Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 1 for PlayStation 2
Video Game for PS2
Fatal Fury (餓狼伝説, Garō Densetsu,? "Legend of the Hungry Wolf") is a fighting game series developed by SNK for the Neo Geo system. Producers Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto, who were the producers of the series from Fatal … see full wiki
Terry Bogard and Andy Bogard, also known as The Brothers Bogard, witness their adoptive father Jeff Bogard killed by Geese Howard, who happens to be a very powerful martial artist, and underground crime boss of South Town. Geese holds the King of Fighters tournament and the brothers enter seeking revenge, along with their friend, Muay Thai expert Joe Higashi. The brothers have to fight their way to Geese, which isn't going to be easy due to the tough competition.-summary
SNK didn't waste any time competing with Capcom'sStreet Fighter series for arcade dominance back in the 90's. The company challenged their very first Street Fighter game with Fatal Fury. Where as the former game featured only two playable characters, with the second character only being playable when a person joined in on the player two side, using the exact same moves set. Fatal Fury introduced three original characters with their own moves list of various martial art styles that could be chosen at the character select screen.
The company wouldn't stop there though. As time would go on, SNK would match them blow for blow with one sequel after the other. Although the Fatal Fury franchise would never match Street Fighter's success, the series would go on to make its mark in the fighting game genre and be loved by many. Despite the obvious similarities in their games, SNK would shine in one area: innovation. The company experimented and took risk when putting out their games. As a result, the sequels would sometimes feel different from their predecessors. Now, thanks to SNK for thinking of its faithful followers throughout the years, you can now relive their classic series on Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 1. The collection features the first 4 games of the series on one disk; Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special, and Fatal Fury 3. Now, it's time to find out if taking a trip down memory lane can prove to be a "Fatal" experience.
TheSNKstaff must be made up of masochist, because their games can be so damn hard and you will be punished quite often. All four games features a pretty tough AI. The CPU will fight you, and even on the easiest level, the characters will not stand there and be dominated. Don't be surprised if you lose to the first opponent in a 2 round sweep, and lets not even go there with the bosses. Someone who has never played these games before will be taking long deep breaths of relief after beating the games.
The games are 2D fighters and there's steady progression, as well as new elements to each of them. Fatal Fury features three playable characters with a short moves list. The game is two players but there is a twist though. When the second player joins in, the first and second player gangs up on the CPU controlled character. After defeating the opponent, the two players will then duke it out next.
Remember what I said about innovation? The creative juices flowed early. Fatal Fury featured a new element where the characters could sway into the background to avoid attacks as oppose to blocking them. The characters can also strike from these planes via flying kick or punch attacks. This added a bit more depth to the fighting engine. The sequels would continue to use this format, and they would even add interactive backgrounds; such as crashing through and even fighting behind objects, which can be found in the second two sequels. While in the fourth, it's possible to knock your defeated opponent completely off the screen into a lake or something.
Fatal Fury 2 was the answer to Street Fighter 2: World Warrior. Like its rival, Fatal Fury 2 features 8 playable characters with four non playable boss characters. The game also introduces super special moves that can be performed when a character is losing. These moves can turn a battle around in a heartbeat should they connect. The bosses in this game are very tough, because they're so unbalanced. They have very quick recovery time after special moves, and it seems as if they're reach is far superior. It can be a bit frustrating some times.
Remember what I said about matching Capcom's Street Fighter blow for blow? What better proof can I provide you with than Fatal Fury Special? Like Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition. This is part two all over again, only now the bosses are playable along with a few characters from the first game, like the break dancing Duck King, and martial arts master Tung Fu Rue. Geese Howard is among the bosses who can be played, along with finally playing as the staff wielding Billy Kane, and the powerful Wolfgang Krauser making the character roster 15 man strong. In the hands of an expert though, Geese is damn near invincible. There really isn't much else to say about this one, except that you will completely forget about regular part two.
Fatal Fury 3 on the other hand, and the best on this collection is a totally different animal. The character roster has been slightly reduced to 13 characters. Returning in this version are the Brothers Bogard, Joe, Mai, and Geese from the original, along with a nunchuk wielder, and a capoeria fighter, to only name a couple. But in all honesty, I never really took a liking to the new characters though. The gameplay had improved so much. The combat is a lot faster here when compared to the earlier versions.
Remember what I said about experimenting and taking risk? There's now a brand new fighting engine. The ability to move into the background has been upgraded. The player can now sway into the foreground as well, creating a three plane battlefield. But the movement is much quicker along with the strikes, plus the ability to go straight into a combo. The fighting engine is much deeper now, and the player will be forced to master these techniques if they want to win. It was obvious that SNK was setting the foundation with this new twist, because there was plenty of room for improvement. In which, they would do just that in later sequels.
Originality and innovation can take one but so far, and those factors alone does not make a game great. SNK as usual neglected the controls. Even though there was slight improvement as the series grew. The controls felt broken sometimes. The first game is the major culprit here. First of all, it features only a single punch and kick button, along with a throw button. So there isn't much depth. This could have been forgiven had the controls been responsive when performing special moves. Too many times, it felt like a blind leap trying to get something out. I'm a die hard fighting game fan, and I found my patience coming to an end. So I can imagine someone else coming away from the first game and claiming it to be unplayable.
Fatal Fury 2 and Special improves a great deal. The regular moves come out with ease, but the super specials respond better with certain characters. Fatal Fury 3 improves very much, concerning the specials and supers. In addition, the new sway technique feels so natural, because coming out of a sway into linking basic combos performs almost flawlessly. However, new players will need to practice and have patience if they want to win.
Of course, the visuals improved with each sequel. The first one has decent animation at best, although terribly dated. There doesn't seem to be much detail in character movements at all. The backgrounds can be pretty nice with battles taking place on a beach and even in a cafe. However, there's just so much lacking in detail, like for example, during one stage where it rains, the drops aren't even touching the characters at all. Plus, Terry Bogards Rising Tackle move comes off looking completely ridiculous. The spectators in the backgrounds are very bland also. But I will admit that the bright colors give off a lively appearance.
The character designs and animation gets better in the last three sequels. The boss stages really look good and they perfectly reflect their personalities, like the bull tamer Laurence Blood, fighting in an arena with bulls rampaging in the background, or Krauser's aristocrat setting with a choir in the background. The movements and special moves can look good for some characters, like Tung Fu Rue's ghostly power up and Geese Howard's Raising Storm.
This is an area that is hit and miss a little bit.The music does set the mood for a good fight in some cases, at times, it also reflects the characters personalities. The first game has a few good songs, with Geese's theme being the best. The song has an epic feel for such a hard boss. The second and third also has a few memorable songs, mainly because of their presentation and how they're used. The one song that comes to mind happens to be Duck King's theme, which fits perfectly for his fighting style and stage. The battle takes place in a club on a dance floor, and the song blends in perfectly. On other occasions, the music can be very off and doesn't fit at all. I always scratch my head on Andy's stage which takes place in Italy, and the songs roots are clearly Italian. I think the stage clashes in every way with Andy's character and fighting style.
The sound effects really don't stand out in anyway, and it feels as if everything was lazily done. The voice overs aren't much better. The first game really isn't good in this area, the second and third slightly improves. Surprisingly, the fourth isn't better in this area either. I noticed that the voice overs for the announcer of the rounds is terribly overshadowed by the music. There should be no reason for this.
I think the games will get quite a bit of burn from die hard fans because nostalgia will run wild. However, I find it hard to imagine that newbies to the series will bother with this for too long, due to the difficulty. There's nothing cool about being thrashed by the first character on easy level. The complete absence of a training mode also hurts the game. But at least SNK was kind of enough to add the complete moves list for each of the games in the instruction booklet.
I also can't think of many reasons to play the first two games. Fatal Fury suffers terribly from clunky controls, while Fatal Fury 2 is completely overshadowed by Fatal Fury Special, and Fatal Fury 3 has an interesting learning curve that screams to be mastered, making the latter two the only real reasons to bother with this. In any case, I'm happy with this set and I do play it once in awhile. Therefore, the trip down memory lane didn't end in a car wreck. Fortunately, SNK would go on to hit a home run with the second volume, and that completely outshines this one. Anyway, I think serious fighting game fans and SNK fans will get the most out of this one.
Pros: -4 games -Steady progression -Music -Innovative -Fatal Fury Special and Fatal Fury 3
Cons: -Control issues -Difficulty -Fatal Fury 1 and 2 -No Training Mode
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
What's your opinion on Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 1 for...?