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Capcom's Flagship Beat 'Em Up Franchise Is A Bungled Gem
on April 8, 2016
Final Fight. Can I be forgiven for spending a minute gushing about the greatness of Final Fight?
When I stop and think about the original arcade game, it just blows my mind. Double Dragon and Bad Dudes were decent looking arcades, but Final Fight took it to the next level. The beautifully rendered Metro City (which has NYC's landmarks) is a perfect backdrop for this game. The colors are bright, the music is decent, and the action is non-stop. The three greatest elements of the game are the Capcom visual presentation, the NYC-style setting, and most importantly the representation of varied fighting styles. Haggar is the big American wrestler, Cody is the American kickboxer style fighter, and Guy is the Eastern-style martial artist. The look and attire appropriately matches the character's fighting style. It's absolutely brilliant.
The SNES port I just received has the obvious flaws of missing the industrial stage, no 2-player, no blood, replacing female (and/or transsexual) sprites Roxy and Poison with Sid and Billy, and worst of all...NO GUY. The lack of a stage sucks, and the blood was a really neat touch in the arcade version. I can get over Roxy and Poison being replaced, but it's a shame since Roxy and Poison are very interesting looking...they look like a punky cross between Debbie Gibson and Cindy Lauper, and I find them visually interesting. It's a shame they got cut, and the online controversy will continue to rage over whether or not Poison was a female or shemale.
BUT NO GUY. Out of the three unique looking characters, the most eastern-looking character in a karate outfit was cut. This is completely unacceptable, because so much of the appeal of the game is wrapped up in the idea of blending street fighting and karate to punish punks in NYC. Without Guy, it might as well be Axel Blaze and Max Thunder. Imagine if one of the Street Fighter II games didn't have Ryu and it's the same thing. The SNES Guy Edition cartridge is rare and too expensive, and still has all the same problems plus NO CODY. It's a lose-lose situation.
I'm tempted to think that Capcom thought that Axel Blaze was copying Cody's look (jeans, white shirt, Converse All-Stars), so Cody was scrapped from Final Fight 2 and 3. I know most gamers consider 2 to be the best, but I can't get over how badly the series was messed up because of the radically different cast. Cody and Guy were left out of Final Fight 2 and replaced with Maki (a Chun-Li clone) and a ninja named Carlos. Carlos is the most un-ninja name I've ever heard, and he really should have been given a cowl or something to complete the look. I am impressed by the game taking place in major cities all over the world, but why Cody and Guy were shafted is a mystery. Final Fight 3, like Streets of Rage 3, is the tired afterthought of the series with a few new additions, but the curtain call as 16-bit beat 'em ups died so tournament fighting games (like Street Fighter 2) could live. In Final Fight 3, at least they finally added Guy. Lucia, the female character, is my personal favorite hottest 16 bit babe. But then there's a nobody named Dean. Who the hell is Dean? WHERE IS CODY????
In summation, Final Fight was one of the greatest beat 'em arcades, second only to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but never got it right on the Super Nintendo. From a doomed port of the first game to an unrectified Blockbuster exclusive to two sequels that never got it right. It's almost no wonder why Streets of Rage 2 is considered the best entry between the two series. I guess Capcom was more interested in getting the Megaman X series games right, and sure enough soon after Resident Evil became Capcom's never favorite flagship franchise.