Final Fight Review


Beat ‘em ups were a staple of any gamer’s life during the ‘90s. We had a lot of great ones to play both at the arcade and at home. Some heavy hitters include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, and today’s game of topic, Final Fight. Final Fight is one of the most recognizable entries in the genre and has given us iconic characters, bone crushing brawling, and street meat. However, Final Fight has given us something else; an awful Super Nintendo port of a fantastic arcade game. Today, I’ll be discussing the joys and cons of Final Fight for the Super Nintendo.

Extremely Satisfying Brawling

One of the best aspects of Final Fight is found in its brawling. Hitting the enemy feel fantastic thanks to bone crunching sound effects. Keep pressing the attack button and you’ll pull off some satisfying combos. You have other methods of attack including grappling, jumping attacks, and special attacks. Your attacks will change depending on whether you play as Cody, or everybody’s favourite muscle mayor, Haggar. Regardless of who you choose, stringing together all of your attacks is essential to overcome the game’s notorious difficulty. Breaking open crates, barrels, etc. will become second nature as you scour the streets for food to replenish your health, items for points so you can gain 1UPs, and weapons to help in your fight against the enemy. As good as the gameplay feels, this Final Fight port struggles in a number of areas.

Cheap AI Makes Final Fight a Chore to Play

Final Fight on Super Nintendo is probably one of my least favourite beat ‘em up games to play. This is mostly due to the game’s incredible difficulty thanks to cheap AI. Not only will the enemy gang up on you and trap you in place, they also hit quite hard making it nearly impossible to progress forward. You can use your special attack to even the odds, but it’s only a temporary fix as seconds later you’ll probably end up sandwiched by the enemy and pummeled to death. You have 1UPs and continues, but in my experience, these didn’t actually help much. I did manage to finally make progress by using the secret menu (hold L and R and press start at the title screen) to lower the game’s difficulty and increase the number of lives. Even then, the game is still too unbalanced in favour of the AI to actually be enjoyable.

([October 20, 2019] Edit: Holding up while pressing attack will end your combo with a suplex. This tactic that I'm discovering after the fact makes the cheap AI easier to handle. The game still doesn't do a great job of balancing the difficulty, so I won't be changing the game's final score.)

Lack of Multiplayer in a Beat ‘em Up

Cooperative multiplayer is an essential part of any beat ‘em up game as they’re more fun to play with a friend. Unfortunately, Final Fight on Super Nintendo does not let you play with a friend. Playing with a friend would undoubtedly improve the game. I have a feeling that this version of Final Fight doesn’t have multiplayer because the game already slows down when too many sprites are on-screen. Thankfully, Capcom would smarten up and add multiplayer in future entries on the Super Nintendo.

An Awful Rendition of the Game’s Soundtrack

This Final Fight port suffers in yet another area and that area is its soundtrack. Capcom had the talent to make a great soundtrack, but they either phoned it in for this port, or didn’t show up at all. The soundtrack is mostly a mess of grating electronic sounds that almost borders on generic. Thankfully, there is one standout track that I actually liked, but it’s not enough for me to give a positive rating here.

The Graphics Are Actually Great

One thing that wasn’t lost in transition to the Super Nintendo are the game’s visuals. All of the iconic character designs and gorgeous environments look great here. You’ll be beating up foes on dreary streets, inside bouncing night clubs, and battling for supremacy inside a steel cage. Thankfully, Capcom did something right with this port and I get to end this review on a joyous note.

Conclusion

Final Fight for the Super Nintendo is a game that I really wanted to like, but this is not a great port. Its unfair difficulty makes playing the game a frustrating ordeal that is only slightly alleviated by using the game’s secret cheat menu. In perhaps one of gaming’s biggest disappointments, the game also doesn’t have 2-player co-op. Beat ‘em ups on prior consoles were able to have 2-player co-op, so there is no excuse for Final Fight. If you’re curious about the game, there are a number of ways to experience the arcade version, so I’d recommend going that route and experience the game on anything but the Super Nintendo.

Final Score: -1

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