Garou: Mark of the Wolves (餓狼 MARK OF THE WOLVES, Garō Māku obu za Uruvusu) or Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves for the Dreamcast release; referred to as Garou or MOW for short, it is the eighth and currently final game in the Fatal Fury series set ten years after the death of Geese Howard. It is known for pushing the graphical capabilities of the Neo Geo, utilizing 3D graphics and semi-transparency, as well as its well-balanced roster of characters and highly technical gameplay.
As part of SNK's celebration of the series's 15 year anniversary, a retrospective movie was made to take place shortly after.
In December 2016, the game was released for three platforms: for PS4 and PS Vita, on day 3, and for Steam, on day 9. There was already another PC version, released by the Humble Bundle, in January of that year. In May 11, 2017, as part of ACA Neo Geo, the game is released for Nintendo Switch.
In January 22, 2020, Code Mystics updated the online mode of the game to utilize GGPO, also known as "rollback netcode," attested as one of the most reliable online play protocols in the industry.
Ten years after crime lord Geese Howard's death, the city of Southtown has become more peaceful. Now, the stage is in the neighboring city of Second Southtown. A new fighting tournament called "King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem" starts in the area, and several characters related with the fighters from the old era of King of Fighters tournaments participate within it.
Garou: Mark of the Wolves general gameplay mechanics and art style are changed to more closely resemble SNK's The King of Fighters series using a similar button layout (A for weak/light punch, B for weak/light kick, C for strong/heavy punch and D for strong/heavy kick). However, chaining normal attacks into each other tends to be strict on timing and involves heavy usage of the recurring feint mechanic (forward + A and C or down + A and C) in order to cancel them smoothly. Stage gimmicks and plane-changing, as seen in previous titles, were totally done away with.
The Tactical Offensive Position System or T.O.P. is a new system. Before each match begins, the player is given option to adjust the T.O.P. meter's influence onto three different places on their character's life meter (beginning, middle, end). When a character's life meter reaches the white T.O.P. section, the character will flash with their HP bar's T.O.P. section turning orange, and enter a special state which will grant them the following advantages:
- increased damage output
- slow health regeneration
- ability to perform T.O.P. attacks, which often deal heavy amount of reduction to the guard meter if blocked
Once the character's life meter falls out T.O.P. range, the character will lose these benefits.
Just Defense System
Just Defense allows players to benefit from defending by activating it against incoming attacks at the last second. Players can perform Just Defense against any type of attack. Just Defense has following advantages:
- small health recovery for each successful Just Defense activation;
- ability to Guard Cancel.
It is comparable to the Street Fighter III series' Parrying, except the latter is more offense-oriented, grants an attack reset and gives no life regeneration. Additionally, a mechanic similar to Just Defense was introduced in Street Fighter Alpha 3 that instead reduces guard meter consumption, made visually prominent by a brief white flashing of the character if successfully done.
The new characters added to the roster are:
- Rock Howard, biological son of Geese Howard, has strong bonds with Terry, and has had a grudge against Geese since the death of his mother;
- B. Jenet, the leader of the Lillien Knights, a group of pirates. She entered to the Maximum Mayhem to rob him of anything valuable that Kain R. Heinlein might be keeping in his mansion;
- Kim Dong Hwan, elder son of Kim Kaphwan, enters to the tournament to continue his father's legacy, although he doesn't take training too seriously;
- Kim Jae Hoon, younger son of Kim Kaphwan, is very serious, diligent in his studies, and a charismatic man. He inherited from his father the strong sense of justice, and enters to the tournament to continue his legacy, like his elder brother;
- Hotaru Futaba, a girl daughter of martial artists, enters to the Maximum Mayhem for search her brother, in companion of her marten Itokatsu;
- Gato, a martial artist, who seeks revenge for the murder of his mother (killed by his father);
- Tizoc, A.K.A. The Griffon, a famous pro wrestler, who has gained exceptional favoritism amongst all children audience;
- Marco Rodriguez, A.K.A. Khushnood Butt, a Brazilian practitioner of the Kyokugenru Karate and disciple of Ryo Sakazaki, enters to the Maximum Mayhem to prove the might of his martial art;
- Hokutomaru, a practitioner of the Shiranui-ryuu Ninjutsu and disciple of Andy Bogard, enters to the Maximum Mayhem at the request of his master;
- Kevin Rian, a S.W.A.T. policeman, enters to the tournament to take revenge on the man who killed his partner, in the company of his son, Marky;
- Freeman, a serial killer, who enters to the Maximum Mayhem to kill stronger opponents. One of his victims is Kevin Rian's police partner;
- Grant, an old friend of Kain and Marie Heinlein, Rock's mother. He protected the siblings from the dangers of the slums under his real name Abel Cameron. He also is Kain's bodyguard;
- Kain R. Heinlein, the host of the Maximum Mayhem tournament and Rock's uncle; decided to take Geese Howard's legacy and turns ruler of Second Southtown.
Note 1: The intros appears only in Story Mode. The Sub-Boss stage don't have an intro.
Note 2: Marky, the little boy who appears along with Kevin in Story Mode, isn't present in Versus and Practice Modes.
Warning: The sight of some stages can cause epilepsy.
- Live House Old Line — Rock: A parking lot of a show house, in the night. The fight takes next to some convertible cars. Can be seen light posts, the house with the words "R&B", "Glam Rock: 2nd South" and their name, buildings, one with the figure of a boy and the expression "Second South Town: Music Boy", a palm tree and a poster with the game's logo, besides people watching the fight. Also can be spotted cars coming out of the parking lot.
- Intro: a close in the stage until focusing on Rock.
- The Freight Express — Terry: A freight train that runs through the city. He is carrying timber logs. Can be seen a wooden box, ropes, a tow bag and the expression "Runing Wild". The fight occurs while the sun rise, in the 1st round, with the train stopped in the waiting line in the 2rd round and a bridge in the final rounds.
- Intro: the train passing by the rails.
- Note: In the waiting line, can be seen people waiting, other train passing, the USA and the game's logo flags, buildings, light posts, a palm tree and a bridge.
- Blue Wave Harbor — Jenet: A pier destroyed by the Lilien Knights' ship. Can be seen boats, the rest of the pier, little flags, the ship, small lights, a rudder, palm trees and some sailors. In the 1st round, can be spotted a woman trying to escape, but being stopped by a man on the ground; in the final rounds, the sailors with a looted treasure.
- Intro: the pier being destroyed by the ship.
- Oriental Casino Woo — Dong Hwan: A casino. The battle takes in front of the casino. Can be seen some people watching the fight, panda girls, one of the walking and vibrating all over the stage, shrubs, other buldings and neon signs, with the words "PANDA GIRL: SLOT MACHINE", the name of the casino, a chinese girl with uniform and the expressions "TRIPLE ROSE" and "DRAGON SLOTS", besides a plaque with the words "PANDA GIRL: BINGO".
- Intro: a close in some buildings until arriving at the stage.
- Yok Chong Market — Jae Hoon: A big market of Korean items. The fight takes in the middle of a great celebration. Can be seen people cooking, serving food and eating, Taekwondo students (some dressed like Dong Hwan, other dressed like Jae Hoon) watching the fight, fruits, fowls and the main gate of the market, besides little flags (including South Korea flag), the Sin's Restaurant, Korean Kanjis and bands. Depending on who's fighting on the stage, Dong Hwan himself may be there to cheer for his brother, and also be disappointed when he loses.
- Intro: Jae Hoon greeting the player, while the students in the background clap.
- The Philanthoropy Belfry — Hotaru: A terrace. Can be seen two giant bells, light posts, doves, yellow, blue and white flags and some houses and a river, in the background. In the first rounds, it's day and the bells ring; in the final rounds, it's night, can be seen a full moon, the bells are stopped and the posts are on, and can be seen bats. If a player taunts, the bells move and toll on the background.
- Intro: the bells ringing and doves flying.
- Note: when the fight starts, Hotaru wears a cape, which is taken by the doves.
- Barbaroi Falls — Gato: The waterfalls. The fight takes next to the stones. Also can be seen shrubs. In the first round, it's sunset; in the second round, night; from the final rounds, morning, and vice versa (only for the 1st and final rounds).
- Intro: a close in the stage until focusing on Gato.
- Universal Arena — Tizoc: A big ring. Can be seen the crowd vibrating with the fight, a screen showing the active fighters, Tizoc and the crowd, plaques with the hour and the stage name and the game's logo in the floor of the ring. The billboard will show who's currently fighting on the stage, and more often than not, a footage of the crowd booing at the current player may be shown in view.
- Intro: a close in the stage until focusing on Tizoc.
- Sarah Forest — Butt: A forest. Can be seen tree trunks felled, wood swings, a cabin, a band with the Kyokugenryu symbol, a wrecking ball, a dumbbell, clothings and some animals, including wolves, a hawk, bears, squirrels, rabbits, deers and a porcupine, besides some trees in the background. As the round progresses, several changes including the wrecking ball falling can be seen.
- Intro: Butt and a bear training a karate move and, then, greeting each other.
- 5th Avenue and 2nd Street — Hokutomaru: An accident and a big traffic jam, caused by Hokutomaru. Can be seen cars, a bus, taxis, traffic lights, light posts, some cameos and guards, besides buildings, with advertisings, SNK's logo, a photo of Andy and Mai holding hands and the covers of Real Bout Fatal Fury and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers.
- Intro: the little ninja above a traffic light, looking both sides, and then falling to the ground, causing the accident and traffic jam.
- Note: in each round, it's possible to observe more people and vehicles appearing on the stage, causing great chaos.
- S.S.P. Maneuver Field — Kevin: A military field in the middle of the desert. Can be seen a truck, crates, light posts and military bases. In the 1st and 2nd rounds, can be spotted a helicopter, that disappears in the final rounds. In the first round, it's sunset; in the second round, the sun is already set; from the final rounds, it's night.
- Intro: a gate that opens the stage and helicopters flying.
- Slam Free Field — Freeman: An abandoned neighborhood next to a train line. The fight takes under the line. Can be seen peeled buildings, a destroyed car, neon signs, a light post, smokes, a hydrant, a barrel and a tire. Also can be seen a person scavenging the trash, in the background.
- Intro: a train passing by the stage.
- Training Grounds (A.K.A The Dark Palace Basement): A basement. Can be seen a circle of pillars, fire pyres and astec stone faces and a skull in the center. Associated with Grant.
- The Dark Palace: The main balcony of a palace. Can be seen pillars and a dome structure, a flag, bands, a chess floor, a ladder, hawk statues, a portrait of Marie Heinlein, Rock's mother, painted at the background of the building, lights, and in the sky, a full moon and shooting stars. Associated with Kain.
- Intro: a small close of the sky, descending to the point of the stage.
The game's sequel, tentatively titled Garou: Mark of the Wolves 2, was reported to be in the works on the Neo Geo system several times by Korean news sources. Since 2002, the project has been put on hold and eventually cancelled. According to Falcoon at the 2005 KOF Party, the game's sequel was around 70% percent complete by the old SNK team. Ureshino reported that a new grappler character and Joe Higashi's apprentice were added to the roster.
- Just like Capcom's Vampire Savior this is the first time SNK used the series' Japanese title name for a global release. Later console releases would restore the correct localized title, as seen in the game's Dreamcast release.
- The game's proper English title can be seen in the rom tilesets, but for some reason, there is no way to make the game display it. The Dreamcast release uses a modified logo, replacing Garou with Fatal Fury, while retaining the Garou kanji in the logo backdrop.
- Archived SNK USA official site
- Archived SNK official site
- Staff comment section
- Xbox Live Arcade page
- GOG Store Page
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