Set ten years after the death of the notorious crime lord Geese Howard, the city of South Town has become more peaceful. Now, the stage is in the neighboring city of Second South Town. A new fighting tournament called "King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem" starts in the area, and several characters related with the fighters from the old era of King of Fighters tournaments participate within it.
Garou: Mark of the Wolves general gameplay mechanics and art style are changed to more closely resemble SNK's The King of Fighters series using a similar button layout. However, chaining normal attacks into each other tends to be strict on timing, and may involve heavy usage of the recurring feint mechanic in order to cancel them smoothly. Stage gimmicks and plane-changing, as seen in previous titles, were removed.
The Tactical Offensive Position System or T.O.P., is a new system. Before each match begins, the player is given option to adjust the T.O.P. meter's influence onto three different places on their character's life meter (beginning, middle, end). When a character's life meter reaches the white T.O.P. section, the character will flash with their HP bar's T.O.P. section turning orange, and enter a special state which will grant them the following advantages:
Increased damage output
Slow health regeneration
Ability to perform T.O.P. attacks, which often deal heavy amount of reduction to the guard meter if blocked
Once the character's life meter falls out T.O.P. range, the character will lose these benefits.
Just Defense System
The Just Defense allows players to benefit from defending by activating it against incoming attacks at the last second within 7 frames. Players can perform Just Defense against any type of attack, even being able to Just Defend in midair despite the lack of air blocking. Just Defense has the following advantages: small health recovery and Power gauge gain for each successful Just Defense activation. Ability to Guard Cancel.
Guard durability does not decrease unlike when blocking attacks normally.
Less block stun frames by 2 frames, which also results in less push block.
When done successfully, it is indicated by a larger blue-dome-esque flash effect upon impact of the defender and a different guarding animation.
Multiple successive hits can be blocked from continuous Just Defends rapidly like so.
PLAYERS: 1-2 Players
RELEASE YEAR: 1999