Alright, I confess, I'm a sucker for side-scrolling 2D brawlers. Hell, I even like some of the 3D ones (yes, I do like the Bouncer), but let's face it there were only a few that really worked. The one that defined the genre was Final Fight, Capcom's classic that spawned several Super NES sequels, and featured characters in several Street Fighter Alpha games. Final Fight even shows you how Capcom got to their true classic, Street Fighter II.
Final Fight was a huge arcade hit. I remember going to the local pizza joint with friends and playing it nearly everyday. Capcom allowed two of us to pick one of three characters each. You can be Cody or Guy, the sexually ambiguous duo that jumps at a chance to help their friend, and Mayor, Haggar (who looks an awful lot like Zangief), get back his daughter ... who appears to be held at the Playboy mansion.
The arcade game was great. It was an hour of kick-ass brawling! And then our prayers were answered. Capcom announced that they were readying a release of Final Fight for the launch of the Super NES. This seemed like the best news around ... until you actually played the game. So much was missing from the speedy Super NES port. Guy, my favorite character, was out ... as was the all-important two player mode! These two things made me throw the control down in disgust. Of course, when I finally did go through and beat the game (solo, something I wasn't used to, I might add) I noticed that several characters had name changes, and worse yet, one of the levels was completely removed. What a depressing day it was.
Several Years later Capcom apologized for their mistake by releasing Final Fight Guy, but by that time, it wasn't enough. And even with Guy, they still didn't let you play two players. So what's the point in that?
There's was really only one solution, buy the Sega CD release of this classic game. Although it came out a little too late, it did manage to recreate the arcade experience almost perfectly. The graphics themselves aren't what the Super NES' were ... however; I am in the camp that believes that the darker, grittier graphics work better here than they do on that "other" system.
The sound is wonderful too. There's no doubt about it. The sound really jumps out of the speakers, and sounds almost exactly like the arcade game. There is no doubt about it, Sega really did their best to recreate the arcade experience.
And not only is it pretty much arcade perfect, but it's two players, and even lets you choose one of the THREE characters!! This is exactly what should have been released on the Super NES so many years before it!
Even though Capcom tried milking the series, the first is still the best. And this is the closest you are likely to get. I really do hope that someday in the future Capcom will release of equally impressive sequel, something 3D hopefully, that really knocks my socks off.