->''"Ryo Sakazaki, to find his kidnapped sister... goes into the dangerous Southtown. Robert Garcia, a friend, and rival of Ryo goes to Southtown with him. Who is waiting for them in Southtown?"''
-->-- '''Intro cinematic from the first game.'''


Known in Japan as ''Ryūko no Ken'' ("Fist of the [[TigerVsDragon Dragon and Tiger]]"), ''Art of Fighting'' is a FightingGame series by {{Creator/SNK}} that was released for the UsefulNotes/NeoGeo arcade and home video game systems. While the last installment of the series appeared in early 1996, several of its characters are still widely popular today and continue to appear in a number of SpinOff series.

Much of the gameplay of the first two games mimics that of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII''. The series, however, also came with a few innovations of its own. When special moves were used, an energy gauge under the life gauge, called the "spirit gauge", would deplete. The less power that is in the spirit gauge, the less effective and powerful the special moves are. Taunting (which Art of Fighting is the first FightingGame to include) is done to drain the opponent's gauge. The gauge can be replenished by holding down one of the buttons, but leave the player open to attack and can be re-depleted and temporarily stopped if the opponent taunts the player.

Art of Fighting was also the first FightingGame to feature powered-up special moves. The ''[[LimitBreak Super Death Blow]]'' featured in the first two games is a move done when the spirit/rage gauge is full, but must be learned in a BonusStage that appears throughout the games. The ''Hidden Death Blow'', seen in all three games, is a move that can only be done if the spirit gauge is full and [[DesperationAttack the player's life bar is very low and flashing red]].

In the first two games, fighters can show facial bruising and torn clothing as the fight progresses. The third game has several prerequisites to finish and humiliate your opponent with ClothingDamage.

The first Art of Fighting takes place in Southtown, where Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, students of the martial art, Kyokugen Karate, seek to find Ryo's sister, Yuri, who was kidnapped by the crime lord, Mr. Big. The two scoured the city, fighting members of Mr. Big's gang as well as rivals to the Kyokugen Karate dojo, seeking information on Yuri's whereabouts. After Mr. Big is found and defeated, the two face off against Mr. Karate and barely defeat him. Afterwards, Ryo almost kills him before Yuri appears to him and Robert pleading for them to stop. She tells Ryo that Mr. Karate is [[spoiler:[[LukeIAmYourFather their father]]]]. Though it's not officially confirmed until the second game. In the original arcade version, only Ryo and Robert were playable in story mode with the bosses as hidden characters in versus mode.

The second Art of Fighting takes place a year later. Geese Howard(of ''VideoGame/FatalFury'' fame) is seen as Southtown's police commissioner. He uses his position as a front for him being a major force in Southtown's criminal underworld, and was directly responsible for Mr. Big kidnapping Yuri. He creates the first ''[[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters King of Fighters]]'' fighting tournament, in which all the fighters from the first game enter, except for Ryuhaku Todoh, who is beaten so badly, he goes into self-imposed exile to train. In addition to Geese, three new characters are also introduced, including last game's DamselInDistress, Yuri. Ryo discovers what Geese had done and defeats him in battle, but Geese escapes and hides out in Japan for a time. Unlike the first game, most of the game's characters are playable in story mode. Mr. Big and Ryo and Yuri's father, Takuma, who were bosses in the last game, are playable characters in this installment. Geese is only playable without hacking or playing with dipswitches in the Japan-only UsefulNotes/SuperFamicom version of the game.

In the third and final Art of Fighting game, Robert goes to search for an old childhood friend, Freia Lawrence, in the small town of Glasshill, Mexico. When Robert goes missing as well, Ryo and the assistant of Robert's parents, Karman Cole, separately go searching for him. Robert finds Freia and discovers that she is being held against her will by Wyler and forced to develop a an elixir created by her and Wyler's fathers. Wyler drinks the elixir when it was finished and becomes a hulk-like monster. The elixir eventually regresses Wyler's mind to a child-like state, and his body weakened and reverted back to its original form. Afterwards, Freia decides to stay in Glasshill and take care of Wyler. Including Karman and Wyler, eight new fighters are introduced into the game, with Robert and Ryo (and Yuri as an NPC) being the only ones from the previous games to return. Wyler and his bodyguard, Sinclair, served as the game's bosses and hidden characters.

An animated TV special was also created; it was based on the plot of the first game.

Characters from Art of Fighting have continued to appear in other video games, most notably ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'' and the VideoGame/SNKVsCapcom series.
!!This series provides examples of:
* AdultFear: Here is the plot of the first game. A talented martial artist and dojo owner has a young adult son (whom he has trained in martial arts) and a teenage daughter. A high-class crime lord takes an interest in him, forces him to work with him, and ultimately stages a cruel HostageSituation in which he must ''kidnap his own daughter, lock her away, lead a group of goons keeping the girl hostage, and then fight to the death against either his own young adult son or his equally young adult best friend'', who don't know his true identity. Thank God the daughter managed to escape, explained the whole situation to her brother and friend, and things got better from then on.
* AlternateCompanyEquivalent: Ryo and John were very blatant attempts at SNK versions of Ryu and Guile, respectively, from ''Franchise/StreetFighter II''. While not as blatant, Robert being Ryo's rival with the same set of attacks as Ryo makes him SNK's version of Ken, also from ''Street Fighter II''.
** ''Capcom'' responded by creating Dan Hibiki, a character who wore a gi with a t-shirt under it (like Ryo) and had dark hair in a ponytail (like Robert). He used moves that mock theirs by being [[JokeCharacter short-range]] and [[TakeThat incredibly weak]], parodying Art of Fighting's spirit meter.
*** SNK responded by making these short-range attacks faster and stronger for the ''Ryuuko no Ken'' characters in KOF '96.
*** And, of course, when [[VideoGame/SNKVsCapcom SNK and Capcom]] joined forces for their joint crossover, SNK didn't miss the chance to make fun of Dan. ''Everyone'' [[MistakenForBadass thought he was Robert]]. ''Everyone''.
** ''Art of Fighting'' was actually created by former Capcom employees, Creator/HiroshiMatsumoto and Creator/TakashiNishiyama, who worked on the original ''Street Fighter''. That explains why Ryo and Robert and very similar to Ryu and Ken, at first.
* TheAnimeOfTheGame: The TV Special.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Haoh Shou Koh Ken. A supercharged version of the standard [=KouOuKen=] projectile that is 6 ft tall and does much higher damage. Sounds awesome, huh? Well, it is. But it is also rather useless. First, to learn this technique, you have to sacrifice a chance to permanently increase HP or Spirit. That shouldn't really matter on itself, but the problem is, [=HaouShouKouKen=] requires, like, 3 seconds of concentration, during which time you are basically a sitting duck waiting to get trashed. It also eats all (or almost all) your spirit eater, meaning that A) you can not cast it if you used some specials and didn't "recharge" and B) Once you cast it, you are basically back to 0 spirit. Did I mention that, in the extremely likely possibility you get hit while trying to cast it, you will lose an INSANE amount of HP? And that you will stand still a full second AFTER casting it?? Throw in the fact that the movement is a really difficult one and you have a prime example of the trope.
** It got massively upgraded in the third game, taking less than half a spirit bar, removing the health risk, and having two available speeds, one of them traveling quasi-instantly across the screen.
* BigBad: Geese Howard in 1 and 2 and Wyler in 3.
* {{Cliffhanger}}: The first game ends just before Mr. Karate's identity is revealed.
** The SNES version averts this with a much longer ending that attempts to [[CanonWelding tie it to]] ''VideoGame/FatalFury'', though much of it was retconned by ''Art of Fighting 2''. Mr. Karate is revealed to be Takuma, who explains that he was searching for the man who killed his wife. He ended up in Southtown and lost everything to gambling, at which point Geese Howard offered to repay his debts in exchange for his services, which culminated in him fighting and killing Jeff Bogard in order to complete his takeover of Southtown (Geese could not due to his reputation at the time; this contradicts ''Fatal Fury'''s storyline of him doing exactly that). Yuri was kidnapped to coerce him into doing so.
* CListFodder: Ray from the Anime special. He gets shot to death. Poor Ray.
* CallingYourAttacks: Almost everyone.
%%* ChargedAttack: Both types.
* CityOfAdventure: Parts 1 and 2 take place in Southtown, SNK's loose equivalent of 80s era NewYork, which is portrayed as a crime infested city. [=AOF3=] is set in the equally fictional of Glasshill, Mexico.
* ClothingDamage: All three games, though in the third game there are more prerequisites.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: The [[ManaMeter spirit meter]] in the arcade and NeoGeo versions is color coded to show the strength of special attacks when performed.
* CompilationRerelease: ''Art of Fighting Anthology'' ([[UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 PS2]])
* {{Combos}}: Emphasized in the third game.
* CoolMask: Lee Pai Long and Mr. Karate wear these.
* CoupDeGrace: Part 3 allows you to attack downed opponent's, in similar fashion to 3D fighting games.
* DamselInDistress: The original game had Ryo and Robert shaking down Mr. Big's henchmen to find out where they were holding Yuri hostage.
* DeathOrGloryAttack: The Super Death Blows and {{Desperation Attack}}s required complex joystick motions to pull off and were extremely unsafe. The payoff being, they did absurd amounts of damage if you managed to connect with any of them and the desperation attacks were unblockable.
* DemotedToExtra: While just about any character in the series can be deemed that way nowadays in ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'' (some much more than others), Ryuhaku Todoh can be considered that in the ''Art of Fighting'' series itself. He was the only one from the first game to not be playable in the second (and third, but that's a different story). His role pretty much got relegated to cameos in stages (especially in VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters) and be missing just so his daughter can go find him. Heck, the only other time he was a playable character outside of the first game in the series was done by Creator/{{Capcom}}, of all people, in ''[[VideoGame/CapcomVsSNK2MarkOfTheMillennium Capcom vs. SNK 2]]''.
* DerivativeDifferentiation: It was initially percieved by gamers to be a cheap cash-in of rival company Creator/{{Capcom}}'s ''Street Fighter''. Despite this, ''Art Of Fighting'' set itself apart by introducing several new gameplay mechanics such as taunting, the addition of a spirit guage to regulate use of specials, along with supers and desperation attacks. The game's scaling feature also became a series trademark.
* DesperationAttack: All three games have extremely damaging moves that can only be done when your character's life is close to empty.
* DenserAndWackier: Disregarding the GagDub of AOF 2, Team Kyokugen progressively became this with every passing year in VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters where they (sans Garcia) are portrayed as a bunch of penniless ButtMonkey losers. Many of their endings also involve Ryo and Robert pulling off rubbery {{Gonk}} faces, after getting stuck in some zany situation or another.
* DoubleStandard: Ryo and Takuma are both guilty of it, in regards to Yuri's relationship with Robert.
** They have no problem with Robert helping to represent their school at the annual ''[[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters King of Fighters]]'', or that [[TheTeamBenefactor he bankrolls their dojo]] during times of financial difficulty. Yet, they won't allow him to date Yuri, 'cuz they're convinced he'll just take her for granted.
** Likewise, Takuma has no problem with Ryo dating and [[ShipperOnDeck actively encourages it]], because [[IWantGrandkids he wants grandkids]][[note]]seen in their team endings in [=KoF=] 2000 and XI[[/note]]. [[OverprotectiveDad Yet, he won't let Yuri have boyfriend]]; even if it's the guy who stuck his neck out to help save her.
* TheDragon: Mr. Big for the first 2 games; Sinclair in the third.
* DualWielding: Mr. Big with rattan sticks and Rody Birts with tonfa.
* EarlyBirdCameo: Geese Howard makes an appearance in the extended ending of the SNES version of the first game.
* EightiesHair: The cast of the whole series add up to a total of '''''six''''' mullets!
* {{Expy}}: Takuma seems to be based on the unnamed Player 1 character from ''Street Smart''. He is also very similar to Matsutatsu Oyama, the real life founder of Kyokushin Karate (of which Kyokugen itself is an expy.) Ryuhaku Todoh looks like a mook from the first VideoGame/StreetsOfRage game.
** Robert Garcia is an expy of early 90's Creator/StevenSeagal.
** Ryo is one of [[Manga/{{Dragonball}} Goku.]]
** Mickey Rodgers re-design in the second game was obviously based on UsefulNotes/MuhammadAli.
* ExtremityExtremist: Mickey Rogers, a boxer who can only do punches. Sinclair, who fights with a scimitar, only does sword attacks.
** Initially, Mr. Big uses just botan attacks. In KOF '96, he averted this by gaining kicks.
* {{Fanservice}}: The player gets rewarded with a bit of eye candy for finishing King and Yuri with special attacks, so long as it's done in the final round. Their tops get shredded, exposing their cleavage, doubly so [[HiddenBuxom in King's case!]]
* FantasticFightingStyle: The Sakazaki Family are all practictioners of Kyokugenryuu Karate, while Robert is FamedInStory as the first foreigner to ever practice ''and master'' the style.
* FinishingMove: The TropeMaker.
%% * FragileSpeedster: Yuri, Mickey, and Sinclair.
* GaidenGame: The Japanese title of the third game is ''Ryūko no Ken Gaiden: Art of Fighting''. It makes sense, considering it has nothing to do with the South Town storyline from the first two games.
* GoKartingWithBowser: In Art of Fighting, Mr. Big and his cronies kidnapped Ryo's sister. In Art of Fighting 2, they all compete in a casual tournament and their dialogue, while still somewhat antagonistic, is a lot friendlier than one would expect.
* GratuitousEnglish: A lot of them, but mostly Mickey Rogers, who is played by an English speaker.
** Kasumi Todoh "Come back when you grow up!" She actually looks in an English phrasebook for that one.
* GreaterScopeVillain: Geese doesn't even appear in the first game, with Mr. Big being the [[TheHeavy de facto]] BigBad.
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: {{Subverted}}. Ryo and Robert have been training together since their early teens, whereas Yuri has only studied for little over a year. She isn't as strong as they are, yet she's mastered the basics of Kyokugen-ryu and is a regular at the annual ''King of Fighters'' tournament.
* HourOfPower: As mentioned below, if you play the game on their birthday, each character can use their DesperationAttack regardless of how much life they have left.
* KiAttacks: More relevant here than in the average fighting game due to the need to charge them up.
* LargeAndInCharge: Mr. Big really lives up to his name.
* LukeIAmYourFather
-->'''Yuri''': "Don't do it, brother. That man is our, our...."
%% * MightyGlacier: Jack Turner, Temjin, Jin Fu-Ha, and Wyler.
* ManaMeter: Each fighter has a [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience color-coded]] spirit meter. When it is green or cyan, special attacks are performed at full strength. When it is yellow, special attacks that can be performed are at reduced strength. When it is red, special attacks that can be performed are weak.
* MirrorMatch: All three games allow it, but in Art of Fighting 2's story mode, the characters would have some funny dialogue to exchange pre-match.
* MisbegottenMultiplayerMode: Versus mode in the first game, unusually so for a fighting game. The characters beside Robert and Ryo were clearly not designed with player usage in mind, being widly unbalanced, having odd properties (Ryuhaku Todoh only has one special move, Mr. Big can't jump) and no desesperation moves (something fixed in the SNES port of the game).
* MovesetClone: There was hardly any distinction between Ryo and Robert's movesets in the original. [[DivergentCharacterEvolution That began to change]], starting with [=AOF2=].
* NintendoHard: The second game is notorious for being this. Considering that [[SNKBoss Geese Howard]] is present, this shouldn't come as a surprise.
** Eiji Kisaragi is an example of how unplayable this game could be. He had some very powerful and practical moves that were unusually difficult to pull off. The same Eiji, in King Of Fighters 95, could perform the same moves, albeit less damaging, smooth as silk.
* NumberedSequels: Art of Fighting 2; The Path Of The Warrior: Art Of Fighting 3
* OutdatedOutfit: Lenny's visual design is straight out of TheSeventies... [[FridgeBrilliance which is the period in which the game takes place!]]
** ''AOF 3'' seems to take place in the early [[TheEighties Eighties]], though, going by [[AllThereInTheManual supplementary material]].[[note]]In the ''AOF'' universe, Ryo was born in Aug. 2, 1957, and was 22 when ''AOF 2'' took place, setting it at least in late 1979; and the story for ''AOF 3'' states that it has been six months since the first King of Fighters tournament, around which the second game was based, took place.[[/note]]
** Yuri has her eternal gym tights that Richard Simmons wouldn't be caught dead in.
* PerfectPlayAI: Let's just say, the first and second games are definitely not for the uninitiated. And not for some of the initiated either.
* PracticalTaunt: The first fighting game to have this feature. Taunting affects the opponent's spirit gauge by lowering it, which limits their ability to use special attacks. Specials also suffer from reduced range and become weaker as the gauge depletes.
* {{Rotoscoping}}: All character animations in the third game, rivaling ''StreetFighter'' III in smoothness a year before it.
* {{Shotoclone}}: The Sakazaki clan and Robert Garcia.
* ShowsDamage: In the first two games. The more damaged dealt, the more it's visible on the fighters, including the facial area. to add to that, when low on health, the characters will go into a more tired-out stance.
* SignificantBirthDate: In Art of Fighting 3, characters are capable of performing their DesperationAttack at any point when it's their birthday (Special Day).
* ASimplePlan: AOF's plot boils down to a blackmail scheme, where Geese Howard arranged to have Yuri abducted to use as leverage against her father, Takuma. He didn't anticipate Ryo and Robert getting involved...
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: In Art of Fighting, King was the only woman, but no one knew that yet.
* SNKBoss: Mr. Big, Mr. Karate, Geese Howard, and Wyler.
* SourceMusic: The Cinco de Mayo stage in ''AOF 3''. The BGM is provided by the parade going on in the distance.
* SpamAttack: Ryo's Zanretsuken and Robert's Geneikyaku. Different from the Street Fighter 2 versions in that once they hit the enemy, they're caught into the attack and hit a set amount of times.
* SunglassesAtNight: Mr. Big and John, who wear them in battle until they get knocked off in battle.
* SurprisinglyGoodEnglish: All of the english [=VAs=] in Art of Fighting 2 - Mr. Big, Mickey Rogers, John Crawley, Geese Howard, and surprisingly Jack Turner, although he barely says anything.
* SweetPollyOliver: King, who did this to compete in Muay Thai tournaments before the first ''AOF''.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: '''Ultimate K.O.''' in the third game. Your character must be in the danger zone, and perform a Super Death Blow or Hidden Death Blow against your opponent ''who has 10% life or lower''. If successful, you destroy your opponent's clothes and win the match ''instantly'''.
* TomboyishName: King
* TookALevelInBadass: Yuri resented her time as a DamselInDistress, so she took up karate with her dad and became a CuteBruiser.
** Canonically, Ryo did this too. He was outright talentless at Karate first, but when his mother died and Takuma disappeared, he devoted his life to protect Yuri.
* TrueFinalBoss: Geese Howard in the second game.
* UnblockableAttack
* WaifFu: Yuri, to the max.
* WhipItGood: Lenny Creston.
* {{Xenafication}}: Yuri.