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Video Game / Garou: Mark of the Wolves

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Legends don't die. They get better!

Certainly, they existed...
Those blinded by ambition.
Those consumed with vengeance.
But here, they do not exist.
Only winners and losers here.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves is the 8th overall installment of the Fatal Fury series (5th canonically), and the final installment to appear on the Neo Geo system. It's been a decade since Geese Howard's death at the end of Real Bout Fatal Fury, and the once Wretched Hive of Southtown is thriving without his influence. But just down the coast at Second Southtown, however, some things never change. Without someone running the show, the criminal underworld is scrambling to take over what Geese left behind. In the meantime, Southtown's heroes of yesteryear have moved on; most have retired, but others are training a whole new generation of fighters. Despite being a Living Legend, Terry Bogard has spent the last ten years raising Rock Howard - Geese's son - as his own protégé. Rock is now old and strong enough to forge his own path, but he's still haunted by his lineage... And mystery of what happened to his mother. With the start of the brand-new King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem tournament, it seems like old wounds won't heal just yet.

Originally released in 1999, Garou was a drastic departure from the previous Fatal Fury games. Aside from Terry Bogard, the entire cast was replaced by newcomers, many of which were children and/or students of their predecessors. The two-plane dodging system and stage hazards were removed entirely. The combo mechanics were brought more in line with the ABCD layout of The King of Fighters, and the brand-new T.O.P. System allowed characters to perform specific attacks depending on how much health meter they had. Most importantly, this game introduces the Just Defense System, which lets players parry oncoming attacks if they block with precise timing.

Many fans have long considered it to be the pinnacle of SNK's fighting game library. Until the last few years, however, Garou was widely regarded as a Cult Classic due to its release being limited to the arcades, Neo Geo, Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation 2, with only the Dreamcast port released in North America in 2001. This all changed in 2016, when it was announced the game would be ported to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Since then, this has been expanded to Windows (via Steam and, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and the Neo Geo Mini. On January 22, 2020, it was announced that the GOG, Steam, Playstation 4 and Vita versions would receive an updated rollback netcode. As a result, Garou is making quite a comeback.

On August 7th 2022 at EVO, after 23 years, it was announced that a sequel, titled Fatal Fury / Garou Densetsu : City of the Wolves as of August 2023, is in production.

The game has examples of the following tropes:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: If Rock's given date of birthnote  is anything to go by (as well as Terry's note ), the game is set sometime around 2006, seven years after its initial 1999 release.
  • '80s Hair: Khushnood Butt may have a funny name and an incredible pompadour. But he is easily one of the finest examples of the Afro Asskicker in gaming history.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: What the Lillien Knights basically amount to. Despite looking like The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, they're not entirely ineffectual; they only target the rich, know how to run a submarine, wield tremendous firepower, and joined the tournament specifically to loot Kain's mansion. They fail, but only because they were too busy saving B. Jenet's life.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Gato is the poster boy for this for all of SNK, and serves as the current page image for the trope. He's aloof and serious, uses Kung Fu, but has no problem trash talking his opponents.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Given that Second Southtown was based on Miami, it has the best and worst of what you'd expect of a bustling metropolis. It has lush forests and waterfalls... Yet it also somehow has the S.S.P. Maneuver Field, which looks like a vast desert that happens to be right on the edge of the city. So unless there's some invisible mountain creating a rain shadow, that particular area shouldn't exist.
  • Asshole Victim: Gato is a jerk to everyone, especially to Hotaru. So when he's blinded in his ending by his father, it's hard to feel sorry for him.
  • Attack Reflector: Hotaru is the only character that has one, which makes her more viable against Kain and other characters who utilize projecticles. In mirror matches, it's even possible to play tennis.
  • Barbarian Long Hair: Freeman has long, scraggly hair that befits his personality.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Gato wants to track down his father in revenge for his mother's murder. He finds who appears to be his father, only to get his ass kicked and blinded.
  • Big Eater: Hokutomaru's win pose has him eating three apples. Given that happens once per match, those snacks add up very quickly.
  • Big Fancy House: Kain lives at The Dark Palace, which is decorated with a huge dome, columns, a chessboard floor, hawk statues, flags, banners, a garden... and portrait of Marie, who is Kain's sister and Rock's mother. The weather sets the mood, too; it's a chilly, cloudless night with shooting stars and mist. If you taunt, it'll stir up some Dramatic Wind and a few leaves.
  • Big Honking Traffic Jam: Hokutomaru causes one in the middle of Southtown by just walking in the street. You can make this even worse by running from the left corner of the screen to the right in the first round, and then doing the opposite in the second. This will result in two more accidents and several cameos by other SNK characters.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Just because Kain is defeated doesn't mean he's done. He and Grant are still consolidating power within Southtown's criminal underworld, and now they've got Rock on their side. Rock feels bad about his Face–Heel Turn, but did so to find his mother. Terry is having doubts about Southtown's future, Gato fails miserably at his revenge and ends up blind, Hotaru is still alone, B. Jenet narrowly survives and has nothing to show for it, and while Freeman is hunted down, it'll never bring Marky's father back.
  • Blood Brothers: Grant swears allegiance with Kain to help fulfill their ideals, complete with a special intro animation.
  • Blood Knight: Freeman is a serial killer, and is easily the most bloodthirsty character in the game.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Dong Hwan is naturally highly gifted and can wield a ridiculous amount of power, but he hates training and would rather slack off. But when he ''does'' get serious, opponents learn not to underestimate him the hard way. He doesn't have many good combos, but his supers are absurdly powerful, and one will crush the opponent's guard and stun them if it's fully blocked. Thanks to his fast walking speed, super jump, and unique wall jump, he has surprising amount of mobility. He's also one of the few characters who has a hidden super, in which he suddenly runs up to his opponent, does a devastating rapid-fire kick combo, and finishes it off by frying them with a multi-hit lightning bolt.
  • Bring It: Grant is calm and ready to take any and all comers. "Now show me your awesome power... show me all you have."
  • Calling Your Attacks: Tizoc has this down to an art form. Not only does he have an arsenal of stylish wrestling moves, but his Large Ham tendencies make them entertaining.
  • The Casino: Dong Hwan takes place in front of Oriental Casino Woo, with Panda Girls frequently walking by and waving in the background. Given how the stages tend to reflect the characterization or actions of their respective fighters, this says a lot about Dong Hwan's indulgent, but lazy personality.
  • Clock Tower: Hotaru's battle is atop the Philanthropy Belfry overlooking Southtown. While most of these setting are generally ominous, the tone is as lighthearted and pleasant as your opponent; the view is lovely, and Disturbed Doves come and go every few seconds. You can get the massive bells in background to ring via taunting, but even that isn't very scary. If you make it to the third round, the scene will switch to night, and taunting will summon bats instead.
  • Collapsing Lair: Kain's palace does this in every ending except for his, Rock’s, and Grant's.
  • Combat Stilettos: B. Jenet's Ennui Mademoiselle, a hidden special in which she takes off one her heels and smacks her target repeatedly with it.
  • Composite Character: Freeman's appearance is a weird combination of a few King of Fighters characters: Iori and Benimaru in terms of his personality and wardrobe, and Mature and Vice in terms of his fighting style.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: This happens in a few endings. Terry spends some time reflecting on what Kain said to him, and where Southtown is going, but a group of kids drop by and both ease his fears and lighten his mood. Jae Hoon also ponders over Kain's perspective on justice, but Dong Hwan easily snaps him out of it. Tizoc briefly considers retiring, but stays in the game after hearing a fan gush about him.
  • Continuity Cameo: The huge traffic jam that Hokutomaru causes is absolutely brimming with SNK cameos:
    • Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami from The King of Fighters can be seen talking in the crowd, standing behind the red and green cars near the center of the stage. Benimaru will join them in Round 2. Leona, Mature, and Clark will join them in Round 3.
    • Moriya and the normal version of Kaede from The Last Blade are in the red car. In Round 2, Moriya will check the engine of his car, and Kaede will angrily transform into his awakened form, only to be held back by a police officer. In Round 3, they'll be joined by Yuki and Akari, who will be standing just behind Moriya in back of the car.
    • If you trigger the crash in the left corner, Kasumi Todoh from Art of Fighting 3 is sitting on one of the crashed taxis. In Round 3, Yuri and Robert from Art of Fighting, Ralf from The King of Fighters, and the younger version of Terry will be standing behind the taxis.
    • If you trigger the crash in the right corner, Ryo Sakazaki will be sheepishly standing in front of the crashed bus while being lectured to by a police officer. The cause of the wreck is his memetic motorcycle from Art of Fighting.
    • One of the billboards on the center building has portraits of Andy and Mai. The one directly below it has Alfred from Real Bout Garou Densetsu Special Dominated Mind and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2. One of the billboards on the left side of the stage is a pixelated version of Shinkiro's Japanese Real Bout Fatal Fury arcade flyer and cover art.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Rock may be Geese's son, but he was raised by Terry. As such, his move set is a combination of both men's moves, but with his own twists. He doesn't have Geese's raw power or Terry's simple inputs, but he's faster and more versatile than both. If you win with one of Geese's supers, Rock will nearly be overcome by his Blood Rage.
    • Dong Hwan and Jae Hoon have made cameos in almost every game in the series since Fatal Fury Special. After the Time Skip, they're now old enough to compete. Longtime Kim Kaphwan players will immediately see that his move set has been divided evenly between the two brothers with at least one shared move.
    • Hokutomaru has weaker versions of Andy and Mai's moves, indicating they're still close and moved on to mentor roles.
    • Khushnood Butt is nearly a carbon copy of his mentor, Ryo Sakazaki from the Art of Fighting series.
    • Cheng Sinzan from Fatal Fury 2 is among the crowd in the background of the casino stage. This is a nod to his success as a businessman - legitimate or otherwise - as well as his greed and penchant for gambling. He's also the last living member of Tung Fu Rue's three students, the Three Brothers of Godly Battle.
  • Comic-Book Time: Averted. Unlike most video game series, Fatal Fury's continuity follows real-time. Garou takes place in 2006, and almost the entire cast being replaced reflects that. Fighting tournaments generally skew towards the younger contenders, after all. Terry is 35 in this, and while he's still perfectly capable of winning, he's more reserved. Andy, Mai, Kim, and Ryo have all become mentors to a new generation, which makes sense. Joe Higashi has moved up in his career, and is now too busy defending his Muay Thai championship to help. Tung Fu Rue isn't even mentioned despite being such an important character in the lore; he would've been 82, and long past the point of keeping up with the kids. Meanwhile, Kevin is stated to be 37, and he only joined the tournament to track down a serial killer, not save the city from the likes of Kain.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Geese and Kain both grew up in poverty and clawed their way to the top, but the similarities end there. Geese Howard was more of a classic mobster who slowly rose through the underworld, seeking only power. He was a ruthless murderer who had the typical vices of a criminal mastermind. In terms of design, he was manly and relied mostly on close-range attacks and counters, with only a couple of projecticles. His only quirk was that he was a massive Occidental Otaku. Meanwhile, Kain is a Visionary Villain who is driven by the philosophy that people need struggle and hardship to appreciate their lives, and the strong should rule over the weak. He also wants Southtown to secede from America and become its own city-state where violence rules, which is something Geese never would've considered. Kain is more of an Anti-Villain with lofty ideas and ambitions, but going about it the wrong way. Unlike his predecessor, Kain relies on his intellect and psychology - not physical threats - to manipulate his opponents. In terms of design, he's a Bishōnen who relies mostly on projectile spamming, has charge inputs, and lacks Geese's finely-honed techniques and physical prowess. He also leans really heavily into his German heritage and plays up his wealth and aristocratic image.
  • Cultured Badass: Kain enjoys reading and classical music, wears a stylish suit, is very observant, and is more than willing to discuss philosophy with his opponents.
  • Cool Boat: B. Jenet's pirate submarine.
  • Deal with the Devil: At some point, Grant made a deal with an unknown demonic entity to attain the Ankoku Karate (Dark Karate). It basically gave him massive power and speed boosts, and the ability to augment his attacks with dark auras.
  • Death Seeker: Grant was shot while protecting Kain from an assassination attempt. The bullet was lodged too close to his heart for it to be safely removed. Since then, Grant has been living each day like it's his last, hoping to go out in one last epic battle.
  • Didn't Think This Through: If you're a serial killer on the run from the authorities, the last thing you'd want to do is draw attention to yourself. Yet Freeman joins a high-profile martial arts tournament because he just can't resist the temptation to kill strong opponents. Kevin bets on this, and it works like a charm. Predictably, the SWAT team quickly hunts Freeman down and shoots him in the ending. Having a magic aura that makes your arms as sharp as knives won't protect you from a sniper rifle.
  • Diner Brawl: Rock's stage is the parking lot outside the Live House Old Line, which appears to be some kind of club or moderately popular restaurant. The crowd on the balcony will cheer whenever someone taunts, and one of the car's lights will flicker.
  • Distant Finale: There's a ten year Time Skip between Geese's death and the start of this game. Aside from Terry, all of the old faces are long gone and replaced by a new generation.
  • Double Jump: Hokutomaru has one, benefiting of his training as a ninja.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Kevin Rian is hellbent on hunting down the guy who murdered his partner, but the only lead he has is that the killer is a man with long hair. Literally every playable male character has reasonably long hair. He ends up suspecting Terry, of all people. Freeman was the culprit. Obviously.
  • Evil Brit: Freeman is a British serial killer that somehow gets to Southtown. This is also subverted with B. Jenet, who is also British criminal, but definitely isn't evil.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Geese may have been a terrible person, but he was a criminal mastermind. With him gone, the underworld is scrambling for power. Kain ends up taking control, mainly because he's Geese's brother-in-law.
    • It's been a decade since Geese's death, and there's still plenty of evil out there. Second Southtown's criminal underworld is still vying for as much power as possible. Mr. Big and Billy Kane are nowhere to be found, and the latter would've been middle aged by this point. Memories of Stray Wolves also reveals that Krauser committed suicide years ago after being defeated by Terry.
  • Evil Uncle: The ending reveals that Kain is Marie's brother, making him Rock's uncle. Needless to say, the latter did not take it well.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Rock ends up joining Kain in the finale, mainly because Kain promises to tell him where his mother is. He's clearly not thrilled about this and apologizes to Terry, but the latter wishes him well.
  • Femme Fatale: Despite being a pirate, B. Jenet isn't exactly evil by Fatal Fury standards, but she has no problem with flirting with enemies.
  • Fish out of Water: Hokutomaru was raised in the mountains, and thus has no experience with modern society. When he reaches downtown, he causes a massive traffic jam and a few accidents by walking in the middle of the street.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Dong Hwan is a laid back goofball who hates training, but has a lot of natural talent and power. Jae Hoon is dedicated and disciplined, and has developed his abilities. Both fight evenly with the other. This is played with in the latter's ending; Jae Hoon is pondering over what Kain said about justice, second guessing his own beliefs. Dong Hwan's more practical, down-to-Earth attitude quickly snaps him out of it.
  • Friendly Local Koreatown: Jae Hoon's fight is set in the Yok Chong Market. There are a few open barbecue restaurants, tons of Korean signs, and several Taekwondo practitioners. If you have a match between Dong Hwan and Jae Hoon here, even more of these guys will show up - dressed in the colors of their preferred fighter - and cheer whenever their favorite taunts, does one of their supers, or wins.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: B. Jenet usually isn't taken seriously in the story. After all, she's just a rich young woman who got bored and decided to become a pirate. But in terms of gameplay, she's an incredibly powerful character due to her excellent combos, range, and mobility. Meanwhile, Rock is on the bottom tier despite being the main character and having some of Geese's moves and years of Terry's training.
  • Generation Xerox: Jae Hoon plays this straight at first glance; he's got his father's sense of justice, discipline, dedication, etc. and has his more well-known techniques, but he ends up contemplating if the justice he ascribes to is truly the correct way. Double Subverted in his ending where Dong Hwan, of all people, snaps him out of it.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Gato has three on his back, courtesy of his father.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: B. Jenet is British, and is the sole Ms. Fanservice in the game due to Mai Shiranui being gone. The only other playable female character is Hotaru, who is only a teenager.
  • Gratuitous English: Terry and B. Jenet practically compete to see who can out-English the other when it comes to calling their attacks. It's justified in that they're from America and the United Kingdom respectively, but they still sound bizarre and occasionally grating.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: While Rock’s hair is a regular shade of blonde in the game itself, the official artwork depicts it with a rather noticeable green tint. This was corrected in later depictions.
  • Handicapped Badass: Gato ends up blinded by a man who appears to be his father. Also, the fact that Grant is suffering from a near-fatal bullet wound will not prevent him from brutally demolishing you.
  • Happy Ending Override: Just because Terry is a A Hero to His Hometown and a Living Legend doesn't mean he agrees with where Southtown is going. People, priorities, perspectives, politics, and everything else can change over time. Even if you save a city, it doesn't mean it'll stay that way, and you could easily be forgotten.
  • Happily Adopted: Thanks to being raised under Terry's wing over the last decade, Rock has developed into a good and reasonably stable young man.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Jae Hoon inherited his father's discipline, and has helped finely honed his abilities and in some ways surpass his father. Despite all of that work, he can still only fight evenly with his brother Dong Hwan, who is a Brilliant, but Lazy slacker who has far more natural talent and raw power.
  • Harmful to Minors: Supplemental materials reveal that Kain grew up in poverty, and once witnessed a child die violently in the streets. This is what triggered his ambitions for power, and would later shape his Social Darwinist philosophy.
  • Hermit Guru: Khushnood Butt lives and trains deep in the woods, complete with wild karate bears.
  • Hunk: Terry was always one, but the years have been exceedingly kind to him. The new haircut and the bomber jacket give him a slightly more reserved, but stylish look befitting his age and character growth.
  • Insufferable Genius: Dong Hwan knows he's a genius who is gifted with tremendous power, and spends a lot of time mocking his opponents and goofing off because he doesn't think he needs to learn technique. It seems that not even getting beaten by Jae Hoon in the semifinals, should that happen, is enough to get him to change his ways for long.
  • Internal Homage: Via a Meaningful Echo. Geese once famously called Terry a "pin-headed son of an ice cream maker." When Terry tells Kain that no man is an island, Kain mocks it as a "pin-headed cliché." That's a very specific insult meant to invoke Geese's memory for longtime fans.
  • In the Blood: Rock may not be Geese, but he definitely has some of his moves. If he wins a match using his Neo Raging Storm or Neo Deadly Rave (moves he "inherited" from Geese), he'll slump down to the floor in pain, agonizingly and momentarily unable to control his Blood Rage.
    • According to Wordof God, he learnt Geese’s attacks without even realizing it.
  • Jerkass: Gato is a ruthless lone wolf who looks down on people, and treats them with arrogance and contempt. This includes Hotaru, who is not only the sweetest character in the game by far, but is highly implied to be his sister.
  • Kick Chick: Wind manipulation aside, B. Jenet's attacks mostly revolve around kicks. Special mention goes to her divekick, which allows her to slow and alter her jump trajectory while gracefully spinning in the air. Along with her high slit dress, it all accentuates her appearance.
  • Kick the Dog: In Hotaru’s ending; Gato bluntly and cruelly denies Hotaru's belief that they're siblings, leaving her crestfallen. Even if it wasn't true (and the game strongly implies it is), that's no way to talk to a lonely, but hopeful kid. This is the only moment in the game where the otherwise sweet and adorable Hotoru looks genuinely sad.
  • Knight Templar: Grant fully supports Kain's plan to make sure only the strongest people of Southtown survive, and leave the rest to die.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Kain was driven to become a criminal mastermind over the despair of the supposed death of his sister, Marie. The fact that she's still alive is what drives Rock to change sides as well.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Rock's ending reveals that not only is Kain his Evil Uncle, but his mother is still alive as well.
  • Manly Man: In a game with a ruggedly handsome aged mentor, a huge and hammy luchador, and hulking monster of a man possessed by a demon, the most manly character is Khushnood Butt. He's Ryo's disciple, and the years of Kyokugenryu Karate training have given him a body so well cut, his rippling muscles literally burst out of his gi when he flexes in his win pose. His training grounds are deep in the woods, where he can focus and be alone in nature. He uses a wrecking ball as part of his equipment. There's a massive tree laying broken in the background, which he likely chopped barehanded. He trains with karate bears, and looks as gruff and grizzled as they do. He also cries when he reads Disney picture books.
  • Martial Pacifist: Despite being a highly skilled fighter, Hotaru only cares about getting her family back together. Even when she wins the tournament, she ends up failing her true mission miserably.
  • Masked Luchador: Tizoc sports an awesome griffon mask and has several awesome acrobatic wrestling moves. However, he's far bulkier than real-life luchadors; he's a Mighty Glacier akin to the likes of Raiden/Big Bear or Zangief.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall: You'll find Gato at Barbaroi Falls and fight him while surrounded on three sides by the falls. Depending on how many rounds you get, the lighting will transition from sundown to night to sunrise. While this is just a case of Cut and Paste Environments via different coloring, it could also be interpreted as Gato being too strong and stubborn to be defeated so quickly.
  • Mighty Glacier: In terms of durability and raw power, however, Tizoc is outclassed by Khushnood Butt and Grant, both of whom absolutely tower over the others and can take - and dish out - a ton of damage.
  • Missing Mom: Rock always wondered what happened to his mother, Marie. This is how Kain tempts him over to his side in the ending.
  • Motion Parallax: The game has parallax scrolling enabling its backgrounds.
  • Murderous Thighs: Gato provides a rare male version. One of his supers ends with him jumping onto the shoulders of his opponent and snapping their neck.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Hotaru uses internal "soft" martial arts, such as Tai chi and Baguazhang, and can easily keep up with Gato, who uses external "hard" martial arts like Bajiquan. She may not match his raw power, but she can connect with multiple weaker hits and follow them up with projectiles and reflectors.
  • Never Found the Body: In Freeman's ending, he's shot by a SWAT team. But his body lands in a river, and gets washed away before the kill can be confirmed. He's never been in any (canon) SNK games since, though.
  • No Indoor Voice: Unlike his mentor Andy or his relative Mai, Hokutomaru isn't a Highly-Visible Ninja, he's a Highly Audible one. You'll hear his attacks from a mile away, and his stage is a massive traffic jam he causes.
  • Non-Idle Rich:
    • B. Jenet comes from a wealthy family of British aristocrats, but decides to become a modern day pirate captain out of sheer boredom. Despite such a background, she's not a Rich Bitch, and is perfectly friendly and/or flirty with the rest of the cast.
    • Kain is another example, albeit a villainous example. While he may be one of the richest people in the already very well-off Second Southtown, he firmly believes that people can only truly life through struggle and conflict, and for the most part does practice what he preaches.
  • Notorious Parent: Rock's father is none other that Geese Howard, the Big Bad of the series.
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: Blue Wave Harbor isn't safe due to the presence of pirates, but especially because the Lillien Knights have accidentally destroyed the dock by raising their submarine into it.
  • Parental Abandonment: Hotaru's mother was murdered, and her father vanished. On a more plot relevant note, Rock's ending reveals that his mother Marie might still be alive after all. Kain promises to give him answers, leading to Rock joining him.
  • Playing with Fire: A few characters have this power. Hokutomaru trained in the art of Shiranui-ryuu Ninjutsu, and inherited some of Mai's pyrotechnics. Jae Hoon enhances most of his kicks with flames, and practically all of Kevin's specials involve Stuff Blowing Up. Kain will spam you with stylish lavender flame projectiles before running in with a burning charge or flying kick.
  • Police Brutality: Kevin is a highly trained SWAT officer going up against what amount to local martial artists and small-time criminals.
  • Punch Parry: Garou introduces the Just Defense System, which allows you parry attacks by pressing back just as the attack would connect. Not only does this allow you to No-Sell almost any attack in the game, but pulling it off successfully will recover a little health and quickly counter attack via Guard Canceling.
  • Raised by Rival: Terry adopts Rock after Geese's death. As a result, Rock's move set is a combination of variations of the two characters' moves. For example, he can do Geese's Counter-Attack, but the counter comes in the form of Terry's Crack Shoot.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Khushnood Butt continues the proud Kyokugenryu Karate tradition of the iconic Zanretsuken as his T.O.P. attack.
  • Razor-Sharp Hand: Freeman's hands are inexplicably as sharp as knives, and he can create larger auras that cut through the air by just waving his arms.
  • Revenge: This is Gato's entire motivation. One day, his father murdered his mother, attacked him hard enough to leave massive scars on his back, and vanished. Since then, Gato has abandoned everything in order to train himself and track down his Disappeared Dad. The reunite in the ending, just long enough for Gato's father to blind his son and save Kain.
  • Serial Killer: Freeman is a serial killer currently on the loose in Southtown. He's already racked up a body count, including Kevin's partner.
  • Shotoclone: Khushnood Butt is a Kyokugenryu Karate practitioner, giving him the usual fireball, uppercut, and flying kicks. The super versions of these, however, are some of the flashiest and most devastating moves in the game, if not any fighter of that time.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Jae Hoon and Dong Hwan fulfill this along with a health dose of Red Oni, Blue Oni. Jae Hoon is the calm, focused, and disciplined one, while Dong Hwan is lazy and irresponsible. Oddly enough, they reverse the elemental theming that usually goes with these kinds of pairings. Jae Hoon augments his attacks with fully controlled flames, while Dong Hwan is all about flashy lightning bursts.
    • It’s interestingly played with in Jae Hoon’s ending as well. After the fight with Kain, Jae Hoon is left questioning his own beliefs, but Dong Hwan’s more down-to-earth attitude helps him overcome this.
  • Smug Super: Kain is much nicer than Geese, but there's an unmistakable air of condescension and superiority about him. But given how powerful he is, he's definitely not all talk.
  • SNK Boss: It's a Fatal Fury game, so this is to be expected. Grant has so much raw power at his disposal that he can slaughter any of the characters with just a few hits. His AI is infuriatingly patient, can casually crush jump-ins with his high priority anti-airs, and will methodically poke holes in your defenses.
    • Kain doesn't seem that bad in comparison. He doesn't have Geese's absurd counters and ridiculous damage output. Instead, he'll quickly spam multi-hit fireballs both horizontally and diagonally when he's at a distance, forcing you to block or learn the Just Defense system very, very quickly. That goes double if you try jumping in on him. When you make it to the second round, it doesn't look like much has changed... until you see his life bar. The entire thing is flashing, meaning he has access to his T.O.P. Mode - automatic healing, damage boosting, and access to a move that lets him do a flying, flaming kick across most of the screen. Combined with his supers - an assortment of Painfully Slow Projectile orbs and overhead lasers - Kain can basically whittle down your defenses at any range, and absolutely destroy you if you make a mistake.
  • The Social Darwinist: Kain believes that people need suffering to value their lives, the strong should rule over the weak, and that the future of Southtown should be built upon violence.
  • Some Dexterity Required: Almost averted, with most special attacks being simple enough for beginners to consistently pull off and almost every super being a simple double quarter circle forward. However, there are a few exceptions such as B. Jenet’s Ennui Mademoiselle which requires a Just Defense and both versions of Tizoc’s Big Fall Griffon which is activated with a 720 motion.
  • Soul Brotha: Khushnood Butt looks like someone straight out of a Blaxploitation karate film from The '70s. It's played entirely straight, making him one of the most badass fighters in a series full of badasses.
  • Spear Counterpart: In appearance, Kevin is this for Blue Mary. Both characters use Sambo and have somewhat similar clothes, but in terms of gameplay, Kevin's raw power and explosive punches are far more like those Ralf Jones from The King of Fighters.
  • Stock Desert Interstate: Kevin's S.S.P. Maneuver Field takes place here, thus inexplicably giving Southtown a desert.
  • Technician Versus Performer: In the story, Jae Hoon spends all his time training and honing his technique. Dong Hwan hates training, but possesses a lot of natural ability and power. This is actually reflected in the gameplay as well. Jae Hoon is a better rounded character who works best at close and mid range with a lot of fast combos and options, but requires a little finesse to pull off some of his best combos. Dong Hwan has slower, but stronger attacks with deceptively good range. His combos are shorter but he has better maneuverability, forcing him to do to rely more on hit and run tactics. He has insanely good and flashy supers, but doesn't have many options for quickly building meter.
  • Temple of Doom: You'll find Grant at his training grounds, which are massive underground temple decorated with huge columns, a skull statue, and several pyres. If you taunt, the flames will flare up for brief moment.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Tizoc briefly thinks of hanging up his mask for good in his ending, but all it takes is hearing a young boy's gushing about him to keep going. He doesn’t even put his mask down.
  • Traintop Battle: Terry's stage is located on The Freight Express, though the fight takes place on top of a flatbed instead of a roof. The second round takes places after the train has stopped at a station, and the third takes place as the train crosses a bridge.
  • True Final Boss: The only way to reach Kain and get an actual ending is to maintain a high enough rating through all of your fights. Otherwise, you'll just face Grant.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The gangsters of Southtown don't seem to take Kain seriously, and were even plotting his assassination. But just because he's not a megalomaniac like Geese doesn't mean he's harmless. He was only 8 years old when he had his first street fight, overthrew the mob boss that adopted him, and was a part of the Howard Connection for several years. Even if he wasn't Playing with Fire, he's a highly intelligent, methodical, and manipulative mobster with tons of experience and resources at his disposal. In Kain's ending, he and Grant are seen slaughtering his enemies and are well on their way to consolidating power over Southtown.
  • Urban Hellscape: Freeman's Slam Free Field takes place here. The main fight takes place under an elevated train platform, the buildings are all abandoned, decaying, and covered in graffiti, there's smoke coming out of the sewer grates, there's wrecked cars direcly in the background, the street lights flicker, and you can just barely see a homeless person shrouded in the darkness and picking through trash bins.
  • Victory Pose: A given, considering it's a Fighting Game, but Garou is unique in having each character have two hidden victory poses activated by pressing forward/backward and the start button (which is normally the Taunt Button) after KOing an opponent but before the character settles into their normal victory pose.
  • Villainous Friendship: Kain and Grant may have twisted philosophies of what Southtown should be, but they are lifelong friends and fiercely loyal to each other.
  • Villain Has a Point: A few characters admit that Kain isn't entirely wrong about the people Southtown becoming too decadent instead of truly valuing their lives. But everyone points out how crazy the rest of philosophical rant sounds.
  • Villainous Legacy: Geese left behind a massive power vacuum in Southtown's underworld. Kain is doing everything he can to take that power for himself because he's Geese's brother-in-law, and fully intends in continuing and building upon his legacy. Rock is technically part of his father's legacy - and even has some of his moves and powers - but wants nothing to do with that life.
  • Visionary Villain: At first glance, it's easy to assume Kain is just another powerful crime boss looking to take over where Geese left off. The reality is a little more complicated than that: He's Geese's brother-in-law, and fully intends on fulfilling his legacy. He's also a Social Darwinist who believes that society has become too decadent. He wants Southtown to declare its independence from America and become a city-state, a place where the inhabitants value their lives, with the strongest ruling over the weak.
  • Warrior Therapist: In some of the endings, Kain briefly picks apart some of his opponents' motivations and perspectives. This manages to shake up some of them, most notably Jae Hoon, Tizoc, and even Terry.
  • Weasel Mascot: Itokatsu is technically a Japanese marten or sable, but fills the role well enough. Hilariously enough, Hotaru can used a secret post-match taunt to summon him to hit downed opponents.
  • We Can Rule Together: Kain offers this to Rock in the latter's ending. Surprisingly, Rock accepts. Not because he's evil, but because Kain promises to tell him where his mother is. Kain also sought out Rock because he needed help deciphering Geese's will and fulfilling his legacy.
  • We Have Become Complacent: Part of Kain's argument about the future of Southtown. Terry, of all people, is seen reflecting on this in the ending.
  • The Worf Effect: Freeman inflicts one to Kim Kaphwan, since he's gotten older after years of not fighting. He's definitely not dead, appearing in Dong Hwan's winning pose at times, though you might end up thinking otherwise when Jae Hoon's victory quote against Freeman is "My father has been avenged!". He wasn't referring that Freeman killed Kim, but more like Kim's defeat stained his good name as a fighter that Jae Hoon had to avenge his honor.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Grant doesn't have much longer to live from the bullet implanted in his chest. Word of God says that the exact time he has left, assuming of course he doesn't die of other circumstances first, is four years.

Yup... It's no bull... It's all about heart...