The Fatal Fury series has always been a lot of fun and I remember playing through the collections not too long ago back on the PS2. Well, Garou takes an interesting turn here as the main character is Rock Howard, son of the infamous Geese Howard from the OG games. He doesn’t want to go down that same dark path but is there any way for him to actually avoid it?
As with most street fighter type games there isn’t one singular story mode here but an individual arcade mode for each character. It’s been a while since I got to do this so I went in and beat the Arcade mode with all characters so I could get a good sense of the full story. After all, each character has a different route and you find out a lot more about them this way. In some sense I like to imagine that all of the stories happened back to back but of course some are accurate and some would not be based on how their endings go. Personally as the main character I feel like Rock’s story had to happen and by extension then Terry’s does as well and then the rest would be suspect.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that the dialogue here is absolutely great. The characters have a lot of fun with what is going on here. Cain’s right hand man actually sympathizes with a lot of the heroes as they go up against him. He tends to adapt his personality to who he is fighting as well. Sometimes he will be talking a really good game as a dark overlord and other times he’s very casual and just seems to be here for fun. Cain is much more of a consistent villain through and through who has a fun time seeing through people using his fists. One of his best moments is when you play in his story mode so he confronts the fake Cain at the end. The fact that the game acknowledges the characters meeting their shadow doppelganger at the end is great.
The meta aspect of this helps to really push Garou’s arcade mode to be one of the more memorable ones that I’ve played in a long while so going through all of the stories was fun. Naturally some of the other characters aren’t quite as memorable but at least the big guys like Terry, Rock, Cain, and the others are all a blast to play through. The villains tend to have the best movesets but you definitely can’t go wrong with Terry’s classic blows and shockwaves. He’s a good character to start off with.
It’s also interesting seeing an older Terry who’s effectively retired and now just likes a good game of pickup Basketball. He’s really got his life in order at this point which is nice to see. It’s not like you can stay in the ring forever right? Eventually you age out and so Terry quickly found his new life’s purpose just the way you would have hoped that he could have. Based on the ending to the game though there’s probably going to be some drama between Terry and Rock since it looks like Rock is making the same mistakes again.
The average arcade mode will take you anywhere between 15-25 minutes to complete based of course on the match settings you used. For the first story I played it straight with 3 rounds of 60 seconds but for the rest I did 1 round to speed it up. Completing the game with all of the characters should take you around 3 hours I’d say. Then you can get some extra replay value by trying to grab all of the PS4 trophies here. An extra mode that’s around is Survival so you can test your skills against waves of opponents. It goes without saying that this will not be an easy endeavor because there are definitely a lot of these guys just waiting to knock you out. There’s also limitless replay value with the versus mode as well which is always a perk of being a fighting game. The fun just never needs to end since each match is different.
The gameplay is of course that of a 2D fighter. You use punches, kicks, grabs, and the occasional energy move in order to chip away at your opponent’s life bar. The characters don’t move very fast on the ground so you are really going to need to learn what your character’s safe moves are and attack accordingly. Take measure of your opponent and then go in with your own moves. Patience will definitely serve you well in this game. If you are looking to cheese the opponent though, then I recommend characters with long reach like using Cain’s claw type energy attacks.
Graphically the game has aged well. The characters all look to be on point and the illustrations are solid as well. The game has a bunch of catchy themes within it so the whole package works well. The only odd thing visually is that not all of the characters fit on the character screen so if you keep scrolling right to the point where you can’t see anything, you’ll see two extra characters. These are the two main villains so maybe it’s actually a little secret on the game’s part that you can play as them. It’s pretty neat as a surprise of course but I feel like once you find them then maybe the roster screen should expand or something. I’d never seen this done before though so that was interesting.
Overall, Garou is definitely a solid fighting game that I would recommend checking out. It gives you a look at what the Fatal Fury characters are doing now which is nice to see. It’s definitely a series that could have a lot of future potential with spinoffs and sequels down the line. There’s no need for it to really end which is key. The gameplay is all on point so it’s a game that will hold up even in the modern era. The A.I. is also impressively good at dealing with projectile spam in this game. You can’t fly through arcade mode with little energy blasts or grabs like in most games. You’ll need to string some real hits along so playing this game should help with your fundamentals.