Fatal Fury Battle Archives Volume 2
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-07-20 PS2 Fighting T (Teen) SNK Playmore

I have to say it, I think compilations of older games for current gaming systems are a great idea. It's nice to see that older games don't have to die. One of these compilations is Fatal Fury Battle Archives 2, which includes Real Bout Fatal Fury, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers, all are ported straight from their Neo-Geo originals.

Real Bout Fatal Fury also offers 16 playable characters: all the ones from Fatal Fury 3 (including bosses) and three others from previous games: Kim Kaphwan, Billy Kane, and Duck King. The story picks up at the end of Fatal Fury 3, and revolves around the King of Fighters tournament, with Geese Howard as the final boss.

There is an added meter at the bottom of the screen that adds up to super power, which lets you perform as many Power Supers as possible while your meter slowly depletes. Characters can move between three planes (you know, switching from front, to middle, to back) during matches, which makes fighting a bit complicated.

The backgrounds have an area that can be destroyed by either directly hitting it or throwing your opponent against it. The damage done carries on from round to round, and when these "walls" break, an extra portion of the stage opens, giving you the chance to do some pretty funny ring-outs to your adversary. For example, in the subway stage you can toss your enemy in the subway, which will then depart, or if you're lucky enough, you can kick Blue Mary into the water and she will resurface without her top.

Real Bout Fatal Fury Special is not just an upgrade of Real Bout, it also brings in some new features and improvements. Compared to the previous title, the artwork has been redrawn in more detail and in brighter colors. The backgrounds are also new and more varied, and characters now have their own special animations for achieving a "Perfect". The music has also improved. The character selection has expanded, now offering 20 playable characters. Laurence Blood, Tung Fu Rue, Wolfgang Krauser, and Cheng Sinzan return in this installment, each with a hidden version of themselves, so technically, 24 characters to play as.

While the breakable walls still remain, but the damage done to them resets after each round, and sadly the entertaining ring-outs have been removed. Instead of the three planes, you only have two, which seems to make the fights flow better and faster.

In Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers there is no real plot or continuity, so the entire roster is back with two other original characters, Li Xiangfei and Rick Strowd.

The intro scene is nearly fully animated and the stages seem to have even more little details, such as raindrops forming ripples in puddles of water, character reflections on water and cherry blossoms reacting to Mai's wind moves. The gameplay remains the same as Real Bout Special, with minor alterations. You can now perform counter attacks and move between planes while getting up from a knockdown, with the exception of a few stages that don't allow it.

A great addition to this compilation is the Practice mode that allows you to select any of the three games to practice. There is also a character setup feature where you can alter the color of your fighter's outfit in all three games. Another very handy feature is the move command list that can be accessed any time during the game by simply pausing it.

Fatal Fury Battle Archives 2 offers three great 2D fighting games in their original forms. Granted, it will look outdated, but if you grew up playing 2D fighters in arcades, you will find plenty of nostalgic enjoyment here, and better yet, with a $20 price tag.

Special thanks to David Bruno and SNK Playmore for providing a copy of this title.