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Let me get it out of the way now. Fatal Fury 3 is the best of the Fatal Fury series. The improvements aren't as noticable as from the first to the second, however, I would argue that what they have improved warrants the "sequel".
Instead of simply adding more fighters, FF 3 does more with fewer fighters (hidden moves and so on) and a unique method of gameplay. Rather than rehashing the same game, SNK has done something new to breathe life into the series.
Video Games & Computer Entertainment
Fatal Fury 3 isn't the fighting game to end all fighting games, but it'll do. The visuals are solid, the sound is decent and - at long last - we have a correct English translation with Japanese voice-overs! If you've got the dough lying around (and you already own Samurai Showdown II) it's probably worth it. When I buy my Neo Geo, I'll get it.
Digital Press - Classic Video Games
There's plenty of merit here, and SNK's decision to work the game completely over again is commendable (and almost makes up for the Fatal Fury 2/Special debacle). While not all of the ideas are decent ones, they don't completely kill the game either. This is still Fatal Fury, and while it's obviously evolving into something else, this third addition is a positive one.
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM)
The classic fighting series continues with it's third installment in the series. Although there are some fighters missing from the previous versions. I do like that fact that they kept the ones with the most "appeal". Also, I like the new fighters and their special attacks, even though some of them aren't anything new. The animation is very cool and, above all, the play control is what makes this game work. The addition of different fighting planes adds to the fighting scheme. Cool!
All Game Guide
Aside from those problems Fatal Fury 3 is a fairly solid fighting game. It sports good-looking backgrounds and well-animated characters, and fast and furious three plane fighting action. Fighter fans coming from one-plane Capcom 2D fighters will appreciate the added strategic element in being able to dodge in and out of the foreground and background planes. But fans of the Fatal Fury series are used to more and may be disappointed by this offering.