EXTRA JOY! A face-punchin’ tribute to Capcom’s original brawler trilogy
I think most of us consider the original Final Fight near and dear to our hearts, but man, I kind of forgot how amazing Final Fight 2 and 3 are. All three games have just hit the Wii U eShop ( NOTE : You can get 50% off Street Fighter II and Punch-Out!! with the purchase of any Final Fight game now and until October 10th), so I’m only now getting a chance to play them all for the first time since renting ‘em from Blockbuster all those years ago. I’m having such a blast with the games, I went and made this little tribute trailer for all three games (using Guy’s theme from Super Street Fighter IV to give it that 80s action movie vibe.)
I mean, I played the original Final Fight for Super Nintendo to death, but who didn’t? It was undoubtedly the cream of the then-vibrant beat-em-up genre’s crop. Firing it up again proved that Cody and Haggar’s first adventure has aged beautifully. Aaaah… just give me waves and waves of simple, merciless beatdowns and don’t stop until someone falls out a window, thank you.
However, if you’re a player my age, here’s where the slight tragedy comes in. You may remember the glorious frenzy brought upon by Street Fighter II. For a lot of us, it was almost like nothing else mattered, and any game that didn’t let you pound the snot out of a human opponent became a lesser priority in my world. Worse still, the one-player brawler started to look a tad antiquated next to fighters offering discoverable move sets against an ever-fluxuating strategy.
It pains me to admit it as a Capcom devotee, but I feel like Final Fight 2 got a little lost in the phenomenal tidal wave of the SFII craze. And that’s a Damnd (tee hee) shame, because FF2 holds a far better, more console-optimized side-scrolling experience, plus it features better visuals, a deeper move set, and a crucial aspect the original SNES Final Fight sorely lacked: Two-player co-op.
The bar rose even higher with Final Fight 3, Street Fighter kind of blinded me to the evolution occurring in the Final Fight series, and I completely failed to notice how it was they were influencing once another the whole time. Not only did FF3 add in larger selectable roster of playable combatants, the bottom of the screen was now occupied by a Super meter, allowing Haggar, Guy, Lucia, and Dean to unleash command-based special moves in addition to unique combos and dash modifiers.
While it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t see Final Fight 3 for the beautiful culmination of the 16-bit brawler evolution it definitely was back then, I’m glad these games are available today for purists to discover/appreciate. And seriously, the lower prices and the fact that I have a job means that choosing a brawler or a fighter doesn’t have to be an “either or” situation I hope speaks to a harmonious coexistence between the two. After all, the fighting genre has returned and is here to stay, but I seriously would love nothing more than to see the brawler, the beat ‘em up, whatever you wanna call it make a massive resurgence. I desperately want to see the return of two button combos, arrows demanding I go right and inner city street gangs who make a concerted effort to always choreograph their outfits. Until then, Final Fight is there for us.
Final Fight 1, Final Fight 2 and Final Fight 3 are now available in the Wii U eShop. Buy any Final Fight title this week and get 50% off Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II or the original Punch-Out!!