Re-released on Xbox Live (800points), Garou was the last edition of the popular Fatal Fury series and is a superb close to the saga. There is an overarching storyline behind the game and each character has their own motivations for joining the fight. It’s decent enough to tie everyone together and is a feature sorely missed from the most recent SNK beat em up, King Of Fighters XII. Garou brings back veteran SNK favourite Terry Bogard and ditches all other characters making for a much fresher experience and is a similar approach taken by Capcom with Street Fighter 3 released around the same time. The new cast of characters is one of the most balanced ive found. Much more so than the aforementioned SF3. Moves are instantly performed by anyone who has played Street Fighter or any other 2D fighter. i found a lot of super moves are assigned to 2 quarter circle motions ala Street Fighter and i could figure out some basic strategies very quickly.
Graphically this certainly held up well over the years. the sprites are detailed and are amazingly fluid, a testament to SNK’s sprite work that 10 years after the release of the game it is still beautiful.. Backgrounds are especially rich in detail with each character having a specific home town. As if one background for each character is not enough Garou often changes the background from round to round of the fight as the sun sets, or a atop moving train for round 1 that arrives at its destination by round 2. Its disappointing again that KOFXII loses this and only has a measly 6 stages.
Sound is basic but they do the job pretty well, and very few tunes stick with you like some classics from other games we could mention. One track in particular sounds EXACTLY like “Children by Robert Miles” and i find myself singing it to myself in a GET OUT OF MY HEAD way rather than a pleasurable one!
New to the 360 version is the inclusion of Online play. Fighting games are enjoying a revival at the moment and Garou is a great game online. The great balance means you can confidently pick any character and feel you can compete with the other noobs online without worrying about your selection. There is NO real lobby system in place. so you and your friends can’t all join a game and play winner stays on. Simple 1 v 1 lobbies are the order of the day which is ok, but i miss the Quarter Match style lobbies from Tekken 5 and Street Fighter 2 Turbo XBLA. SF4 is also missing the lobby style so maybe its just a sign of the times?
As a lot of people in the UK missed out on Garou the first time around. Which makes this a great chance to pick this baby up and it as worth playing today as it was at launch 10 years ago and is certainly one of the strongest fighting games on XBLA. It easily manages to provide an equal quality experience to the newly released King Of Fighters XII, for only 800 points versus £40 for KOF!