After playing both Metal Slug and Samurai Showdown 2, I was a little disappointed in the play of Fatal Fury. This feeling does not come from the fact that the game is really all that bad but rather from the opinion that they could have done so much more. This became especially apparent after playing the other two games which use the power and abilities of the Neo-Geo Pocket Color to its fullest.
The game is a basic street fighting game. There is not much of a story other than there are a bunch of great fighters who are pissed off and want to fight each other to the death. It is pretty much all in the title. There are 11 fighters in all, each representing a generic stereotypical fighter. There is the Japanese karate guy, the tough white guy from the streets, and even a couple of token girl characters. One, Li Xiang Fei, bears a striking resemblance to Chun Li even down to the hair ornaments. Though these are classic Fatal Fury characters, some sort of originality would have been nice.
The initial complaint that I had with the game is the lack of colors (2 maybe 3) that each of the characters has. This is a handheld color system meant to wow people away from the Gameboy Color, but if this game is any kind of example of the quality and use of the palate then you are better off passing. However, I know that the system is capable of so much more. I played the two games previously mentioned; I saw what color was supposed to look like. This game looks like no more than a black and white version of the game that someone went over with a color by number and only had 8-10 colors to use. I have to say in its defense that some of the backgrounds are very nice and colorful. I just wish they would have transferred some of that to the fighters.
However, color is not that important to some people. They could care less as long as it plays well. In my opinion those people will be disappointed as well. On the up side I will complement the game on its animations. For a small screen and limited room, these characters sure can move. They execute all kind of different jumps, kicks, and specials in detailed movement. The problem is that you have to wait for them to finish their move before it will do another one. This can lead to some slow down in response time. So much so that a friend remarked, "It's not like I am even controlling it. I just move it and he does all this stuff." The type of game play that comes out of this is very calculated and patient. Forget button smashing. Half the stuff you smash will be lost.
If this is the first game that you buy for your Neo-Geo Pocket Color then you will probably not be disappointed. It is not bad. However, after checking out Samurai Showdown 2 and Metal Slug this game will see its way to the bottom of the pile only to see the light of day on those rare occasions when you are bored with everything else.
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