Review by Dogg

""Eat your Heart Out""


Introduction

The Final Fight series has established itself pretty good throughout the past years. Not only being an arcade favorite, the Final Fight series moved on to home consoles. It soon premiered in the SNES with Final Fight, followed by Final Fight Guy. Guy was practically Final Fight, but most importantly the original FF for the SNES suffered a problem. This was that it was too easy, too repetitive, and the game overall didn’t have a much-coveted two-player mode.

Pretty screwy for a game if you ask me.

So Capcom, the company responsible for these games, brought up a sequel to the original Final Fight called ... Final Fight 2. Final Fight 2 was in every ways better than its original, but it wasn’t however better than the arcade version. It suffered some boring statistics and still suffered having 3 enemies on display at one time. Final Fight 2 however, was still a good game by any chance and it had also brought two-player action to a series that pretty much never changes. And that was FF2’s problem it never changed. It didn’t bring much of anything new to a series close to going stale and this helped bring down the game a lot of times.

Now Capcom has souped up the last and the final game to the series, which is now dubbed Final Fight 3. FF3 is indeed a good beat-‘em-up and it is indeed better than all of the other Final Fight games since the Arcade version of the original Final Fight.

Story

Final Fight 2 suffered a boring story that was too much of the same-old just done better. Final Fight 3 however, has in a way a completely brand new and fresh story that actually deserves revisiting. Now after the Mad Gear Gang was destroyed in Japan in the last Final Fight, the gang had died out. However, many of the underground “bad guys” wanted some more Mad Gear action. They tried and build up the Mad Gear Gang, but the gang was eventually taken care of by the new and more dominating gang: The Skull Cross gang.

The Skull Cross Gang supposedly formed after the events in FF2 and much of the public tends to say that this gang was not only powerful, but also dangerous. Then the scene switches over to Mayor Mike Haggar, who eventually gets a visit from an old friend: Guy. Soon a huge explosion occurs and Guy says that he’ll join Haggar on his quest to see what’s going on. Soon all of a sudden a cop comes and eventually joins the group. Lucia, the cop, says that the Skull Cross gang started a riot and eventually got their leader out of jail. And then out of nowhere a former Street Fighter comes out of nowhere. The Street Fighter renames unnamed, but says that he knows the location of the Skull Cross Gang. Eventually you learn that this fighter is called Dean and that he is after the Skull gang because they killed his family (since he refused to join them). Then each one team’s up to get some Skull Cross buttkicking, or maybe they’ll dish out themselves some buttkicking, who knows?

Graphics

The graphics in Final Fight 3 are to put simply, pretty darn good. The character designs, character animations, and overall sleepless looking environments are to put more simply- well done. Many enemies in this game also got a new fresh of paint (just look at Andore’s hair. Guess some of that paint spilled over) so to speak. Enemies are very lively, but some enemies and even bosses have pretty bad character models and designs.

In one corner you got 4 rounds of green and red midgets with gas masks (nice) on your tail, while later an enemy called “Hunter” scares you away with his ghost-like appearance and with the overall stature of wearing a hockey mask. The bosses are also designed pretty bad, if not pretty weird. Final Fight 2 had its weird boss called “Won-Won” while this game has Black, a M. Bison look-alike who’s not afraid of getting half naked in front of your character. There are even other bosses who are pirates and that boss’s only animation is to throw his anchor around, or simply go with the oldest strategy used in such games like Mario- jump and hit someone over the head.

However, as weird as things and designs can be the graphics are still nice-looking. Many of your characters animations and their designs are at least well done and this game also does a good job on pacing the whole power of the SNES, and to the extent that it can do. There are also small cut-scenes and while colorization may not be great there... the rest is nice.

As I mentioned the environments and backgrounds are well done. Final Fight 3 also makes your background more playable at times also. I say this because thanks to some new moves your character can pull out, the background can in a way act like a secret weapon that no enemy will ever see coming. Now you can throw enemies in the background and they will hit windows and eventually bounce out into cars or the enemies will eventually return to the area in which they were before they were hit. This whole part of making enemies “bounce” out onto the environment is greatly done and helps add a small dose of realism to this unrealistic series.

Overall the graphic quality is good and well perceived. For a game that came out late for the dying Nintendo console Final Fight 3 looks great and doesn’t look rushed or anything like that. Also with its lively characters, great animations, a bit offbeat designs, and some great background interactivity all that you can say is good, if not great.

Music

Final Fight games never perceived that well when it comes to the audio department and with the final outing you would probably tell that not much has changed. While sound effects are done better than the last installment, the other themes to put more simply are below-average quality that will be heard from half of the game.

Sound effects are better than last time, but you can probably go on and tell that they are still not that great. Voice acting or to say it easier “voice-hearing” is also not that well done and not that well conceived. The themes are also good for what they are worth for, but as you progress much more deeper into the game you will probably start to repeat this classic saying “Same Old, Same Old.

Gameplay

Final Fight 3 equally plays much more of the same as its past installments, but there are some welcome additions. For one, the slow pace fighting is done for. Now fighting is done pretty fast and the game very well plays out like a fast fighting game rather than an average awkward paced beat-‘em-up. The gameplay has changed a lot throughout the time that Final Fight has been out.

One of the weakest features of the Super Nintendo games was that only 3 enemies would show up on screen- this replaced the arcade limit of literally having up to 6-7 enemies on screen at a time. Not much has changed in Final Fight 3, thus making the game a bit spaced out and also a bit easy. Taking out 3 enemies is pretty easy in fact here is how it’s done in simple progressive lines.

Fat Jack- Jump and hit over the head. Once gets up clothesline him then punch him some more. Next!
Arby- Avoid tackling move then repetitively keep on punching him onward the head. Then give him a special move and that’s it. Next!
Jack- Catch up to his speed then jump-kick him. Then follow it up with a punch maneuver and it’s over. Next!
Hunter- Punch Maneuver followed by combo maneuver. Next!
Andore- Jump-Kick him then throw him and finish him up with a punch maneuver and perhaps a special move. Next!

That’s pretty much it. Many enemies are so easy to be defeated that at the end there is no deployment strategy at all. Simply punch and that’s it. Much of the game is played out like this. Also many enemies do little to react once they get hit making you instantly accessed to scoring millions of cheap hits on them. Just telling you, no strategy at all!

Your characters have the same moves that they were accustomed to in the previous games, except this time there are some new maneuvers. For starters you can now do a special move at will. If you press just one button your character will do a special move, but when the special move hits somebody you will get hit too. This kind of makes you think if you should really had used that move in the beginning. In this game you also got running maneuvers. By double tapping forward your character will run and if you press the punch button your character will clothesline the enemy, and if you press the jump button your character will jump and then slam the enemy. The last of your moves comes with the combo maneuvers. Now at the bottom of the screen is a meter and every time you hit an enemy that meter will rise. Once it’s filled up you will be able to do this combo move. This move requires patience and good coordination in order to be done, but once this move is done you will see that it was worth it. Each of the characters has a different combo maneuver.

Final Fight 3 is also a tad easier then the past installments. Now taking out enemies and bosses is easily done and the progression to put more simply is easily done. One can beat this game in even 40 min. tops and that’s not a lot considering the breaching difficulty in the past games. Final Fight 3 also features the two-player cooperative feature that was featured in Final Fight 2 and this is executed very wisely and very nicely.

Overall Final Fight 3 is a daring attempt to bring something new to an almost stale series, but the resulting outcome is a bit farfetched. Many of the features that weakened the past installments is present in this game and this is a sure sign that Final Fight hasn’t aged well. The amount of new quality moves are good, but the enemies are stale and repetitive as they have always been and this helps lower the overall score to the last game of the Final Fight series.

Overall

Final Fight 3 ends with a delight and a upcoming surprise that tells you this series hasn’t aged well, but that it is at least as entertaining as always. The graphics quality, half-average story, and some overall gameplay enhancement is good and worth-played. However, with a sad note Final Fight ends. The gangs, the acclaimed cheesed-up stories, and the overall stature of wrestler and mayor Mike Haggar’s relationship with Jesse “the Body” Ventura is now over. Good-bye Final Fight. Sleep well, in Hell!

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”Eat your Heart Out Ric Springfield”
Overall- 7 out of 10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/21/02, Updated 09/03/02


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