SNK's The King Of Fighters series is entering it's 16th year, with the recent announcement of The King Of Fighters XIII I decided it would be fitting to look at the game that got the ball rolling. Fatal Fury: The King Of Fighters.
Known in Japan as Garou Densetsu - Shukumei no Tatakai (Which in English translates as Legend of Hungry Wolf - Battle of Destiny) Fatal Fury is the first game in SNK's Garou series (Which included games such as Fatal Fury, Real Bout and the brilliant Garou: Mark of the Wolves), the game see's you play as one of 3 characters Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard (Terry's younger brother) and Joe Higashi (a kick boxer who enters the King of Fighters with Terry and Andy).
The game is set in South Town, the host of the King Of Fighters. Terry enters the tournament so that he can fight Geese Howard, the who murdered Terry's adoptive father Jeff Bogard.
Fatal Fury was originally released on SNK's Neo-Geo system. The Neo-Geo was an arcade board that was later made into a home console (an expensive one two).
The Neo Geo version of Fatal Fury was on a 55 Megabyte cartridge, there was no way that was ever going to fit on the Mega Drive. Takara were put in charge of the Mega Drive conversion, to cut down the game so that it would fit on a mega drive cart several changes were made, for starters the music and graphics were toned down (which was the norm). Other changes included the removal of bonus stages and the removal of two of the games opponents, so instead if fighting Bill Kane and Hwa Jai you fight the other playable characters, also there seems to be some missing moves (you'll have to take my word for that), one last thing that is missing in the Mega Drive version is the option to fight your opponents two-on-one, that may of sounded unfair but the original Neo Geo version was a very hard game.
Changes aside this conversion stays true to the arcade game, the game play is what sets the game aside, it is a traditional 2D fighter but it spices things up a bit by adding the ability to switch between the back ground and foreground meaning you could escape the enemy if cornered. It may sound like a gimmick but the idea works and it add's extra depth to the game.The gameplay not changed much over time, it still plays like a modern fighting in terms of button commands and such.
The game features a 2 player mode where you can play as either the original 3 characters (Terry, Andy and Joe) or that opponents that were not playable in the single player mode (and Geese Howard if you know the cheat code).
For Mega Drive the sound is surprisingly good, I'll admit the title music nearly made my ears bleed but the actual in game soundtrack is fairly good, not a patch on the Neo Geo versions but still good.
The graphics despite being toned down still look the standard on Mega Drive, I'll admit it looks nowhere as nice as Street Fighter II Champion Edition but it is still very colourful.
So in conclusion Fatal Fury on Mega Drive is a good conversion that stays faithful to the original arcade game, if you are looking for some 16-bit fighters then I would recommend this.