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Fatal Fury II

Takara 1992

Super Nintendo


Sequel to the (pretty lackluster) first fighting game by SNK improves in many respects. This time around there's a full selectable roster of 8 characters instead of the three in the first game. Control has also been cleaned up a bit. The two planed fighting fields have been retained from the arcade version.

I never really followed the storylines for the various SNK fighting games, they usually involve some rouge hero-type who beats up a bunch of people and ends up fighting someone else with god like powers towards the end, and this game is evidence that the pattern goes all the way back to the beginning. To the credit of the Fatal Fury series (and later King of the Fighters) they do a good job of integrating the various characters into the story, as if the story was written first before the characters were created and not the other way around as it is with a lot of fighting games during this period. Also there aren't many "stock" characters in the game, and although a few of them have similar looks and moves to their Street Fighter counter parts none of them are blatant rip offs.

The second plane allows you to dodge incoming projectiles and counter attack, although an attack from plane to plane does little damage. The second plane however does allow you to quickly escape from corner traps and such and is a good idea that didn't make it into very many other 2D fighting games. You also have the ability to knock your opponent into the background that plays to strategy in the boss stages.This also was the first game in the series to feature a "Desperation attack," which is like the SNK version of the super combo or fatality. Each character's D.A. is usually a larger, more powerful version of one of their regular moves and deals massive damage. Problem is the commands for these moves are pretty complicated so unless you've got it down you'll get your butt kicked trying to pull it off.

There is a noticeable downward notch in the graphics from the arcade version but this is to be expected. The characters are slightly smaller and use a less colorful palette but they look as good as any other top tier Snes fighting game out there. The frame rate is down from the arcade version but each is still animated rather well, down to Mai Shuranai's "bounciness." The main problem with this game has always been how the characters are totally unbalanced. A few of them like Kim Kapwhan or Joe Higashi are just too powerful, armed with sneaky moves and able to chain specials together too easily. Others like Big Bear and Cheng Sinzan are pretty useless. Big Bear is so pathetic he can't even kick a guy standing right in front of him. The most powerful character in the game is actually Jubei Yamada because of two moves, a sliding kick that goes under projectiles as well as he's the only character with a command throw that can't be blocked. You can also pull this grab off while your opponent is in the standing up animation, essentially allowing you to chain it over and over again. Baloney.

Bosses include huge boxer Axel Hawk, Billy Kane the British guy with a stick, Lawrence Blood the bullfighter and resident big huge boss guy Wolfgang Krauser. Each of the boss stages also have some kind of dangerous obstacle in the background that you can knock the other guy into, like the bull stampede on Blood's stage (which is a good idea that should have been implemented elsewhere in the game.) Overall the bosses aren't too tough with the exception of Krauser himself who as per SNK final boss rules you'll have to play like 200 times until you get him.

In the end what makes a good fighting game is a number of factors, controls, visual appeal of the characters coupled with the effectiveness of their attacks, computer A. I., etc. In each of these areas the game does it's job. This particular game in the series seems a little primitive nowadays when compared to Mark of the Wolves or King of the Fighters part 912 or whatever sequel they're on, but as a Super Nintendo arcade translation it's rather well done.

Graphics: Slightly smaller and a little choppier than the Neo Geo version, but you'd only really notice if the two versions are put right next to each other.

Sound: Sound takes a major hit, which is strange as most Snes games have rather good audio. All of the voice samples are pretty muddy, some of them to the point where you can't really make out what they're saying. Music is pretty low key as well.

Gameplay: Virtually intact from the Neo Geo. Matches can get pretty heated depending on which chatters are being used.

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