Haha OK Mr. Objectivity, let's see how you do with this one.
Hey, I acknowledge this isn't at the top of the Neo Geo catalog. You have to take your work where you can get it sometimes.
We looked at Art of Fighting recently, and Gaming Conventional Wisdom seems to have it that that game is the junky one while this one is pretty good. Personally, I would reverse those two positions. I think Art of Fighting is deeply flawed but still kind of fun, whereas Fatal Fury is the stinkbomb of the bunch. Well, not as much of a stinkbomb as World Heroes, but it's still down there in that neighborhood.
Two things - it's too damn slow, and it doesn't have the graphical style that Art of Fighting does. It's all small smushy character sprites moving at speeds that make the original release of Street Fighter 2 look like Hyper Fighting.
Yeah, it's not even so much the gameplay - the hit detection is pretty solid and it's about as workable as any other Street Fighter clone of the time. It's mostly the really anemic pace. It also has a lame central gimmick - the jumping back and forth from the background to the foreground. At least AOF's gimmicky scaling was nice to look at, if it didn't actually add much to the gameplay at all. With Fatal Fury, you can occasionally launch an ambush jumpkick from the background, but that rarely actually works because you have to telegraph it so much. What it mostly devolves into is just people flipping back and forth between planes and wasting time.
So anyway, these two fools Terry and Andy Bogard along with their random buddy Joe decide to take on Geese Howard by brawling through his King of Fighters tournament. As with Art of Fighting, in the one-player mode you can only use these three characters, but for two-player battles you can fight as any of the enemies.
I have to ask you, did you take performance-enhancing substances for your role in this game?
Nope! That's just what happens when you drink like 18 Rockstars in a row. It's all about the taurine.
Anyway, on the positive side it does have the usual funny SNK Engrish lines. The characters may be no great shakes in this one but the backgrounds are pretty nice, and the music is actually really good.
I particularly like Richard Meyer's crazy Indian chant. You know, it was so easy to miss the good tunes in these games in the arcade, where ambient noise always drowned out the music.
Yeah, one cool thing about plowing through all these old Neo Geo games for this site is playing with a good quality pair of headphones on and checking out all these neat soundtracks SNK cooked up for these games.
I hate to say it but take a pass on Fatal Fury. If you're dying to see me in action, wait for one of the later releases that really do my legend justice. This one is just too slow and stiff to be worth the money.
Historic Fatal Fury
Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture (anime)