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Garou: Mark of the Wolves review [Neo Geo/Arcade]
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Today I will be reviewing Garou: Mark of the Wolves (also known as Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves) for the Neo-Geo arcade system. Garou: Mark of the Wolves is a 2D fighting game that debuted in the arcades back in 1999.

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This game takes place 10 years after the events of Real Bout: Fatal Fury. Geese Howard is long since dead and Southtown is starting to forget his existence. Terry Bogard has taken it upon himself to raise Geese Howard’s abandoned son Rock Howard, who hates himself for who his father is. Due to Rock Howard’s training under Terry Bogard, his fighting style is a combination of both Terry and Geese. He is also the main protagonist in this game. The main antagonist for this game is a man named Kain who turns out to be Rock’s uncle, Geese Howard’s brother in law. When you beat the game with Rock, Kain reveals that he knows the whereabouts of his mother, who Rock believed to be dead. Rock then joins Kain, and to this day, no one ever knows what happens after that, as there was no sequel ever made and no type of closure to this cliffhanger.

Garou 1 Garou: Mark of the Wolves review [Neo Geo/Arcade]

Fight in 1 on 1 battles in beautiful levels.

Although the game is a sequel to the Fatal Fury franchise, it’s fighting style is more akin to the King of Fighters series than the Fatal Fury series, as the background/foreground fighting has been removed. What makes the game different from King of Fighters and Fatal Fury is the introduction of the T.O.P (Tactical Offense Position) mode. When the health gauge reaches this area, the character enters the T.O.P. mode, granting the player character the ability to use T.O.P. attack, gradual life recovery, and increased attack damage.

Experience the innovative T.O.P system to bring the pain.

The game has a pretty decent roster, but unfortunately the only returning Fatal Fury character is Terry Bogard who now has a change in appearance no longer sporting his iconic hat, ponytail red vest, and white and red Chuck Taylor all-star shoes to now having shoulder length hair and wearing a brown bomber jacket with a white star that says “Running Wild” below it, white shirt, blue jeans, brown boots and hatless.

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The classic Terry Bogard look

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Terry Bogard, as seen in Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Characters

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Play as various fighters and see if you have what it takes to be the best.

Initial roster

* Terry Bogard – Terry is the main character from earlier installments in the Fatal Fury series. In Garou, he has a new look: his long blond ponytail is trimmed, and he has exchanged his trademark red vest, hat, and shoes for a bomber jacket and brown shoes. Terry has a new Desperation Move (the “Buster Wolf”); however, he can no longer perform his original trademark move (the “Rising Tackle”), which is now Rock Howard’s technique.

* Rock Howard – Rock is the son of Geese Howard and protégé of Terry Bogard (as Terry seemingly killed Geese in Real Bout Fatal Fury and adopted the thus orphaned Rock). He is the main hero of Garou. His fighting style combines techniques of both Terry and Geese, giving him an edge on both offense and defense. He wears a red and white jacket with a white star on the back, similar to Terry’s classic vest. His motif, as used in the game’s logo and in some of his attack and victory animations, is angelic wings.

* Kevin Rian – Kevin is a high-spirited police officer of Second South. He is also a friend to both Terry and Rock. He fights using Sambo (similar to his distant relative Blue Mary), although much of his fighting style revolves more around direct strikes than grappling. He is cheered on during fights by his friend’s son Marky. In Garou, he seeks revenge for the death of his partner, murdered by Freeman.

* Bonne Jenet – Bonne Jenet is a female pirate who is looking for treasure in Second South. Her fighting style involve wind-like projectiles that hit multiple times, and swooping attacks intended to catch opponents with suddenly-changing directions. She is one of two female fighters in Garou, and is noted for her beauty both inside and outside the game; she often exploits it for her own personal gain.

* Kim Dong Hwan – Dong Hwan was taught Taekwondo by his father, Kim Kaphwan, and has a friendly rivalry with his brother Kim Jae Hoon. He is more of a show-off and slacker than his brother, relying more on aerial attacks and juggles (i.e. attacks that strike the opponent into the air uncontrollably). He believes he is a “genius” in the story, and doesn’t need to study diligently in order to master Taekwondo, but his father and brother see it differently.

* Kim Jae Hoon – Jae Hoon was taught Taekwondo by his father, Kim Kaphwan, and is a brother of Dong Hwan’s. Jae Hoon admires his father, so he fights more like him than Dong Hwan does, with a combination of high and low attacks with plenty of power behind them. Like his father, he has a strong sense of justice and chivalry, but unlike his brother, he establishes his strength through constant practice.

* Gato Futaba – Gato is a powerful fighter always in search of stronger opponents. He is the older brother of Hotaru Futaba, but hotly denies this. His actual background and motivations aside from these are unknown. He is often portrayed acting callous to opponents, and is notable for a large claw scar on his back visible in one of his win poses.

* Hotaru Futaba – Hotaru is the younger sister of Gato. She searches for her brother. She is generally very polite and charming, and is accompanied by her pet sable, Itokatsu. Her stage takes is a belfry, where a flock of birds removes her cloak.

* Hokutomaru – Hokutomaru is a ninja who trained under Andy Bogard. He is extremely fast and crafty (with many moves that are among the fastest in the game), making him a nearly unpredictable opponent to deal with. His stage is a traffic accident that he caused, as he was unfamiliar with urban ways due to his age and training.

* Khushnood Butt – Butt is a Kyokugen-style karate expert, who trained under Ryo Sakazaki. He is named Marco Rodriguez in Japan but was renamed in America (possibly to avoid confusion with mixed martial artist Ricco Rodriguez). He leads a somewhat austere life in a wooded area on the outskirts of town, and fights using powerful, deliberate attacks. Just like Ryo, he has several famous moves from Art of Fighting with some of his own derivatives. Many of his victory quotes sound insightful and philosophical, just as serious as his training and demeanor.

* Tizoc – Tizoc is a famous pro wrestler in Second South and is seen as a hero in the eyes of children. Somewhat disillusioned, he enters the tournament in order to rekindle his own interest in fighting. His name in Japanese versions of the game is “The Griffon Mask”.

* Freeman – Freeman, real name unknown, is a mysterious serial killer that fights using slashing movements with his hands as if they were claws. Little is known about him, except that he killed a friend of Kevin Rian, and defeated Kim Kaphwan in a fight.

Bosses

* Grant - Grant, real name Abel Cameron, is a master of the dark style known as Ankoku Karate. Being Kain R. Heinlein’s closest friend and personal bodyguard, he is the sub-boss of the game.

* Kain R. Heinlein - Kain is the mysterious host of Southtown’s “King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem” tournament. Being the younger brother of Marie Howard (Geese Howard’s deceased wife and thus Rock Howard’s mother), he is Rock’s uncle. He is the final boss of the game, but the player needs to have at least an AAA-ranking win average throughout the game in order to reach him (and to see each character’s full ending).

Perform devastating super moves to decimate your opponents.

Visually speaking, this is easily one of the best looking 2D fighting games to come out at the time, if not ever. The animation is very smooth and SNK used quite a bit of pseudo 3D effects for the backgrounds to add a very nice touch. The soundtrack to the game is also well made, as per the usual with SNK fighting games. The songs fit very well with the stages they take place in and quite honestly this is a soundtrack you could consider listening to outside of playing the game.

Overall, I give this game 5 stars. In my opinion it’s one of the best fighting games ever made. It has very solid gameplay, smooth animation, a decent soundtrack, nice level design, and a pretty decent character roster (despite a lack of more Fatal Fury characters, but I won’t rate the game down just because of that.) While the game is most known on the Neo Geo, it was recently added to Xbox Live Arcade. I say if you’re into fighting games, definitely give this game a look.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)
Garou: Mark of the Wolves review [Neo Geo/Arcade], 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
  • https://?u=admin James Ireland

    Noice! Cracking review

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