Julien Neaves, Editor
Back in March, I did a retro review of the very cool video game anime adaptation Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. I had a great time revisiting this classic and thought it would be interesting to check out other anime fighting game adaptations. First up in the ring is the Fatal Fury trilogy, based on the SNK video game series of the same name.
Growing up, my favourite fighting games were Street Fighter II for the gameplay and Mortal Kombat for the lore. And while I did play a bit of Fatal Fury in arcades, and I’ve watched and read stuff about the series, both my connection to and knowledge of the games are quite surface. Not sure if that was a good or bad thing going in, but it is what it is. With that caveat and a knockout of a SPOILER ALERT here are my reviews of the three Fatal Fury films:
Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf (1992)
Plot: Fighter brothers Terry and Andy Bogard and their friend Joe Higashi, a champion Muay Thai kickboxer, enter the King of Fighters tournament and battle the devious Geese Howard, the man who murdered the brothers’ father Jeff ten years prior.
Review: I found this tv special just okay. It works as an introduction to the main characters, we have the tragic romance between Terry and night club queen Lily, and Geese is a bastard of a villain. But I found the animation somewhat dull and the fighting sequences uninspired. And it is only 45 minutes long, so it is pretty much over before you know it. This is easily the weakest of the trilogy.
Editor Jules’ Score: 5 out of 10
Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle (1993)
Plot: Terry Bogard has his confidence shaken following a brutal defeat by powerful new villain Wolfgang Krauser, a nobleman and half-brother of Geese Howard, and Andy must protect the beautiful Mai Shiranui from Krauser’s right-hand man Laurence Blood.
Review: We go from the weakest entry to the strongest with this sequel. I had a blast with The New Battle. The animation is brighter and the characters more detailed. The fights are better choreographed and more impactful. Terry has a great story arc with his big brother relationship to his “disciple” Tony (a tough kid who is surprisingly not annoying), the haunting of Lily’s death and regaining his fighting confidence. Andy has a cute relationship with super sexy and very flirty Mai, and gets to shine with his vicious takedown of Blood. We even get to see Joe Higashi get the stuffing beaten out of him by Krauser. And Krauser aka Emperor of Darkness is a BEAST of a big bad and easily overshadows Geese. The final battle between him and Terry is an epic climax. Loved this one.
Editor Jules’ Score: 8 out of 10
Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture (1994)
Plot: Terry, Andy, Joe and Mai travel the world searching for the pieces of the powerful Armor of Mars to keep it out of the hands of Laocorn Gaudeamus and his three henchmen.
Review: The final entry in the trilogy started off very strong with the shockingly bloody Egypt battle and Kim Kaphwan’s visceral fight with the mind-controlled Cheng Sinzan. The animation is vastly improved. And the globe-trotting adventure is more epic in scale compared to the two other entries. But the second act truly drags down the pacing with lots of yapping and a cringe-inducing scene between Andy and Mai in a hotel room. I also found the fighting in Part 2 more action packed and had more stakes than what we got here. The corrupted Laocorn could not hold a candle to my boy Krauser. And the teased return of Geese from the previous entry gets no pay off. So, lots of potential but for me The Motion Picture could not fully deliver.
Editor Jules’ Score: 6.5 out of 10
Overall, I was entertained by the Fatal Fury films and I was glad I checked them out. The animation and fights varied from movie to movie and none of them were great plot-wise, but the characters were likeable and there is an undeniable energy that I enjoyed. And while it’s not top tier like SFII it can scratch an anime fighting game itch.
So, those are my reviews. Are you a fan of the Fatal Fury anime films? Which is your favourite? Which fighting game anime adaptation should I review next? And you can check more punchy content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.