Fatal Fury (universe)
The Fatal Fury universe (餓狼伝説, Legend of the Hungry Wolf) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties hailing from the series of fighting games developed for the Neo Geo. One of SNK's premiere fighting games, the series' success laid the groundwork for other SNK fighting game franchises, most notably its prequel series Art of Fighting and the long-running crossover series The King of Fighters.
Directed by the creator of the original Street Fighter, Fatal Fury was designed as a spiritual successor to the game, being developed around the same time as Street Fighter II. To help differentiate this new game from the competition, the developers implemented a two-plane fighting system, letting players dodge attacks by moving between the foreground and background. The game also has a greater emphasis on story. After selecting from a roster of only three playable characters—Terry Bogard, his brother Andy, and their friend Joe Higashi—the player is tasked with going through the titular King of Fighters tournament against various foes to avenge the murder of Terry's adoptive father, Jeff, by the tournament's criminal organizer, Geese Howard. Short cutscenes play between each match, and the game also supports two-player co-op.
In 1992, SNK released the first entry in its prequel series, Art of Fighting, as well a sequel, Fatal Fury 2, featuring the three playable characters from the first game in addition to five new characters. Fatal Fury 2 continues the story from the original, with a new antagonist, Wolfgang Krauser von Stroheim, who internationalizes the tournament to bring in the world's strongest fighters. An updated version of the game, Fatal Fury Special, was released in 1993, containing several gameplay changes, including an expanded character roster, a new combo system, and a new hidden boss character: Ryo Sakazaki from Art of Fighting. Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory was later released in 1995, featuring a further expanded character roster, a new three-plane fighting system known as "Oversway", and a new story focusing on the search for three sacred scrolls.
A follow-up game in a new sub-series, Real Bout Fatal Fury, was released in the same year, retaining the "Oversway" system while adding ring-outs (similar to Virtua Fighter), a simplified control scheme, and a Power Gauge feature; similar to the "special moves" featured in contemporary games, the gauge will fill up over time and can be unleashed for unique, powerful attacks. Real Bout also notably concluded the storyline introduced by Fatal Fury, with Geese Howard's canonical death occurring at the end of the game's campaign. This was followed up by Real Bout Fatal Fury Special in 1997, which returned to the standard two planes and replaced ring-outs with breakable walls, and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers in 1998, which removed breakable walls and simplified the system into a "main" line and a "sway" line used only for dodging.
The final game in the Fatal Fury series, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, was released in late 1999 and serves as a ten year time-skip from the events of Real Bout, greatly revamping the gameplay and removing the two-plane system in favor of expanded defensive options. Terry is the only returning character in this installment, with the rest of the cast being newcomers; the game focuses on Geese's son, Rock Howard, whom Terry adopted at the end of Real Bout. The main antagonist is Rock's uncle, Kain R. Heinlein, who hosts a new King of Fighters tournament in an effort to locate Rock and lure him into his control. While this game marked the end of the Fatal Fury series, the characters still make regular appearances in other SNK games, including the alternate continuity crossover series The King of Fighters, based on the tournament originating within the series.