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Video Game / Fatal Fury: King of Fighters

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Live or die! Expert fighters are waiting to fight you!

The first installment of the Fatal Fury series. It was released worldwide for arcades on November 25th, 1991.

The story is set in the fictional city of Southtown, USA, and starts many years where the protagonist, Terry Bogard, his brother, Andy, and their good friend, Joe Higashi, team up to fight Geese Howard in his "King of Fighters" tournament. The Bogard brothers are out to defeat Geese for the death of their father years before the present.

The game has three playable characters, and an interesting mechanic in which a second player joining in the middle of a fight will join the first player in double-teaming their present opponent before facing each other.

The roster includes the following:

  • Playable characters: Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, Joe Higashi.
  • CPU opponents: Michael Max, Duck King, Richard Meyer, Tung Fu Rue, Hwa Jai, Raiden, Billy Kane, Geese Howard.

This game has examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Bad: Geese Howard, the organizer of the King of Fighters tournament, and the crime lord of Southtown.
  • Chromosome Casting: All combatants in this game are male. The sequels would add female combatants like Mai Shiranui and Blue Mary.
  • Continue Countdown: The standard one shows a picture of your character's beaten and bloodied face briefly flashing up as the timer ticks down. But if you happen to lose to Geese, a special continue screen appears where he kicks your character out of his skyscraper's window, condemning them to a Disney Villain Death unless you sink another coin into the machine. Amusingly, the character doesn't actually start falling until the count of 3.
  • Disney Villain Death: When you defeat Geese, your character kicks him off from his skyscraper. On the other hand, if you lose, you're the one who'll get kicked out of it and fall to death unless you save yourselves by inserting credits during Continue Countdown.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • There are only three playable characters: Terry, Andy and Joe. The rest of the roster are all unplayable outside of console ports. Even then, the SNES version restricted the other characters to player two, while the Genesis version omitted Hwa Jai and Billy Kane to save on ROM space.
    • Terry here does not bode well with an Ideal Hero he would be characterized as later in the series. He kicks off Geese nary a hint of hesitation in this game, which is unthinkable for a big-hearted Terry we know today, who tried to save Geese in the canon ending of Real Bout Fatal Fury. He is also voiced by an unidentified actor who gives him a much less hammy accent than Satoshi Hashimoto, who would voice Terry from Fatal Fury 2.
    • Every few stages will put you in a bonus round with an arm wrestling machine. It also doesn't use the game's fighting engine.
    • Veterans like Mai Shiranui and Kim Kaphwan are nowhere to be found. They wouldn't be introduced until the next game.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Lose to Geese and out the window you go. Though if you win, you get to do the same to him.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Terry Bogard is an American martial artist seeking revenge for his father's murder by Geese.
  • SNK Boss: The Trope Codifier. The original battle against Geese Howard is notoriously difficult. He's armed with a projectile that can cut off a third of your health, has incredible priority on his attacks, and a counter-throw he can use against any attack he chooses (even when you simply jump at him he can grab you out of the air with said counter-throw), setting the boundaries to be later broken by Rugal in The King of Fighters '94. The AI can't block on the first frame of standing up, so getting even one knockdown guarantees you the round if you spam a special that knocks him down on contact. The challenge is getting that one knockdown in the first place.
  • Unbuilt Trope: This is one of the first modern fighting games, released on the same year when Street Fighter II took the whole world by storm, yet because it was in development before Street Fighter II, it explores the genre very differently from a lot of games that followed it. There are only three playable fighters in the arcade version (even less than 8 characters of Street Fighter II: The World Warrior), there is a temporary Co-Op Multiplayer mode, and it has a plane-switching system that you can exploit to avoid attack and counter it. The much bigger success of Street Fighter ensured many of them would stay in Fatal Fury only.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The SNES port replaces the arm wrestling mini-game with one using the fighting engine where you kick tires that bounce towards you.
  • You Killed My Father: Terry and Andy's goal to beat Geese Howard is to avenge the death of their father, Jeff.