Fatal Fury 2/Special

Wolfgang Krauser

Hey remember when this guy was important

Fighter title

Literal translation Official translation
The Terrifying "Emperor of Darkness" The Dreaded "Dark Kaiser"

Sourced from The Arcade Flyer Archive.

"Dark Kaiser" is my absolute favorite way to translate Krauser's title, enough that I ripped it off borrowed it for the rest of the project. ...which was kind of a mistake, since Cheng and Laurence both end up taking it and it doesn't fit either of them.

Choices were made, friends. Choices were made.

Anyway I used the more common and literal translation here so you could see the difference. The quotes are there in the original; too bad in English they just sound like you're being sarcastic. So that probably could've just been dropped.

But that aside! Dark Kaiser sounds appropriately German, has the implication of a shadow government in addition to the underworld, and at least sounds incredibly anime in a different way from Emperor of Darkness. Someone thought about this one for at least five minutes.

Fatal Fury Special

Normal intro

Literal translation Official translation SNES
I’m the strongest. This won’t even be a match. Challenge me? ya hot, spunky kid. I hate spunk. Challenge me, ya spunky kid. I hate spunk.

Translation provided by Upthorn! Thank you!

It's probably a Mary Tyler Moore reference. Man, how long has it been since an actual, verifiable American TV reference? Terry, I think? It's really no secret that Fatal Fury games were written and translated for Terry first and foremost. This will only become more noticeable in FF3.

Anyway, as a line that players would see often, this was punched into another dimension. You can sort of get what the translator was going for there, but it's also infamously bewildering so... I'm not sure if you can really call this an accurate translation anymore.

Look it's really hard to come up with so many variations on "well, that certainly is...a way to translate the line".

Hot: too saucy for Nintendo.

Normal win

Literal translation Official translation
An unworthy opponent. Is there no one in this world who can provide a satisfying battle? You're not fit to shine my shoes!

The English is based on the first line and drops the second one entirely. Why? I dunno. I'm sure the second line could be edited down. (I started off with "is there no one who can satisfy me" but that could be...misread)

Here's the translator grabbing another English idiom out of his hat, which is...more or less accurate, if not exactly matching Krauser's voice. By the (incredibly low) standards of this project, I'll allow it!

Intro vs Billy

Literal translation Official translation SNES
You're a fool to turn against me. To oppose me is to listen to Madonna at a celibacy meeting! You are so silly to oppose me.

Because Madonna isn't known for celibacy, geddit.

This is another infamously weird line that actually makes sense...if you know what they were going for in the first place. Otherwise it's hilariously bewildering.

Good, current American pop culture reference, though! Not sure why it's only for Billy, but maybe the translator was feeling frisky after doing the lines most players were gonna see.

I still appreciate Billy being the odd man out of the subbosses.

The SNES version accidentally brings it closer to the Japanese original, at the cost of all memorability. I can't decide if that's good or bad. I can decide that I hate it.

Intro vs Axel/Laurence

Literal translation Official translation
I'll show you my true power. Stand back! I'm going to show you all my power.

Yep. The "stand back!" was added and makes it sound like Krauser's offering a demonstration instead of declaring his intent to beat his subordinates' faces in.

Intro vs Geese

Literal translation Official translation SNES
It seems blood will tell after all. Blood is thick, but syrup's thicker. Think about it. Now let's see who is the strongest.

Krauser is pretty literally saying "blood cannot be denied", which more or less means "like father, like son" or "blood will tell". I've seen it translated as "blood is thicker than water", which doesn't really fit the characters. The official translator saw that and put a cute little spin on it by pointing out that there's a lot of stuff thicker than blood out there, thus undercutting the saying. So it turns the phrase on its head to show how Geese and Krauser might technically be brothers, but they still hate each other.

It's super cute and also super incomprehensible if you're coming across it in isolation. The only way anyone was going to know Geese and Krauser were related is if they watched the anime, and even with that bit of context it's not exactly intuitive as to why Krauser is suddenly ranting about the relative viscosities of blood and syrup.

...well, he does tell you to think about it...

Monolith didn't think about it and just replaced the entire thing with a generic line that has nothing to do with the Japanese. Boo.

Win vs Geese

Literal translation Official translation
How disappointing. After everything, that's the limit of your strength? What a let down. That's all you can do?

The official English is considerably more casual, but the meaning is about the same. The dictionary does list the word for feeling disappointed as "letdown", not "let down", though. Another typo, or possibly just not checking the dictionary.

Intro vs Krauser

Literal translation Official translation SNES
There's only one Dark Kaiser. There's only room enough for one Lord of Black. There's only room enough for one lord of darkness.

I keep trying to think of reasons why they'd go for "Lord of Black" and coming up with nothing. It's less Engrish than "the sovereign of the darkside", yes, and I guess it sounds metal. Enough that a Swedish band named themselves "Lords of Black" (in 2014, so I can't blame this on MTV). But it just sounds so weird.

"Ruler of Darkness", maybe? Honestly, the big problem with most of these phrases in English is they sound very fantasy, which doesn't really work for a modern-day setting like Fatal Fury.

The real question is why they didn't go for "Dark Kaiser" when it's on the arcade flyers. The flyers were probably outsourced or done by a different group, which is understandable but leads to inconsistencies like this.

Monolith consistently goes for "lord of darkness".

Ending

Literal translation Official translation SNES
As I thought, there are no satisfying opponents for me. Wow. What a tough! Wow. What a tough one!

Well, that's different.

I remain bewildered at "what a tough". It's bizarrely Engrish for something a couple native speakers took a look at, it's not even close to what either character who uses it is saying, and it's repeated in the same game but nowhere else I've seen so far. And here it's in an English-voiced ending, with all the additional strangeness that implies. English-voiced endings are like that in Japanese, but they all use the English line, and half of them are just completely off in ways that are inexplicable even for SNK.

BUT IT GETS WEIRDER!

A kind Youtube user named juan marvel uploaded the Spanish versions of a bunch of SNK endings. This is great for me, thank you very much juan marvel. Let's look at Krauser's FFS ending.

First things first, was Fatal Fury Special even released in Spanish or is this a fan translation? It doesn't show up as an option on the AVS version, but that might not mean anything. I can't find specific info on it at all. According to that channel all the FF games had Spanish releases. I knew FF3 did (because it's an option on the home version), but I can't find anything on the earlier games. It's weird.

But if you'll notice, the Spanish line there is clearly based on the Japanese. I can tell even without knowing Spanish, but you can jam it into a translator if you don't believe me. This might not seem weird, but Spanish FF3 is based on the English script, as well as AoF2. Was FF3 the first game where other scripts were based on the English instead of Japanese? Or is it fans doing it for themselves? Unfortunately, it's pretty much impossible to tell just from the endings, because FF1 and 2 are so straight. I'd need to see win quotes from all of them (and AoF1) to really make the call.

If anyone has more information on the Spanish versions, please, please, let me know. If they are fan translations that would explain a lot.

Anyway, Monolith fixes Krauser the same way they fixed Laurence: putting a generic "one" at the end and going home.

Fatal Fury 2

Win quote

Literal translation Official translation
Hmph! There's no way you can defeat me, the Dark Kaiser, with that level of strength. Geese is waiting for you on the other side. Whew! You can't defeat Krauser with that power! Geese is waiting for you.

He technically said "Krauser" instead of "Dark Kaiser" but going third-person in English sounds weird. Sue me.

The official translation drops the idea that Geese is dead and waiting for you in the afterlife, which is probably space concerns.

It's FF2 what do you want from me.

Pre-Billy

Literal translation Official translation
Tch! And they went so far as to name men like you world champions? You guys were named World Champions?

The interesting thing here is that I'm pretty sure Krauser is saying "men like you", so he's not saying that Michael Max and Hwa Jai were named world champions. Because that would be silly.

The SNES version cuts this completely. Why? I don't know. There's no change to the line in the Genesis version.

Pre-Axel

Literal translation Official translation Genesis
It seems like Geese was the scum of public society. Geese seems to be one of the scum of society. Geese seems to be the dirt of society.

The bit I struggled/am still struggling with here is that Krauser seems to be saying Geese was the scum of kind of...normal society, which I guess contrasts with how Krauser looks good in normal society because they're both crime lords. Or at least I think Krauser is supposed to be. It's kind of hard to tell. Dude mostly just seems to hang out in his fancy castle and fight handsome young men in tight clothing.

...I'm detecting a few similarities here...

"omote" and "ura" are some of those words that give real translators fits so I'm just gonna laze out and babble semi-authoritatively.

Also note tense problems resurrecting Geese ahead of schedule.

The Genesis version fixes the weird "one of the scum of society" phrasing, but then substitutes "dirt" to make something I don't think anyone has said, ever. What's really interesting to me is that the same scum -> dirt switch happens in Geese's lines in Special, suggesting a slightly deeper connection between these games than you'd expect. Was Takara involved in the translation of FFS, despite the Monolith credit? (seems likely) Were there originally plans to have these scenes in the SNES version and the script got changed early? Or did they not think Sega would want someone being called scum on their machine? (very unlikely, Sega barely gave a shit)

Pre-Laurence

Literal translation Official translation Genesis
Tell the men who defeated Geese. Mine is the strongest legend. Tell it to the men who defeated Geese. The strongest legend is mine. Tell it to the man who defeated Geese. I am a fighting legend!

"Strongest legend" is hyper literal and also sounds really weird. I toyed around with "the strength of legends" but didn't go for it.

"I am a fighting legend!" is...actually a pretty good way of handling it.

Pre-Krauser

Literal translation Official translation
Welcome, I've been waiting for you. It seems you accepted my invitation with pleasure. I've been waiting for you. It seems you're delighted by my invitation.
I am the Dark Kaiser, Wolfgang Krauser. I'm the sovereign of the darkside, "Wolfgang Krauser."
To call yourselves the strongest while knowing nothing of the underworld...I cannot remain silent. I can't remain silent if you say you're the strongest in the world.
I'll take your life to build my legend. I'll beat you to build my legend.

Sovereign of the darkside > Lord of Black, fight me.

I don't know why they added the scare quotes when Krauser introduces himself, they're not in the Japanese.

Most of this is just stilted or simplified and I can't really pick about stilted when I'm not super happy with my stuff either.

SNES Pre-Krauser

SFC SNES
Well done in coming here. I am the Dark Kaiser, Wolfgang Krauser. You have done well to come this far. I am the king of darkness, Wolfgang Krauser.
To call yourselves the strongest while knowing nothing of the underworld...I cannot remain silent. I can not allow you to boast of being the strongest fighter in the world, when you know nothing of my world.
I'll take your life to build my legend. I t is here where the real power lies, and now I will show you just who is number one !!

I love it when ports fiddle with lines such that they don't neatly fit into my tables! I love it...so much. (aaaaaaaaa)

Anyway, the SNES version mashes the first two lines of Krauser introduction together, dropping a few points in the process. He's no longer waiting for the player, and he hasn't sent them an invitation. He's also consistently the "king of darkness" as opposed to the "sovereign of the darkside".

The second and third lines are the same as the Neo Geo in Japanese, but the English version expands the third line a bit for Krauser to brag. Obviously they were going to write around the Japanese there, but it's curious that neither of these lines are taken from the Neo Geo version. For a game that so rarely went back to the Japanese script this is a weird departure. I guess they saw that the first line was different and just redid the entire thing?

Genesis Pre-Krauser

MD Genesis
Welcome, I've been waiting for you. I've been waiting for you.
It seems you accepted my invitation with pleasure. (Heroes)
You dare to challenge me, the Dark Kaiser? Amusing. (Bosses)
Are you strong enough to challenge me? (Heroes)
Taking on the King of Darkness - this is gonna be one wild fight. (Bosses)
I am the Dark Kaiser, Wolfgang Krauser. I'm Wolfgang Krauser, Sovereign ruler of the dark side!
I'll take your life to build my legend. Now it's time to add you to my list of victims!

DID I MENTION IT'S ALSO DIFFERENT FOR THE GENESIS VERSION?

I am getting kind of tired of this game.

For the most part the Genesis version is just a little shuffled around, with the addition of a special line just for boss characters. This comes right after the boss in question's special line (on each of their pages), which itself comes right after Krauser's first line there. Got it?

So there's a couple interesting things about the boss line. One is that Krauser declares himself to be the "king of darkness" - a match for SNES version of FF2, if not Special. But right after that we go right back to a slightly-polished up version of "sovereign of the darkside". Someone must have missed what they were updating Krauser's title to and just polished up the script that was already there.

But "this is gonna be one wild fight" is like...a full SNK-level translation out of our usually straitlaced friends at Takara. What's going on with that? It's not entirely wrong in meaning, but it's wildly off with tone.

It also drops Krauser's whole thing with building his legend, but does explicitly say he'll add the player to his list of victims. That's a punching-up from the Neo Geo that gets it close to the Japanese version. Accident, or did they go back to the Japanese script? Who can tell?

SNES Win

Literal translation Official translation
Do you now understand the power of the underworld? Were you really aiming to become the world's strongest at that level? Do you understand the power of my world now!

Obviously they weren't getting all of that on the SNES, but it's still cut down pretty far. The second sentence is completely dropped, and they didn't even keep the generic reference to "the underworld". Dang, Takara.

Genesis Win Quotes

Literal translation Official translation
Hmph! There's no way you can defeat me, the Dark Kaiser, with that level of strength. You'll never defeat Krauser with your power!
Geese is waiting for you on the other side. Geese is waiting for you.

They just split his Neo Geo win quote across two versions. First is for characters introduced in FF2, the second one is for Terry/Andy/Joe. Which makes sense, because it's about Geese.

Both are just rephrases of the Neo Geo win in English, where the first one is shortened a bit, and "you can't defeat Krauser" is changed to "you'll never defeat Krauser". The Genesis is better English, but honestly I like the Neo Geo one better.

Genesis Intro vs Krauser

Literal translation Official translation
By defeating you, I'll put an end to my life as a body double! This is the end for you! I'll never be your puppet!

Well, that's interesting.

The Japanese is very explicit that the character you're playing as isn't the real Krauser, but instead his body double. Usually you're supposed to be the real one destroying your usurping body double, (Geese in Real Bout, for instance) but here you're the usurping body double. It's a neat little twist.

It's somewhat obscured in the English, though. While "I'll never be your puppet!" implies the relationship, it's not nearly as spelled out as it is in Japanese. When I first read this I thought it was Krauser taking his place back from an usurper. But no.

Genesis Win vs Krauser

Literal translation Official translation
Hahahaha! If you wish to take the title of kaiser, you're going to have to become a bit stronger than that. Ha ha ha! I f you want to call yourself the King, you're going to have to be stronger than that!

...yep. Not much to say here.

They're pretty consistent about that "king" title in the Genesis version.

Genesis Ending

Literal translation Official translation
I have taken the legendary strength of the emperor for my own! Now you'll become the body double. I have triumphed! I will rule behind the scenes with you as my puppet!

The Japanese is once again very explicit that you're playing as Krauser's body double, who is now taking over the real one's life. And again this is slightly obscured in English, with it sounding more like Krauser is just going to keep using the one he beat as a body double. I guess what the original Krauser is doing is ruling behind the scenes, but it's pretty obscure and lore-heavy compared to the Japanese line.