Fatal Fury is a part of SNK’s fighting game franchise, which dates way back into the late 20th century where arcade cabinets were still the go to medium to play fighting games on. Although not as popular as fighting game giants such as Street Fighter and Tekken in today’s day and age, Fatal Fury has been slowly regaining its popularity with its iconic characters popping up in other big games; with Geese Howard appearing in Tekken 7 and Terry Bogard making his appearance in Smash. Much like other 2D fighters, the goal of the game is to deplete your opponent’s HP bar before they can deplete yours. Sad to say, the game is a little mundane compared to newly released 2D fighters with more complex game mechanics and much better graphic quality.
Fatal Fury: First Contact was released for the Neo Geo Pocket Colour more than 20 years ago in 1999. The game was ported over to the switch just last month in hopes of creating a sense of nostalgia amongst its loyal fanbase. In terms of gameplay, however, the game does not really bring anything new to the table.
When booting up the game, the screen shows a Neo Geo Pocket Colour device, and you play on the small screen in the middle (Yes, a screen within a screen). I do not really get why they did this, as it makes it much harder to actually play the actual game. There is an option to zoom in, so it becomes much easier on the eyes, but it does not fit the entire screen of the switch, which is kind of annoying in my opinion.
The game only offers 2 modes: a single-player mode where you battle in an arcade mode fashion, beating AI and AI until you beat the final boss character; and a 2-player mode in which you can play in a versus match against a friend. The 2-player mode is really neat as the screen shifts into a horizontal mode so that both players can face each other on a single switch system. This is probably considered to be revolutionary for the game as in the past you would need to have 2 systems and a link cable that joins both devices in order to fight your friends. Other than these 2 modes, there is not much to do. The game even lacks a training mode, which is crucial for a fighting game nowadays.
The game does come with a manual that teaches you how its mechanics work and how to perform each character’s special moves. The manual is really helpful in learning how the game works and learning how to perform cool and deadly attacks that can give you an edge over your opponent. One flaw about it though is that every time I wanted to refer to the manual in the middle of a match, it automatically returned me to its starting page. I had to keep flipping through the manual countless times when I wanted to refer to a specific character’s move list. It got really annoying after a while, and I decided to just button mash till I got bored.
Overall, I feel like the developers of this game just tried to make a quick buck by porting over their old game without adding any new constructive updates. With bigger, better, and more entertaining fighting games in the market today, Fatal Fury: First Contact does not have any features that would keep me playing for long hours. I wouldn’t recommend it to any fighting game enthusiast to get the game unless it’s for nostalgia’s sake. Casual players might find it fun for a while but probably wouldn’t spend hours on end on the game.