Geese Howard (ギース・ハワード, Gīsu Hawādo) is a fictional video game character appearing in SNK's Fatal Fury fighting games series. Debuting in Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, Geese is the local crime boss of the fictional city of South Town. Geese hosts a fighting tournament named "The King of Fighters", in which he faces the brothers Terry and Andy Bogard who want to take revenge for their father's death. After several tournaments, Geese is killed by Terry, but he appears in following games without storyline as a "ghost" named Nightmare Geese (ナイトメア・ギース, Naitomea Gīsu). Geese has also appeared in several The King of Fighters games, in which he seeks to get the power from the creature Orochi, while his young self makes an appearance in the second Art of Fighting game as the hidden boss character.
In the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters, Geese appears as a middle-aged German American man with blond short, slicked hair, wearing an aikidogi with red hakama and white uwagi without sandals. In most games of the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series—except Fatal Fury: King of Fighters and The King of Fighters '96—Geese only wears the red hakama pants with the white uwagi either not present or hanging off the back/sides. Dominated Mind, the PlayStation version of Real Bout Special, features Geese sporting a halo over his head as a reference to his passing, while the arcade version of Real Bout Special and The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match features Geese sporting an aura of chi surrounding his feet, which would later be canonized in Maximum Impact 2 as "Nightmare Geese". The appearance of Geese in the Art of Fighting series was of a younger man with long blond hair wearing a light purple and blue suit with red necktie.
Geese first appears in the original Fatal Fury, where he hosts the "King of Fighters" tournament. The central plot of the game centers around the Bogard brothers' (Terry and Andy) quest to avenge their father's death, who was murdered by Geese a decade before the events of the game. After the player defeats Geese (who is the final boss), Geese falls off from the building, being declared dead during the game's ending. Geese does appear in the revised version of Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special, where it is revealed that he survived his fall at the end of the first game. Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory centers around Geese's attempt to return to power by collecting the "Sacred Scrolls of Jin", which is said to give their holder great power.
In the next game, Real Bout Fatal Fury, Geese is once again the final boss in the single-player tournament, confronting the player atop Geese Tower. In either, Terry's or Andy's ending, Geese falls off his tower once again, refusing to accept help from either of the Bogard brothers. Geese appears in the subsequent game which does not feature a plot, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, as a hidden final boss named Nightmare Geese. He also appears as a regular character in Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, which neither contain storyline.
Geese also makes an appearance in the second game in the Art of Fighting series. Art of Fighting 2, which is set a decade before the first Fatal Fury, features a younger Geese Howard as the corrupt police commissioner of Southtown. Geese is revealed to be Mr. Big's boss and the mastermind behind the events of the previous game such as the kidnapping of Yuri Sakazaki. If the player wins every match against all the previous computer-controlled opponents without losing a round, the player's character will face Geese Howard as a hidden final boss. In the crossover video games NeoGeo Battle Coliseum and the SNK vs. Capcom series, Geese appears as a playable character; in the latter he commonly appears as a boss character.
Geese also appears in a few games in The King of Fighters series, which does not follow the continuity established by the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting games, despite sharing many characters and plot elements. In The King of Fighters '96, Geese serves as the leader of the "Boss Team" along with former subordinate Mr. Big and rival Wolfgang Krauser, seeking to find the Orochi power. Geese would appear again in a non-playable role as the sponsor of the "Special Team" in The King of Fighters '97, which is composed of Billy Kane, Blue Mary, and Ryuji Yamazaki. The team would reappear in The King of Fighters 2003 renamed "Outlaw Team", with Mary (now part of the Women Fighters Team) replaced by Gato from Mark of the Wolves. Geese also appears in The King of Fighters 2000 as a striker, in the Xbox version of The King of Fighters 2002 and The King of Fighters XI as a selectable character, as well as in The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match, which brings back the Boss Team from '96. He is also a playable character in The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match, alongside his "Nightmare" variant. The younger version of Geese from Art of Fighting 2 also appears as a boss in The King of Fighters Neowave. He also returned in The King of Fighters XIV. In The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood Geese organizes a new tournament in order to obtain the power from the participant Iori Yagami. After Iori is defeated, Geese will act as a boss character. In KOF: Maximum Impact 2 and Regulation A, Geese is playable under the name of Nightmare Geese.
Geese Howard also appears in a trilogy of animated films based on the Fatal Fury video games, where his voice is provided by Hidekatsu Shibata in the original Japanese versions and Ward Perry in the English dubs. The first two installments, 1992's Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf and 1993's Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, both aired in Japan as TV specials on Fuji TV, while the third film, 1994's Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, was a theatrical film. The English adaptations of all three films were released on home video by Viz Communications. The first two films loosely follows the storyline of the games and both feature Geese as a major character, establishing him and Wolfgang Krauser as half-brothers who share the same father, a plot element which was used in the video game series with Fatal Fury Special. Geese makes a cameo appearance in the third film.
In addition to appearing in manga adaptations of the Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting and The King of Fighters games published in Japan, Geese Howard was also the subject of a single-volume manga published in 1996 titled The Geese Howard Story by Etsuya Amajishi, adapting the character's fictional history from the Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury games. It was followed by a single-volume sequel in 1997 titled Geese in the Dark, by the same author. Geese also appears in many CD dramas and stars in his own character image album. He also sings in a number of image songs.
Geese has been well received by gamers, ranking high in several popularity polls. In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Geese was voted as the staff's ninth favorite character. In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, he was voted as the thirteenth favorite character with a total of 903 votes. While interviewing Shane Bettenhausen, Ignition Entertainment's Director of Business Development, Alex Lucard from Diehardgamefan.com mentioned that one of the characters he wanted to be playable in The King of Fighters XII was Geese.
Video games publications have added praise and criticism on Geese's character. GameSpot reviewer Frank Provo comments that Geese's introduction in Fatal Fury is one of the biggest accomplishments from the game as he notes how Geese continues appearing in other games. Avi Krebs from Gamingexcellence.com noted that Geese was the hardest character of the series to defeat and jokingly commented that even though he fights "while wearing a wristwatch, he pulls out all the tricks possible". IGN writer Ryan Clements agreed with Avi Krebs saying that Geese is "almost physically impossible to beat". He also mentioned that due to how difficult Geese is, almost twelve different IGN people had to help Clements to win, being only able to defeat him "resorting to the cheapest, most absurd tactics possible". ScrewAttack likewise said he was ridiculously difficult to beat. Eric Bratcher from GamesRadar commented that Geese is "the big hook" from the series along with Terry Bogard, labelling Geese as "nearly un-killable". While reviewing The King of Fighters Neowave Gamer 2.0's Patrick Mifflin found that Geese is the "first SNK true villain", and commented that his young appearance featured in such game "can surely be chalked up to being one of the perks of a fighting game that has no story at all". The Nightmare Geese version from The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match was compared with Street Fighter's Shin Akuma in terms of difficulties by Eurogamer writer Matt Edwards who described him as one of the strongest opponents in the game. Geese was also in GameSpot's "All Time Greatest Villains" losing to Mother Brain from the Metroid. Greg Kasavin from the same site listed his "Knockdown Throw" special move as the third best move in fighting games commenting that it was one of the first reversal moves ever made in video games way before they became popular. For this reason, Kasavin stated that Geese became "one of the greatest fighting game characters of all time." Raphael See criticized Geese's final fight against Terry Bogard in the series' first original video animation as due to the chi-like techniques performed by the two fighters rather than actual regular martial arts.