Fatal Fury Special, as fans would have it, is one of the best games in the fighting series. It has all of the core characters, amazing sprite animations, beautiful backgrounds, and of course, fight mechanics that will put you on the edge of your seat. This mobile port of the game is predominantly made for players who grew up on classic arcade fighting games like Art of Fighting, Streets of Rage, Street Fighter, and more. Before, games like Fatal Fury Special (and its predecessors) had a way of swallowing up quarters, now it promises to swallow up your free time with its engrossing gameplay.
The Touch Screen Elephant in the Room
Obviously, any fighting game fan worth their salt already knows what Fata Fury is all about. More importantly, it is also quite well known that SNK has a habit of using commands that are quite complex to perform on joypads and joysticks - let alone mobile touch screens. Yes, Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown, Last Blade, and all of SNK's greatest fighting game hits have always used movelists that would send your directional control skills through the wringer. So if we say that the port of FFS is pretty much okay to play on a mobile device, what gives?
New control layout. Unlike the original arcade configuration of Fatal Fury which uses only 4 buttons, this mobile version of the game has six. One button for instant lane chance (Fatal Fury allows players to move freely between the foreground and background land), and another button for special moves. Yes folks, a single context-command button is now available for unleashing special abilities and of course, desperation moves. While this certainly takes the game in a new direction, it makes it very accessible and portable (which is what counts with a mobile game). Sadly, there is still no controller support, and while we appreciate the improvement of controls for touch screens, it is still far from the crisp accuracy that you would get from having an actual controller.
Oh My, It Really Has Gotten Portable
Fight with Your Friends in Multiplayer Combat
One of more interesting features of this mobile port is that you can challenge your friends in one-on-one matchups. To play, players simply need to connect to each other via Bluetooth. The action is fast, brutal, and fun, and since the game has made moves more accessible, even those new to the series will not have a hard time learning how to play it.
Of course, learnable does not necessarily mean easy. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, big boss Geese Howard is still a mean enemy to face. The same goes for the rest of the fighters that you have to take on. It makes for good practice against human players too. Since the game lacks online connectivity for matches (at least Bluetooth battles never have lag issues), the most common way to enjoy this game is to play it solo. And again, while you cannot use a controller, the improved touch screen controls means that you can access the game even while you are on the go.
The Cast and Crew are Back, Along with Everything Else
For those of you new to the game (or those that have forgotten the more-than-a-decade-old plot), here is the lowdown of Fatal Fury Special's backstory. Wolfgang Krauser, the older brother of Geese Howard (who is believed to have died before the events of FF Special), is the new lord of the underworld. However, his reign is shortlived as Geese returns out of nowhere and takes back his throne. Meanwhile, Terry and Andy (who originally killed Geese) learn that their job is not really finished so they have returned to properly avenge their father (who was killed by Geese, which started the whole game series in the first place).
It is hardly the deepest plot you will hear about, but considering that this is an early 90's era fighting game - my favourite time for fighting games, this is not so bad. Besides, the not-so-convoluted story is much easier to appreciate in future-spect; because the narrative does evolve in a very weird and awkward way (for example, in a later game, Terry ends up raising Geese's son).
The game features the original cast, with the iconic Terry Bogard leading the lineup. Fans of the series will easily remember the rest of the game's crew. There is Andy, Joe, and Mai -the trio of protagonists who accompany Terry. Newcomer to the scene (well at the original time of release for Fatal Fury Special anyway), is Duck King, the fighting punk. Also present are Kim, Jubei, Cheng, Tung Fu, Axel, Billy Kane, Big Bear, Lawrence, and of course, Geese and Krauser. Art of Fighting's Ryo Sakazaki also appears as a secret playable character.
Of course, all of the game's characters retain their original movesets (with a few execution improvements thanks to the SP button). Even more amazing is the fact that the original animated 2D backgrounds are intact, which means you can fully enjoy the intricate details of Krauser's Mittlebirge Castle or the setting sun in Big Bear's Alice Springs.
For Fans and Collectors
It is not surprising to see Fatal Fury Special on mobile -despite it being a pretty old game, it is still one of the better games in the series for its time. While the original Fatal Fury games were good, Special has been improved and refined just enough to have a gameplay that does not age too fast while at the same time, still retains much of the charm and wonder that the original games had. Comparatively, Special is more of an improved version of Fatal Fury 2 as opposed to being a proper sequel to existing storyline.