Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 1ESRB:
Platform: PlayStation 2
Developer – SNK Playmore
Publisher - SNK Playmore
Memory Card 32 kb
If you are a veteran of the late 80’s or early 90’s arcade scene then you no doubt have heard the name Fatal Fury. Back in the arcade glory days Capcom and SNK had a friendly rivalry that spawned some of the greatest 2D brawlers ever created. While Capcom milked the Street Fighter series SNK branched off into other fighting areas and games. SNK started it all of with Fatal Fury. There were 4 Fatal Fury games in the series, but that was many years ago. So for nostalgia buffs, and perhaps the new generation fans of 2D fighting, SNK has released an anthology of sorts: Fatal Fury Battle Archives Vol. 1 for the PS2 and playable on the PS3. This release chronicles the life of the Fatal Fury series. The disc comes with Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special, and Fatal Fury 3. While they were fun to play years ago in the arcades, I wonder if they would translate well to a home console and to a new group of videogame players?
All the versions on the disc are really fun to watch after such a long time. It really allowed me to reflect on all the good times spent in the arcade, however younger fans and 3D junkies may think that the graphics are probably going to be a bit of let down. It’s typical classic arcade cheese and to be blunt, visually the game hasn’t aged well. Watching some of the character animations in the first two games is downright painful. The missing frames and evident slowdown is prevalent in far to many areas and it gets annoying. This really reminds me of how far we’ve come in terms of graphics and hardware that drives current games. It’s not all bad though as the beautiful and vivid colour palette still manages to impress and some of side parallax scrolling backgrounds are still more entertaining than even some of today’s fighters. I did find a cool option to create your own character, and be able to use your colour schemes on them. It’s nice feature to mess around with.
The music and sound effects are typical arcade cheesy goodness with heavy metal guitar riffs blaring on every stage. Some tracks are better than others, but hey all tend to get lost in the heat of battle. Also there is an annoying announcer spouting funny and not so funny one-liners throughout the game. All of the audio in this Fatal Fury collection still sounds as good as it once did, with audible pops and dropouts galore. Each of the fighters has his or her own goofy sayings when unleashing a special move, again cool for me, but I’m not so sure if some newer gamer will like it very much.
I’d forgotten how cheap the AI is in this genre of games. These games were hell bent on eating your quarters and they did it very well. The PS2 (or PS3) controller is nothing like the arcade joysticks of old, and control is a major factor here. I found that the all the games in this collection ran pretty sluggish and clunky. You can eventually overcome the controller issue, compensating for the slowness; even on the easiest difficulty this game will likely give a challenge. It took me over an hour to get past the final boss one night. Overall the game translates ok, but I can’t help but hope for a true arcade stick when wanting to play this game.
Each fighter has his or her own special moves as well as combo varieties. One example, Joe Higashi is the master of the powerful TNT Punch while the curvaceous Mai has an awesome Dragon Flame Fandango move. The third game contains short cut scenes before and after bouts, which actually help the gamer in actually seeing some of the moves possible. All four games have a final boss that’s frustratingly difficult to defeat and makes for that “wanna throw the controller feeling”. The moves can be tough to pull off, but some practice will pay off later. I also felt as if the control got progressively better, from the first game to the last.
While Fatal Fury: Archives Volume 1 might be a cool nostalgia trip for all the old hardcore guys from the arcades, I’m afraid that it just won’t this current generation of gamers. The four titles included in the collection are definitely arcade perfect, which is good, but no extras are included and the lack of online play hurts. Overall the game can still play well, but outdated graphics may make some turn away before really experiencing a series of games that was so revolutionary in its day. Everything being said, the game is very affordable and would be a worthy party title to break out with some friends you may have ‘hung-out’ with at the local arcade.