I loved Final Fight in the arcades, I spent a good fortune of this during my preformative years. It was hard, it looked good, and it blew my prepubescent mind.
Note: I am paying the WII Virtual Console version of the SNES game, I am not shelling out £75+ for a copy, and I don’t do emulators. Final Fight came out in Japan in 1990, USA in 1991, and EU in 1992.
Final Fight looks good. If you haven’t played it, it looks exactly like Street Fighter 2. Also, in case you didn’t know, Final Fight was a spiritual successor to Street Fighter, and was originally called “Street Fighter ’89”.
The story is heavily based on the 1984 movie “Streets of Fire” where a young musician is kidnapped by a gang, and Tom Cody goes to rescue her.
In Final Fight, we get Cody (who will appear in later Street Fighter games) Haggar, and Guy (Just Cody and Haggar in SNES version), and you set off to rescue Jessica who has been kidnapped by the Mad Gear Gang.
For motivational purposes Jessica is Haggar’s daughter AND Cody’s girlfriend.
Final Fight was developed before Street Fighter 2, and after seeing the success of Double Dragon 2, it was turned into a beat ’em up.
Sadly, the home versions don’t live up to the memory, as they are vastly inferior to the arcade. Many arcade conversions suffered when being ported down to console, but Final Fight seems to fair worse than others I have played.
Final Fight loses:
- The 3rd playable Character Guy (There is a Final Fight Guy edition with Haggar and Guy)
- Removal of scene transitions
- Losing the Industrial level
- only 3 enemies on screen at a time instead of up to 10
- Final boss (Belger) is in an office chair rather than a wheel chair…
- Plus things I don’t remember.
Other areas I think the game severely lacks in, is move. A punches, B jumps, A+B does a power move that drains your health, and that’s it (and standard grapple moves). Double Dragon had loads of hidden moves, and a suprising amount of depth. Final Fight has nothing.
The two fighters have differing stats, Cody is fast, and can chain 5 punches together, Haggar is slow and lumbering, but hits like a train. Haggar has a stupidly long reach, so most levels you just stand there and punch, and the enemies won’t get near you. Cody, while fast has the reach of a toddler, and unless you’re timing your attacks you will take loads of damage from counter attacks. In summary, Cody is shit, Haggar is not.
Final Fight falls into the maddeningly hard category. You can breeze through every level and not taking a hit, and then you get to the bosses and then they hit HARD. The mid level bosses on stage 3 is particularly annoying. It is a long level, and then, you fight two of the Andre the Giant dudes. Both stand either side of you, so you can’t avoid them. IF they hit you (which they will) you’ll lose 75% health. It is a classic money sink designed entirely for you to throw money at the game in the arcades, and I hated this shit in consoles. Worse, if you get game over, you start at the beginning of the level making cheesing the game impossible.
In the end, you just cheat. All you need to do on most bosses is jump kick them, run away,jump kick, ad nauseam. It is slow, it is tedious, but it is the only realistic way of beating them. That or be prepared to lose all the lives you have stocked until this point (6 in my case).
Due to the lack of moves, there isn’t really any strategy, and the game never changes. As you progress, the enemies get more health, and hit slightly harder, but your moves don’t change, and you’re strategy is the same. Stand there and punch… Some sections are really tedious, as the only way to clear some rooms is to keep punching the big guys so they fall off screen, then then just stand and punch the side of the screen until they die. The enemies fall over after your 3/5 hit combo, so high energy enemies mean you can stand there for 20-30 sections just hammering punch…
The levels also get progressively longer too, level 1 is 5 minutes, 2 is 8, 3 is 10, 4 is 15, 5 seems to go on for 20 or so minutes, so the later levels are really just an exercise in attrition.
The PC brigade
Worse than the PC Master Race, Final Fight fell victim to the Politically Correct Brigade. Two female (maybe transgender) enemies Roxy and Poison were removed and replaced with Billy and Sid, two male punks. Belger was in a wheel chair, but this was changed to an office chair, because disabled people can’t be evil. The cool “beat up the car bonus stage” (which would appear in Street Fighter 2) the man who owns the car used to say “Oh my god”, but this was switched to “Oh, my car”…
Basically, the EU got some bland sanitised version the rest of the world got.
This is the shit gamers had to deal with in the early 90’s. I really feel for Australia and their backwards laws around videogames.
I was a little disappointed in Final Fight, it is held in really high regard, but ultimately, I felt hollow playing it, there isn’t much depth or tactics. I honestly don’t think the game is that good, or fun.
Play Streets of Rage instead.
Pros: 80’s Rock music references in character names
Cons: Overly santisied from Japanese/Arcade versions