I really wanted to review Final Fight. I had a copy on the GBA and loved it, it was certainly one of my favourite ‘go to’ games. I have also been trying (unsuccessfully) to buy it on my PAL SNES for a long time. Unfortunately I have not been able to find it at a reasonable price.
As I no longer have my GBA any more (lost in the folly of youth) I was unable to play the game until I came across Final Fight Double Impact on the Microsoft website. This review is about this port. The game comes bundled in with another game in ‘Magic Sword’ which is another very good game, but I will not be including on this review, however if you are considering purchasing Final Fight, this inclusion makes the purchase particularly desirable.
For those that do not know Final Fight, it is a side scrolling ‘beat ’em up’ in the style that was incredibly popular in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I was originally attracted to it as a child as it is a Capcom creation, ad I had had great experiences with previous Capcom titles. I also had played the Sega Master System ‘Double Dragon’ for hours (completing that game as a child was a particular achievement for me!) so loved the side scrolling brawler format.
The game plot is simple. Girl is kidnapped and you must rescue her against swarms of enemies and improbable odds. Character choice is split between her boyfriend Cody, his friend Guy and her father Haggar. Your travel through various stages, against ever increasing numbers of enemies, battling to reach a stage boss. Once the boss has been dispatched you start at the next stage and so on an so forth. The game is set in Metro City, where the ‘Mad Gear’ gang control. When Haggar is appointed mayor and attempts to clean up the city, his daughter is kidnapped.
The game looks great. Even playing it now I am able to enjoy it, although you would expect that from a version that isn’t particularly old. The music is generic, but the sounds work well in the context of the game. The satisfying sound of fist on someones face, or a pole on the back of their head works brilliantly. The game has two buttons-jump and hit, however you can use these to string combos or press together to do a special move to get yourself out of trouble. One thing that attracted me to this game that wasn’t present for example in ‘Double Dragon’ is that the playable characters have different traits and abilities, giving this game some replay-ability. Cody is the stock character, average speed and damage, with a particular affinity for using knives as a weapon. Guy is a ninja like character, notable faster than Cody but with less damage output. Haggar is a big street fighter type character, who deals in slow moves that have large damage to enemies. Personally I enjoy Guy, being able to quickly hit and move was most useful to me against swarms of enemies, however others I have played with have preferred the other two characters.
The enemies too have a number of different abilities and traits. There will be some that caused me to groan when they entered my screen. However usually they were so great in number that I didn’t have that time to think! Some enemies are quicker and seem to sneak to the back of you. Others are large and grab you to do huge damage. Some use knives, others are fat and charge at you. The bosses too are well designed and offer different challenges to defeating. I take great satisfaction in beating Edi E. as I believe him pulling out a gun when his health is low is a cheap trick, whereas I always hated facing Abigail who seems to cost me a lot of health every time.
The game features an online two player mode. This means you can jump in or out of others games, and similarly they can do the same for you. This I assume is supposed to emulate the feel of an arcade, where someone can pick up the joystick next to you an jump in. This can be fun, as the game’s difficulty means having a partner play with you is largely beneficial. However it does mean I lost the option to pause when I needed a break to make myself a cup of tea! However the game does have a save function which means I was always able to jump back into where I left off.
So onto the game play. Which is hard. Seriously hard. I was dying constantly when I played this game. Again this is due to the fact that it is an arcade port I suppose. Designed for you to fail and have to put more money into the machine. This meant I spent a lot of time on the floor having taken a walloping from hordes of enemies. The flip side of this is that unlike the arcade you do not have to pay to come back in. This means you have unlimited continues. This I feel has two factors. Firstly it is good, as otherwise I would not have come close to beating this game, and I can sit down whenever I fancy and play right through to the end. The flip side of this is I have no real sense of achievement from beating it. On difficult boss fights I can just jump in and hammer away with a reckless disregard for my own safety, safe in the knowledge can just jump straight back in. I guess I feel this takes away from the skill, whereas I spent hours honing my ability on the GBA port to beat it on higher difficulty levels. The game has become a casual time killer for me rather than a serious game for me to beat.
This however is balanced by the mini-games and challenges that the Xbox version allows you to complete, so if you wanted to change this and make yourself complete these challenges you are provided the option to do so. Challenges such as beat a level in a time frame, or only lose a certain number of lives can help provide a direction for your game-play.
Overall this is a pleasing game, and well worth the download. I pick it up from time to time to beat some stress, but it doesn’t eclipse the GBA version for me. It will not stop me wanting to get the SNES port despite the fact I have been told that the arcade port is far superior. However it is well worth a purchase and a playthrough especially when you consider ‘Magic sword’ is thrown in as well. It is my girlfriends current favourite game that I own, and she only played it for the fist time this year, showing that there is great value to this port. However I think if I had the choice I would still pick up Streets of Rage 2 as the superior game in this genre. However that is definitely just a personal opinion, which I have had to defend to gamers in the past and will probably have to do so again!