I'll beat Geese easily with my skill and technique!
Though it was largely overshadowed by Street Fighter II, 1991’s Fatal Fury was a decent fighting game, and it spawned a fun, respectable series. Fatal Fury marked SNK’s first foray into the fighting game genre, which would become their specialty in the years to come, and it contained the debuts of many characters who would become mainstays and fan favorites. Fatal Fury can be a little daunting to get into, because it uses a unique multi-plane system, whereby characters can fight at two different depths. This only happens in certain stages and it can take some getting used to. Like all older fighting games, the controls are less forgiving than what players are accustomed to today, so you can’t get away with too much sloppiness on the stick (or directional pad). The action is also a bit slow, and the color palette gives everyone a kind of sickly pallor.
Today, it’s a difficult game to recommend, especially now that we know how much better things get in the next couple of entries in the series. Fatal Fury 2 jumps from three playable characters to eight and adds key gameplay elements like dodging and desperation moves (think super moves that can only be used when your health is low). Fatal Fury Special bumps the playable character count to fifteen and adds a combo system. Going further into the future, we see massive improvements in graphics and gameplay throughout the five remaining sequels, each of which has something interesting to offer.
As of this time, we don’t know how far SNK is going to take NEOGEO Station. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll see those stellar later games like Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers and Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Next to those, the original game seems downright primitive. For most players who are interested in dabbling in the series, I’d recommend waiting for Fatal Fury Special to show up, because that’s when things get seriously fun. This first release is mostly of interest for its great historical significance. If you want to see where Terry Bogard got his start, then by all means, jump in right at the beginning. It also may be worth playing through for those villainous Geese Howard quotes, such as “I'll smash you like a small fry as I did your father.”