new one, both players would take on the CPU.  After that match the two players could battle it out, with the winner continuing on afterwards.  It was a novel idea that has never been seen of since.
  • After every second match players would take part in an arm-wrestling mini-game allowing them to test their skills at pressing a button as fast as they could.  Test your might!

Any Improvements?

  • Like all the Neo Geo Station games, players have the option of purchasing a portable version of the game for the PSP.
  • If you enjoy Fatal Fury why not take the pleasure online?  The network code is far from ideal.  I experienced loads of lag, which at times made the multiplayer virtually unplayable and certainly unbalanced.
  • Region selecting.  This is one game where there’s no difference between the North American and Japanese release except for the written dialogue.
  • Command List.  Like all the SNK releases thus far, you have access to all the special moves by pressing the select button.
  • Save states.  Usual fair, save whenever you want to continue at a later time.
  • Enhanced options.  Players can smoothen the pixels, change the border wallpaper, fit the game to their screen, etc.

Bottom Line: Who Should Download This?

Given its sheer age, it’s highly doubtful any casual fighter fan will see the charm and appeal, but the SNK faithful will download this one in an instant.  Overall it’s a hard recommend only because there are only three selectable fighters and the online multiplayer is extremely sluggish.  There are better fighters out there for the Neo Geo Station.  Unless you feel like reliving the past and seeing where all the SNK fighters came from, you might as well just download The King of Fighters ’96.

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