Fatal Fury Special is a 2D fighting game that dates back to 1993, one that garnered a good sized following both in Japan and around the world. Sadly, 14 years later and now on the Xbox Live Arcade, this fighting game just doesn’t have the same luster.

For full disclosure purposes, prior to the XBLA review copy I received, I had never played a Fatal Fury game. Given that I had no nostalgia for the game and no prior knowledge of the title, the controls felt as dated as they actually are. (Though, the Xbox 360 D-Pad doesn’t necessarily help things at all.) Everything felt sluggish and unresponsive throughout all the matches, allowing the AI to almost always outclass you in single-player. Even the easy mode felt like a challenge, (which is more reflective on the times, but this is an update folks…how about some tweaks?) which is part me being unknowledgeable about the move sets, and part not being accessible enough.

However, there are some positives to the game: It’s 400 points and includes online multiplayer. (Lag-free, no less!) It also includes 15 different distinct, if not derivative, characters for the player to choose from. There is a good game to be found somewhere in Fatal Fury Special, but you’re probably not going to find it if you’re new to the series and would be better off buying the more accessible UMK3. However, if you played the game back in the day and loved it, you might find some value in the 400 point price tag and Live play.

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