Final Fight Revenge - Arcade / Saturn (1999)

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Revenge is a one-one-fighter drastically different from the rest of the series, designed by Capcom's American studio but only released in Japan. Although the graphics are 3D, it controls like a 2D fighter, and a very bad one at that. The characters are consist of a shameful amount of polygons, and the game actually looks worse than Virtua Fighter 2. Its Saturn port - the last game released for the system - requires the 4 MB cartridge and I can't remotely see why. The fighting is extraordinarily clumsy, and unlike Rival Schools, isn't even remotely fun. Playing against the computer isn't remotely fun, because they tend to block practically all of your attacks, so it's just a matter of chipping away until you catch them off guard.


Most of the cast of the original Final Fight have been included as playable characters (although why they ignore the second and third games is beyond me.) The only redeeming quality is how damned ridiculous the game is. Final Fight Revenge's big gimmick was that you could use weapons found in stage. These includes pistols, knives, guns, freeze guns, barrels and others. Needless to say, it's pretty silly to attack someone with a chainsaw and have it inflict maybe 5% damage. Even stranger are the special attacks - Edi E. seemingly turns into a miniature police car and attempts to run down his opponent, while Rolento summons a helicopter. El Gado strangles his opponents and breaks various bones in their bodies (complete with x-ray close-ups), yet they get up with only 20% damage received despite having a broken neck. Poison gets close-up and flashes a number of sultry images on the screen, and does a pole dance as a victory stance. The last boss is a zombified version of Belgar, the villain from the original Final Fight, who can explode and then resurrect himself, and does a Thriller-esque dance in the end credits. The sheer campiness is amusing, although it's generally not worth the price of the Saturn version (usually at least $100) due to the general lousiness of the game.

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Streetwise - Playstation 2 / Xbox (2006)

PS2 Cover

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Revenge

Final Fight Streetwise is a tragedy of a game. When it was released, it was mocked relentless by critics and ignored by gamers, who felt the game's gritty visuals were a sell-out to attract the Grand Theft Auto audience. It was a massive flop at retail, and the development studio, the same American team behind Final Fight Revenge and the Maximo games, was shut down. The thing of it is, according to one of the developers, the original plan was to make a cel-shaded 3D beat-em-up using character designs from Capcom mainstay artist Akiman, but the suits in Japan wanted them to make the game more "American".

Knowing this story, Final Fight Streetwise feels like a struggle between boneheaded corporate mandates and a development team who earnestly had a lot of love for the original Final Fight. The story mode lets you walk around town, running mini-quests for people (such as chasing down muggers), train at the gym to earn new moves, and follow the plotline. It feels strange to be playing a Final Fight game where you spend more time running around and talking than beating people up. However, the fighting engine is remarkably solid, compared to crappier games like the shameful Capcom-published Beatdown: Fists of Vengeance. Despite the lack of a jump button, it feels just the old games, with a bit of added depth (hey, you can actually block!) Of course, the story mode is single player only, which is a bit of a bummer.

The story starts with Kyle Travers training underneath his brother Cody. However, Cody gets kidnapped due to his association with some strange zombifying drug that's hitting the streets. After enlisting the help of Haggar (who's quit his job as mayor and started up his own gym) and Guy (who's now an honorable gang leader in the city's Japantown district), you have to untangle the mystery and save your brother. There's an Arcade mode too, which is more the style of the original games - no fetch quests, just straightforward, linear, two-player brawling. While some of the extra moves found in the Story mode are gone, the fixed camera lets you concentrate of smashing skulls instead of finding the right camera angle. Unfortunately, you're required to play through the Story mode to access more levels, plus there aren't any continues, making this mode rather difficult.

While the tone is relatively serious, there's a bunch of random goofiness the designers tossed in which livens things up. By running quests and beating up bad guys, you'll gain Respect points, and the locals will run up to you and cheer you on with the most bizarre sayings ("What color do you think I should paint my room, Kyle?" or "Where'd you get that shaving cream, Kyle?") All of the bad guys have silly gangsta parody names (one dude is named "World O. Hurt"). There are a handful of strange mini-games, including a roach stomping quest, a button-masher where you repeatedly slam a door on one of the bad guys' head (this happens twice throughout the game, the second time in a garage door), and the classic car-bashing fest. You even get to fight classic characters like Andore and Cammy in the fighting arena. On the outside, yes, it looks like another "thug" style ripoff game, but there's a bit of spirit lying underneath.

So yes, the graphics are pretty bad. The music is mostly licensed crap (though some of it is pretty fitting, and there's a remix of the original Final Fight theme in there.) The game does get brutally difficult later on, and the fighting system still doesn't quite have enough depth to be too interesting. Plus, Capcom's God Hand - released several months later in 2006 - takes on a similar (but much goofier) tone, and has a better fighting system that feels like old-school beat-em-ups properly updated. Yes, the story is retarded, but that's all part of the fun! Don't let all of the hate misguide you - Streetwise isn't nearly as bad as some would lead you to believe.

Final Fight Streetwise

Final Fight Streetwise

Final Fight Streetwise

Final Fight Streetwise

Final Fight Streetwise

The Story of Poison

One of the most popular side characters is Poison, the scantily clad, purple haired dominatrix girl (also appearing with red hair as Roxy), who's also never been playable outside of Final Fight Revenge. She appears alongside Hugo in every game she's in, and she's at least reasonably popular in...ahem...certain Japanese fan artist circles. She's also one of the most controversial character Capcom has ever created. There wasn't any problem with her being in the Japanese game, but when importing it to other countries, the American divisions had a problems with players being able to beat up women. So, in a somewhat clever move, Capcom Japan decided that Roxy and Poison were both transsexuals (or "newhalves", if you want to use the Japanese terminology), so even though they looked like chicks, they were actually 100% dude. I suppose this makes beating them up more of a hate crime than regular domestic abuse, but I've never been one to figure out political correctness anyway. By the time Final Fight Revenge came out, the design team, completely separate from the original developers, had decided that Poison was in fact a girl and she had a crush on Cody. Her ending seems to suggest that she may go through the operation so she can be by Cody's side. Capcom's official stance is that she's still a guy, although that may be in question.

Poison was meant to star in Capcom Fighting All Stars, a 3D fighting game that was eventually canned and morphed into the mediocre 2D fighter Capcom Fighting Evolution - which had no evidence of Poison. She was edited entirely out of the SNES and Gameboy Advance versions of the game, replaced with spiky haired male bad guys, and while's she present in the Sega CD version, extra clothes were added.

SNK vs Capcom Chaos Portrait

American/Japanese Sega CD/American SNES Replacement

Final Fight Revenge Screenshots

Trivia

SNK vs Capcom Chaos

Since the creator of Final Fight, Yoshiki Okamoto, also created Street Fighter 2, there's a lot of crossovers between the series. Guy first appears in Street Fighter Alpha and stars throughout the entire series, with stages filled with cameos from the original Final Fight (with remixed music to boot.) Cody also was also resurrected for Street Fighter Alpha 3, though he ditched his white t-shirt in favor of a jail uniform (he's a convict now, for some reason.) In an amusing homage to the Final Fight games, Cody always has a knife in the middle of the stage that can pick up and jab things with.

Street Fighter Alpha 2

Saturday Night Slam Masters

Oddly enough, Haggar has never been a playable character in any Street Fighter game, but he has shown up in Capcom's wrestling game Saturday Night Slam Masters. However, his moves have always been very similar to Zangief, so adding him in probably would be redundant (not like the world needs another Ryu/Ken clone, but whatever.)

Saturday Night Slam Masters

Capcom vs SNK 2

Maki from Final Fight 2 also shows up in Capcom vs SNK 2, complete with a spinning attack that drains your life when you hit all three attack buttons. She's been made a little bit more blonde, and equipped with tonfas.

Capcom vs SNK 2

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Crew

The enemies themselves have become pretty popular too, as they at least have fairly unique design. Sword wielder Sodom appears in the Street Fighter Alpha games as an American who desperately wants to be Japanese (and has some of the goofiest win quotes ever) and grande chucking Rolento is in both the Alpha games and Capcom vs SNK 2. The hulking Andore shows up in Street Fighter 3 and SNK vs Capcom Chaos under the name Hugo. Rastafarian evildoer Damnd scores points just for having a ridiculous name, but he's never been playable outside of the one-on-one Final Fight Revenge.

Street Fighter Alpha 3

Andre the Giant

There are some amusing collisions with reality within Final Fight. Bad guy Andore is obviously modeled after the late wrestler Andre the Giant, although when he was renamed Hugo in Street Fighter 3, probably out of respect to his departed model. And the story of mayor Haggar oddly parallels the story of former wrestler Jesse Ventura, who actually left the world of beating people up to become the governor of Minnesota. Sadly, no one ever attempted to kidnap his daughter, though one might wonder what the world would be like if they did.

Jesse Ventura

The side-scrolling beat-em-up is a genre that hasn't particularly aged well, although Final Fight still holds up better than Double Dragon, and Final Fight 3 in particular is heavily underrated, but it's still good for some quick fun. There were some occasional 3D beat-em-ups brought out by Sega, such as Die Hard Arcade and its sequel, Dynamite Cop!, and while they were amusing in their big-budget excess, lacked the tight control scheme of their 2D games. Today, the spirit of Final Fight is mostly seen in Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Capcom's own titles like Chaos Legion and God Hand, although the presentation and format have changed drastically to add a bit of strategy to the button mashing. Thanks to Eric-Jon Rossel Waugh of Insert Credit for some background on Poison.

Links:

Street Fighter Legends - Final Fight A subsection of an excellent Street Fighter site chronicles various aspects of the game.
Final Fight Online Fellow Classicgaming site devoted to the series.
In Defense of Final Fight Streetwise Interesting blog entry defending the much maligned game.

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