Review by Overdrive

"Take Final Fight and replace Cody with Guy. There, now wasn't that easier than actually coming up with and designing a whole new game?"

Ever played the arcade version of Final Fight? Ever followed that up by playing the Super Nintendo version? Did playing the SNES version give you the distinct feeling that something just might be missing?

It should have. In order to fit the arcade game into a cartridge, Capcom had to make a few cuts, two of them major. First, they dumped the fourth level. Since I doubt many people missed the first section of that level, in which the player would repeatedly get fried by gigantic columns of flame jetting out of the floor, that wasn’t exactly the most tragic event in the history of converting videogames from one form to another. Out of the six levels of the game, it was (in my opinion) the weakest of the bunch and the one least necessary to the enjoyment of the game.

However, the other major cut could likely be seen in a bit more negative of a light — namely the disappearance of one of the game’s playable characters. In the arcade version, players had three choices that reflected different styles of fighting. There was Haggar, a slow-moving powerhouse; Cody, a well-rounded attacker and Guy, a relatively weak, but lightning-quick fighter.

Well, in the original SNES version, Guy wound up on the cutting room floor, depriving home players of the right to use him. Now, to be perfectly honest, this omission never actually bothered me. In the Final Fight series, I’ve always preferred Haggar, since I am of the opinion that his overwhelming power is more than enough to offset any extra quickness other characters have.

However, there apparently were enough people that weren’t especially pleased with the omission of Guy, because a couple of years later, fans of the Final Fight series heard the news that Capcom was releasing Final Fight Guy for the SNES. So, would the terrific trio of the arcade game be reunited?

No. Turns out that this game apparently was nothing more than Capcom’s devious plan to squeeze a few more dollars out of their series with a minimum of effort on their part.

What the player actually gets is the exact same game as the original SNES version with one difference — Cody is gone and replaced with Guy. Yep, that’s it. No new levels, no new enemies, no new anything. Just the expense of another character.

So, that in itself is an obvious disappointment, but how does it affect the game and it’s overall rating? Not a great deal. If you like Final Fight, you’ll like Final Fight Guy (unless the only reason you liked Final Fight was because of some sort of emotional attachment to Cody...) and if you don’t like Final Fight, there’s certainly nothing here that will change your mind about the game.

To sum up Final Fight (and Final Fight Guy) on the NES, you brawl through five levels to rescue the fair Jessica and eliminate the street gang in charge of kidnapping her and being general bad apples.

Standing in your way are large amounts of thugs. You have your generic low-level scum with creative names like Bred and Dug (to go with the innovative and deadly fighting style of slowly walking up to you and attempting to slowly punch you if you don’t react). Fortunately, other enemies display a bit more ambition. Whether it be the knife-wielders (Hollywood and El Gato) and their multiple painful attacks, the fat guys (Bill Bull, G. Oriber and Wong Who) that prefer to simply run over you, the pro wrestler-inspired Andore family and others — you’ll find a good variety of tough foes to challenge you.

There also are bosses at the end of each level. These foes fight with varying degrees of proficiency (the first is inept, while the others have the ability to really mess you up) and several are not shy about accepting help from lesser lights in the gang.

Considering that the original Final Fight was one of the first SNES games to be published, the graphics and sound were pretty spectacular. Characters are large and detailed and the music was catchy. Maybe it would have been nice for a few enhancements to have been made for this later version of the game, but as I’ve said before, the inclusion of Guy was the only alteration made to the original.

Simply put, the charm of this game doesn’t lie in the graphics, sound or whether it is Cody or Guy that is included in your version. To me, Final Fight is pure, simple fun. While the game doesn’t have anything in it that hasn’t been done over and over in brawling games, it just seems to work a little bit better in this one.

Maybe it’s because the characters seem larger and more detailed than in other games, which gives them more of a personality. Maybe it’s simply because this game takes all the elements of a side-scrolling brawler and puts them together wonderfully. Either way, in my opinion, if you’re looking for an high-quality beat-em-up, Final Fight (either version) would be an excellent place to start.

While this game does get marked down because it doesn’t offer anything new with the exception of Guy, and does nothing at all to improve on the original SNES release that came out years earlier, it still deserves consideration as a very solid game. It just shouldn't be considered an original effort or a groundbreaking moment in either the Final Fight series or the beat-em-up genre as a whole, like the original game was.

If you already have Final Fight and aren’t particularly concerned with controlling Guy, this game would obviously be worthless to you, but if you either haven’t played it or if you prefer controlling Guy to Cody and/or Haggar, then this game might even be considered superior to Final Fight in your eyes. Basically, it comes down to a matter of personal preference as to what style of character you prefer using when you play a game of this genre.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/15/04

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