Hell Yeah! Final Fight is brilliant.
It was brilliant back when it came out in arcades all the way back in 1989 and it remains brilliant to this day.
Welcome, to the Videogame Shoebox.
The game was originally developed as a sequel to 1987’s Street Fighter. However, due to the roaring success of Double Dragon, Capcom opted to change the name and shift development to something that more closely emulated that. This resulted in what in the Final Fight we know and love today and also a going back to the drawing board on Street Fighter II. Which, if you’ve been keeping up with previous Videogame Shoeboxes, turns out was a very good thing.
The Final Fight series are side-scrolling beat-em-ups in the same style of other well received games of the era such as the aforementioned Double Dragon and of course the MegaDrive/Genesis’ Streets of Rage and Golden Axe. You walk to the right and proceed to punch the living snot out of any and everyone that happens to walk into the scene. Luckily only bad guys show up, otherwise I can only imagine the kind of litigation that would arise from two guys going on a fighting spree through the city…I’ve seen Civil War, that stuff doesn’t end well.
You have 3 characters to chose from, Haggar, Cody and Guy. Cody being my boy, here on screen, is a fast, scrappy fighter with fast punches, knees to the face and a cool tornado spin-kick. (Mike) Haggar a big bruiser of a former professional wrestler with hard punches, a solid drop-kick, a killer spinning-lariat and finally an insane spinning piledriver! Guy, however, is a ninja. That is just plain cool, BUT the SNES home version…which I had, didn’t have the space on the cartridge for all three characters so it was Guy that unfortunately got the chop. They eventually released Final Fight: Guy, which replaced Cody with Guy.
This is actually not the only difference between the SNES version and the original arcade release, they also removed the ability to play 2-player, it was just two much for the console to show more than a few characters on screen at ant one time. There are even more differences when looking at different regions copies but we’ll get to those in a bit.
Jessica has been kidnapped! It’s up to her Daddy, Haggar, her boyfriend, Cody and his friend, Guy to save her and of course the city from the criminal scum! Guy doesn’t have a personal connection with Jessica but he’s a good hearted soul who wants to use his lethal-weapon-registered body without fear of repercussion. Which is good because Mike Hagger also happens to be the newly elected mayor of this fair city. The Mayor is personally going around mopping up crime like some sort of shirtless, moustachioed Batman. If only every city were lucky enough to have a Haggar as mayor.
The game controls simply enough, move your chosen fighter up, down, left and right with an attack button and a jump button. Jumping and then attacking lets off a diving attack, it doesn’t do a lot of damage, but IS a cool way to introduce yourself to a room full of bad dudes. Pressing jump and attack at the same time, however, lets off a really cool spinning attack which knocks back everyone that is in close proximity. Really handy when you’re surrounded and being pummelled but be careful, using this desperation manoeuvre drains a little bit of your health, regardless of if you hit anyone or not so don’t just whip it out willy-nilly!
You can also pick up weapons dropped by enemies such as knives, steel poles and also swords! I don’t see Haggar being able to brush ALL of this under the rug, but hey, if they hit you, hit them back, if they slice you with a massive katana…slice them back!
There are a total of 6 stages each with their own boss, all of the environments offer purely aesthetic differences although as you progress your enemies become tougher and tougher as hard mid-bosses start becoming the general fodder the game throws at you, each with their ridiculous multiple health bars and crazy stupid damage dealing capabilities.
If you happened to play the original arcade version before picking up the English localised SNES port, you may have noticed some differences.
The first two bosses Damnd and Sodom were renamed Thrasher and Katana respectively. Poison and Roxy, two of the first transsexual characters in videogames that I can think of, were changed to male enemies Billy and Sid. All references to alcohol were removed from the game, which resulted in two health pick-ups being replaced. There is no blood when a bladed weapon is used, darker skinned enemies we’re given lighter skin tones and finally the dude that comes out after you’ve bashed his car to pieces with your bare hands in a bonus stage has had his voice changed to say “Oh, my car!” instead of “Oh my god!”
Phew, Nintendo in english-speaking territories has never had a particularly good reputation when modifying games for local release.
Whilst I’m sure we could have handled an un-altered version of the game I still believe that Final Fight was and still is a great game. It had it’s flaws which were mostly not the game’s fault but it has aged so well. I definitely recommend digging yourself up a copy, it’s currently available on iOS and the PS3 and Xbox 360 stores.
Thats it for now, tune in next time for another trip down memory lane as I dust off some more cartridges.
Be sure to let me know on twitter @MikeNotridge any games you might like to see here next time.
What’s in your Videogame Shoebox?