Rock Howard (ロック・ハワード, Rokku Hawādo) is a video game character who was introduced in SNK's fighting game Garou: Mark of the Wolves, the last chapter in the Fatal Fury series. His official nickname is The Wolf's Pedigree (狼の血統, Ōkami no kettō) Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"'
Although his canonical appearance in The King of Fighters main series is highly anticipated, the KOF staff revealed that they have no plans to place him in the roster due to their respects for the old Fatal Fury staff; SNK members seem more interested in placing Rock in the next Fatal Fury installment.
At the time of his debut, he was voted as the number one favorite character with a total of 190 votes.Garou: Mark of the Wolves popularity poll from neogeo.freeplaytech.com
Rock is the son of the most noteworthy crime lord in Southtown, Geese Howard. Although he knew of his father's existence, he grew up living a modest life with his mother in a small apartment. He often wondered about his father and was excited at the prospect of someday meeting him. When Rock was seven, his mother contracted a mysterious disease and he tried his best to nurse her to health. As her illness worsened, Rock went to Geese Tower and met his father for the first time in his life. Though the boy pleaded for medical aid and told him that Marie desperately wanted to see him, Geese would have nothing to do with the matter and sent him away. Marie died the same night and Rock has had a grudge against his father ever since.
Art of Fighting/Fatal Fury
A year later, Rock meets Terry, who finally settled his vendetta against Geese. Rather than hate his father's enemy, he felt a complicated mix of loneliness and joy knowing that his father died. Since Terry left the scene soon after, the boy followed him and attended his street fights. Rock angrily charged at him once after learning about his father's death. After their scuffle, Terry quietly accepts him and they begin their travels together.
As the years go by, Rock becomes a formidable fighter, due in no small part to having been trained by Terry. Approximately ten years after Geese's death, Second Southtown was established. During this time, a new King of Fighters tournament arose, dubbed Maximum Mayhem, to which Rock decides to join to search for his purpose in life.
By the end of the tournament, Rock finds his final opponent is Kain R. Heinlein, who reveals himself to be both the host and Rock's uncle. Upon winning, Rock discovered that the tournament was orchestrated by Kain to bring Rock to him. Kain, aware that Geese Howard's will held presumably valuable secrets but unable to discover them without assistance, won Rock's aid in working through the document by offering information regarding Rock's mother — whom Kain claimed was still alive. Terry accepts Rock's decision to become Kain's new partner, with Rock promising to return.
In his development blog for KOF: Maximum Impact 2, Ureshino states that he doesn't know about Rock's mother or the true inheritor of Geese's legacy, but hints that it would most likely conflict with Terry. Rock's scenario in this game explores his personal take on the character's actions in the yet to be released Mark of Wolves sequel.
The King of Fighters
In this timeline where his father Geese is alive, Rock is growing up during The King of Fighters XIV tournament under Terry's wing. His last appearance as a child is when he and Terry met one of their friend Joe Higashi before recruiting Tizoc for the 2003 tournament.
During the events of SNK Heroines, after XIV tournament, Terry was having nightmares on being turned into a woman by a sand fighter known as Kukri and being pushed by Rock off the Geese Tower in his original male form, after Geese refuses Terry's help and allows himself to fall. Terry awakens faceplanted to the floor, while Rock is done cooking breakfast and calls him to eat.
Rock is a shy man with an inner struggle. Usually as a bit of a gag, he's often nervous around women, especially those older than him, with the exception of Hotaru Futaba (for being kind and compassionate with him). He is also a childhood friend of Kim Kaphwan's sons, Kim Jae Hoon and Kim Dong Hwan.
He is shy with women as aforementioned due to being around men throughout most of his early life as Terry was raising him, though in a more serious case of his insecurities, every day Rock fights off his evil side in order not to succumb to it, and tries to get out of the shadow of his father. He often decries the evil blood in him, which intensifies whenever he uses stronger energy-based attacks, which in some cases causes him pain. He is not proud of his heritage and refuses to refer to Geese as his father, stating him to be "that man" or "that person".
He is the "middle ground" between Geese's excessive evil and Terry's excessive festive personality. Rock is also very compassionate, offering to help those in need (he offered to help Hotaru find her brother). Another notable foil that sets them apart is that in most of his battle quotes, Rock when speaking in the Japanese script has more usage of clear Japanese compared to both Terry and Geese's English.
- Gather Chi - Rock can gather chi energy.
- Sense - Rock can sense the presence of people nearby.
- Energy Projectile - Rock can fire a projectile of energy called Reppuuken, just like his father's. He can even use the Double Reppuuken.
- Energy Attack - Rock can use chi energy to increase the damage of his normal attacks (punches, kicks and so forth). He uses this power in a similar fashion Terry does and, sometimes, the energy takes the form of wings.
- Energy Geyser - By touching the ground with his hands, Rock can make a geyser of energy come from below the ground. He called this attack Raging Storm. Rock's Raging Storm differs from Geese because Rock's version is weaker (as well as resembling a gust of wind more so than Geese's).
- Acrobatics - Taught by Terry, Rock is proficient in acrobatics. His move Rising Tackle is an example of this.
- Basketball - Having played basketball with Terry since a young age, he has become a very proficient player.
- Cooking - Having learnt to live by himself since young age under Terry's tutelage, Rock is very proficient at cooking, as he knows how to cook and prepare several kinds of different culinary recipes.
- Motorcycle Driving - Rock likes to drive around Second Southtown with his Honda.
- Musical Instrument - Rock is a very skillful bass player.
- Musical Mimicry - Rock can recall and replay a musical melody he hears.
Much of Rock's fighting style came from Terry and Geese. Terry taught him the arts of Boxing, Karate, Kung Fu, Kickboxing and Street Fighting, while he instinctively uses Aikijutsu moves derived from his father, Geese Howard. A combination of both of these sides tends to be his Crack Counter technique, a counter/reversal move that is a combination of Aikijutsu's reversal-techniques and Terry's form of basketball-motif kickboxing (via Terry's Crack Shoot). Rock also uses a version of Terry's Buster Wolf known as the Shine Knuckle.
The techniques Rock directly lifts from his father are so far, the Reppuuken, Raging Storm, Shinkuu Nage (Vacuum Throw; which has always stayed as a command throw in Rock's case) and Deadly Rave (known instead as the Deadly Rave Neo); like his father, he too has a mythology demon-based attack, known as the Rasetsu (the Japanese name for Rakshasa). Via Terry's influence, Rock uses a variation of his Power Dunk during his Rage Run: Type "Dunk" (with his Type "Shift" variation being named after the over-shift term), though the only shared technique between them is the Rising Tackle.
Even so, by mixing all these arts, Rock uses a unique fighting style, which gameplay-wise transitions into a well-rounded style that can allow him to apply pressure, mix-up and mindgames all at once. However, this comes with trading both Geese's power and Terry's simplicity in favor of versatility and speed.
- Spread the Wings - Garou: Mark of the Wolves
- Emergence - The King of Fighters XIV
- Raging Fight - Days of Memories
- Eiji Takemoto - Garou Mark of The Wolves, Capcom vs. SNK 2, Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, KOF: Maximum Impact 2, KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A".
- Yūma Uchida - The King of Fighters XIV~present
- Ami Koshimizu - The King of Fighters: Destiny (as young Rock)
- Jon Thomas - KOF: Maximum Impact (English)
- Mike Lane - KOF: Maximum Impact 2 (English)
- Garou: Mark of the Wolves
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- KOF: Maximum Impact
- Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2
- KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- The King of Fighters XIV - DLC Character
- Days of Memories (fourth, eighth, and ninth title) - unplayable
- SNK Dream Battle
- KOF x Fatal Fury
- The King of Fighters: World - NPC
- The King of Fighters: Destiny (Game)
- Kimi wa Hero
- The King of Fighters All Star
- Fatal Fury 3 - during Terry's ending
- Real Bout Fatal Fury - during Terry's ending
- Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 - during Terry's ending
- The King of Fighters 2001 - during Terry's winposes
- The King of Fighters 2002 & The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match - during Terry's winposes
- The King of Fighters 2003 - during the opening
- The King of Fighters Neowave - during Terry's winposes
- The King of Fighters '94: Rebout - background cameo in the Fatal Fury Team and Art of Fighting Team stages
- Garou Densetsu Special - cameo
- SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy - in Terry's ending
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - background cameo in King of Fighters Stadium Stage
- The King of Fighters: Another Day
- Garou Densetsu ~ Memories of Stray Wolves
- The King of Fighters: Destiny
- Rock's face looks similar to Kaede from The Last Blade, featuring nearly identical hair color, style and eyes. Possibly to take a jab at this similarity, SNK Playmore included Kaede's outfit as an extra uniform for both KOF: Maximum Impact games.
- In Kimi wa Hero, Terry was unable to tell them apart and greets Kaede under the assumption that he's Rock.
- Rock's theme in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Spread the Wings, uses part of the melody from Robert Miles's song, Children. This was actually intentional, because the composer of Garou′s soundtrack is a fan of Robert Miles.
- There is a grown up Rock Howard lookalike in the Fatal Fury team's ending in The King of Fighters 2003. He has blue eyes and an orange-and blue jacket, and blond hair similarly shaded to Rock's.
- Ironically, Rock's predicament of losing his mother Marie, and developing a vendetta against his own father, is exactly the same scenario in Geese's life as well, unwittingly repeating history with his own son.
- Rock's profile page from the Fatal Fury 15th Anniversary website (Japanese)
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