The Dalai Llama has organised a martial arts contest for animals of all species to prove their skills, and you are competing in it. There are a wide variety of furry creatures to take on, and finally the Dalai Llama himself.
Brutal: Paws of Fury is a one-on-one fighting game across a variety of levels, with mostly outdoor terrain. You can choose of the many characters. Throughout the game, your character travels across Dalai Llama's island, fighting a series of duels before getting to the final showdown.
During a duel, you can punch and kick your opponent, try to use special attacks on him/her, or use a "taunt" that restores a bit of your health. Each battle lasts a number of rounds (how many - that is determined in the options menu); once one combatant has won that number of times during the battle, he wins. If the computer-controlled player won, it's game over (but you can still use a continue to start the fight anew); if you won, you move on to the next opponent. Once you have defeated them, you can watch an ending animation, different depending on the character you have chosen.
Instead of beginning a whole new game, you can fight a single duel, choosing the opponent and terrain. You can choose to fight either a computer-controlled opponent or another human player.
The visuals lean towards cutesiness, which makes a change from the gore of Mortal Kombat and the metal of Rise of the Robots.
In the console versions, you start the game without special moves, but get a new one after each successful best-of-three bout. The computer versions drop this feature, though.