RetroVision – The King of Fighters: Terry Bogard

Terry Bogard, the Legendary Hungry Wolf. Back in the 16-bit era we saw his face all over the industry, and it seems like history is ready to repeat itself. Why you ask? Well, not only have SNK committed to re-focusing on gaming, but following this announcement we have also seen an array of Neo Geo classics adorn the early days of the Switch. Many of which prominently feature Terry Bogard, such as the The King of Fighters 98, and the phenomenal fighter Garou: Mark of the Wolves.

Created by SNK, with the aim of leading Street Fighter creator Takashi Nishiyama’s alternative fighter Fatal Fury, Terry Bogard became somewhat of a figurehead for SNK, and fighting games in general back in the 90s. That’s because Bogard didn’t just take a leading role in Fatal Fury alone. He also acts as the lead protagonist in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, The King of Fighters and the Capcom Vs SNK series. Oh and let’s not forget being the mascot of the Neo Geo itself.

Terry Bogard Fatal Fury
Terry Bogard in his trademark red bomber jacket and cap.

Serving as the lead character of SNK’s flagship series Fatal Fury ever since its inception, Bogard and his brother’s plot acts as the founding motivation for the entire series, much like that of the Mishima family in Tekken. However, that’s not all, as the Bogard brother’s story also acts to introduce the King of Fighters tournament too. You see, the original title centres around Terry and his brother, with both entering the eponymous “King of Fighters” tournament to avenge their father’s death. A man who died a decade prior, at the hands of the tournament organiser Geese Howard, the primary antagonist.

Following this initial entry, the Legendary Hungry Wolf’s story decidedly splits in two. In the following entries in the Fatal Fury series, Bogard and his brother continue battling in order to save Southtown from new, and old threats. Additionally, in the subsequent King of Fighters games, he finds himself leading the game’s “Fatal Fury” team alongside his brother, and Joe Hisashi, a friend who helped them defeat Geese Howard.

Terry vs Howard
Battling Geese Howard in the climax to Fatal Fury.

However, the most interesting of all of Bogard’s storylines comes in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, a game created in order to soft-reboot the Fatal Fury series. In fact, Terry is the only returning character from the original series in Garou, proving both his popularity, and credibility as a leading character. This title is set a decade after Geese Howard’s final defeat at the hands of team Fatal Fury, and sees a older, more battle hardened Bogard. Who now comes sporting both a different attitude, and a brand new look.

This look sees his trademark ponytail, cap, sneakers and red bomber jacket all gone, in favour of a brown bomber jacket, work boots, and a shorter hair cut. This isn’t the only thing changed about the now hardened lead character, with his trademark “Rising Tackle” manoeuvre now belonging to another character, Rock Howard. Yes, that’s the same Howard as in Terry’s greatest enemy.

Terry Garou
Terry Bogard in his new hardened look.

You see, in what is quite possibly the most interesting addition to Terry’s well rounded character, Garou: Mark of the Wolves sees SNK’s lead protagonist acting as a mentor to his late arch-nemesis’ son. A turn of events that occurs after Geese Howard commits suicide in front of Terry, after he chose to spare his life. As such, now Terry is found to have taken Rock under his wing, training him in order to enter the successor to the King of Fighter’s Tournament. This tournament is titled “King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem”, and stars several characters related earlier characters from the series, alongside the original series’ sole survivor, Terry bogard himself.

Like his counterpart Ryu, Terry Bogard has remained the lead character throughout multiple interconnected series, acting as a lynchpin for all of SNKs fighting games. Additionally, he has also acted as the lead character for team SNK in the crossover series Capcom Vs SNK. Oh and throw in a trilogy of Japanese animated Fatal Fury films, and a King of Fighters Anime series, and you’re starting to see the lasting popularity of a character who was made to rival the cast of Street Fighter. A feat SNK and Street Fighter creator Takashi Nishiyama definitely achieved.

Terry Vs Ryu
Ryu and Terry Bogard preparing to square off in a dream match for fighting fans.

This is also something that has been reiterated over the years by gaming fans and critics alike. What’s more, many have argued that Terry Bogard is quite possibly SNK’s greatest contribution to gaming, and certainly the crowning achievement of the Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, and Garou series. Den of Geek even went as far as to name Terry as their 3rd greatest fighting game character of all time, stating that:

Bogard is a stark reminder of the glory days of the two dimensional fighter

Terry Bogard quite clearly oozes the 90s vision of cool. However most interestingly, the character has been able to carry this across multiple generations. So much so, that still today you’ll find many a fighting game fan walking round a gaming convention wearing Bogard’s trademark red cap.

Terry passing his trademark cap to Rock Howard. Garou really shows the the depth of Terry’s character.

Even more impressive is the fact that all this came in spite of SNK having stepped back from game development in recent years. Thankfully a decision that has been reversed. But what’s next for Terry Bogard? Maybe, just maybe, we may be gearing up for the fabled Garou 2, I mean we did just get King of Fighter XIV after all.

Sophia Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she's written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DivaXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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