Fatal Fury

aka: ACA NeoGeo: Fatal Fury, AkeAka NeoGeo: Garō Densetsu - Shukumei no Tatakai, Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, Garō Densetsu: Shukumei no Tatakai, The Battle of Destiny

Description official descriptions

Southtown City plays host to the King of Fighters Tournament. Andy & Terry Bogard take part in the tournament cause winning the tournament is the only way they can defeat Geese Howard. Geese Howard controls Southtown City and killed their father several years ago. Also taking part is Joe Higashi, a Japanese kickboxer. Select either Joe, Andy or Terry, visit several locations in Southtown City and win that tournament!

Fatal Fury is a 2D fighter and is the first game in a series of one-on-one fighting games by SNK. It's a conversion of the original Fatal Fury arcade game. This first game does not yet feature the series' trademark pseudo 3D mode (which allows you to move between the foreground & background while fighting). Includes a two-player vs. mode.

Spellings

  • アケアカNEOGEO 餓狼伝説 〜宿命の闘い〜 - Japanese PS4 / Switch spelling
  • 餓狼伝説~宿命の闘い~ - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Arcade version)

39 People (37 developers, 2 thanks) · View all

Big Boss
Planner
Character Design
Chr Back Up!
Programmer
Prg Back Up!
  • Konchang
  • Nakamuura
Sound
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 71% (based on 29 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 48 ratings with 2 reviews)

SNK jumps on the bandwagon with a mediocre, yet favorably remembered fighter.

The Good
In 1991/92, the arcades were all about side-scrolling beat-‘em-ups, with support for anywhere between 2 and 6 players, and Street Fighter II. Shortly before this time, SNK had released it’s dual-market hardware, the Neo-Geo. The Neo-Geo was a staple of grocery stores and arcades from the early-to-mid 90’s, as it was able to run upwards of three games on a single machine, saving the owner space for other titles and providing a way to rake in some cash from those who were waiting for other games to free up. Though side-scrollers were hardly in short supply for the hardware, they had nothing to stand up against Capcom’s quarter-munching monster. Enter Fatal Fury.

Watching the demos play, one sees a bright, colorful game that seems to set itself apart from Street Fighter II in personality and play mechanics. Indeed, though more on the less-detailed, cartoony side, the characters were undoubtedly a nice change from Shotokan masters and flexible Yoga masters.

When you start the game, you’re given the option to choose one of three fighters, each with a completely different fighting style. You then choose from a location to start your quest to become champion in the King of Fighters Tournament. Once the action begins, you’ll notice several distinct differences between Fatal Fury and Street Fighter II. In most levels, there are two planes to the levels, which allow you to escape into the foreground or background and leap back with or without an attack. This isn’t really all that useful, but SNK was out to set it as far apart from the competition as possible. Another difference is the changing times and weather, something I found to be a nice touch. With each round, the time of day or weather could be different. For example, the first round in Tung Fu Rue’s level is sunny. During round two, the sky is dark and it’s raining.

Gameplay is fairly standard for a fighter, though the arsenal of attacks is very limited compared to the competition of the day. Basic kicks, punches, and throws, and each character has some pretty good special moves that were a nice departure from Dragon Punches and flying body attacks. One twist on the standard one-one-one is that when a second player joined, you worked together to dispatch the opponent before facing off against each other. Of course, the other player was still stuck using the same three fighters. In order for the CPU opponent to win, it would have to defeat both human players.

Sound effects weren’t impressive, but they weren’t disappointing. The voices are fairly clear, but the way they are spoken leads a bit to be desired. Granted, the voice actors were Japanese, but compared to today’s clear “Burn Knuckle!!!”, what sounds like “Anakoo!” in Fatal Fury leaves a bit to be desired. I didn’t know what Andy was saying until I watched the Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture anime a few years later. The music

The Bad
The limits, as well as the innovations, hurt this game. There’s a pretty decent cast of characters, and you’re limited to the use of three. I don’t know if SNK was in a hurry to get this game out the door or if they were afraid that some of the characters were a bit too much of the same-old, same-old to put you in control of (Compare Duck King’s flying roll attack to Blanka’s flying roll attack and you’ll see it.).

The multi-plane fighting pretty much fell flat on it’s face, as most machines that I encountered never described how to perform it. To be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure whether or not a human player can initiate it. You basically had to wait for the computer to jump away so you could hit a button and hope you would hit them before they could jump back. After about 5 mid-air collisions, it gets a bit old. It’s no wonder that this feature was left out of the SNES and Genesis ports. The concept wasn’t a total waste, as it was refined for Fatal Fury 2. While still more of a gimmick, it did provide for a bit more strategy that it does in Fatal Fury.

SNK has a weird habit with controls. Some games allow for a little looser play in regards to special moves, but others don’t. This fits into the latter. If you’re not spot-on, don’t expect results. If you don’t hit that up/back diagonal for the Crack Shot, you’re only going to perform a standard kick, or worse, a whiffed jump kick while jumping away from your opponent.

The Bottom Line
If your primary exposure to the Bogard brothers and Geese Howard has been Capcom Vs. SNK and you’re out to see where it all began, this is the place to start. Once you get used to it, there’s some fun to be had. Chances are, you probably won’t be coming back to Southtown after trying out Fatal Fury 2 or it’s upgrade, Fatal Fury Special, but at least you’ll gain an understanding of how a seemingly watered-down Street Fighter clone with a few tricks went on to become a part of the largest threat to Capcom’s 2D fighting crown.

Neo Geo · by DarkBubble (342) · 2005

My personal favorite beat-em-up

The Good
In the early 1990s, Street Fighter II-style clones were claiming much of the real estate on the arcade floors. Some were great, others were novel and unique, many were just plain unremarkable. For some reason, Fatal Fury on the Neo Geo has always been my very favorite on the beat-em-up genre.

What I liked first and foremost about this game is the music. A little known fact about the Neo Geo arcade units is that there are two standard 1/8-inch headphone jacks underneath the joystick console (along with a Neo Geo memory card slot, but who knew how to find those?). I was so good at this game that I could win it on 1 token using any character. But I still plugged in my headphones and played from start to finish just to listen to the music. I particularly liked the music from the penultimate fight (Billy Kane). But the fight was so easy that I would string my opponent along for 3 rounds, even let him win the second round, just so I could listen to the music a little longer.

The graphics were phenomenal, naturally, and made great use of the Neo Geo's vastly superior sprite capability. The rain added a wonderful effect in the bout against Tung Fu Rue. And the sprite scaling facility came in handy during one of the games most unique features-- multi-plane fighting. Typically, these fighting games occur along one line. Fatal Fury took that one step further and allowed the characters to jump between 2 planes.

The Bad
The multi-plane feature, unfortunately, is really not really as useful or versatile as it sounds. I also would have liked to see more than just 3 playable fighters, just so I could play more characters as I cruised along to the last fight, jammin' to the tunes.

The Bottom Line
Hopefully, one of the Samurai Showdown franchise games is not playing on the same Neo Geo unit as this game or you will never get a chance to experience this fighting gem. Just don't forget to bring your headphones.

Neo Geo · by Multimedia Mike (20603) · 2005

Trivia

Ending

This is not a spoiler, but I can tell you that if you complete the game, you will be introduced to the fact that the Neo Geo hardware maintains an internal real-time clock that knows the date and time.

King of Fighter

The original Fatal Fury is the real original King of Fighters game. Want proof? A banner that reads "King of Fighters" is shown at the character select screen.

Information also contributed by Multimedia Mike

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  • MobyGames ID: 10349

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Roedie.

Neo Geo CD added by Corn Popper. Nintendo Switch added by mars_rulez. PSP, PlayStation 3 added by Lain Crowley. Arcade added by 666gonzo666. iPhone, Android, iPad added by Rik Hideto. Genesis added by Mumm-Ra. Antstream added by firefang9212. Xbox One, PlayStation 4 added by Sciere. Windows Apps added by Foxhack. Sharp X68000 added by Kabushi. Windows added by Xoleras. Wii added by gamewarrior. Neo Geo added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Satoshi Kunsai, chirinea, Evil Ryu, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto.

Game added September 16th, 2003. Last modified September 17th, 2023.