Fatal Fury Special Review

Fatal Fury Special Review

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US Title:Fatal Fury Special
Japanese Title:Fatal Fury Special
By:SNK
Year:1993
Size:150 Megs
Home Release?Yes
MVS Release?Yes
CD Release?Yes

I remember the first time I played/saw Fatal Fury 2. It was at an arcade in a shopping strip that was minutes from my home. My mother was at JC Penney's and I was at the arcade- and I couldn't stop looking at this game. I say THIS game, because FFS is essentially the same as FF2 on the visuals- it just has more goodies.

I had a Super Nintendo at home (SF2: Turbo Hyperfighting was, and still is one of my favorite games), but this game just looked so beautiful to me. The characters, the stages, the story- it was like a wonderful beat-em-up anime.

I would go on to play FFS on the SNES, but as we all know, that is a far cry from the real deal. It took me about a decade- but last week I finally got an AES and this was the title I picked to accompany it. Fuckin' unbelievable- this game actually got BETTER after all these years.

GRAPHICS- 9.4

Obviously, the graphics present here have to be appreciated with the technology available and time of release in mind. That being said, FFS is beautiful. Visually, it is a work of art so consistent that I can still say that few 2d-fighters have matched it. The characters here are huge and chunky- total old-school style SNK sprites, and I fucking love it. Krauser and Big Bear are so huge on screen and other fighters (like Cheng and Tung) have never looked better than here. And the backgrounds- oh man, the BACKGROUNDS!!! A tremendously important part of ANY fighting game, the backgrounds here are all top-notch and there has yet to be a Fatal Fury game that has matched them. I'd even go so far as to say that FFS has one of the best collection of backgrounds EVER in a 2d-fighter. From Terry's now classic Mt. Rushmore train stage ("quoted" in Capcom vs. SNK and Garou:MOTW) to Tung's beautiful mountain view, to Mai's AMAZING waterfall background stage, to Jubei's masterfully done dojo with breakaway art- and of course, who can forget the first time they played against Wolfgang Krauser and got the pan down shot of his castle with the orchestra in the background.

Breathtaking stuff here, man- especially golden in the current state of 3D/CGI movies and video games that we are currently in. It seems impossible for me to get tired of looking at this game.


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SOUND/AUDIO- 9.3

Featuring one of the best Fatal Fury soundtracks, this game has right-on sound and music. The tunes that are most memorable for me are:

Terry- It's become a classic, much like Ryu's SF2 theme.
Mai- A PERFECT way to introduce who would become the hottest bitch in fighting game history. Love this tune.
Duck King- Now this shit gets me going- pretty bad-ass stage as well.
Tung- Nice, sedate and melodic- just like the lil' old bastard himself.
finally, we have-
KRAUSER- Complete with orchestrated Mozart playing as you battle your way through the two planes of fighting. This stage has incredible atmosphere.

The beat up sounds are really fucking cool as well, thick and "thuddy" (ya' gotta' love a game where even the blocks sound and feel good). In short, this is definitely a title you want to play with the volume ON- hell, most SNK fighters are.

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CONTROL/GAMEPLAY- 9.1

Let me first say that as much as I absolutely LOVE the Fatal Fury series, I've never been a big fan of the 2-plane stuff. For me, it just gets to be a bit much at times. The only game I feel it really worked in was Real Bout Fatal Fury (which actually had 3 planes of play).

Aside from that, the control here is super-tight- and that can work either FOR or AGAINST you. Make no mistake about it- this game is fucking hard (the only way for me to casually waltz through it is to set it on one of the easier levels).

No easy to do supers or "instant" combos here- just old-school "big damage really quick" style gameplay. There are awesome gameplay elements here that have since been absent from Fatal Fury games ( I miss being able to Rising Tackle my way through a projectile), and there's alot to be said about a nine year old game that still has a group of hardcore players who compete with it in Japan.

I think ya' gotta' be an' old-schooler to really appreciate the gameplay here. If you were born and bred off the ultra-flashy 50-60 hit combos of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (yawn) or if you consider Street Fighter Alpha 3 OLD school- then you may find yourself not finding the groove of the gameplay here. Obviously, the players who will get the most out of this title are the ones who were there playing it when it was first released. For me, titles like this and the SF2 series are timeless in gameplay. I don't care how many times I've done it, it's always satisfying for me to snuff an opponents attack with a Shoryudan or a Rising Tackle. And, as I mentioned earlier, the massive challenge of this game only adds to it's replayability. Now, if only those fucking supers weren't so damn hard......


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PRESENTATION- 9.6

In a word- PERFECTION. With the exception of Garou, this is hands down the best presentation of a Fatal Fury game- one of the best ever of ANY 2d-fighter as well. I don't know, just something about the palette of colors used here- it was never duplicated or matched by SNK again.
Yes, this game is a work of art and it has beautiful music and great gameplay- and it STILL ends up being more than the sum of it's parts.
I just can't decribe it really.
I have a saying for stuff like this: For those that understand, no explanation is needed. For those that don't, no explanation is enough.

OVERALL- 94%

What a fucking classic this game is. Out of SNK's classic stable (any and everything that preceded the KOF series), I rate this game as the definitive #1. I've read some awesome reviews on other sites (as well as this one) where this baby gets 10's all the way down.
You can't fuck with FFS's place in the SNK hall of fame, and in many ways I feel it is the definitive SNK fighter (along with Samurai 2).
If you own a Neo and don't have this game, something is seriously fucking wrong with you.
If you don't own either- hey, at least you're reading this review.
I waited almost a decade to get this shit, and you know what?
I'm fucking 12 years old again.

reviewed by
FOMAMAN

-there is no spoon-
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