Between SSFII and Street Fighter Zero, Capcom had released the final version of its saga with the fabulous Super Street Fighter II X (Turbo), while SNK had already completely revamped its saga with the very good Fatal Fury 3. We certainly could have compared this new Street Fighter to The King of Fighters 96, but it wouldn't had been fair and appropriate. Capcom took the risk to start a brand new game from zero with this episode, and SNK did almost the same with Real Bout: If Fatal Fury 3 had already completely settled with Fatal Fury Special, and this new episode is still very different and innovative in its gameplay. The two editors start on new basis with these two games, see how they are doing, and if this renewal surpasses their old masterpieces.
First major change, the number of backgrounds. Fatal Fury 3 and Fatal Fury Special offered a bunch of different stages, like SSII and SSFIIx. We fall from high, with SFZ offering only six sets and FFRB offering five... However, these are pretty wide (three screens long) and evolutive: on each one, rounds happen at different times of day (morning, evening, night). Capcom included this feature into its game as well. It's still very limitative on each side, fortunately the quality is high. The backgrounds are detailed in FF, and particularly colorful and full of relief for SF. In the latter, some are fairly simplistic and sometimes lack colors, despite a great feature. The sprites are well drawn in each rival, shadows and backgrounds are very successful. Our two opponents are even here, despite their very different styles.
REAL BOUT FF ........................... 90%
STREET FIGHTER ZERO ........... 90%
Street Fighter Zero offers an adjustable game speed (normal or turbo) with a valuable decomposition and quite spectacular effects during the fighting. SSFIIx effects are taken back for the Furies, and also the duplication of sprites (onion shadow) during certain attacks. The stages are a bit static, more than then were in the previous episodes. However, the game's animation is almost flawless, fluidity is great and the action fast-paced. Real Bout is a bit more punchy, less steep and offers equal fluidity. More violent and a bit bloody, the SNK game hammers it with its lively backgrounds and hyper-interactive scenery , which even are destructible!
REAL BOUT FF ........................... 93%
STREET FIGHTER ZERO ........... 91%
The music in Real Bout are pretty much the ones of Fatal Fury 3, with the most famous themes from the Special (Geese, Terry, etc.) re-orchestrated sounding pretty good, while other themes are doing average. The whole is nice to hear, but the transition is still a little hesitant. Street Fighter Zero off on new bases too: the game has integrated two characters from Final Fight, Guy and Sodom, featuring reworked melodies from Capcom's ancient hit. Street Fighter II themes were re-orchestrated into an electro-jazzy style, which is good enough, without reaching high standards. Fatal Fury offers a range of great sound effects and voices much larger than its competitor. The power of the cannons is in the megs!
REAL BOUT FF ........................... 88%
STREET FIGHTER ZERO ........... 87%
Street Fighter Zero has lost much of its ancestor Super Street Fighter II X roster: seventeen playable characters are just a distant memory, with now only eleven fighters (ten basically + Akuma playable using a code). It's interesting to rediscover each warrior with new moves and combos, but this is still quite limited: Real Bout on its side, offers sixteen characters! We are still far from Kof 96 and its twenty-nine fighters. Anyway, this is still honorable for a saga that restarts from scratch. SNK's game is much more difficult to clear than its competitor, and the roster richest with five more characters widens the gap on life.
REAL BOUT FF ........................... 87%
STREET FIGHTER ZERO ........... 76%
Real Bout retains the three game planes from FF3. These are used only to dodge, circumvent the opponent or to perform a multi-planes combo. The D button allows to switch from one plan to another, or strike an opponent therein; player can also recover by changing plane during a fall, or turn over when crossed up. The three other buttons are for punch, kick, and powerful blow. Dash, dodge and air-block are included, and the game now features reversal, counters and of course countless combos. Let's not forget the special moves and the furies which are legion, available in two power levels. In each stage it's possible to perform a 'ring out', ie throw the opponent out of the combat zone at any time to win the round! It's also possible to send him through the screen during a finish... If the duel against the machine is difficult because of a level set too high, VS is particularly addictive and fun. There's also the rating system at the end of each round, evaluating your performance. Street Fighter Zero opts for sobriety, bringing nothing really new since the X. Dash, dodge, air block, counter and reversal are also there. The gameplay still uses three buttons for punches and three for kicks. Each character has rather simplistic furies compared to Real Bout ones, but those are still very effective. Hitboxes and timing are significantly more precise than in the previous Street Fighter games. Special moves are the same as before, but the combos are more numerous and can be performed more easily than in its rival: as always with Capcom and SNK! One is destinated to a large audience and needs to be easy to handle, the other is way more technical. Both games use a power gauge that fills up when using special attacks, and it will allow to execute furies when full. SFZ looks good but doesn't take any risk on the gameplay, whereas RBFF offers a ton of good ideas and innovations, despite a more delicate handling.
REAL BOUT FF ........................... 92%
STREET FIGHTER ZERO ........... 90%
In this new wave of VS fighting, SNK takes a step ahead of Capcom. Not only The King of Fighters is now recognized as the flagship series of versus fighting, but it appears here that Fatal Fury has better renewed itself than Street Fighter, which still stands as a very good game with this new episode. The latter loses much of its roster and backgrounds, while the quality of the animation and graphics is significantly higher. The gameplay is a little more precise and slick, but provides very few new things since SSFIIx. Real Bout changes sharply with Fatal Fury Special and enjoys some a bunch of good news - some appeared with Fatal Fury 3 - including a great combo system, a comprehensive and fun gameplay, a proper roster and a successful realization.
REAL BOUT FF
STREET FIGHTER ZERO