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Fatal Fury Special
Producer(s)Eikichi Kawasaki
Designer(s)Takashi Tsukamoto
Artist(s)Ayumi Tsuzaki
Higashi Pon
Composer(s)Toshio Shimizu
Yasumasa Yamada
Yoshihiko Kitamura
SeriesFatal Fury
  • Arcade
    • WW: 16 September 1993
    Neo Geo AES
    • WW: 22 December 1993
    Super NES
    Neo Geo CD
    Game Gear
    • JP: 25 November 1994
    • NA: 1994
    • EU: March 1995
    PC Engine Arcade CD-ROM²
    • JP: 2 December 1994
    Sega CD
    • JP: 31 March 1995
    • NA: 1995
    • EU: July 1995
    FM Towns
Arcade systemNeo Geo MVS

Fatal Fury Special, known as Garō Densetsu Special (餓狼伝説SPECIAL, Hungry Wolf Legend Special) in Japan, is a 1993 fighting game developed and published by SNK and originally released for the Neo Geo arcade and home platforms. It is an updated version of 1992's Fatal Fury 2, introducing several changes to the gameplay system while expanding the available character roster.


Gameplay screenshot showcasing a match between Mai Shiranui and Andy Bogard in Italy.
Gameplay screenshot showcasing a match between Mai Shiranui and Andy Bogard in Italy.

Fatal Fury Special is an updated version of Fatal Fury 2. It features many of the same graphics and gameplay, although some slight changes were made to the system, including faster game speed and an all new combo system. Unlike the previous Fatal Fury games, Special allows the player to combine their attacks. When an attack lands, the player will have a brief moment of invincibility. The number of Line Move Attacks have also increased; pressing the Light Punch or Light Kick button while the opponent is on an opposite line will perform a Low Line Jump Attack.[1]

The single-player mode has the player fighting all of the playable characters, beginning with the eight regular characters from the previous game, as well as Tung and Duck, with the player given a choice in their first opponent. After the first ten opponents, the player will fight against Billy, Axel, Laurence, Geese, and Krauser, in that order. If the player wins every match in two rounds, then the player will be challenged by Ryo in a special "Dream Match".


The character roster of Fatal Fury 2 returns. The four AI-only characters from the previous game (Billy Kane, Axel Hawk, Laurence Blood, and Wolfgang Krauser) can now be controlled by the player, and three characters from the original Fatal Fury (Tung Fu Rue, Duck King, and Geese Howard) return, increasing the number of playable characters to fifteen. Ryo Sakazaki, the protagonist of Art of Fighting, appears as a hidden opponent at the end of the Single Player Mode and is playable in the home versions. This cross-over ultimately inspired SNK to create The King of Fighters series, first of which was released a year after Fatal Fury Special.


Home versions

In addition to the home versions for the Neo Geo and Neo Geo CD, ports of Fatal Fury Special were produced for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega CD and Game Gear, as well as the PC Engine game console (in Arcade CD-ROM² format), and the X68000 and FM Towns computer platforms in Japan between 1994 and 1996. The game is included in 2007's Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Volume 1 for the PlayStation 2.

Fatal Fury Special for the Neo Geo was later released on the Virtual Console in 2010.[2] An emulation of the Neo Geo arcade game was also released for the Xbox Live Arcade in 2007.[3] Furthermore, mobile versions were released for Android[4] and iOS[5] based devices. It was later ported to Nintendo Switch in July 2017 by a Japanese game publisher HAMSTER.


In Japan, Game Machine listed Fatal Fury Special on their October 15, 1993 issue as being the most-successful table arcade unit of the month.[31] It went on to be Japan's third highest-grossing arcade game of 1994, just below Super Street Fighter II X and Virtua Fighter.[32] In North America, RePlay reported that Fatal Fury Special was the seventh most-popular arcade game in December 1993.[33] Play Meter also listed Fatal Fury Special to be the thirty-eighth most-popular arcade game at the time.[34]

The Neo Geo version received positive reviews from critics. GamePro praised the variety of characters, the addition of new moves for the older characters, the combos, the detailed graphics, and the humorous touches to the backgrounds, though they felt the ability to jump between the foreground and background tended to be an annoyance.[18] All four reviewers for Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) referred to it as "one of the best tournament fighting games out there" (with insignificant changes in wording between each reviewer). They praised the new characters, the improved backgrounds and animations, and the music, and gave it a score of 34 out of 40 (average 8.5 out of 10).[12]

GamePro gave the Game Gear version a rave review, stating that though it has fewer characters and vastly inferior graphics and sounds compared to the Neo Geo version, it "is arguably the best handheld fighting game ever released" due to the responsive action and the inclusion of "extra elements you never thought you'd see in a handheld fighter". The magazine particularly applauded the presence of a combo system and the numerous special moves.[19]

On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Mega-CD version of the game a 21 out of 40.[17] GamePro declared it "yet another Neo Geo arcade game that's been poorly converted for a home system". Although they complimented the inclusion of all the characters, moves, and music of the arcade version, they felt that the removal of key animation frames and distinctive background elements would make the conversion a major disappointment to anyone used to the arcade game.[20] The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly instead judged it to be an overall solid conversion, remarking that the sound effects are weak and garbled, but the music, play controls, and graphics all replicate the original with reasonable accuracy. They scored it 29.5 out of 40 (an average of 7.375 out of 10).[13]

All four reviewers of EGM complained of the severe echo effect in the audio of the SNES version, and two of them said that some of the moves are hard to pull off. However, they commented that the graphics, while a step down from the Neo Geo version, are still relatively sharp, and judged it an overall good conversion. They scored it 29.5 out of 40 (an average of 7.375 out of 10).[14] GamePro was less pleased with the conversion, and remarked that the graphics and controls are vastly inferior to those of the Neo Geo version. They also criticized the special moves which are activated when a character is near death as a "cheesy way of evening things out between players of varying skill levels".[21] A reviewer for Next Generation also gave it a negative review, though almost solely for its perceived lack of originality, commenting that "sprite-based 2D fighting games are a dime a dozen, and in spite of the impressive Dolby Surround, all this one really has going it is sheer size: 15 characters ... and five special moves apiece, some of which are slick, but none of which you haven't pulled off it some other game of its ilk".[23]

Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot gave the Xbox Live Arcade release a 6.5 out of 10. He remarked that the game is emulated well, and approved of the fact that it emulates the Neo Geo home version rather than the arcade version. He stated that the game itself is good compared to other Neo Geo fighters of its time, but would probably not appeal to modern players who are not already familiar with the Fatal Fury franchise.[22] In a 1996 retrospective review, Maximum commented that Fatal Fury Special "tweaked the gameplay of Fatal Fury 2 overly very superficially, and the main selling point lay with the number of combatants". However, they praised the more hectic pace of the game, and gave it 3 out of 5 stars.[35]


  1. ^ Fatal Fury Special user's manual (Neo Geo AES, US)
  2. ^ "FATAL FURY SPECIAL | Virtual Console (Wii) | Games". Nintendo. 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  3. ^ "Fatal Fury Special". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  4. ^ "FATAL FURY SPECIAL - Android Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  5. ^ "FATAL FURY SPECIAL on the App Store". 2015-04-03. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  6. ^ Consoles + [fr], issue 42, page 140.
  7. ^ Consoles + [fr], issue 42, pages 146-147.
  8. ^ "Speedy Gonzatest" (JPG). Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  9. ^ "Arcade Action" (PDF). Computer and Video Games. No. 145 (December 1993). 15 November 1993. pp. 112–4.
  10. ^ Computer and Video Games, issue 164, page 77.
  11. ^ "Fatal Fury Special review | Edge Online". 2013-05-31. Archived from the original on May 31, 2013. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  12. ^ a b "Review Crew: Fatal Fury Special". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (54): 48. January 1994.
  13. ^ a b "Review Crew: Fatal Fury: Special". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (69): 36. April 1995.
  14. ^ a b "Review Crew: Fatal Fury: Special". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (70): 33. May 1995.
  15. ^ "餓狼伝説スペシャル まとめ [ゲームギア] / ファミ通.com". 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  16. ^ "餓狼伝説スペシャル まとめ [PCエンジン] / ファミ通.com". 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  17. ^ a b NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 餓狼伝説 SPECIAL. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.329. Pg.32. 7 April 1995.
  18. ^ a b "ProReview: Fatal Fury Special". GamePro (65). IDG. February 1994. pp. 128–129.
  19. ^ a b "ProReview: Fatal Fury Special". GamePro. IDG (76): 142. January 1995.
  20. ^ a b "ProReview: Fatal Fury Special". GamePro. IDG (70): 52. May 1995.
  21. ^ a b "ProReview: Fatal Fury Special". GamePro. IDG (81): 70. June 1995.
  22. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (October 15, 2007). "Fatal Fury Special Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Fatal Fury Special". Next Generation. Imagine Media (6): 112. June 1995.
  24. ^ Nintendo Power, issue 65 (October 1994), pages 106-107
  25. ^ "Nintendo Power Issue #72 - Read Nintendo Power Issue #72 comic online in high quality".
  26. ^ Nintendo Magazine System, issue 25 (October 1994), pages 42-45
  27. ^ "Fatal Fury Special Review (Xbox 360)". 2007-09-05. Archived from the original on September 8, 2007. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  28. ^ "Fatal Fury Special - Digital Press Online". 2005-09-09. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  29. ^ "Fatal Fury Special GG - Digital Press Online". 2005-10-02. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  30. ^ Retro Gamer issue 43, page 94
  31. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 459. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 October 1993. p. 29.
  32. ^ "第8回 ゲーメスト大賞" [8th Gamest Awards]. Gamest (in Japanese). Vol. 136 (January 1995). December 27, 1994. pp. 40–59. Lay summary.
  33. ^ "The Player's Choice - Top Games Now in Operation, Based on Earnings-Opinion Poll of Operators: Best Video Software". RePlay. Vol. 19 no. 3. RePlay Publishing, Inc. December 1993. p. 12.
  34. ^ "Equipment Poll - Video & Pinball Combined". Play Meter. Vol. 20 no. 3. Skybird Publishing. February 1994. p. 8.
  35. ^ "Fatal Fury Special: Third in the Fatal Series". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (4): 44. March 1996.