This is, as of now, the only game I have actually played to its completion for this site.
Now, a fighting game is generally not very long or difficult to beat, but Fatal Fury 2 is good enough that I really enjoyed messing around with the system. I enjoy fighting games a great deal, and as far as the older 2d fighters on the old systems go, this is pretty good. My only real complaint is the ridiculous inputs for some moves. One of them is quarter circle back, then back-up as a separate input, then kick as a separate input, for a spinning overhead kick. It is very hard not to jump when attempting this. Terry’s super is something like quarter circle back, back down, forward, and then light punch + heavy kick. What the hell is that?
Now, we’ve all played these games or games like them, these long-historied 2d fighter franchises that stand on the shoulders of generations of crazy Japanese players who keep their life savings in rolls of quarters. So, instead of talking about the combo system or lack thereof, or the character selection, or whatever, let’s take a moment to examine the long, convoluted, and perhaps even arousing history of Fatal Fury.
Fatal Fury: King of Fighters is the first game in the series (which is made by SNK), and you can only choose from three guys: Terry or Andy Bogard, and Joe Higashi. The review below will give you an idea of how good that game was. It added a two-plane system to the fighting game formula, where you could move to the other plane to dodge attacks. The story is essentially that Geese Howard murdered the Bogard boys’ father ten years ago, and they are on his trail to take revenge and also bring down his criminal empire. Geese Howard is not as cool as M. Bison.
Fatal Fury 2 is much better, added different strengths to kicks and punches, and generally made the game playable. At the end you face Wolfgang Hauser, who is some weird rich dude with lots of muscles. There are five new playable characters here, who mostly become old familiar ones in later SNK games.
Fatal Fury 3 is actually made by the same guys who designed the first Street Fighter – which is, incidentally, terrible beyond all reckoning. Around the time this comes out, there’s a whole bunch of Capcom-style permutations like Fatal Fury Special and Real Bout Fatal Fury and all sorts of wonderful Engrish titles of that sort. It adds real combos to the game, which means it’s keeping up with the times.
Before FF3, though, there was a spin-0ff: King of Fighters. This game and its sequels focus on the tournament idea that was begun by Geese Howard in the first game, while the subsequent Fatal Fury games abandon that and pursue some other bare skeleton of a story. There has been a standard main-series King of Fighters game release every year in Japan, since 1994, until 2004 when there was none (although there was a spin-off KOF game); instead, KOF XI came out the following year. Now, we’re getting KOFXII for 2009 in a couple weeks, and I for one am very excited.
A whole bunch more assorted Fatal Fury games came out, ending with Garou: Mark of the Wolves in ’99, which draws its name from the actual translation of the Japanese name for the original game, “Legend of the Hungry Wolf,” which is apparently derived from Terry being a lone wolf of some kind, even though he has a brother and shit.
In addition, just after Fatal Fury 1, SNK released The Art of Fighting, which is a prequel to the FF series taking place years before. King of Fighters integrates both series and takes all those characters and pits them against each other. The Art of Fighting has two sequels as well.
All told there are dozens of these games; I am not going to count, but I’m pretty sure it approaches a hundred, if not more.
In conclusion, if you thought Street Fighter was bad, try tracing SNK’s fighting game history. Jesus christ.