REAL BOUT FATAL FURY
After Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory (which I'm still hoping will be in an SNK collection with the others...), one would expect Fatal Fury 4. Instead, SNK decided to rename the line of their flagship title a bit, and the Real Bout series was the wonderful result. I try to be objective in these reviews, but sometimes (like in the case of Real Bout Special), the game is so absolutely spectacular it's really hard. Real Bout Fatal Fury is one of those games.
Once again, SNK continues to impress with it's complex animated backgrounds. Since the story revolves around Geese Howard holding a King of Fighters Tournament, it's nice to see a banner strung up reading 'King of Fighters' In Yamazaki's and Billy Kane's stage. The characters look a little ragged, but alright nonetheless. The special move effects are graphically as impressive as Street Fighter Alpha 2, yet are lacking something... they aren't as big as I would think they should be. Of course, this is all corrected in Real Bout Special...
Now I've always liked the uniqueness of the Fatal Fury Series. Whereas most fighting games use the straightforward same level of fighting, Fatal Fury utilizes 3 fields of battle, allowing fighters to shift in between the areas. Also, at the end of each arena, there's a barrier that when broken, allows players to knock their opponents out of bounds (which is especially fun in the museum level when you knock them down the elevator shaft!). Controls are responsive, though the missing frames of animation do slow response time a bit, but it's only noticeable to those of us who've played the Neo Geo version more than we should.
Nothing spectacular, but nothing horrible either. The usual onslaught of punch, kicks, and thuds you've come to know and love. I don't think there is a single fighting game on the market that has great sound, but if there was, this would come close I suppose.
An impressive game, really. Real Bout boasts a large selection of characters, moves, and personality. The overall feel of this game was something that continues to bring me back for more. It really is great having Geese Howard be the boss in a King of Fighters Tournament again...
- John Gillerlain
Overall: 8.6 / 10
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