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Fatal Fury



Live or die! Expert fighters are waiting to fight you!


Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, released in Japan as Garou Densetsu: Shukumei no Tatakai (餓狼がろう伝説でんせつ 宿命しゅくめいたたか, "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.

This game 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 Bogard and Andy Bogard, along with their friend Joe Higashi, enter the tournament to get their revenge on Geese.


Gameplay of Terry vs. Michael

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 consist 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.


Main Characters

Terry Bogard, the main hero and protagonist; a young man and elder adoptive son of Jeff Bogard. He witnessed the death of his father at the hands of Geese Howard, and swears revenge ever since. He trained with the master of his father, Tung Fu Rue, to gain the streets and facing his biggest enemy.
Andy Bogard, Terry's young brother; also witnessed the death of his father. He decided to perfect his own martial art over at Japan to differentiate himself from his brother. He also trained with Tung Fu Rue and with Hanzo Shiranui.
Joe Higashi, a Muai Thay champion and a hurricane manipulator, he has born in Japan and heads to South Town to prove himself in the King of Fighters tournament, where he meets the Bogard brothers.

CPU-Controlled Characters (Available Only In Versus Mode, SNES [Nintendo] & Genesis [SEGA])

Richard Meyer, a Brazilian Capoeira master, uses his abilities to entertain the masses. Then, he moves to South Town and founds the Pao Pao Cafe, a nightclub inspired in his home country.
Michael Max, a former heavy weight boxer champion. He was unbeatable for the title and was predicted to keep it for many years to come. However, he also participated in street fighting.
Duck King, a friendly and outgoing American guy towards everyone, who lives to dance and party.
Tung faf-82.gif Tung faf-Transformed.png
Tung Fu Rue, the legendary master of the style known as Hakkyokuseiken, who trained many fighters over the years. He can summon a energy body.
Raiden, an Australian professional wrestling, known for his ruthlessness in the ring. He moved to South Town to get involved with strong fights.
Hwa Jai, a former Muai Thay champion, was defeated by Joe and vows defeat his rival.
Billy Kane, a orphan British guy, who raised on London streets and turned Geese Howard's right-hand man.


Geese Howard, the main villain, boss of the game and South Town lord of crime, killed Jeff Bogard, partner of training under Tung Fu Rue's tutelage, in front of his adoptive kids, Terry and Andy. An ambitious man, he does everything to have more power, even if it is necessary to go over everything and everyone. He also is the first The King of Fighters main organizer.


Normal Stages

  • 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. This stage is also available in some games of The King of Fighters series.
  • Sound Beach — Michael: The 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. This stage is also available in KOF XV, with a new version.
    • 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.

Boss Stage

  • 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 this game is included as a part of SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1, a compilation of arcade games released by SNK.
  • The game also has been released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch as part of the project ACA NEO GEO, developed by Hamster Corporation.



In Japan, Game Machine listed Fatal Fury: King of Fighters on their January 1, 1992 issue as being the third most-successful table arcade unit of the month. It went on to be Japan's fourth highest-grossing arcade game of 1992, below Street Fighter II (two versions) and Captain Commando. In North America, RePlay reported Fatal Fury to be the second most-popular arcade game in February 1992.


The game received positive reviews upon release. Paul Rand of Computer and Video Games called it one of the best Neo Geo games available in 1992 and compared it favorably with Street Fighter II, stating Fatal Fury was a "brilliant feast of fighting" with "huge and excellently drawn" character sprites, "lots of great" animation, and unique special attacks "giving the game more variety."

In a retrospective review, Maximum commented in 1996 that the game failed to offer any real competition for Street Fighter II in either playability or character selection. They concluded: "The only main point in this game's favour is that two of the characters may team together to take on a computer opponent in a three-player frenzy, and the game also tries to offer something else new with a two-tier playing arena, but the slow action and the disgracefully difficult fireball motions make special moves something of a rare occurrence".


  • According to Youchiro Soeda (Character Designer) in a interview on SNK's Twitch Channel "KAISERWAVE", during early development of the game, Fatal Fury's early title was "Real Bout". In fact, some remains of this early title being used can be found in the final game through different billboards and signs in the backgrounds.
    • The name "Real Bout" would eventually be used in Real Bout Fatal Fury, the start of the "Real Bout series".
  • After kicking Geese off the Geese Tower, the game's narration explains "August 13th, 1992. Geese Howard dies in the hospital 3 hours after falling from a high rise.". Canonically, the date is August 13th, 1992, but the date can be changed depending on the game system's internal clock. However, in International releases of the game, for whatever reason, there exists a Y2K glitch, where the millennium year will be stuck in the 1900s (for example, if the player beat the game in 2016, the date will be displayed as 1916). This does not happen in the original Japanese release, and has yet to be fixed in future releases.
  • Terry's Character trailer in The King of Fighters XV (Character Trailer #10) features a shot with him, Andy and Joe as a homage to the arcade flyer of the game, during the team's formation.


See also

External links

  Games edit
Fatal Fury

Fatal Fury: King of FightersFatal Fury 2Fatal Fury SpecialFatal Fury 3: Road to the Final VictoryReal Bout Fatal FuryReal Bout Fatal Fury SpecialReal Bout Garou Densetsu Special: Dominated MindReal Bout Fatal Fury 2: The NewcomersFatal Fury: First ContactFatal Fury: Wild AmbitionGarou: Mark of the Wolves

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