Garou: Mark of the Wolves

The first thing that struck me about Garou: Mark of the Wolves was the hideous Japenglish on the Marketplace information screen. Once I’d seen past that bit of poorly constructed, but quite entertaining, blurb (With the New Hero “Rock Howard” who is only son of Geese Howard and rose up by legendary wolf Terry Bogard…) I discovered a quite competent fighter.

So, Garou: Mark of the Wolves is a sequel to Fatal Fury – also available on XBLA and features the same one-on-one battles. Well, I say the same one-on-one battles but I would have to say that Garou is a few rungs higher up the fighting ladder than Fatal Fury. Every thing just seems smoother – the moves are easier to pull off, the graphics are prettier and I don’t mind getting my arse handed to me by a foxy blonde submarine-driving pirate lady (something which has occured almost every time I play!).

This game is the ninth in the Fatal Fury system, first released in 1999, and considering its age it looks gorgeous and plays really well – with a few nifty touches as well. The main difference you’ll notice between this and other fighting games is the T.O.P  mode. T.O.P mode, or Tactical Offense Position, is a special area of the health bar which, should your characters health enter this zone, grants special rewards including increased attack power, health regeneration and the special T.O.P attack.

Progress through the game, with one of the twelve available characters, will depend on how well you fight – each round is ranked – and if you manage to get through the game with a rank of AAA or higher on all the rounds you’ll get to fight the game’s real boss, Kain, and get to witness the special ending. If you’re just a mere mortal, however, you’ll more likely fight Grant and end up with no special ending. The ranking element really gives you a good reason to perfect your skills – even as a lowly button masher I can hit an AA rank on most rounds without too much effort – with a little more practice (in the handy practice mode) I reckon I could up-skill my button mashing to something that resembles actual planned moves and move the rank above the AA level.

As you may expect with a game like this, there is a multiplayer mode allowing you to hand out cans of whupass to friends on your couch, or at the end of a wire. Multiplayer mode is a place where button-mashers go to meet up and best each other with skill-less fights, and more professional players put the button-mashers in their place.







Leave a Reply