Nettou Real Bout Garou Densetsu Special 

Nettou Real Bout
Game Boy Nintendo

Nettou Real Bout Garou Densetsu Special 

熱闘リアルバウト餓狼伝説SPECIAL || Takara 1998
Original Post Date: September 23, 2019

The final game chosen to be ported over for the Nettou: Dead Heat Fighters series was none other than Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, an arcade masterpiece which I’d consider to be the pinnacle of SNK’s prolific Fatal Fury series.

By this point, Takara had fully mastered the art of chibi handheld fighting perfection, and as such, the game engine is rather similar than that of its immediate predecessor.

One of the most welcome gameplay additions to fans of the series would be the return to a multi-plane system, a staple mechanic since the original Fatal Fury, sorely missing from the earlier Nettou Fatal Fury 2 conversion. By pressing the A and B buttons together, it is possible to hop into a stage’s background and fight the opponent from opposing planes with a slightly altered moveset.

Just as easily, you can hop freely back into the foreground, and you can also use the plane-switching ability to recover quickly from a knockdown.

Another system unseen in its handheld brethren is a corner guard-crush feature. Each player starts when an equal number of “corner points”, is adjustable from the options menu.

This number will deplete when attacks are landed on a cornered opponent. Once that number reaches zero, the opponent will be temporarily stunned as a unique object for the given level falls on their head, as a bit of slapstick.

It’s an interesting system that makes for a breath of fresh air compared to the typical dizzies seen in the fighting genre.

In terms of its character roster, things have been severely reduced from its arcade brother, cutting the character selection in half, for a total of 12 fan favorites, as well as two secret boss characters unlockable upon clearing a run of the game, those being Geese Howard and the popular Iori Yagami of KOF fame.

Real Bout Special was an excellent way for the Nettou Fighters series to go out – while scaled down heavily, it retains a tremendous amount of engine depth and technical refinement.

Perhaps fittingly, the single greatest strike against this conversion is that it has such irreproachable source material to compete with.

Rating: 8/10

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