Perspective: Side view
Visual: 2D scrolling
Art: Anime / Manga
Published by: SNK of America
Developed by: SNK Corporation
It is the ninth and final chapter of the Fatal Fury saga, and is characterized by both a renewal of characters and modes of play within the saga.
The action takes place 10 years after the death of Geese Howard, something that is remembered during the introduction of the game recreating the battle of Terry Bogard against this one. Terry is in charge of taking care of Rock Howard, son of Geese. At the time of the game happens a tournament, organized by Kain R. Heinlein and that denominates like The King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem. Rock Howard decides to sign up to find out who his mother is and why the source of his power.
It is noteworthy that all the traditional characters in the Fatal Fury saga (except for Terry Bogard) have disappeared to give way to new ones, which in turn may have a prior relationship to the plot (like Rock Howard or Kim's children) (as Bonne Jenet). The fighters keep similarity in their styles of combat with several previous personages of other titles.
The game was a response from SNK to the exit of Street Fighter III, with which it restores many similarities in regards to renewal of characters and combat style.
Garou: MOTW tried to make full use of Neo-Geo's graphics capabilities. Although the machine was unable to render 3D graphics, the game uses several advanced 2D techniques to try to produce the sensation of the player in a "real" 3 dimensions. The sprites and detail of the characters increased and was used the engine of the game The Last Blade 2
SNK also introduced a collision detection system that improved gameplay as well as new features introduced into the game system. On the other hand, the sound used used compositions closer to the electronics, and the design of all the characters had been more stylized than in other editions, approaching sometimes that of anime characters.
The arcade version has only the History and Versus mode, while the console version includes a survival mode and training mode.
It is a 2D fighting game similar to other Fatal Fury installments, but it has several peculiarities that affect combat. The game uses the system Only defense (similar to the parrying of Street Fighter III), consisting of covering itself just at the moment of receiving an impact. By doing this, a small portion of the energy is recovered and a counterattack can be made.
It also introduces the T.O.P (Tactical Offensive Position System) system that consists of choosing one of the three parts of the energy bar (upper, intermediate or lower). When in full fight you reach the chosen part, the character shines, and if it is damaged, it regenerates its energy. You also have a special attack assigned to a simple combination of buttons, C + D (in the arcade version).
Finally, there is a special movement bar with 2 stages: a first one whose effect is not very powerful, and another in which the most powerful attacks are made. This bar fills up as special skills are realized, damage is received or the "Just Defense" system is performed.
In the arcade version if the player loses a bout and wishes to continue he has the possibility to choose (or not) a handicap that can make it easier to pass the stage.
Description of characters and their respective seiyuu in the Japanese version:
- Rock Howard (Eiji Takemoto): Main protagonist of the game. Son of Geese Howard, Terry Bogard took care of him after having killed his father. During the game, Rock tries to find out who his mother is. Like his father, Rock has a demonic inner strength that he does not completely control. However, his fighting style is very similar to Terry Bogard's early editions, as well as his manner of dress.
- Terry Bogard (Satoshi Hashimoto): Terry is the main character of the previous sagas of Fatal Fury, that changes its look in this edition. After the battle against Geese, Terry took over his son, Rock. His traditional technique Rising tackle is now a special technique of Rock Howard, so it can not be used by him in this game, although he has another new special attack called Buster Wolf.
- Kim Dong Hwan (Jun Hashimoto): Kim Kaphwan's son, his fighting style is taekwondo. He has a lazy personality, does not like to train, tries to be a conqueror of women and has a more informal technique than his brother. Dong Hwan believes he is a taekwondo genius, so he does not take training as seriously as Jae Hoon. His special technique uses thunder and uses a black dobok with red trim.
- Kim Jae Hoon (Hiroki Asakawa): The other son of Kim Kaphwan and younger brother of Dong Hwan, his fighting style is also taekwondo. He has his father as an example to follow and imitates it both in training style and in his conception of justice. It has a style of game similar to the one of its father in previous Fatal Fury, and is quite more technical than Dong Hwan. His special technique uses fire and uses a white dobok with green trim.
- Marco Rodriguez (Hikaru Hanada): He is a disciple of Ryo Sakazaki (character of Art of Fighting) and his style is the Karate Kyokugenryu. Marco lives and trains in a forest, and enrolled in the Maximum Mayhem tournament to show the value of his combat technique. His style resembles that used by Ryo in previous editions of Fatal Fury and his training partner is a bear. In the English version the character is called Khushnood Butt.
- Cat Futaba (Kôji Ishii): A very powerful fighter who goes in search of rivals to his height. He is the older brother of Hotaru Futaba, but he does not want to accept it. It has an arisco character, its style of fight uses attacks quite powerful and is a very technical personage.
- Hotaru Futaba (Yui Horie): Gato's little sister, she has been looking for her brother for years and she is there for the tournament. She has a great resemblance to techniques, inspired by kung fu, but unlike Gato, Hotaru has a much kinder character. In her combats she is accompanied by her pet, a weasel called Itokatsu.
- Bonne Jennet (Rei Saito): She is a beautiful blonde pirate who enrolled in the Fatal Fury tournament for the prize money. His style of combat uses primarily projectiles and combined. He always walks with his entourage of pirates.
- Hokutomaru (Junko Takeuchi): Andy Bogard's ninjutsu student, is a 14-year-old boy trained as a ninja by Andy himself. He is a very fast character and of unpredictable attacks in the combat, although it is characterized to him during the game like something awkward. His final mission is to win the tournament to prove to Andy that he is the most powerful ninja.
- Tizoc (Hikaru Hanada): He is a famous professional wrestler whom the children see as a hero. Disillusioned with his life, he enters the tournament to discover himself and his interest in the fight. In Japan the character is known as The Griffon Mask.
- Kevin Rian (Yô Kitezawa): Police officer and friend of Terry and Rock. His style of fighting is the sambo, very focused mainly on keys and prey. A friend of his son is encouraged during the fighting. In Garou seeks revenge for the murder of his police companion, killed by Freeman. In the sagas Fatal Fury is related to Blue Mary.
- Freeman (Eiji Yano): Unknown name, is a serial killer who uses during the combat cut movements with his hands, as if these were blades. Little more is known about him, except that Kim Kaphwan was severely injured when he tried to arrest him and killed Kevin Rian's patrolman.
Bosses / Hidden Fighters
- Grant (Yô Kitezawa): Master of a dark style known as Karate Ankoku, is bodyguard and best friend of Kain R. Heinlein. His real name is Abel Cameron.
- Kain R. Heinlein (Jun Hashimoto): He is the main boss of the tournament, is the younger brother of Marie Howard, the mother of Rock, and therefore, his uncle. He possesses a demon-possessed power of purple pyrokinesis (identical to that of Iori Yagami), apart from possessing the ability to throw gigantic energy balls as movements of despair.
- Earlier we could see characters like Jae Hoon or Dong Hwan in other Fatal Fury sagas like Kim's sons who encouraged his father and trained with him. However, Garou: MOTW is the first game in which such characters are controllable. Later, these 2 characters stand out as strikers in The King of Fighters 2000.