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Sega CD: Fatal Fury Special review

Time for another tournament...King of the Iron Fist...wait, no, oh yes, this is the one for the fate of the world...that's not it...ah, it's the one where we all go after a Thailand drug lord...man, that's still not it. Well, at any rate, like most fighting games, you've all entered a tournament, you *all* want to beat one guy...you're all very angry for some reason or another...

What's it all about?

Well, it's a fighter...and better yet, it's an SNK fighter. This means lots of style and some seriously deep gameplay. You have your choice of sixteen characters, including Ryo from SNK's Art of Fighting series(complete with all but one of his special moves intact), all with their own specific backgrounds. Adding to the already innovative two-plane fighting area, some backgrounds actually include hazards that you can knock opponents into, or be knocked into yourself for extra damage. All in all, it's very hip.

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Graphics - Though the detail levels are very high, and the sprites look very nice...the varied amount of time and work spent on each character/background leaves the entire presentation looking very unbalanced. Some characters have a good amount of animation, in their standing poses, moves, etc, while others have, *maybe*, three to five frames altogether. Same goes for the backgrounds: Some of them have quite a few moving pieces, parallax scrolling and other effects...some have NONE...they look like really decorative wallpaper.

Sound - It's a mixed bag: On one hand you have the redbooked soundtrack from the actual Neo Geo cart, which is very nice. On the other hand, you have some pretty mediocre sound samples going on, that often times seem to dip even under the legendarily scratchy Street Fighter II: Special Champion's Edition samples.

Control - Smooth. As per usual, the Genesis six button pad is just amazing, and works beautifully with the the game's control scheme. All of the moves, even the long, drawn out methods used to initiate supers, are easily pulled off.

AI - It's an SNK game, so the AI is incredibly cheap. Constant cheap moves, AI reacting and pulling off moves that, for them, take no charging time, etc. Not to mention just *how* much more energy their moves take off compared to yours, even on the lower levels.

Replay value - Moderate, depending on your patience. The basic flow of the game is this: You start a game, pick a character, you get the match up screen, then the game loads for about ten seconds, your match ends, the game loads for three seconds, you get the win screen, it then takes you back to the match up screen and the process starts all over again. You'll find that you want to go through the game again, as it does play so very well, but that load time may have you shelving it for quite a bit between play periods.

Tips for better gaming experiences:
Having problems with the cheap AI? Can't get by a certain character, no matter how hard you try? Break out Ryo. For some reason, the AI *refuses* to block ANY fireball thrown by him(even the devastating Haou Shoukou Ken{super fireball}), so you can just sit there and pound them, then switch back over to who you were using beforehand. 

Rating: 85(out of 100) - Unbalanced animation, questionable sound samples, long load times...so how can this one get an 85, you ask? Simple: It still plays really well, and that's the most important thing. Couple that with the redbooked soundtrack and extensive list of characters and you've got yourself an excellent fighter.

 Can you even imagine it!? My God!  Ryo makes an appearance in FFS!
 Um, she's bouncy...just not quite as bouncy as usual...  Terry's blatantly obvious Burn Knuckle attack.
For more info: 
Publisher: JVC
Developer: JVC
Size: 1 CD
Memory Usage: None
No. of players: 2(simultaneously)

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