Final Fight
Release year - USA:1991
Company: Capcom
System: SNES
Genre: Beat 'em up
Players: 1-2

Review by: PrimeOp

When a game took the arcades by storm in the way that Final Fight sometime before the 1990's, the big question was always, "When is it coming home?" Unfortunately, everything that made it a hit also made it too difficult to port to the NES, Genesis or Turbografix-16. So when the announcement of the more powerful Super Famicom/SNES was quickly followed by word that Capcom would bless it with a Final Fight port, many a fan did the happy Snoopy dance. In private, of course. Unfortunately, everything didn't work out as planned...

Metro City's new mayor, ex-wrestler Mike Haggar, turned down all bribery attempts from the area's ruling gang, the Mad Gears. When the crooks kidnap Haggar's daughter Jessica in an attempt to ransom control over the city, Haggar and Jessica's boyfriend Cody tear up five sections of Metro City on their way to rescue the hostage and put an end to Mad Gear. You brawl on a playfield that lets you move up and down along with left and right. The two-button control scheme leads to a lot of moves. Multiple taps of the attack button near an enemy unleashses a combo that ends in a knockdown hit. Vertical and forward jump attacks knock enemies down while the dive-in attack stuns them long enough for you to land and deal more close quarters damage. Walking into the enemy (usually) causes you to grab them and either attack or throw them to hit other enemies. You also get a special attack that knocks down all swarming enemies but costs you a bit of health. There are also weapons that you can pick up with Cody having the bonus of being able to hold knives instead of just throwing them. Unfortunately, the controls feel a bit slippery here and there are times when you end up throwing in the wrong direction by mistake and other problems like that.
While you only one player can brawl at a time, the SNES sprite limitations only allow 3 enemies on the screen at once. You'll be glad when you see how much damage every hit does to you.

Like any good beat-em-up, you go to new places, meet interesting people and then beat the hell out of them before they kill you.
Final Fight shines in the enemy department. Basic thugs have basic punches and kicks with Jake and Simmons even having a jumpkick. Two.P and J don't walk as much as they dart in and out of combat to attack or throw you only at the right (or wrong) time. Big bikers Axl and Slash will block your attacks while the big belly set like Wong Who have a dangerous running headbutt. The giant Andore family can be just as dangerous as an end boss if you aren't careful. Even though you see all of the drone enemies in the first round of the game, they're all so unique that they don't get tiresome unless they're beating you up. Except for Abigail, an Andore headswap (or is it the other way around?), every endboss has a very distinct attack pattern that must be learned and overcome. I don't think that any other beat-em-up has such a large cast that still remains memorable. Unfortunately, bad girls Poison and Roxy were replaced with skinny males named Sid and Billy. Many later SNES games including Final Fight 2, Sonic Blast Man and Sunset Riders did this, but it all starts here. In (dis)honor of this, I'm calling all such characters 'Sidbillies' from now on.

Now comes the painful part. This game is missing a lot of arcade features for a variety of reasons. Capcom wasn't experienced enough with the new console to bless it with a 2 player mode. Due to cart size limits, they couldn't fit FF's 3rd hero Guy or Rolento's Industrial Area stage. With both of those things being fan favorites, that meant more disappointment. The U.S. version was butchered with the censoring of many things that may have lead to controversy. Instead, the replacing of the bad girls with bland male enemies, name changes and de-boozified items became a controversy all it's own. But even beyond that, the slippery controls and cheaper enemy hit priority made the game a bit less enjoyable to play. Your enemies deal out more damage seemingly to make up for system sprite limits that prevented the swarms from the arcade. In other words, it's even easier for Andore to kill you with one attack. On the other hand, the graphic conversion job is top notch. In fact, a few sprites (especially Slash's hair) look better here than in the arcade version. For an early game, the BGM's and SFX sound great. As much as this game may have missed the mark, it's still better than later SNES ports like Pit-Fighter.
Oh my car. Oh my CAR? Yes, it was changed to Oh my car. If you're a Final Fight fan bothered by that, you really don't want to see the other alterations made to the game.

While much of the Final Fight experience is here, it just feels like it was made before Capcom was truly ready to do the game full two-player justice. Still, it's better than most of its imitators at the time if one player is all you need.

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