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Fatal Fury Special

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Released: 1994

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: SNES

Publisher: SNK

Developer: Takara

Submitted by: Gavin Miller

Fatal Fury Special, released one year after Fatal Fury 2 is more or less just an update rather than a sequel. The game brought back three characters from the first Fatal Fury, made the four boss fighters from the second game playable and featured “Art of Fighting’s” Ryo Sakazaki as a hidden character.

The SNES version is a strange one though. Released first in Japan & America the game stuck very close to the arcade original, including every character and every background. However when released in PAL territories something went horribly wrong. Gone are four respectable fighters and their home stages and in their place sat Ryo Sakazaki. Obtaining Ryo in the arcade game and certain home versions meant beating the game without losing a match so it’s pretty cool to select him right from the get go. It’s thought that anticipating for low PAL sales the game was cut to fit on a smaller rom chip making the cart cheaper to produce.

Special is by far the best Fatal Fury on the SNES. The visuals stick very close to the previous game with a few changes like faster game play and better animation. Graphics are crisp and sound is pretty good. Tung Fue Rue’s theme music being a favourite of mine.  As well as one player and vs games there is also a countdown mode where your chosen fighter has 3 minutes to fight against all the game characters to see how many you can get through. You don’t have a health bar in this mode it’s just a matter of landing hits and beating your opponent as fast as possible.

What separates Special from other fighters of the time is the ultra power moves (introduced in Fatal Fury 2) that can only be done when your health bar is low and flashing red. This is now a common feature in today’s fighting games but back in 1994 I remember being gob smacked at these crazy super moves that took huge chunks off your life bar, changing the outlook of a match in the blink of an eye.


As far as two on two fighters go this is one of the best to grace the SNES. It’s not as perfect as Street Fighter 2’s flawless game play but it’s definitely up there. Oh and you may want to opt for the NTSC version for the full experience.