SNES Review 138: Fatal Fury 2 AKA Garou Densetsu 2
OK so quiet a long time ago I reviewed Fatal Fury and at the time I said that Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury special also hit the SNES but I wouldn't be reviewing them as I didn't own them, well guess what since then I got Japanese cartridge copies of both games. So here I am now about to review Fatal Fury 2 AKA Garou Densetsu 2.
OK so first lets put things in to a little bit of perspective. The original Fatal Fury 2 was a head-to-head fighting game released by SNK for the Neo Geo arcade and home platforms originally coming out at the end of 1992 (Early 1993 in the home). The first Fatal Fury came out at the end of 1991 so its sequel only came out one year later, but what a difference a year can make. The original Neo game was 55Megs with its sequel being the second game in SNK's 100-Mega Shock series making its cartridge almost twice as big (Apparently it was 106Megs). Looking at the size of Roms for Fatal Fury and Fatal Fury 2 on the SNES the first is 1.0MB and the second is 1.9mb So once again the second game is nearly double the size of its predecessor but I think its obvious that both of these games are very cut down versions of there Neo Geo counterparts. This doesn't make them bad games though as if you look at it a lot of the games we got in the home back in the old days be they on home computer or console were cut down versions of arcade hits it was all about how could you best cut a game down so that it would run on home hardware without cutting the life and soul out of the game.
With the first Fatal Fury I said that the main problem with the SNES version laid with the conversion that unlike with the SNES version of Street Fighter 2 it was just to far removed from its arcade counterpart. Well the SNES version of Fatal Fury 2 was made by Takara the same people who made the SNES version of the original but hold on its not as bad as it sounds.
One of the main things I found annoying about the original Fatal Fury was that if you played the arcade mode you only actually had a choice of three different characters to play it with, in this sequel you have a choice of eight this includes the three from the first game but also five others. After defeating all eight playable characters in the single player story mode (including a clone of the person you picked), you then face four bosses much like the original street fighter 2. This was true in the Neo version and its also true in the snes version.
OK as basically most fighting games live or die by there character rosters I think its about time I talked about the guys on offer here starting with those who are Playable fighters in the main game mode.
Terry Bogard - an American street fighting champion from a place called Southtown. Terry is somewhat cocky. For those into there street fighter 2 you can consider this guy here to be the Ken type of character. Although in all fairness he feels like a character in his own right not like a street fighter 2 rip off cut and paste job.
Andy Bogard - Terry's younger brother who fights using ninjutsu. He might be younger but he is far more disciplined and serious he is kind of a Ryu to Terry's Ken.
Joe Higashi - the Bogards brothers friend and also a Muay Thai champion. Imagine if your in to your street fighter 2 a small faster Sagat (Street fighter actually got a character more like that later)
Big Bear - an Australian wrestler formerly known as Raiden (as he was called in the original Fatal Fury). It is pretty easy to see he is based on the real life wrestler Big Van Vader. He is your slow hard hitting guy basically.
Jubei Yamada - an elderly Japanese judo master once known as "Yamada the Demon" during his youth. Having grown up on a lot of old Kung Fu type films this guy basically reminds me of your 'Old Master' type figure.
Cheng Sinzan - an tubby master of taiji from Hong Kong seeking to open his own training hall. This guy is probably my least favorite character in the game.
Kim Kaphwan - a Taekwondo master from Korea. This guy is kind of interesting as his offense is pretty much all kick based, it actually works out a lot better than it sounds and I find him quiet an interesting character.
Mai Shiranui - she is the daughter of the head a ninja clan and Andy Bogards's love interest. Also the games token chick fighter basically.
The Boss characters are
Billy Kane - a staff-fighting master from the UK. Now I actually like that we have a Character from the UK in this game especially seeing as thats where I am from.I am not so keen on the fact he was apparently designed to look like the Dynamite Kid an English wrestler who to put it mildly is a bit of an ass but none the less I think he is a pretty cool character both in looks and in his fighting style.
Axel Hawk - a retired heavyweight boxing champion who quit to maintaining his health until he was hired by this games boss to be a sub boss. He is based on former heavyweight champion George Foreman which I think is kind of interesting seeing as Street Fighter 2 had a character based on Iron Mike Tyson.
Laurence Blood - a former matador who uses a fighting style based on a mix of bull fighting and fencing. His matador look is interesting and he certainly stand out.
The main boss is a guy called Wolfgang Krauser - a German nobleman seeking to defeat the men responsible for Geese's downfall. I don't really like the design of this character in all honest I do however like his fighting style its a mix between the German martial art named Kampfringen, the ancient Greek fighting style of Pankration and a bit of wrestling thrown in on top.
The game has very nice colorful graphics, I think all of the above characters are represented well both in how they look and how they move, I also have to say that I am very fond of both the games backgrounds and the tunes in it.
Now on to the bit that matters the most the Gamplay. The original Neo Geo Fatal Fury allowed you to jump between two different planes on the screen to avoid attacks but this was missing in its SNES conversion, this is in the SNES version of Fatal Fury 2 however and I think it really does help this game stand apart from other one on one beat em ups. Other than the ability to change the plane your standing on the gameplay here follows the usual formula of one on one fighting games from this time period, with you playing against the computer in a best two-out-of-three contest. Each of the characters in the game has their own special attacks that are performed by inputting specific commands and combinations many of them being the same sort of motions you would find in street fighter 2 but unlike the first Fatal Fury where they were an absolute pig to pull off here they are with a little practice pretty straight forward. For me this game is a huge improvement over its predecessor, more selectable characters to play through the game in one player, more tactical options and better control just makes the whole thing feel like quiet a big jump forward.
I do think that the game is a little limited as a one player game, but that is something that can be said about most one on one fighting games hey at least there are 8 diffrent characters to try and complete the game with which should keep you coming back to it for a bit. Where this game really excels though is when played with friends, with all of its bright and different characters it has a great roster for multiplayer. This game works at its best when there are a bunch of you and you all sit round and see who is the best maybe with a bit of a winner stays on tournament.
I find myself giving this game an 8 out of 10, yes that is the same mark I gave the original Street Fighter 2 the world warrior and I think thats rather fair because while the first Fatal Fury was lacking and looked a bit like a poor cousin this game is more of a serious contender. If you like your fighting games and want to give the Fatal Fury series a go on your SNES then just skip the first one in total honesty as its sequel is just more of the same but with a whole heap of extra polish. If you want this game well I spent £3.50 getting a Japanese Cartridge of this game, which is a decent price looking online its not hard to get a Japanese cart for around the £5 mark, if you want a pal cart though your talking more around the £35 figure which I think is far too much when you start looking at that kind of figure you should probably look into a download version or a compilation. There was a PS2 fatal fury collection with 4 Fatal Fury games on it for example, or you could look on some of the modern download services where you could get a download of the original Neo Geo version of the game for probably £6 to £8 less if you happen to find it on sale.