Real Bout Fatal Fury

STORYAfter stealing the Jin Scrolls of Immortality, Geese Howard takes control of South Town once again. He hosts a new King of Fighters tournament and invites his arch-nemesis Terry Bogard, to settle their fight once and for all!

Real Bout Fatal Fury character selection screen.

REVIEWReal Bout Fatal Fury is a fresh new take on SNK's original flagship 2D fighting series. Real Bout brings back many series veterans and introduces some newcomers as well. Real Bout retains the core roster from Fatal Fury 3, with the boss characters (Ryuji Yamazaki, Chonrei & Chonshu) now part of the default lineup. Classic characters, like: Duck King, Billy Kane & Kim Kaphwan also make their return, complete with new character sprites. Boss of the original game, Geese Howard also returns as the final boss.

Legendary veterans return and look better than ever.

Real Bout's controls have slightly changed from the previous Fatal Fury games. Now instead of four attack buttons, there are only three: Punch, Kick, and a "Strong Attack" which is either a stronger kick or punch attack (depends on the character). Real Bout retains the three-plane "oversway" system introduced in Fatal Fury 3, which features a main plane for fighting, with foreground and background planes used to avoid attacks or leap towards the opponent. A dedicated button is now used to make an "oversway" (or change plane) towards the background or foreground.

Real Bout
introduces stages featuring ring outs or "Out of Bounds," a gameplay feature previously seen in Virtua Fighter (and also used in Soul Edge - released the same year as Real Bout). If the player performs certain attacks on their opponent while next to the boundaries, the character will eventually destroy the barrier. If a character walks off the edge or gets knocked into the area where the wall was standing, they will lose a round. Real Bout also introduces a Power Gauge which fills up as player performs normal or special techniques against their opponent or defend themselves. The power gauge allows fighters to perform "Guard Cancels" or a "Super Special Move" depending of the level of the Power Gauge.

Real Bout has the best art style of the series to date.

Overall, Real Bout Fatal Fury was the best looking Fatal Fury title to date. The character sprites are large, colorful, and decently animated. The hand-drawn backgrounds also looked pretty good, creating some interesting settings for the game (although they don't really come together in any particular form or fashion). In comparison to some other 2D fighters of the time, Real Bout was still a bit "rough around the edges" visually. It wasn't one of the prettiest 2D fighters... and not even one of SNK's best-looking games. Real Bout's soundtrack & sound effects do their job, but some of the tracks are a bit bland and pretty forgettable. 

FUN FACT SNK's Youchiro Soeda confirmed that the early version of the original 1991 Fatal Fury title was actually called "Real Bout". The words Real Bout can also be seen in many stage backgrounds (on billboards and signs) in Fatal Fury 1.









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Page Updated: March 23rd, 2023
Developer(s): SNK
Publisher(s): SNK
Artwork By: Shinkiro
Platform(s): Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, Sega Saturn, Windows 95, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, Sega Saturn, Playstation, PS2, PSN, PS4
Release Date(s): December 21st, 1995
Characters Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, Joe Higashi, Franco Bash, Mai Shiranui, Bob Wilson, Billy Kane, Hon Fu, Ryuji Yamazaki, Sokaku, Blue Mary, Kim, Chonshu, Chonrei, Duck King, Geese Howard

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, Real Bout Special: Dominated Mind, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury 3, Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury Special, Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, Fatal Fury: 1st Contact, Garou: Mark of The Wolves, Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves, Samurai Shodown 3, Savage Reign, King of Fighters '96, Marvel Super Heroes, Mortal Kombat 3: Ultimate, Cyberbots, Double Dragon, Darkstalkers 2, Tekken 2, Virtua Fighter 2

Gameplay Engine  6.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.5 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  6.5 / 10
Innovation  7.0 / 10
Art Direction  8.5 / 10
Customization  5.0 / 10
Options / Extras  6.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  5.5 / 10
Characters  6.0 / 10

 7.1 / 10

 Review based on Arcade / PS2 version    


Final Words: Although it flew a bit "under the radar" at the time of its debut, (at least for me), Real Bout: Fatal Fury was a significant facelift for series and fresh new starting point. The character roster of Real Bout is an interesting mix of old and new. If anything, some of the newcomers lack the excitement, charisma and spark of some of the OG Garou / SNK designs. However, the beefy 2D sprites exclusive to Real Bout all look impressive and have something unique to offer to the game.

Real Bout's highly-detailed stages with unique "Out of Bounds" areas are definitely one of the strongest points of the game innovating the classic gameplay engine and offering something new to 2D fighting games at the time.

Along with the character roster... the gameplay engine, music, and visuals all improved significantly in the sequels: Real Bout Special, Real Bout 2, and Real Bout Special: Dominated Mind. In the sequel, many character sprites were even redrawn featuring improved animations. The gameplay is also a bit more refined, responsive, and enjoyable in the sequels.

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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