Guess who's coming for dinner?
by Tibe (2012)
Fatal Fury Special, back in 1993, made SNK's heyday on the VS fighting scene. Third episode of Street Fighter II's rival saga, this game was greatly improving Fatal Fury 2, finally putting the game of the series on a Par with Super Street Fighter II. New sagas wera bout to appear in the following months, with some of them striking hard: at SNK's, Samurai Spirits and later The King of Fighters 94', and at Capcom's it was Darkstalkers and X-Men: Children of the Atom. We had to wait until 1995 to see the rival firms completely revisit their emblematic sagas, with Street Fighter Zero on the one hand, and Fatal Fury 3 on the other. And it's not easy to renew when you almost reached perfection. Going from 150 to 266 megs with this new installment, SNK wanted to define very high new standards for its game, and yet there was work to do, as Fatal Fury Special was successful.
But now two years have passed, the versus fighting has evolved, and the basics are no longer the same: players want faster games , more beautiful, more fluid and still with a more accessible gameplay, but still full and complex. If the roster is more generous and integrates charismatic characters, it's a good start! Fatal Fury 3 impresses from the first seconds, with an introduction worthy of an american thriller! We see Terry and Yamazaki, a newcomer, but also Geese Howard who tumbles in a Rolls Royce! The game looks really slick, with a very nice menu options and an overall presentation, either for the character select screens, map of Southtown, or small pre-fight intros, showing particular care. The only unpleasant surprise concerns the roster: only thirteen characters - and yet, after a code!- while FFS proposed sixteen players two years before. From the previous album, only five fighters were kept, and not the least, with Terry, Andy, Joe, Mai, and Geese! SNK adds eight newcomers, never seen before in any other game...
The roster is less plentiful, as the realization of these characters stands as a heavy workload, especially since absolutely nothing has been taken back from Fatal Fury Special: backgrounds, sprites, music, animation, everything is 100 % new! Fatal Fury 3 sees the return of the evil Geese Howard, thought to be dead in Fatal Fury. The twins Jin Chon Su and Jin Chon Rei plan to get the last scroll of immortality located in Southtown, helped by Ryuji Yamazaki. All three decide to go in the city, suspecting Geese to hold the famous artifact. Other arrivals are detective Hon Fu, martial arts expert, Blue Mary, who'll become friend with Terry, but also Franco Bash, Bob Wilson (Richard Meyer's protégé) and the mysterious Sokaku. The gameplay retains some old basics: four buttons system, multiple planes, furies, combos, dodges... The major improvement consisting on an accurate flexibility both for controls and animation, but also new combos and the appearance of a third game plane: you now get on the front with A+B, and back with B+C. The game incorporates the dash and backdash (already present in FFS) and many dodges, counters and guard during jumps. The fighters now have two levels of furies and HDM (Hidden Desperation Moves) make their appearance.
Despite the fun, the mechanics are somewhat a little complex and sometimes, less is more... In short, new gameplay is not bad, but much room for improvement was left for the next episode. However, graphists provided an incredible work: no less than twelve new backgrounds, large, beautiful, varied and evolving have been designed, with morning, afternoon and night for each of them! This is luxurious and the style is fine, voluptuous, precise. Best of all, these backgrounds are interactive: throw the opponent to the back of the stage with an attack from the front, and he'll sometimes land in water, against a tree, or break through a window! It's another more detail in an animation showing the highest quality, which could however have been a little faster. We kept approximately the same speed as in Fatal Fury Special, with more fluidity and decomposition. The soundtrack is nothing special, either in the good or in the bad way: the new themes are nice, the sound effects do the job, and the characters' voices are still sounding good. SNK managed to renew its Fatal Fury saga : This episode convinces with its top workmanship and new gameplay. However, some work on the roster and gameplay must be done to reach the mega-hit award... More characters, more dynamism, and a gameplay a little more concise should help achieve this!
|How many beautiful stages! Varied, evolutive and sublimely colored with a great relief. Sprites have all been re-drawn and it's a success!|
|The game gained fluidity and smoothness since FFS, but more speed would have been perfect.|
|The new soundtrack show good quality and themes are nice, although a little discrete, same for effects.|
|The roster shrinks to thriteen selectable characters, which is less than FFS two years before. Single game is taking and fun, VS is good, but it's a few for a 95' game.|
|Controls are smoother than before, with a large room for dodges and some new combos. Anyway, some upgrades are required for Real Bout!|
|Fatal Fury restarts almost from zero with this fourth installment, and the performance is commendable.|
VALUE FOR MONEY (2012)
For about fifty euros, I recommend not to deprive to put Fatal Fury 3 in your videogame library. This is an excellent VS fighting, relatively different from the classics of the Neo Geo like KOF, Samurai, or even the Real Bout games released after.