Final Fight One
Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Release Date: 2001 | Genre: Side Scrolling Beat ‘Em Up | Website: n/a | Purchase: Amazon
Final Fight might not have been the first Side Scrolling Beat ‘Em Up on the scene way back in 1989 but it was definitely one of the best. The 8bit SNES port that followed showed that console hardware could not hold this Arcade beast as a lot had to be chopped in order to fit it on a cartridge. There have been other ports over the years, most notably the Sega Mega-CD version, but this GBA port allows handheld gaming fans to finally get an authentic slice of the action.
The game is set in Metro City, which is a place so overrun by crime that an ex-wrestler is the only one crazy enough to accept the job of mayor. It is not long before his daughter is kidnapped by the ruthless Mad Gear gang in an attempt to bring him to heel. Unfortunately for them this just pisses him off and prompts him along with two friends to go on a citywide rampage leaving scores of bloodied gang members in their wake. The journey starts in the slums and progresses all the way up town in six levels of mayhem. For some reason along the way there are also two bonus levels where your chosen character can smash up some unfortunate gang member’s car or demolish a bunch of glass panes.
This GBA port is based on the Arcade original, which is great as the SNES version was butchered upon release. This means that GBA owners will be able to play the “Industrial” area level, which was cut from the SNES version, as well as have access to Guy as a playable character. Best of all is that the two-player mode is available to those with link cables. There are even two “bonus” characters to play with once you unlock them. The two female enemies from the Arcade version have been replaced by male ones just like in the SNES version but this hardly affects the gameplay.
Since the original game is so old this version also feels a bit dated. The visuals are good with plenty of color and some nice, big sprites, but the background animations have definitely been toned down. The controls also feel a bit stiff and the game can become repetitive since all you do is walk to the right while bashing the attack button. It’s still very playable, however, and with five difficulty options everyone should be able to enjoy and finish it. In fact, the battery save feature might make the game a bit too easy to complete. The audio suffers from the usual GBA problems, but while not great it is still bearable.
If you did not enjoy Final Fight back when it was released this version is not going to change your mind. Newcomers will have the most fun, but might find the game a bit dated compared to what else is available out there. Those who enjoyed the Arcade version will finally have a decent portable version to call their own. I would have liked to see the characters and setting in a fresh new game as this barrage of ports is worrying, but this is still a cool title to pick up and play.
*Review originally published 2001.