Garou: Mark of the Wolves
|Garou: Mark of the Wolves|
Western cover art
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo MVS (688 Mbit cartridge)|
|Display||Raster, 320 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors|
Garou: Mark of the Wolves (餓狼 MARK OF THE WOLVES? Garō Mark of the Wolves, "Hungry Wolf: Mark of the Wolves"), known as Fatal Fury 4: Mark of the Wolves on Dreamcast, is a 1999 fighting game produced by SNK, originally for the Neo Geo system and part of the Fatal Fury series. It is the eighth installment in the Fatal Fury series. It is known for pushing the graphical capabilities of the Neo Geo as well as its colorful roster of characters and highly technical gameplay.
The two-plane system in which characters would fight from two different planes was removed from the game. The game introduces the "Tactical Offense Position" (T.O.P.) which is a special area on the life gauge. When the 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. The game also introduced the "Just Defend" system, which rewards players who successfully block an attack at the last moment with a small amount of health recovery and the ability to immediately counterattack out of block stun. (Just Defend was later added as a feature of K-Groove in Capcom's Capcom vs. SNK 2.) Similar to previous titles, players are given a fighting rank after every round. If the players manages to win all rounds from the Arcade Mode with at least a rank of "AAA", the player will face the boss Kain R. Heinlein, which unlocks an ending once defeating him. If the requirements are not met, then Grant will be the final boss and there will not be a special ending. Additionally, through Arcade Mode, before facing Grant, the player will face a mid-boss which can be any character from the cast depending on the character the player uses.
Ten years after crime lord Geese Howard's death, the city of Southtown has become more peaceful leading it to be known as the Second Southtown (having formerly been corrupted by Geese). A new fighting tournament called "King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem" starts in the area, and several characters related with the fighters from the previous King of Fighters tournaments participate within it.
- Rock Howard – Rock Howard is the son of Geese Howard and protégé of Terry Bogard as well as the new lead character 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.
- Terry Bogard – The main hero from the previous Fatal Fury games and the only returning fighter in Garou. In Garou, he has a new look: his long blond ponytail is trimmed, and he has exchanged his trademark red vest, hat, and sneakers for a brown bomber jacket and work boots. Terry has a new Desperation Move, the "Buster Wolf"; however, he can no longer perform his original trademark move, the "Rising Tackle", which now belongs to Rock Howard.
- Kevin Rian – Kevin is a high-spirited police officer of Second Southtown. 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 Southtown. Her fighting style involve wind-like projectiles that hit multiple times, and swooping attacks intended to catch opponents with suddenly changing directions.
- Kim Dong-Hwan – Dong Hwan was taught Taekwondo by his father, Kim Kap-Hwan, using techniques infused with lightning, and has a friendly rivalry with his younger 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 Kap-Hwan, using techniques infused with fire, 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 – 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.
- 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 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. Hokutomaru carries a sword on his back, but he seldom draws it except during two special moves.
- 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 the U.S. version 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.
- Tizoc – Tizoc is a famous pro wrestler in Second Southtown 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 English serial killer that fights using slashing movements with his hands as if they were claws. Little is known about him, except that he killed the partner of Kevin Rian. Many of Freeman's special techniques are references to heavy metal bands, such as Nightmare, Morbid Angel, Overkill, and Vision of Disorder.
- Grant - Grant, real name Abel Cameron, is a master of the dark style known as Ankoku Karate. He is Kain R. Heinlein's closest friend and personal bodyguard.
- 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.
Garou: Mark of the Wolves was originally released for Japanese arcades on November 11, 1999. It was first ported to the Neo Geo on February 25, 2000, and to the Dreamcast on September 21, 2001. The Dreamcast port was rereleased on May 23, 2002 under the label of "SNK Best." The original Dreamcast version was the only port released in North America on November 23, 2001. In such version, it was renamed Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves. A PlayStation 2 port of the game was released in Japan on June 30, 2005, but was not released in North America. This port was rereleased in the title of "NeoGeo Online Collection" and a "Limited Edition" of the same title on June 30, 2005. On June 21, 2007, it was once again released as "SNK Best Collection". Microsoft and SNK Playmore announced on April 20, 2009 that the title would be coming to Xbox Live Arcade and it was published on June 24, 2009. In July 2016, SNK announced the game would be ported to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. This was done as a result of a poll in which the company asked fans which "classic" title would they like to see in PlayStation Network.
During the fan event 2005 KOF-party, illustrator Falcoon mentioned that the game's sequel was around seventy percent complete for the Neo Geo by the SNK team. Falcoon also confirmed that one of the new characters meant to appear was a student from Joe Higashi, a character who starred in all of the Fatal Fury games. In July 2006 SNK reported that they were still working on the sequel, saying that they will use modern high-resolution graphics instead of the resolution quality level seen in the original game. During an interview in March 2008, SNK USA developers commented that there was not any concrete schedule of demands for the game and that they plan to make the sequel with some new technology. In June 2016, SNK revealed the cast of the Garou: Mark of the Wolves's sequel.
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