Reviewed in 2020 by Tibe

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Chuck-Norris-esque Scenario

by Tibe (2020)

Real Bout Fatal Fury appears on Neo Geo AES only nine months after episode 3, accusing an additional 80 mega at the weigh-in ... From there to imagine the confession of a commercial failure to be erased as soon as possible for SNK, there is only one step! Legend has it that the company hastened to recycle the many unsold Fatal Fury 3 units to minimize losses ... Hello uncle Geese? Hi it's your nephew Moshé from Japan here, say can you organize a little tournament for me there, rapido presto in the old way, Jean-Claude Van Damme style? No, because I'm in a bit of shit there, I have some shit I need to sell real quick... We find the entire roster of the previous opus, to which are added three fighters already met in previous adventures: Duck King, the king of Break Dance, Billy Kane, the bodyguard of Geese Howard, and Kim Kaphwan, the champion of Taekwon Do appeared in Fatal Fury 2. Slightly improved fighter panel, simplified gameplay, refined realization... Let's see if this Real Bout keeps all its promises.

Fatal Fury 3 was graphically very successful, and ufortunately we go a notch below here: Real Bout only offers five backgrounds, quite nice certainly, but it's not a lot. Occupying more than three screens wide each, they have the particularity of being destructible, enclosing some funny and never seen before traps, and of being pretty much animated and lively. The characters, taken from the previous opus except the three "new" comers, perfectly integrate these both in depth and colors. They have received new animation stages providing increased fluidity. The gameplay has become more intuitive, and if the more numerous combos have a wider timing window, the configuration of the controls is not to be outdone. Now, to change the plane, we use D button. By combining with directions on the stick, it also allows you to change plane after a fall, to strike an opponent on another plane, or to turn to attack during a cross-up. A = punch, B = kick, C = "powerful blow" or throw if you're close enough to opponent; but also link-up through the use of up or down directions, after the other fighter is grounded.

Counter attacks, front and rear dash with invincibility frames, two levels of fury, guard cancel, combos now counted on the screen ... Technically, FFRB is therefore quite worthy of interest, because more complete than Fatal Fury 3, in addition to offering a properly balanced and decent roster  in quantity for a 1996 game. SNK has even included the possibility of feinting a special attack for each fighter, which is not too useful, but still can be funny in VS mode. A scoring system at the end of the round will evaluate your fighting performance. You will be assessed from D to triple S, depending on your talent to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women with style and efficiency. Not bad, because it allows you to detect those who smash buttons without knowing what they are doing. There is absolutely no surprise during the story mode: we face the opponents in "packs" of three, then we have to defeat Geese at the top of his tower. No bonus stages or surprises along the way, too bad!

The soundtrack of the game, once is not custom, surely occupy a good part of the room in the cartridge, because they are excellent quality, like the effects and voices, numerous. We find the most famous songs of the series reworked, as well as some new melodies, but in the same way the graphics does not really surpass Fatal Fury 3, the sound part is ne different. In fact, aesthetes will certainly prefer the previous opus, but the players in search of the best gameplay will have better sensations with Real Bout. Obviously, if you look one or two years after, there are Real Bout Special and Real Bout 2, which use the principles and basics of this first Real Bout and have taken these to another level, making us forget this somewhat transient episode, it must be said . However, if you like the atmosphere of Southtown, the backgrounds that can be broken, the easy combos and furies, and that you really, really want to drop Geese Howard from his building, well this episode of Fatal Fury is waiting for you!



Fighting areas are only five, but they are wide, beautiful and interact with fighters. Characters are borrowed from FF3, nice and precise.
The fluidity, already good in the previous episode, is here improved, with more animation steps for the sprites and even more lively backgrounds, which move, break, change colors depending on the round, etc...
Our heroes themes were re-orchestrated since  the olf FF series, and it's not always great. Overall it'snot bad either, with good new melodies, effects and voices being excellent, as usual.
Sixteen fighters total is three more than FF3, quite not bad for a 1996 game, but certainly not the greatest we've seen.
Simplified controls make combos easy to perform and the new way to use planes is a good idea. Mastering the gameplay is easier than before and the double life bar have fights lasting longer and more technical.



Congratulations to SNK who provides good new improvements to its saga here. Real Bout still stands as a remarkable episode, pleasant to play and having a good realization.


FFRB is still a good fighting game, alas outdated by its successors RBS and RB2, but it's stiil interesting because it's much cheaper than them, having its own atmosphere but similar game mechanics. For less than 150 euros, if you like Fatal Fury, go for it.

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