REAL BOUT FATAL FURY 2

written by Rade Kuruc

US Title: Real Bout Fatal Fury 2:
The Newcomers
Japanese Title: Real Bout Garou Densetsu 2:
The Newcomers
By: SNK
Year: 1998
Size: 539 Megs
Home Release? Yes
MVS Release? Yes
CD Release? Yes

Fatal Fury is a constant in the Neo Geo universe of SNK. Itís been around since 1991, certainly the dawn of the age of Neo Geo, and the series has become an example of the evolution of the SNK fighting game. Sure, yes, the first one was a complete mess by todayís lofty standards of what a fighting game needs to be (well, even by yesterdayís standards-compared to itís rival, Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior, it has not aged well) but look what it has evolved into, look what it inspired. Like all SNK fighters, it evolved with each step, only getting better. It has become intertwined with SNKís other popular series, Art of Fighting and itís leading man, Terry Bogard, is the closest thing that SNK has (had?) to a mascot. Its main characters signify youth, strength and independence, which is what primarily composed the element of SNK back in the day when it was a virile young bull to be feared. Unfortunately, that champion bull has been violently killed. Yes, it is sad to see our champion suffer a slow death and picked of itís assets by buzzing vultures but at least we still have a strong collection of games on a system almost clean of any unnecessary licensed crap. Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, the last of the real Fatal Fury series, is one of the games that will be remembered years from now as one of the greats. Rejoice. 

Ushering in the time of ĎGiga Powerí, SNKs new name for games that manage to break the barriers of the once thought unbreakable 330 Megabit Pro Spec limit (well, maybe not, Iím just being dramatic---and lots of games have broken the 330), Real Bout 2 was a sight to behold. After all these years, SNK stuck with the versatile MVS hardware and created games that equaled its 2D rivals of the time. Of course, beyond the silly triviality of the Meg count, Real Bout 2 was a fine game, a fine game indeed.

Coming out a year-or-so after the equally excellent Real Bout Special, Real Bout 2 acted as an expansion to the ideas and foundations set by its predecessor. Same graphics engine, mostly the same characters, similar gameplay and such aside, RB2 sets itself apart from RBS by becoming a more refined version of the Fatal Fury game. Where RBS had flashy stage intros, breakable backgrounds, and after-match summaries, RB2 has a Ďversusí screen and nothing else. You get the fighting game without all of that stuff you donít really look at anyways. Sure, itís cool to have it at first, but you tend to get rather bored of it in the long run and bypass it. SNK probably decided to Ďfuck-ití and not include it. Some folk, like that no-good ragamuffin, Neo Rasa, may call it a Ďrush-jobí but those people are fools, I tell you. Sure, itís primarily an expansion of RBS, but I feel this game is cool and because I did not really have too much play-time with RBS, RB2 looks new and spiffy to me.  

Two new characters have been added to RB2! Xiangfei and Rick Stroud. Very cool additions if you ask me. They blend well with the others in the classic Fatal Fury cast and have some very cool new moves and animation. I especially enjoyed using Xiangfei. 

Of course, all that really should matter is that it plays well and play well it does. Now, I have not had much time with RBS, but RB2 seems to have gameplay in the same vein as RBS. It feels a bit different from RBS but the same ideas are here. Of course, I had better luck with some characters than I did others. Terry and Andy Bogard, Xiangfei and Lord Wolfgang Krauser were a pleasure to play. They were real easy for me to combo. Unfortunately I had the worst of luck with the character I wanted to use well very badly: Billy Kane. I really wanted to use this guy with mad skills and such but I could not grasp him, I could not figure him out. Strange it is, as I have had little problem with other characters. I guess thatís why a fighting game like this has so many characters, which is good. The gameplay is there. Itís a really solid and fun engine and I donít have any gripes with it. The A button is a weak punch, B is a weak kick, C is a strong Punch/Kick (primarily acts as strong punch button) and D is used to switch fields. The special moves are pulled of real easy-like and the super moves are easily accessible as well. After reading the instruction and performing the moves, I discovered no discrepancies with control. I was very smooth. 

Of course, what is a Fatal Fury game with out the switching of fields? RB2 stays true to its roots. This method has evolved throughout the years. It has been a thing of constant change, this gameplay idea, and if you really think about it, itís quite revolutionary. RB2 has the included the multiple field method used by RBS; two fields, the main one up front, and the secondary one. Only one fighter can occupy the secondary at any given time. Of course, the uses of the field shift are varied. You can use it to dodge fireballs, run around opponents while they are performing a time consuming move, or just to annoy and confuse the other player. I donít find myself using the option as much as SNK would have probably liked me too. My uses primarily revolve around the dodging of fireballs. I am still new, though, and I do see potential, but Iím going to keep it simple. Watching the computer take advantage of it is pretty sweet. Iím sure I will warm up to it. An Interesting side note is the fact that some stages (rooftop, busy street with pigs) only have the one plane to mess around on like a traditional fighter. I wonder why SNK decided to take the plane shift option out of MOTW? I guess they took the concept as far as they could. Iím not a huge fan of it anyways, and I would like the game just the same if it were not in there.  

Graphically, this game is beautiful. The colours are vibrant, lush and well arranged. The animations are cool and more that adequate, though some are better than others and we definitely could have used more. More is always good. Terry Bogard, for instance, ought to have been given more frames but that is just me being picky; Terry looks fine. I really cannot complain about the look at all as it is unique and it functions well. Sure, the game could have used more frames of animation here and there, and there are some cases of dithering but it works very well. It is a fine and superb package of graphics wizardry-especially for an 11 year old hunk-a-junk. 

 

Unique and large character portraits decorate the select screen. Some of these portraits look sharp while some are distracting. For example, Blue Maryís lips are too small and Terryís teeth look weird. Billy Kane looks as cool as ĎThe Fonzí and Geese is as bad-ass as ever. You take the bad with the good, I guess.  

The music in RBS was great. So great, in fact, that they used it again in RB2. I have no real complaints about this. After all, RB2 is in an extension of RBS. It would have been quite nice to get some new tunage out of RB2 but considering that the music was great to begin with, I guess it is not as bad as it may seem. There is a certain comfort in knowing what you are going to get, especially when you know it is good.  

To judge the music on its own merits, it does indeed do well. It is catchy and cool and the actual sound quality is superb. Who doesnít like Terry Bogards classic theme? No one! Itís more classic than Coke! Terry Bogards theme is so universally loved that smaller countries have adopted it as their national anthem. No word of a lie. 

All of that stuff above pretty much makes up my review of RB2, which is essentially finished. I donít have much more to say on the subject. The game is worth the cash that is asked for it and if you are a fan of Fatal Fury and donít own RB2, you are not a fan. 



Scores! 
 

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More Reviews of This Game:

by NeoDragoN

by Sifl

by Kazuya_UK/Mr. Man - Courtesy of Kazuya's

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