#401 Fatal Fury Mark of the Wolves

Posted: 13th April 2015 by Jeroen in Games
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417th played so far

1072854977-00Genre: Fighting
Platform: Neo Geo/Dreamcast
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK

Time for a bit more of Dreamfest 2. Another fighter, apparently one of the Dreamcast’s more notable genres – although it seems to have been a popular genre of the time as well, looking at other consoles from the era, as well as the arcade cabinets that were still plentiful at the time.

The game was also known as Garou: Mark of the Wolves on other platforms. I’m not sure where loup garous of wolves came into this, but we’ll see where it ends up.

Our Thoughts

As is obvious, we played the Dreamcast version of the game. It’s not something that’d normally be worth mentioning, as ports try to be faithful and version differences aren’t necessarily a big thing in this day and age (although it sounds like our Just Cause review suffered because of it). In this case, however, it mattered, as the Dreamcast port of this game apparently suffers from some flaky controls compared to other versions. The book itself specifically praises the Neo Geo port of the game, rather than mentioning the Dreamcast version.

One of places this matters, now, is that this game is apparently better suited to the joystick controller for the console, rather than its regular controller. It explains the comment “Odd controls?” in our game notes – the combos clearly showed it (lots of use of moving in directions), but I know Peter mentioned how the attacks were mapped different compared to what he was used to.

 Luckily, the game is actually fairly kind to you when losing. Rather than just forcing you to use a (meaningless) continue – arcade style! – it instead gives you some difficulty-reducing options, allowing you to cut your opponent’s HP or attack power or giving you some other boosts. It might not always be the best way to learn, but these options (three seem randomly chosen) mean that you can always still feel like you’re making progress, while by hiding them at first you still have to force your way past the beginning.

Another interesting addition is called ‘TOP mode’. When selecting your character,you also select a third of your health bar – high, low and in-between. When your health is in this area, you gain several boosts – stronger attacks, health regeneration and several special moves become available. First, it can be used to give you a nice boost – fighting back from the brink of death or giving yourself an early lead – but it also adds a tactical element. When will your opponent use it, when does it best work against them and what works for you?

Final Thoughts

It’s a shame the technical issues dampen our experience somewhat, but on the whole the game feels a bit shaky anyway. It has some good ideas in it (stemming from its long history of prior Fatal Fury games), but it never quite connected for us when playing, unfortunately.