Every week Cyril Lachel comes down from his giant castle in the hills to provide the final word on all of the classic downloadable games and retro compilations. This is the Retro Round-Up, your official guide to the best (and worst) in classic gaming for the Nintendo Virtual Console. Join us as we shed some light on what games are worth your five or ten dollars, and what games you should avoid at all costs. For more information about these games (and retro gaming in general) we invite you to check out Defunct Games
And we're back from a week-long break. Apparently last week Nintendo completely forgot about uploading a Virtual Console and as a result I didn't need to come in for work. This week we're back with a massive uppercut, because our newest game is Fatal Fury Special for the Neo Geo. Does this SNK fighting game kick enough butt to be worth your money? Find out now when you read yet another exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!
Fatal Fury Special
What Is It?
It turns out that Fatal Fury Special is a whole lot of things. For one thing it's the first Virtual Console game in two weeks (Nintendo inexplicably took last week off). It's also the first fighting game we've seen since last November. You may also notice that this is the third Fatal Fury to grace the Virtual Console. More importantly, it's the first Neo Geo game we've seen in over a year. In fact, the last time Nintendo has uploaded a Neo Geo game was December of 2008.
While Fatal Fury Special is certainly all of those things, you'll find that it's a solid 2D fighting game that is a welcome change of pace to Nintendo's download service. Released in 1993, Fatal Fury Special is something of an update to 1992's Fatal Fury 2. Special adds three new characters to the mix and makes the boss character playable for the first time ever. Although it's been ported to a number of different game systems, Fatal Fury Special has never been on a popular console. Up until 2007 the only way you could play this game (outside of paying the big bucks for a Neo Geo) was to import the game for the PC Engine CD or track down the Sega CD port. However, recently things have improved, thanks to its release on the Xbox Live Arcade. Here we are, three years later and we have a workable port of a solid game, only thanks to Nintendo we don't have online play. That's disappointing, but at least they didn't give us another Art of Fighting game.
Does It Still Hold Up?
When compared to other 2D fighters of the era, Fatal Fury Special always felt a little sluggish. The animation was never that good and the actual fighting was never as fluid as some would like it to be. In the grand scheme of things this classic Neo Geo fighter hasn't held up as well as other SNK games, but that doesn't mean it's not a lot of fun. The game features a great cast of memorable characters and some really cool background graphics. Even with some of these faults, the game plays differently enough from Street Fighter to be worth checking out.
Is It Worth the Money?
Three years ago I remember being excited about digging into Fatal Fury Special on the Xbox Live Arcade. Unfortunately I'm nowhere near as excited all these years later. For one thing, the lack of an online mode is disappointing. I know that no Virtual Console release has online play, but it's hard not to notice the lack of this feature when you can get this feature (and more) for the same price on the Xbox 360. Furthermore, this game is really more of a rehash of Fatal Fury 2, a game that has been rattling around the Virtual Console for years. Why not give us the superior Fatal Fury 3? While I'm cautious about suggesting this particular release, it does give me hope that we'll start to see more Neo Geo games in the future.
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