Terry Bogard is back, and this time, he is pretty much alone as the rest of the cast in Garou Mark of the Wolves is composed of completely new characters. In the game's narrative, it has been a decade since the death of Geese Howard (which occurs in Real Bout: Fatal Fury). However, it appears that Southtown is not as peaceful as it should be. Grand battles still occur (no thanks to the events of King of Fighters), and Terry joins a tournament where he encounters a lot of interesting new fighters, accompanying is a young blonde haired boy whose fighting style is very similar to that of Terry, but carries he last name of Howard.
Not Really a Spoiler at This Point
The big narrative twist here is already known so we will not be coy about it (pretty much on the same level as Samus being female), Rock Howard is indeed Geese's son. After the events of Real Bout: Fatal Fury, Rock ends up following Terry despite his initial hatred for the man who killed his father. After all, Geese was not too keen on keeping his evil activities as a secret, so there was a bit of a gap between the two to begin with. Terry ends up looking after the boy and later on, teaches him how to fight. This is why Rock has a lot of special abilities that mimic Terry's, but his desperation move is that of Geese. Continue Reading
Release Date: 19/02/2015
Southtown's combat tournament, Maximum Mayhem, is secretly run by Kain R. Heinlen, the final boss of the game and is also Rock's uncle (on his mother's side). Players will not find it easy to fight Heinlen however, as encountering him requires a high fight evaluation throughout the entire game.
Mark of a Good Game
New to Garou is the implementation of the TOP System. Standing for Tactical Offensive Position System which modifies how a player can fight once their health bar reaches a certain point. Some moves are exclusive to TOPS, and bonuses such as health regeneration and higher damage buffs are obtained when in that range. Once the health goes below TOPS, the bonuses and access to new moves are removed. Another new system in the game is the use of Just Defend. This makes use of just frames in order to determine perfect blocks, which can be used to link to a counter attack thanks to a guard cancelling trait. Even without fighting back, a successful Just Defend will also regenerate a small amount of health, making it something worth practicing and mastering.
Meet the Cast
Mark of the Wolves is well known among Fatal Fury fans for its impressive combat system and its significance to the story. First of all, Rock Howard is a massive crowd favorite in terms of character design and movelist. His abilities are well balanced and stylish to watch. Second, the way that Rock's character is depicted is something that many fans appreciate. For one thing, his is nice enough to be friends with the children of Kim Kaphwan (Kim Jae and Kim Dong). Again, his movelist is well thought off. Despite being quite mobile (his power dunk is a great way to leap over and close distance), his attacks have a decent amount of damage that do not become too powerful. Energy Geyser, quite notably, has had its damage rate severely lowered (as compared to when Geese was using it). Not surprisingly, a similar approach has been given to Garou's other fighters as well. Terry keeps most of his old movelist, but everyone else is given a set of moves that are defining of their character preferences and fighting styles.
Rock, Terry, Kain, and the Kim siblings are joined by: Lucha wrestler Tizoc (who would later appear in KoF games as well) who has a lot of slow devastating moves and nifty grabs, Marco (Khushnood in US releases) a martial artist trained by Ryo Sakazaki, Kung Fu martial artist Gato who uses Quan Fa, Hotaru Futaba who also uses Tai Chi Chuan and Baguazhang, the crazy contortionist Freeman, sambo fighter Kevin (a relative of Blue Mary). Pirate queen B. Jenet, and kid ninja Hokutomaru.
While Fatal Fury Special's mobile port lacked support for third party controllers, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, allows players to choose between the touch screen and a controller. Without a doubt, using a controller for an SNK fighting game is the better choice. Not to say that you are outright crippled with the touch screen -the new control layout an SP button for special/desperation moves and an FM button. In addition to that, the game's new practice mode allows players to get used to the controls before fighting for real. One thing that is missing, however, is support for two controllers. If you want to play head to head with a friend, you will both need to have the app in order to play. The app uses Bluetooth connectivity for this function.
Without a doubt, Garou: Mark of the Wolves is an incredible game. The combat animation is smooth and flashy, and watching the different fighters unleash their spectacular abilities is a sight to behold. The backgrounds maintain that unique detailed look that SNK is known for. The combat is non-stop, even on normal difficulty, the game's AI will punish and push you for every mistake and slip up that you make. Getting good at this game means learning combos, cancels, and the best timing for special moves; this fighting game is certainly not for casual players. If you wanted a good brawl in a fighting game, this is where it is at.