Together Retro Game Club: Fatal Fury Special

Presented by Flake

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Quick question: which Street Fighter game defines the series? Were I a betting gamer, I’d wager that the words “Street Fighter II” rolled off your lips…in addition to some other adjective. Turbo, Champion, Super. Whatever. Street Fighter II, for all its genre definement, needed an iteration or two to get it right. Similarly, SNK’s Fatal Fury series needed a similar treatment.

Join us this month as we re-experience Fatal Fury Special, a fighting game that demonstrate  both SNK’s ability to get with the times and their capability to create a game that stands the test of time.



Similar to how Capcom ended up ignoring that the original Street Fighter was ever a thing that was, SNK decided to expand upon Fatal Fury 2 in a similar way. Where before there had only been eight playable characters in Fatal Fury 2 (seriously, the Street Fighter II  comparisons stopped being deliberate a little while ago), in Fatal Fury Special all bosses become playable, including non-playable characters from the original game.

So, essentially, Fatal Fury Special is the game where SNK figured out what they were doing. Like the many (many) improved versions that made up your childhood (assuming you’re of this website’s typical age group), Fatal Fury Special is the refined origin story for many of SNK’s greatest successes.


Fatal Fury Special rivals Sonic the Hedgehog for ubiquity when it comes to ports. Versions of the game were developed for the Neo Geo CD, SNES, Sega CD, Game Gear, FM Towns ( “FM Towns”, btw), PC Engine, X68000, the Fatal Fury Battle Archive for the PS2 and, of course, an overpriced Neo Geo ROM thru the Wii Virtual Console.


Fatal Fury Special is a 2D fighter. That is about 90% of what needs to be said about the gameplay. As it was released in 1993, there were a few things done with Fatal Fury Special that warrant mentioning. There is a fairly innovative combo system, the kind of thing that was usually implemented accidentally rather than deliberately in the early 90’s. There is also a special character to be found, one who is fairly significant to fans of early SNK fighters.

Mostly, Fatal Fury Special is what you had in Fatal Fury 2 and then some. Lots of special moves, trucker hats, shifting between near and far planes on the screen and feeling guilty for admiring Mai Shiranui a bit too much.


Okay, I suppose this is where the easy comparisons to Street Fighter II falls apart. Fatal Fury Special, for all its definitiveness, did not leave a very lasting impression on the gaming universe. A year after its release, SNK would introduce the King of Fighters ’94 to the world, a series that would very quickly eclipse the numerous game franchises from which it borrowed. Although there would be future games released under the Fatal Fury banner, they always seemed to struggle to justify their own relevance (until Garou: Mark of the Wolves but that’s a different story) and, as such,  were too busy to reference Fatal Fury Special the way it warranted.


If you’re participating in this months stroll (and punch fest) down memory lane, the Racketboy community wants to hear about it. Join us on the Together Retro forums to let us know if this game has aged well for you or if it only serves as a reminder of how far the genre has come.

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Tinpot Gamer says:

Ah, so this is Fatal Fury 2: Champion Edition, essentially?
I don’t think I’ve played this (perhaps in an arcade at the time) but own Fatal Fury 2 on MVS.
Perhaps I should swap it for Special, given this article!

scarper says:

I’ll probably try playing this on my Dreamcast using Neo4All. Fatal Fury is supposed to work pretty well using that.

Marcelo X says:

Garou Densetsu: Real Bout Special (aka Real Bout: Fatal Fury Special) was an excellent fighting game, ages better than Fatal Fury: Special. Unfortunately, regular Fatal Fury Special does NOT stand the test of time. I still own it for the sega CD, neo geo cd, MVS (arcade machine,) xbox 360, neo geo x, x68000 (look it up) and for the ps2 as part of that fatal fury bundle (and who knows which other version I have) and none of those are playable anymore, slow gameplay, somewhat unresponsive moves compared to fighting gamea today and hits do WAY too much damage. Garou mark of the wolves is one of the best neo geo fighting games, but outside of an old Terry, there are no Fatal Fury characters ib the game, and no, Kim’s kids don’t count. Although MotW is an official fatal fury game, it’s not really a fatal fury title.

bloodandmetal says:

i just passed this game the other day on my neogeo x was actually pretty fun ..and playing as geese howard keept me goin back to try and pass it..

TheSonicRetard says:

Give me Garou: Mark of the wolves anyday.

phil says:

i bought this game on import in Australia in 1994….it cost me 359 dollars… and i bought another joystick for a cool 100 dollars…. worth every cent,i played this game by myself and with friends for at least 6 months and have played it as recently as a few months ago.Obviously due to what it cost me and the time that i got it,i find this game to be the greatest old school beat em up every developed and something that makes me smile whenever i see or hear anything about it…still each to his own of course 🙂 Rarest Neo games: Sengoku 2 and Ninja Commando (english versions) Rarest other game: Mega Man Wily Wars on Megadrive(perfect cond)

CptGuapo says:

Oh, man… Geese is impossible with his counters in this game… He counts even the special attacks… A classic!

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