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About the product
- The game features the return of Guy from the original Final Fight along with series mainstay Haggar and also introduces new characters Lucia and Dean.
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No box or instruction booklet. Cartridge only. Game was tested on a SNES and works properly.
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Before I jump into the review, I find it imperative to firstly discuss the price. As of the time of this writing, the price for a SNES authentic copy of Final Fight 3 is very high, anywhere between $100-$200, usually hovering at about $145. This is a pretty steep price, especially considering Final Fight 1 can be had for about $12 and Final Fight 2 can be had for about $45. The heavy price tag can be attributed to the facts that Final Fight 3 is a very desirable game as well as a late addition to the SNES library (1995). The good news is that reproduction cartridges are being sold at a much more reasonable price, but this is a game where I prefer to have an authentic cartridge. My advice for collectors is to purchase a cheaper copy with *some* wear on the label.
As for the game itself, it's perfect. Guy, who was omitted from Final Fight 1 and Final Fight 2, is now finally a playable character, and it was worth the wait. He is the star of the game, and immense fun to play as. He has a ground-and-pound move, a dash-and-attack combo,a backthrow, flurry combination, fireball, and can even use nunchucks (eat your heart out, Michaelangelo). All the characters have breathing animations, and they all have a charge attack and a super attack. Also, female enemies are finally included.
How does Final Fight 3 stack up against it's two predecessors? With Final Fight 1, the player has to fight defensively to progress. With Final Fight 2, the player has a bit more freedom to play more aggressively. With Final Fight 3 though, the speed of the game has been upped substantially. The player has tremendous liberty in choosing how to deal with the hordes of enemies, giving the game tremendous replay value. Also, there are a few variables in the game that can allow the player to choose different paths. In my most recent playthrough, I was able to skip two bosses (Wong and Stray).
The backgrounds and character sprites are, as usual, beautiful. The game looks like a comic book come-to-life, and Metro City has beautiful orange sunsets, lush park landscapes, graffiti-smeared slums, and a really neat boat level where the background lists very nicely. The music is the best of the series, but still not up to par with Streets of Rage 2. The gameplay and graphics are so well done, that I stop and marvel at how great video games were in the 16 bit era before such a rough transition to the polygonal and choppy 32 and 64 bit era (PS1 and N64, respectively). When you play a game like Final Fight 3 on SNES, you can really see just how much quality and artistry was lost when the 16 bit era ended. I've opined before in my review for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time that the game looked, felt, and played just like a classic coin-op beat 'em up should, but I think even the popular Turtles in Time is put to shame by Final Fight 3.
The other question to answer is how does this game stack up against the 3 Streets of Rage games on Sega? Console Wars already did their video where they matched all three games from each series head-to-head with Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2 besting Final Fight and Final Fight 2. I disagree with their conclusion that Streets of Rage 3 is better than Final Fight 3. Final Fight 3 is, quite simply, the Cadillac of beat em ups. Streets of Rage 3 feels choppy by comparison, everything is just running so smoothly on Final Fight 3. Streets of Rage 2 was my favorite childhood game, and I still consider it to be one of the best beat em ups, but even the great Streets of Rage 2 is inferior.
If the beat em up genre had to come to an end, I find it fitting that Final Fight 3 is the game to end the genre with an incredible bang. I look at all the great beat em ups from this era of video games....games such as Golden Axe, Knights of the Round, King of Dragons, Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja, Streets of Rage, X-Men, Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Final Fight...and I'm glad that Final Fight was the flagship beat em up series. They gave us three great games, the best installment coming last. The series has great characters like Haggar, Cody, and Guy (not to mention how HOT Maki was), varied fighting styles, fighting around world landmarks, neat weapons, great levels, etc. There were many great beat em ups, but there was only one Final Fight series. The Final Fight series will always be the gold standard of beat em ups.
The story isn't much to speak of. Normal day at the office for mayor Haggar when a riot breaks out right in the middle of Metro City. So all 4 characters head out to clean up the streets. Maybe the Mayor is trying to save money and cutting down on the law enforcement payroll. After you see a huge hole in the wall at the beginning where you can tell someone broke out of a cell in the background I was expecting a much more grand final boss. It would have been better to have a intro/cut scene to explain who the main villain is? How did he become king of the Mad Gear gang? Was he a lieutenant who got promoted? He reminded me of "Rolento" from the first Final Fight Game. Not a lot of explanation or plot development. The ending is pretty much the same for all 4 characters so there is not a lot of replay value added to play through the game as a different character.
This is where the game shines. The characters all move effectively and with the expanded moves offered you really can do a lot with each character. The controls are very responsive and the characters feels smooth not stiff or sluggish.
Guy and Haggar are fun to play and you can zip through the game pretty easily with either character. Lucia and Dean both pretty much suck. The villains are just so so. Some bosses you will recognize but most are one dimensional and require little strategy to defeat.
There is none the game is a breeze. The first FF game for the SNES is extremely hard and it is hard to just make it halfway through the game. FF2 the difficulty was evened out and is a solid game all the way around. FF3 though is way to easy. Even novice players should finish this game quickly. This is one of the reasons the game seems unfinished. One thing that Double Dragon always had over the final fight series was the environmental hazards through the stages. It would have been nice to see some of those elements put into this game especially in the Steel mill.
I always compare the Final Fight Games to the old Double Dragon series. Very similar storylines and plots. The game has updated moves and features but the challenge is nowhere to be seen which really hurts the replay value. Its a nice game to play through once but definitely not worth owning. Very average game 3 stars.