Final Fight 3
Release year - USA:1995
Company: Capcom
System: SNES
Genre: Beat 'em up
Players: 1-2

Review by: PrimeOp

While no Final Fight game has ever surpassed the original in terms of graphics and music, this sequel brings back some of the flavor missing from Final Fight 2, adds a few innovations and brings back a fan-favorite character.

After what seemed to be the final destruction of the Mad Gear gang, a new threat rises from the rubble. The city once again erupts in violence and the chaos is orchestrated by the enigmatic Black, leader of the Skull Cross organization. Fortunately for Metro City, they were still smart enough to vote Haggar into office. Guy, a hero from the original Final Fight, returns to Metro City to visit his friend just as the crime spree hits the fan. Haggar also gains a few new allies: Lucia, a policewoman who Haggar helped from being framed for corruption charges and Dean, another ex-Street Fighter with a mysterious past (as usual). With Capcom constantly rewriting both Final Fight and Street Fighter's history, you almost wonder if any of this game really happened in the storyline anymore. But if it did, a few visual elements of Skull Cross's leader Black could easily tie into a character from that other series pretty easily. Speaking of story, this game finally gives the FF series some between level cutscenes that builds up the tale a bit more. A very welcome addition to the series, in my opinion.
Doesn't the sight of Guy and Haggar beating the crap out of thugs just give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside? Eh, maybe it's just me.

Lucia and Dean are the new jacks of the series, but fit right in with the classic Final Fight vibe.
The bosses in this game are a little more down-to-Earth than the oddballs from Final Fight 2. Unfortunately, most of the drone enemies are the blandest ones in the trilogy and in any of Capcom's beat-em-ups. Still, The programmers made sure to give them different attributes and patterns of attack. The female enemies were left in the U.S. release this time, but come off as a bit boring in design as well as all sharing the name of May no matter their palette. The bosses seem to have eaten up all the style points here, for they outshine the drones. Andore crosses over to this gang and features a nice new look as well. Most of Guy's sprites seem to be based on his Street Fighter Alpha set and are very well handled. Early game mag shots had Guy with a slightly armored outfit, but that may have been before the SFA games started. The music is typical for Capcom's SNES releases: pretty good, but not quite as great as their arcade games with a few excellent BGM's. In fact, there's one tune that pays tribute to the organ riff from "The Champ" by the Mohawks that was also sampled in Eric B. & Rakim's "Eric B. is President." There's no way I could not enjoy that.

While Final Fight 2 just seemed to be the original Final Fight engine fixed so that 2 player simultaneous play was possible, Final Fight 3 featured a much-needed update to the engine to keep up with the times (a.k.a. Streets of Rage). All the characters now have the ability to run and can perform a unique attack while running. There's also a new "power meter" fills up with each attack and lets you unleash a super attack once it's full. As a nice touch, you can also play with a CPU-controlled partner if you're playing by yourself. A word of warning: if you pick Haggar as your CPU partner, stay on the other side of the screen at all times. Trust me on this. Some of the throws and holds feel a bit off, but the rest of the updated Final Fight engine runs just fine. Here's the main reason why I'm rewriting this review: the branching paths. Sure, they weren't anything new by the time Final Fight 3 was released, but this game can be downright sly about them. For one thing, the game rarely bothers to warn or even hint at the branch points. In fact, some levels end before you reach the boss if you do the wrong thing. Since you could play the game through different paths, this added quite a bit to the replay value.
What the... does Round 3 even have a boss? Yes, it does. Here's a hint: Metro City bus drivers won't stop if the bus sign is gone. Because they're jerks.

While not as good as the original arcade Final Fight, this is possibly the best Final Fight game that you'll find for the SNES. Not only does it have 2-player simultaneous play (like FF2 has), but Guy is back in Metro City. As always, the controls are tight and the bosses aren't as wacky as those in FF2. You can probably find this at one of the larger stores that sell used games.

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