It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 31 of the best-known bonus stages in all of video games. Each day we're going to look at a different level and review it, while also trying to figure out what makes it tick. Join us as we post a new episode of the 31 Bonus Levels of Christmas every day leading up to the biggest holiday of the year!
Fatal Fury: Arm Wrestling Match
[ Console: Neo Geo | Year: 1991 | Grade: C ]
Despite what the screen shot says, nobody wins when you play virtual arm wrestling!
At a time when arcade goers couldn't get enough Street Fighter II, Fatal Fury was SNK's first foray into the popular genre. It stars the Bogard brothers, a couple of pissed off champs looking to make a name for themselves in the King of Fighters tournament. Eventually our heroes will be tested in an arm wrestling competition straight out of Sylvester Stallone's classic movie, Over the Top. But before that, it's time to take down Duck King and Tung Fu Rue. No, really, that's the first order of business.
And then one day the masked wrestler broke free and terrorized the entire arcade!
Similar to Mortal Kombat's "Test Your Might" stage, this arm wrestling match involves players mashing buttons until they successfully move their opponent's arm to the left side of the table. In other words, it's exactly like real arm wrestling, only without forcing the player to lift weights and take steroids in preparation. Unlike other games that require a second button to finish the job, this arm wrestling match is purely about button mashing. In fact, the gameplay is so basic that players can look away from the screen and still win this battle of button mashing.
As happy as I am that this annoying bonus stage isn't the extent of this game's play mechanics, it's not like the rest of Fatal Fury is any better. At least this button masher level has good control, that's more than I can say about the one-on-one combat. Like Art of Fighting's three mini-games, completing
Apparently SNK thinks that Fatal Fury is a 1980s movie starring Patrick Swayze!
this bonus rewards players with a new move (or at least the combination to pull off the move). I like the direction SNK was going with these early Neo Geo levels, but I could do without yet another button mashing stage. Leave that for Track & Field.
Completely Missing the Point:
I know this has nothing to do with the bonus level, but why are so many of Fatal Fury's special moves repeated? A good example is Michael Max, a boxer with a killer hurricane uppercut. This move literally sends a twister towards his opponents, a devastating attack that should be avoided at all costs. But wait, why does Joe Higashi, a Japanese Muay Thai expert, have the exact same special move? And he's not alone; Geese Howard ends up using moves that are very similar to Terry's power wave. What gives, SNK?