Garō Densetsu Special
餓狼伝説スペシャル

Victor

Price 6,800円

Released 21/03/1995

  • 1-2 Player
  • Action
  • 6 Button pad compatible

Overview

The third and final Garō Densetsu (Fatal Fury) title released for Sega’s 16-Bitter is another one-on-one fighter converted from SNK’s Neo Geo hardware. The game is an improved version of Garō Densetsu 2, with extra characters and stages, as well as an improved combo system.

The four ‘boss’ characters from Garō Densetsu 2 are now playable, as well as three characters returning from the original Garō Densetsu. Ryo Sakazaki from Ryuuko No Ken completes the roster of sixteen characters.

Comment

Another Neo Geo fighter makes the jump to Sega’s console, and while not perfect, it’s well worth a look. At first glance it looks like a very faithful port, but when a 150 megabit game is being squeezed into the Mega-CD’s limited RAM, some concessions are inevitable. As is usual, the animation has been reduced. While noticeable, it doesn’t really affect the experience. Some of the other omissions do reduce the overall quality of the game; the backgrounds have suffered the most in this respect. Almost all the animation is gone, and all the spectators are missing.

Graphically the backgrounds are a passable imitation of the arcade original, but without the movement they seem lifeless and make the game look unfinished. Also missing are the time of day transitions, so dusk doesn’t set in as rounds pass. Samples are plentiful, but the game is missing the fight start and end announcements. Whether these issues are due to the lack of available RAM, a lack of development time, or a mixture of both is anyone’s guess. The buffalo stampede in Laurence Blood’s stage has made it to Mega-CD, but it looks a little odd compared to the original.

Now that what’s missing has been covered, it’s time to look at what’s still there. Luckily, there are few complaints in this department. The sprites are large and well drawn, looking remarkably like their Neo Geo counterparts. Presentation is great, with the arcade version’s intro intact, and pleasant visuals throughout. Loading times are acceptable, and the music is the same as the Neo Geo version, albeit played from the CD. A special mention goes to Krauser’s theme, a pulse-pounding classical piece that suits the action perfectly.

The best news is that the gameplay has made the transition intact. The two-plane fighting system is present and correct, although the sprites no longer scale. Controls are responsive and fluid, with specials and combos a joy to perform. A six-button controller is recommended for this game.

Despite the shortcomings mentioned, Garō Densetsu Special is a worthy addition to any Mega-CD collection. It’s great looking, with some of the best use of colour on the Mega-CD on display in its character sprites. Audio is good throughout, loading times are acceptable, and gameplay is up there with the best of the Mega Drive’s one-on-one brawlers.

Notes

Ryu Sakazaki is a hidden character in the Neo Geo original, but he’s available by default on Mega-CD.

‘Garō Densetsu’ means ‘Legend of the Hungry Wolf’ in English, the game series title was changed to Fatal Fury outside of Japan however.

The game is an improved evolution of Garō Densetsu 2, rather than a new game in its own right. It is much like Street Fighter II’ Champion Edition compared to Street Fighter II’ The World Warrior.

Screenshots

Garō Densetsu Special Title Screen
Garō Densetsu Special Main Menu
Garō Densetsu Special Character Select
Garō Densetsu Special Gameplay