Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, released in Japan as Garou Densetsu: Shukumei no Tatakai (餓狼伝説 宿命の戦い, Garō Densetsu Shukumei no Tatakai, "Legend of the Hungry Wolf: The Battle of Destiny") is a 1991 head-to-head fighting game released by SNK for the Neo Geo arcade and home platforms. Fatal Fury was SNK's first fighting game for the Neo Geo system (released a few months after the arcade release of the original Street Fighter II) and served as the inaugural game in their Fatal Fury series, as well as the first game to depict the fictional "King of Fighters" tournament (which became the basis for the later The King of Fighters games). Many of SNK's mainstay characters, including the Bogard brothers Terry and Andy, and their arch-nemesis Geese Howard, made their debut in this game.
The game was designed by Takashi Nishiyama, the creator of the original Street Fighter (1987). Fatal Fury, which Nishiyama envisioned as a spiritual successor to Street Fighter, was developed around the same time as Street Fighter II (1991). While Street Fighter II placed more emphasis on combos, Fatal Fury placed more emphasis on the timing of special moves as well as storytelling.
The plot of Fatal Fury centers around a martial arts tournament known as the "King of Fighters" tournament, held in the fictional American city of South Town and sponsored by local crime boss Geese Howard. Ten years prior to the events of the game, Geese murdered a rival martial artist named Jeff Bogard who was on his trail. Now, Jeff's adopted sons, Terry and Andy, along with their friend Joe Higashi, enter the tournament to get their revenge on Geese.
The gameplay follows the typical formula of most fighting games: the player competes against his opponent in best two-out-of-three matches. The play controls consists of an eight directional lever and three attack buttons: punch, kick and throw. As in the original Street Fighter, each of the playable character has special techniques that are performed by inputting specific commands and combinations with the joystick and buttons. The input methods for special moves are shown to the player during the course of the game (after every bonus round), as opposed to being given in an instruction card in the game's cabinet. The most novel aspect of Fatal Fury was the inclusion of a two-lane fighting system. The player can jump from one lane to another to avoid projectile attack or knock their opponent to the other plane.
When a second player joins during the middle of a fight, instead of postponing the current battle for a match between the two players, the game will make both players team-up against the current CPU opponent in a two-on-one match before their battle takes place. After every second match in the single player tournament, the player will participate in a bonus round mini-game involving an arm wrestling match against a machine. The player must tap the A button rapidly to win these mini-games.
Also playable on SNES and Sega Genesis.
- Pao Pao Cafe - Richard: A landmark of entertainment in South Town. The restaurant features an Asian decor while the stage hosts a Capoeira roda surrounding the fighters, besides barrels.
- Sound Beach - Michael: South Town's favorite beach, famous for their seafood restaurants and nightlife. Can be seen people cheering, buildings, palm trees, the ocean and a jeep. Changes: in the 1st round, day; in the 2nd round, sunset; from the 3rd round, night.
- Howard Arena - Tung: The patio-area of a Chinese temple/arena that's owned by Geese Howard. Can be seen buildings in the background, vegetation, a tree and stones. Changes: in the 1st round, cloudy day with lightnings; from the 2nd round, rainy weather.
- The West Subway - Duck: The battle takes place outside the subway station, where a live band can be seen in the commercial area surrounding the station. Can be seen buildings, a train passing and outdoors. Changes: in the 1st round, day; from the 2nd round, sunset.
- Happy Park - Hwa: A commercial and entertainment area famous for its upbeat nightlife. Can be seen people cheering, a fountain and flags. Changes: in the 1st round, day; from the 2nd round, sunset.
- Dream Amusement Park - Raiden: South Town's legendary amusement park. The battle takes place in an esplanade that's among the park's attractions. Changes: until the 2nd round, susnset; from the 2nd round, night.
- South Town Village - Billy: The gathering point for the final round right at the end of the bridge connecting South Town with the Geese Tower. Can be seen veichles and people cheering. Changes: in the 1st round, day; in the 2nd round, sunset; from the 3rd round, night.
- Geese Tower: The battle takes place on the rooftop of a building, decorated in an oriental style with Japanese statues overlooking the whole city. Associated with Geese. Changes: in the 1st round, day; in the 2nd round, sunset.
- The Super NES version of Fatal Fury, published and developed by Takara, was published in Japan in 1992 and in North America during the following year. This version discards the two-lane system in favor of a more conventional one lane plane. The two-on-one battles are gone and the arm wrestling bonus rounds are replaced by new bonus rounds involving the main character punching flying tires. In the game's Versus Mode, all of the CPU-controlled characters are playable, albeit only on the second player's side.
- The Mega Drive/Genesis version, published by Sega in Japan and by Takara in North America, removes the characters of Hwa Jai and Billy Kane from the roster, relegating them to background cameos. Instead, the player faces against the other two main characters during the course of the game. This version allows both players to play as the CPU-controlled characters in the game's Versus Mode (with Geese Howard available via a cheat code). The Genesis version was the subject of a mild controversy between Electronic Gaming Monthly and GameFan magazines. Martin Alessi of EGM criticized the play controls from having "slow response" and making the special moves "quite difficult" to perform. Postmeister of GameFan defended the game's play controls and responded by accusing the EGM's reviewers for being "way off".
- The Neo Geo CD version is identical to its MVS and cartridge counterparts. Fatal Fury's Image Album, featuring its arranged soundtrack, was released only months after this version was released.
- An emulation of the original Neo Geo game is included along with its sequels Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and Fatal Fury 3, in the compilation Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Vol. 1 for the PlayStation 2. This version includes an option for the original MVS soundtrack or new arranged music composed specifically for the compilation.
- The Neo Geo version of Fatal Fury has been released by D4 Enterprise as part of the Virtual Console downloadable lineup for the Wii.
- The original arcade version of the first Fatal Fury is included as part of SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1.
- The game also has been released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch as part of ACA Neo Geo, developed by Hamster Corporation.
- Wii Virtual Console page
- Arcade Archives official website, product page
- 15 sec Neo Geo commercial
- 30 sec SNES commercial
- 15 sec Megadrive commercial
Someone who could possibly be Choi Bounge appears in the cutscene before fighting Geese.
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