Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Defunct Games Vs.
Defunct Games vs. Final Fight
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 13, 2009   |   Episode 4 (Show Archive)  


No time to pose guys, there's an innocent girl that needs your help!!
It's been twenty years since Haggar, Cody and Guy set out to kick Mad Gear's ass and rescue the beautiful Jessica. I'll let that number sink in. Twenty years ago we were first introduced to Metro City, the most violent city ever governed by an ex-professional wrestler. In that time a lot has happened: Capcom singlehandedly created the fighting game craze, Nintendo released seven different consoles, both Sony and Microsoft entered the ring, Sega went third party and Peter Jackson was able to turn an 80 minute long movie about a giant ape into a three hour epic. What a crazy journey we've been on.

But while the world was changing, Final Fight was staying the same. For the past two decades Final Fight (and its characters) have been connected to almost two dozen games, including ports and spin-offs that have been featured on everything from the NES to the Sega CD to the PlayStation 2. Not all of these games are worth playing, but there's no doubt that Final Fight made a major mark on the brawler sub-genre.

To help celebrate the last twenty years of Final Fight we've decided to take a look at each and every one of the games connected to Final Fight. I'm talking about everything, from the Super NES sequels to the fighting games Haggar, Cody and Guy found themselves in. Which Final Fight games are still worth playing? What was the best home console port? Does Final Fight work as a Game Boy Advance game? These are just a few of the questions we answer over the next three pages. Our hope is to remind you just how awesome Final Fight is, so that maybe you'll go back and give this twenty year old game another play through. This is the 20 Years of Final Fight, the most comprehensive list of Final Fight games and spin-offs ever assembled in one place!

Final Fight
[ Release: 1989 - Console: Arcade ]

Final Fight may not have been the first 2D brawler to hit American arcades, but it definitely left and impact that is still being felt twenty years later. Born out of the success of games like Double Dragon and Renegade, Final Fight is best remembered as a game that offered us a chance to play as Haggar, the WWE-sized Mayor of Metro City. It all started with a phone call that confirmed Haggar's worst suspicions: His little girl was kidnapped! So Haggar does what any Mayor would do, he enlists his daughter's boyfriend (and his friend) to beat up everybody who has even the slightest connection to the kidnapping. In Final Fight you (and a friend) choose from three different characters, including the aforementioned Haggar, Cody and Guy. Together they fight through six different parts of the city until finding the leader of the Mad Gear gang. Sure the story is stupid and the gameplay is simplistic, but there's no denying the charm of Final Fight. Each and every one of the boss characters is cool in their own way, and most of the genres cliches weren't as annoying back then as they are now. Best of all, Final Fight led the way for a number of future Capcom brawlers, including Captain Commando. No matter what kind of gamer you are, chances are you're going to love playing through Final Fight!

Final Fight
[ Release: 1991 - Console: Super NES ]

After successfully beating up arcades around the world, Capcom was ready to bring the beat-em-up home on the Super NES. And let me tell you, fans of 2D brawlers couldn't wait to get their hands on this 16-bit launch title. It was one of the biggest launch games, a title that was going to show off the power of Nintendo's 16-bit hardware once and for all. In some ways Final Fight does an excellent job of recreating the arcade experience, but there are just three problems that a hardcore fan of the series can't overlook. For one thing, this cartridge-based Final Fight has entire levels ripped out of it. What's more, the exciting two-player gameplay has been reduced to a solo mission. And sadly, one of the three characters (Guy) is nowhere to be found. Throw in censored character names and a handful of technical problems, and you have a very weak port of an awesome game.

Final Fight Guy
[ Release: 1992 - Console: Super NES ]

A year after screwing up their first stab at Final Fight, Capcom decides to try, try again. This time around they deliver the curiously titled Final Fight Guy, which rectified one of the three major complaints people had with the Super NES launch title. This time around gamers could choose between Mike Haggar and Guy, who replaces Cody. Unfortunately Capcom decided against fixing any of the other pressing issues, such as the non-existent multiplayer mode and the game's missing levels. Instead we get a brand new power-up, which is, to put it kindly, inconsequential to the actual gameplay. To make matters worse, by this time Sega already had two top-selling Streets of Rage games that featured multiple characters, a rockin' two-player mode and more levels than either of these two Super NES Final Fight games. Things aren't looking good for this seminal arcade hit.

Mighty Final Fight
[ Release: 1993 - Console: Nintendo Entertainment System ]
After two failed attempts at a Super NES port, the Final Fight team decided to take a crack at the NES. This time around they crafted a brand new game that was loosely based on the storyline and levels of the arcade game. This is a modest game, a simplistic brawler with small characters and a lack of depth when it comes to special moves. Still, the game did feature all three of the main cast members, not to mention a lot of levels and cool 8-bit backgrounds. Even more interesting is the leveling-up system, giving this slight action game a weird role-playing game feel. Obviously Capcom was limited by the technology, but you have to be pretty cynical to dismiss this exciting action game out of hand.

Final Fight CD
[ Release: 1993 - Console: Sega CD ]

Finally, after two failed attempts to bring the arcade hit home, Capcom (well, Sega) finally gets it right. This Sega CD port was developed and published by Sega, which may explain why it was actually faithful to its arcade roots. All of the major problems found in the two Super NES releases have been rectified here. The game retails the two-player co-op mode, all three of the characters are playable and every single level found in the arcade can be played on the Sega CD. And that's not all, the various censorship issues have been fixed, most of the technical problems are missing, the cinemas are arcade-perfect and the music is CD quality. I other words, if you're going to buy a home console version, this Sega CD port is the way to go. Who would have thought that it would take Sega to make a good console Final Fight port?

Saturday Night Slam Masters/Ring of Destruction - Slam Masters II
[ Release: 1993/1994 - Console: Arcade ]

I honestly don't know what to make of Saturday Night Slam Masters and its oft-ignored sequel. On one hand I like that Capcom decided to try something different, especially in light of the success of Street Fighter II. It would have been perfectly reasonable for Capcom to turn this odd fighter into just another 2D one-on-one event. But no, this is a two-on-two wrestling extravaganza. I've never been a huge fan of wrestling games, but Slam Masters is over-the-top enough to keep my interest. Unfortunately, it doesn't hold up over long play sessions. The moves are somewhat limited and the gameplay just doesn't work for me. I also find the game to be less precise than that of Street Fighter II. Then again, comparing it to Street Fighter II does both games a disservice. If you're a fan of arcade-style wrestling games, then I say give this one a try. Everybody else may want to skip this and head straight to Street Fighter Alpha. On an interesting side note, the Japanese version of this game clearly states that Saturday Night Slam Masters takes place before the events in Final Fight. However, in the American version of the game it tells you that this is taking place after. Well, which is it?

Final Fight 2
[ Release: 1993 - Console: Super NES ]

At a time when Capcom had complete control over the arcade market, they surprised everybody and released the next two Final Fight games on a home console. Final Fight 2 came out in 1993, just two years after the launch of the Super NES and the first Final Fight port. This time around gamers could choose from three characters (Haggar and two new fighters, Maki and her friend Carlos Miyamoto). Better yet, you could also play the game two-players simultaneously, one of the biggest concerns with the first release. These improvements are definitely appreciated, but they came a little too late if you ask me. By 1993 Super NES owners were already addicted to Street Fighter II, so the prospect of playing another 2D brawler (no matter how good it is) just wasn't as appealing as it once was. Couple that with a short campaign, so-so graphics and a forgettable storyline, and you have a Final Fight game that tries really hard but doesn't quite live up to its legacy.



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