Final FightAhh, don't you remember playing Final Fight in the arcades back in the day? You don't? Well, here's the story - you and a stranger put in some quarters and play as two different fighters in order to beat some street punks to the ground. Quarter by quarter, you get closer and closer to the gang's boss, and you and the other player really need to take a piss, but you hold it in, because you're both so close, and then you both die. Realizing that neither of you had quarters left, you both get pissed off and wished you had some. That's just what arcade machines love to do... So the big boys at Nintendo decided to port the arcade game on the Super Nintendo, for all the kiddies to play! Did it succeed? Financially, possibly, but in the eyes of the fans, probably not, because Nintendo forced Capcom to get rid of some stuff, most of which would've given this port a lot more pizzazz in the long run. Don't get me wrong, it's still a good port, but I wouldn't pay too much for it.
Story: The Mad Gear street gang, who are the most powerful criminal organization in all of Metro City (which is known as the crime capital), have kidnapped the mayor's daughter so that they can bring him under their control, and it's up to us to save her. The catch? The mayor is a retired wrestler, and he's *bleep*ing pissed. He enlists the help of Cody, the daughter's boyfriend and martial arts expert, because he's... a martial arts expert! It's a typical 16-bit plot, only you get to play as a *bleep*ing mayor! Seriously, doesn't that just oozle badassery? Your typical mayor is some fat balding guy who does what his officials tell him; Mike "The Man" Haggar is a musclebound mass of awesome who has to handle crime, instead of getting the police to do it for him!
Gameplay: Final Fight is a standard beat em up, where you move across a level in eight directions, and beat the ever loving piss out of whatever comes your way, either with punch, or health-deteriorating therefore last resort special attacks. As far as its fundamentals goes, Super Nintendo Final Fight manages to work competently. It's fun beating people up, and it feels good when you lay waste to some street punks, but it doesn't evoke the same emotion that the arcade classic does...
Let's get the reasons why this is such an inferior port of the arcade classic out of the way first before we dive into why this still has some heart and soul. First of all, there are less enemies on the screen at once. They had to reduce the limit from eight to three, though I'm willing to bet that this was due to hardware limitations. Nevetheless, this lowered the difficulty level down a number of pegs, as you now only have a few cronies to beat, and they're not exactly smart, either. They rush you, but a simple jump kick or a well timed punch combo will send them down the slammer. Feels too easy in this respect.
Second, they removed an entire *bleep*ing level. Just like with the decrease in punks, this was probably due to hardware limitations. It's a small complaint, but it was something that bugged me, even when I was kid playing through this, and it'll bug arcade purists who haven't played this yet (if... any remain, that is).
But the third thing they removed make the other two seem small - they removed TWO PLAYER! I'm sorry, but wasn't the best part of a beat em up the fact that you can beat up heaps of bad guys alongside a friend or stranger? Holy shit, why would you get rid of the best thing about these sorts of games - the kinds of games that bring friends together even more and/or makes you new friends!? Goddamn!
What saves this game? Just the fact that it's still fun to play. It's such a simple concept - move left to right, and beat the piss out of anybody who dares to mess with you! Boss battles are still challenging, since they can inflict a ton of pain on you with their powerful combos if you're not careful, though some are watered down due to less cronies on screen at once, but it's still fun to beat them to death... not really much else to say about the gameplay. It's about as simple as a beat em up gets.
Controls: Like most beat em ups, Final Fight works with two buttons - the punch and jump commands - and a d-pad. Unfortunately, Capcom forgot that there are four face buttons on an SNES controller, so to do the special attack, instead of pressing A or X to do it, you have to press B and Y together, and they're your jump and punch commands, so... yeah, that's not exactly smart, Capcom.
Graphics: Although the colors are a little less vivid than the arcade original's and some details had to be scaled down in order to fit onto an SNES cartridge, the game still looks pretty good. The characters are big and meaty, as well as a little on the cheesy Grease gangs side, though they still look like guys you wouldn't want to mess with. Mike, Cody and the bosses look like dudes you'd expect to see in a body building contest (well, not so much Cody as everyone else, but Cody looks buff, too... just not like the monster that is Mike Haggar). On top of that, the levels you go through definitely look like a city that's been experiencing a lot of crime over time, with graffiti and some broken stuff here and there, which goes well with the crime ridden city thing that the story had going on. In fact, the lowered vividity of the colors suits it well, since gritty colors often make a town feel more crime ridden, like a crime wave just hit it. Just plain excellent graphics, really.
Audio: The music in the game is pretty good. Memorable tracks that can be upbeat, sometimes hitting close to being urban, like a city that experiences crime waves pretty often, though the tracks are more lively and upbeat than anything. It's the sort of music that, at least, makes you feel like you want to kick some ass.
Replay Value: Since it lost the two player mode, its replay value got shot to hell. Beat em ups are best replayable with multiple people, not just solo, and although it's fun to play through, Final Fight is far from the best beat em up. There are many beat em ups out there, including the sequels, that are constructed better, feel better, and have two player mode, making this a waste of time to replay.
Overall: This is such a lackluster port, that the fact that it's still kind of fun to play is the reason why it's worth picking up... or was. If you have an Xbox 360 and/or PS3, go buy Final Fight: Double Impact instead. If you lack those two systems and will feel guilty when you emulate the arcade version. sure, pick this up if you can find it cheap. It's only missing a level... and half of its difficulty... and a playable character... and two player mode...