Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 2 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
Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 2 - Slowly but surely it got real close to its full potential
Jun 21, 2011
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.
Following the events of Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory, Geese Howard, who was once thought to be dead, outsmarted the Bogard Brothers and accomplished his goal by obtaining the Secret Scrolls of Jin. Augmenting his power, Geese plans on reconquering South Town, by hosting a new King of Fighters Tournament to let the citizens know he has returned. It's up to the Bogards to put an end to Geese's reign for good. -summary
In 2008, SNK Playmore decided to release Fatal Fury Battle Archives Volume Two, which contains three more games of the Fatal Fury series, making the count at 7 by this time; Real Bout Fatal Fury, Real Bout: Fatal Fury Special, and Real Bout 2: The Newcomers. Originally, Real Bout Fatal Fury was released in 1995, and it was no doubt a direct challenge to Capcom's newly released Street Fighter Alpha series. The rivalry was indeed taken up another notch, and although Fatal Fury, once again, would never see the same success as Street Fighter Alpha. It would go on to gain a huge cult following, but more importantly, SNK proved that the game wasn't just another knock off clone. It was quite different from Street Fighter Alpha, with a fighting engine that would bring a certain amount of depth to the 2D playing field. Make no mistake about it, these are some solid fighting games that got better with each sequel.
Real Bout Fatal Fury re-uses the same fighting engine that was introduced in Fatal Fury 3. The 2D plane received a revamping, by the fighters being able to sway into the background and foreground, creating a three way fighting plane. From here, the characters would be able to dash into one another attempting to land a blow, with hopes in going into a chain combo, plus, the ability to dash forward and back in combination with the sway, can help set up plenty of offensive and defensive strategies. In addition, projectiles and charging special moves could be easily evaded, since the sway can be used as a side step. The fighting system is much deeper, since the fighters are no longer limited to only jumping in to advance.
The game also still features the unlimited super special moves, that can be performed when the players health is in the red zone. However, there's more to it than this. The power gauge increases when regular special moves are performed or blocked. There are three stages concerning the power gauge, with different uses and criteria that must be met to operate them. Understanding the power gauge and mastering the moves are crucial to playing the game on harder levels or against skilled opponents.
The game also has an extended roster with the boss characters of the last game, along with three other characters who were last seen in Fatal Fury Special making their appearances, bringing the roster to 16 characters. The staff wielding Billy Kane is once again playable, along with Duck King using his break dancing style of fighting. The final boss, Geese, is still the vicious counter machine we all know and love.
Unfortunately, everything is not peaches and cream here. The sway system does have faults, and at this point, it still didn't seem properly fleshed out due to the sluggish like feel. Overall, it just didn't take any real steps beyond the last game. SNK also decided to add a twist to the rings, by making it possible to knock your character out of bounds. The corners of the rings are made up of gates, crowds, and other things, and these obstacles can be knocked down forcing the opponent out. In the following round, in this case the gate, it will remain gone making it now possible to drive your opponent out of the ring for a cheap victory.
This new addition actually hampers the game play some, because I've noticed the character hit the ground and slide a few extra feet, far more than normal into a quick defeat. Also, I have forced third rounds in a difficult battle with my opponent completely on the ropes, very close to winning with a perfect, only to mistime a charge attack and float outside of the ring for a very easy and frustrating loss. To include, the difficulty really doesn't help matters, since the AI can be so tough even on easy levels. There also seems to be a balancing issue where some moves can do heavy damage, while others have been cut back. This is something that I never really cared for, because I prefer all characters to be on the same page.
Real Bout Fatal Fury Special is the actual sequel since it follows the storyline. It almost feels like a remake of Fatal Fury 2, with the second counter machine, Wolfgang Krauser, taking Geese's place as the final boss. Additional characters include the bull fighter Laurence Blood, martial arts master Tung Fue Rue, and Cheng Sinzan for 20 characters.
The game play is faster, smoother, and more balanced this time around. Plus, the ring out has been removed and opponents can now be driven into the destructible environments for a deep daze. Chaining combos have been tweaked a bit to allow a variety of combos. For example, in the case of Terry, it's not possible to end certain chain combos with the Burning Knuckle, but it's very possible with the Crack Shoot instead, despite them both being rush moves. This can help set up a variety of strategies, and trying to master the amount of characters will no doubt take time.
Real Bout 2: The Newcomers doesn't follow any type of story, and it features both counter machines, Krauser and Geese, as alternating final bosses. This game features the largest character roster so far, which is made up of 22 characters, a hidden, yet playable boss named Alfred, and two brand new characters; the Native American boxer Rick, who has an amazing moves set, and Li Xiangfei, a Chinese kung fu expert.
This is the most technically sound game of the three, in which, this game alone makes the collection a must own. It fixes whatever ailments that could be found in the previous two games. Moreover, the game play is very fast paced and fluid, and in combination with the sway and other fighting engine mechanics, it's incredibly easy to string together devastating combos. This game will make you forget about the other two completely for many more reasons besides the ones I listed.
All three games feature a training mode where you can set up your own playing field, such as lowering your character's health into the red zone to practice the super special. The command list is easily accessible, and it can even be accessed during the main game. However, in Real Bout Fatal Fury, the ring outs are present during training, and it can be annoying when the game restarts after pushing someone out. Fortunately, the other two games don't suffer from this.
The controls are only a four button set up; punch, kick, strong attack, and sway. Although it may appear very simple, the techniques are indeed hard to master. But thanks to the responsive directional pad and button combinations, these games quite possibly perform the best out of all of SNK's fighters. Fatal Fury had come along way in this area by this time.
Still, as good as the controls are, there is progression in the sequels with Real Bout 2 being the best in this area, with most of the moves being able to pull off at will. The only issue that I have here, which is a small one, is that for some of the more powerful characters like Geese and Krauser. It appears that SNK over did it with the directional pad movements, and button presses to get these moves out. Playing with those two characters requires way too much practice.
Again, there is great progress as the sequels continue. Real Bout Fatal Fury does look dated with pixelated sprites that can give off a blurry look, and there isn't much detail either. The sequels on the other hand consist of larger sprites, brighter colors, and more details. Most noteworthy is the third game, as it features larger sprites than the second game, with a vast amount of detail. The male characters are well muscle bound and one can see their arms bulging in the ready positions. Mai Shuranui is still her bouncy and scantily clad self. There are also smaller details like Terry's ponytail waving when he goes for a charging move like the Burning Knuckle.
The backgrounds are somewhat limited in the first game, with up to three fights taking place in the same arena, like in a ring surrounded by ring ropes, therefore, the amount of stages are limited. The crowds in the pit fight stage are very bland with the spectators looking kind of stiff. The second game looks better, and possibly the best stage is Krausers Castle, which takes place at night, and the camera slowly moves from the balcony down to the arena showing off the walkways. The third game is of course the best, with a bit more life in the backgrounds.
I really enjoy the soundtrack, and although the first game is limited on stages, each character still retains their theme music. The songs are definitely fitting for fight music and nothing sounds out of place. I especially enjoy Billy's rock score for the third game, which fits in perfectly with the fast paced action. The same also goes for Geese's epic theme. Krausers slow opera like theme seems to be the perfect fit for him also. Not only because of the character's royal background, but it's best to fight him with a slow methodical approach. Mindless attacks against him will set you up for a fast loss, and I think the theme music dictates the pace he should be fought to some degree.
The sound effects happens to be the only area I'm not satisified with. There doesn't seem to be any real distinction between punch and kick sounds, and they just come off as hard bashes. The voice work really doesn't shine either and they just come off quite dull to me.
The two player mode is of course great, and the AI is not easy to beat on any mode. The main game can definitely hone your skills, plus the training mode will soak up quite a bit of time, because most of the characters do not play the same. In addition, from the first to the third game, the characters moves list are altered, with one or two moves removed in favor of something else. So there's always something new taking place. The game also features unlockable characters.
There's a whole lot to like about this set, despite it being one game less than the previous one. It is sad that Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves, which is not only the best of the series, but quite possibly the best SNK fighter, and among the best fighting games ever was left off. Had that game been added to this set, I would die a happy man. In any case, all three of these games are playable, with the third being worth the price tag all by itself. I highly recommend this set to fighting game fans.
Pros: -Noticeable progression through each game -Training modes -Music
Cons: -Mark of the Wolves was not added -Difficulty
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