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Real Bout Fatal Fury certainly isn't a bad game by any stretch - in fact, it's a rather solid 2-D fighter. But given that SNK chose to release the two superior Real Bout titles on Nintendo's Virtual Console first, it does make it quite a bit less appealing now. Neo fans who just have to pick up every SNK title that's released will still find plenty to enjoy with the game, but those players who've already purchased Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 or Real Bout Fatal Fury Special already have the better of the sub-series releases and might want to pass on this first edition. Compared to the other two titles, it's just a bit rough around the edges.
By releasing these games out of order, Nintendo has shot themselves in the foot. Fatal Fury Real Bout isn't different enough to stand on its own, especially if you already own the 1997 and 1998 updates. The tragedy is that I would have recommended this game a year ago. There's a good fighting game here, one that doesn't get nearly the level of attention it deserves. But with so many other fighting games competing for your attention, there's little reason to spend your money on Real Bout Fatal Fury. This is for collectors only.