Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 1 Review

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Graphics: 5.0
Sound : 5.0
Gameplay : 6.0
Multiplayer : 6.0
Overall : 5
Review by Kerim Senkal
The release of this game has me utterly flummoxed. I just don’t get it. Is there some rabid Fatal Fury fan base that I’m not aware of? Is there an underground cult following of loyal Fatal Fury-ers sparking grass roots rallies to keep the franchise alive? Do they write letters demanding their beloved Fatal Fury titles not only be reissued for newer game systems, but be compiled into volumes of collections so they can seamlessly matriculate from one dated game to the next without the hassle of actually having to change discs? Do people wait in line, kicking, clawing and clamoring to get their fix of this worn out, played out, flat out, out of date fighter. I suppose there could be, but it seems more likely that developer and publisher SNK Playmore found a heaping stack of blank discs in a remote, half-forgotten warehouse somewhere, and decided to send them out as a decade and a half old 2D fighting game compilation so people could throw them away themselves, rather then SNK Playmore burning down said warehouse and saving everyone the trouble. I think they should have done the latter. Now maybe I don’t understand the appeal of the Fatal Fury franchise because I’ve never played it in the past ( I was always a Mortal Kombat and Tekken fan) maybe I’m just not the kind of person who longs for days gone by, but with next gen systems and advancements in fighter games I cant see this offering exiting too many people.

Comprised of Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and Fatal Fury 3; Road to the Final Victory, this release, I imagine, will only appeal to the aforementioned Fatal Fury enthusiast. The common thread in the different games revolves around two brothers Terry and Andy Bogard, and their quest to avenge the death of their father who was killed by Geese Howard. The reason I know this is because I read the jacket insert that comes with the game. I certainly didn’t absorb any information about the story from the game itself other than some still framed animation and subtitles. After choosing from one of the four game titles, you select your character. The available number of fighters varies depending on the game. There are a whopping three in the original Fatal Fury, eight, sixteen and ten for the following titles with three unlockable fighters in Fatal Fury 3. They are a pretty interesting mix of characters all with a few special moves which at times seem impossible to get the hang of. In fact sometimes during a fight it seems as if your player is not acting at all the way you want, making it feel clumsy and frustrating. Another annoying trait was that the difficulty setting didn’t seem to match the actual difficulty. On the easiest settings pretty much all of the games seemed ridiculously hard. In the case of being matched against one of the main foes, (Geese Howard) almost impossible. I thought, maybe its just me and I’m no good at this game ( hard to imagine) but in researching the title it was a problem a lot of others had as well. After selecting your fighter a map shows where you are fighting. The locations interact with the storyline if you are so inclined to familiarize yourself with it. I wasn’t. During the gameplay you are privileged to see the extraordinary special feature that makes this game so revolutionary. Wait for it… TADA!! two-plane fighting!! What is two-plane fighting you ask? It means you can fight in the foreground or a few steps into the background. (sound of deflating balloon or a Nelson “HA-HAâ€Â). If you are saying to yourself, “ well that doesn’t sound that exciting at all.†You’d be right. Post-fight a picture of the winner is shown with a short quote taunting the loser. As you accumulate wins, bonus stages are made available such as an arm-wrestling tournament. Other than the two-plane fighting, the game is very basic as you would expect given its age. The graphics and gameplay obviously improve as you move through the games to more recent titles. The music and sound, again, show the age of these games. Sounding very thin and papery though they do hold a sort of classic charm. The only extra feature was the character editor. Basically all it did was change some of the colors of the fighters outfits. Pretty useless. The multi-player modes are as you would expect. You are able to team up against the game in Fatal Fury and of course play against each other

In all seriousness I did have a modest amount of fun playing these games if for nothing more than basic competition. If you put a game in front of me, I’ll play it. While playing these, I could help but think, man this game stinks.