Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Detailed Review - Final Fight

I am back with a review of another classic arcade game of the 90's, namely Final Fight. Though this game was never as popular as Street Fighter 2 (and I don't think any other game of that period was), I think it can be considered as the next popular arcade game. In Turkey, this game was more commonly known as "Haggar" among arcade gamers, which is the name of one of the characters in this game. This is one of my all time favorite arcade games; I bet among all arcade games, I spent the most money on this one.

I saw this game in the arcade of a movie theater for the first time, it was not the closest place to my home but still it was walking distance. Just like the other arcade which had an original Street Fighter 2 cabinet, this one had an original Final Fight cabinet, which again I realized much later after I saw this game running on generic cabinets in other places. This place was the only place where I saw an original Final Fight cabinet, again just like the Street Fighter 2.

The story of the game is presented in the opening cinematic as follows:

Metro City, a well known Crime Capital, has been ruled by violence and death for many years. A fact which the newly-elected mayor and former Street Fighter, Mike Haggar, plans to change. At the center of the problem is the huge gang known as Mad Gear. Mad Gear controls all of the major criminal activity in the city. When they learned of Haggar's plans, they took immediate action to bring this new mayor under their control.

Sometime in the 1990's...

"Hello, Mike Haggar here."
"Hee hee hee, Mr. Haggar. So pleased to make your acquaintance. I believe you know who I am. Don't hang up! We have a little business proposition for you... Your daughter for your cooperation. And we'll throw in the regular monthly bonus to your salary we offered before."
"What?! What's happened to Jessica? Who is this?!"
"Not so fast, Mike. Turn on your TV."
"You son of a... What have you done to her?"
"Nothing yet... but we'd enjoy the opportunity... Listen to reason, man. Why make your job difficult? Just let us do as we please like the mayor before you did."

The rest of the story isn't very hard to guess: Instead of bowing to Mad Gear's demands, Haggar recruits Jessica's sweetheart from childhood Cody and Cody's friend Guy and the three of them embark on a journey through the streets of Metro City to kick the crap out of every member of Mad Gear and save Jessica.

We choose a character for ourselves before the fighting can begin. Each character has its own strong and weak points, therefore the flavor of the game may change slightly depending on the character we choose. The first of these characters is Guy. According to his official profile in the game, "He has mastered the art of Ninjitsu and attacks with unequaled speed. He often catches his opponents off guard with his special 'Off-the-wall' jump.". As this description suggests, Guy's deal is mostly about speed; anyone intending to play this game with Guy should know and make use of this fact. The "Off-the-wall" jump is also a nice move, but I don't think it is that useful.

Next playable character in Final Fight is Cody; who is described in the game as "He is a martial arts expert. He is especially good with knives. His girlfriend, Jessica, was kidnapped by the Mad Gear gang.". Cody has a nice balance between speed and strength, he is fast but his attacks can still deal a good amount of damage. He is also my favorite character in this game and I usually choose him when I play. The remark about the knives in his description refers to the fact that he is the only character in the game who can stab someone with a knife, all other characters can only toss the knife. For someone who is not very familiar with this game, Cody is probably the best choice among the three playable characters.

The third and the last character in the game is Haggar. His profile in the game reads as follows: "He is a former champion Street Fighter. He's the new mayor of Metro City. He has mastered professional wrestling skills and is expert at the BACK DROP and the PILE DRIVER." Haggar's fighting style is immediately distinguished from that of Guy's and Cody's, he's definitely the slowest character that you can choose, but his moves are capable of inflicting a great amount of damage to his opponents. The pile driver, which we used to call "between-the-legs" in those days, is the most damaging move any character that can perform in this game, including most of the villains.

Here's a video of the game I made, complete with the opening and ending cut-scenes:

Below you will find a list of special moves for each character. Note that some of these moves require your character to "grab" an enemy, which is done by getting very close to the enemy without attacking or jumping. When Guy and Cody successfully grab an enemy, they will remain stationary whereas Haggar can carry around the victim. For the moves, F, B, U and D stand for forward, back, up and down respectively. J stands for jump and P stands for punch.

Character Moves
Guy
Flying Kick: F + J, P
Jumping Kick: J, P
Flying Knee: F + J, D + P or B + J, D + P
Forward Shoulder Throw: (grab) F + P
Backward Shoulder Throw:(grab) B (or U or D) + P
Shoulder Throw after Punch: P, P, P, P, B (or U or D) + P
Knee: (grab) P (up to three times)
Off-the-wall Jump: Jump to a wall, telephone boot, barrel etc., then J
Off-the-wall Jumping Kick: Do the Off-the-wall jump, then P
Spinning Kick: P + J
Cody
Flying Kick: F + J, P
Jumping Kick: J, P
Flying Knee: F + J, D + P or B + J, D + P
Forward Shoulder Throw: (grab) F + P
Backward Shoulder Throw: (grab) B (or U or D) + P
Shoulder Throw after Punch: P, P, P, B (or U or D) + P
Knee: (grab) P (up to three times)
Spinning Kick: P + J
Haggar
Flying Kick: F + J, P or J + P
Flying Body Attack: F + J, D + P or B + J, D + P
Forward Back Drop: (grab) F + P
Backward Back Drop: (grab) B (or U or D) + P
Back Drop after Punch: P, P, B (or U or D) + P
Headbutt: (grab) P (up to three times)
Pile Diver: (grab) J, P
Spinning Clothesline: P + J

In the course of the game, we will encounter many different kinds of enemies. Some of these enemies die after just a few punches while others have even more energy than our character. There are also bosses that appear at the end each level, which take a lot of effort to kill. They usually have their own special attacks, such as guns, bombs, arrows etc. Here's a list of the enemies:

Character Remarks
Bred
The very first enemy to encounter, also the easiest. He's no problem to handle when he's on his own, but when you are fighting someone else he will try to sneak up from behind your character and surprise you with a punch or a kick. Has very little energy. He is also the owner of the car that gets trashed in the first bonus stage. Gives 1000 points when killed.
Dug
Very similar to Bred in terms of fighting style, but has a little more energy. Gives 1200 points when killed.
Jake
Similar to Bred and Dug, but has more energy and can attack with flying kicks in addition to Bred and Dug's attacks. Gives 1400 points when killed.
Simons
Similar to Jake, but has more energy. Gives 1600 points when killed.
J
Moves very quickly but has weak attacks. He will wait for your character to turn his back to strike. Gives 1500 points when killed.
Two.P
Similar to J, but has more energy. Gives 2000 points when killed.
Axl
He moves very slowly, but he can block your attacks which can be very annoying, especially if there are other enemies around. He can also land a powerful blow if he gets a chance. The best way to deal with him is usually grabbing him. He gets his name from the lead vocalist of the band Guns 'N Roses, who were at the height of their popularity when this game was made. Gives 2000 points when killed.
Slash
Similar to Axl, but has more energy. He takes his name from the lead guitar player of Guns 'N Roses at that time. Gives 2500 points when killed.
G. Oriber
His most dangerous move is a running headbutt, which can catch the player by surprise. He also has a standing headbutt and a kick attack but they are not nearly as dangerous as the running attack. Supposedly, his first name is Graham. Gives 2000 points when killed.
Bill Bull
Similar to G. Oriber, but has more energy. Gives 2500 points when killed.
Wong Who
Similar to G. Oriber and Bill Bull, but has more energy than both of them. Also, seems to me like he uses the running headbutt less often then the other two. Gives 3000 points when killed.
Roxy
She is very fast, possibly the fastest non-boss character in the game. In addition to her kicks and slaps, she has acrobatic flip kick attacks. She can also jump behind your character, which becomes a major problem when your character is busy fighting a crowd of enemies. Gives 2000 points when killed.
Poison
Similar to Roxy, but has more energy. She also appears in a number of other Capcom games. She's possibly the most controversial Capcom character because of her transgender status. See her Wikipedia page for more information. Gives 3000 points when killed.
Holly Wood
An extremely dangerous opponent who can attack from a distance as well as from close range. He can stab, throw a knife, slide kick or jump-stab your character. When dealing with a crowd, it is probably a good idea to take care of him first. He is also a source of knives, which can be useful especially when playing with Cody. Gives 3000 points when killed.
Holly Wood (Red)
This version of Holly Wood just appears briefly, throws a Molotov cocktail and leaves. It is quite tough to catch him, but it takes just a punch to kill him; although killing him will not do much good since his Molotov cocktail will go flying in the air anyways. If you can hit his Molotov cocktail in the air, not only you will not have to avoid the flames but also you will earn 2000 points. Gives 1000 points when killed.
El Gado
Similar to Holly Wood, but has more energy. Gives 4000 points when killed.
Andore Jr.
A pro-wrestler like Haggar, he is the most dangerous non-boss enemy type to find in this game. He can punch, choke, pile drive or do a jumping attack; in addition to his running attack which is capable of catching the player by surprise. Gives 3000 points when killed.
Andore
Similar to Andore Jr., but has more energy; or perhaps Andore Jr. is the weaker version of him. He is modeled after the famous pro-wrestler Andre the Giant. Just like Poison, he also appears in a number of other Capcom games. Gives 4000 points when killed.
G. Andore
Also known as Grandfather Andore, he is just like Andore but has slightly more energy. He appears only once, in the boxing ring in round 3. Gives 4000 points when killed.
F. Andore
Also known as Father Andore, he is identical to G. Andore. Just like G. Andore, he also appears only once in the boxing ring in round 3. Gives 4000 points when killed.
U. Andore
Also known as Uncle Andore, he is identical to G. Andore and F. Andore. He also appears just once in the boxing ring just like G. Andore and F. Andore; but he will only appear in two player games. Gives 4000 points when killed.
Damnd
He is the first and definitely the easiest boss to be encountered. He has no other attacks than a punch and a rolling kick. He should not be a problem as long as the the accompanying crowd is handled properly. Gives 10000 points when killed.
Sodom
He is the boss of the second stage. Although there are no other thugs to help him, he is not an easy boss. His main attack is the running headbutt which is hard to counter. He can also attack with his swords and he will punch you if he lost the swords. He also appears in a number of other Capcom games. Finally, in the SNES version of this game, his name was changed to "Katana" because of the reference to sodomy in his name. Gives 20000 points when killed.
Edi. E
Usually referred to as "The Cop", he is the boss of the third stage. He will first attack with his baton and after his life bar drops to a certain level, he will draw his gun and start shooting you. One trick to fight him is not to scroll all the way; that way you will not have to fight the underlings until he draws his gun. He moves fast and his gun deals a good amount of damage, but he is not a very hard boss to fight. Gives 30000 points when killed.
Rolento
He is the boss of the fourth stage. He is extremely fast and has a variety of attacks, such as the staff attack, the flying kicks and the shoulder toss. In addition, he will start throwing grenades when he is low on energy. He is though to fight at first, but once you get a hang of the way he moves, he will become quite predictable. He appears in a number of other Capcom games. Finally, it is claimed that the underlings Axl, Slash, Holly Wood and El Gado are his henchmen, who are trained by him. Gives 40000 points when killed.
Abigail
He is the last boss before the final boss. A careful observer will notice that his body is exactly the same as that of an Andore, only his head is different. His attacks are different from Andore, except the punch. He can toss your player like a basketball and he has two different running attacks. In one of his running attacks, his face and exposed parts of his body (and strangely enough, his shoes) will turn red. He is a mighty opponent and should be handled with care. Gives 50000 points when killed.
Belger
He is the leader of the Mad Gear gang and the final boss in this game. He will meet you in his wheelchair, with Haggar's daughter Jessica in his arms. He carries a crossbow and that is his only way of attacking, though he can use it in a variety of ways. He also jumps frequently, which makes him hard to get a hold of. All in all, he makes a worthy final boss. When his energy runs out, he will crash through the window and fall to his death. Gives 100000 points when killed.

There are a number of items in the game with various effects. Here's a (complete?) list of items that you may come across:

Item Remarks
Knife
Cody's preferred weapon. Guy and Haggar can throw it and Cody can either stab close enemies or throw it. Holly Wood and El Gado usually drop plenty of knives. You will get 500 points if you are holding a knife at the end of a round, getting off on on the subway, entering a building etc.
Pipe
Haggar's preferred weapon. You will get 800 points if you are holding a pipe at the end of a round, getting off on on the subway, entering a building etc.
Muramasa
Guy's preferred weapon. You will get 1000 points if you are holding this at the end of a round, getting off on on the subway, entering a building etc.
Masamune
Identical looking to Muramasa, this is the sword that Sodom uses. It is rumored that this sword is slightly stronger than Muramasa, but I have no way of testing that theory. You will get an additional 1000 points if you are holding this at the end of the fight with Sodom.
Beer
Heals up to 11% energy. Gives 1000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Beer
Heals up to 11% energy. Gives 1000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Beer
Heals up to 11% energy. Gives 1000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Gum
Heals up to 11% energy. Gives 1000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Soft Drink
Heals up to 11% energy. Gives 1000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Whisky
Heals up to 11% energy. Gives 1000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Apple
Heals up to 22% energy. Gives 3000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Banana
Heals up to 22% energy. Gives 3000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Grapes
Heals up to 22% energy. Gives 3000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Orange
Heals up to 22% energy. Gives 3000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Pineapple
Heals up to 22% energy. Gives 3000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Curry
Heals up to 44% energy. Gives 5000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Hamburger
Heals up to 44% energy. Gives 5000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Hot Dog
Heals up to 44% energy. Gives 5000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Pizza
Heals up to 44% energy. Gives 5000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Sushi
Heals up to 44% energy. Gives 5000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Barbecue
Heals up to 89% energy. Gives 10000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Chicken
Heals up to 89% energy. Gives 10000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Steak
Heals up to 89% energy. Gives 10000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Edi. E's Gum
Heals up to 44% energy. Gives 40000 points if taken when the energy bar is full.
Hammer
Gives 1000 points.
Hat
Gives 1000 points.
Radio
Gives 1000 points.
Napkin
Gives 1000 points.
Dollar
Gives 3000 points.
Watch
Gives 3000 points.
Yen
Gives 3000 points.
Yen
Gives 3000 points.
Emerald
Gives 5000 points.
Necklace
Gives 5000 points.
Pearl
Gives 5000 points.
Ruby
Gives 5000 points.
Topaz
Gives 5000 points.
Diamond
Gives 10000 points.
Gold Bar
Gives 10000 points.
Dustbin
May reveal an item. Gives 500 points when broken.
Billboard
May reveal an item. Gives 600 points when broken.
Barrel
May reveal an item. Gives 800 points when broken.
Drumcan
May reveal an item. Gives 800 points when broken. The rolling drumcans will give 3000 points when broken.
Tire
May reveal an item. Gives 800 points when broken.
Freight
Appears only once, in the first stage. Usually reveals a pipe. Gives 1000 points when broken.
Tel. Booth
May reveal an item. Gives 1500 points when broken.

I would like to conclude this review with a few hints about this game:

  • You will often find yourself fighting a large number of enemies. The key to successfully handle such a situation is to have all the opponents in front of you. The move that I call "Shoulder Throw after Punch" (or "Back Drop after Punch" for Haggar) is very useful for this purpose. I use this move many times in the video, I think the earliest instance is at 2:52. A good example of using this move to move opponents from one side to other can be seen at 11:15.
  • As you scroll forward, more enemies will show up; so generally you should not move on until you kill the enemies you already have on the screen. There is an exception to this, however. Sometimes, if you can move really fast, some of the opponents will not be able to catch up with you and you will end up fighting less enemies. This technique is especially useful against slow, bulky enemies such as G. Orbier and his look-alikes, members of the Andore family, etc.
  • There is a method called "shifting" which is a little hard to perform but very powerful, especially against the bosses. This method can be used only when playing with Guy or Cody. After punching the enemy twice, turn your back on the enemy for a brief moment and then turn towards the enemy again, punch twice, turn back and so on. This can be repeated indefinitely. We used to call this method "the left-right" in the old days.
  • In the subway, if you don't want to fight the enemies at the very end of the train, jump onto the barrels and wait. They may break first two of the barrels, but they won't touch the last three and eventually, train will stop and you will get off.
  • Against Edi E., you can avoid fighting the underlings if you stop scrolling as soon as Edi E.'s name appear on the screen. Beat him up until he draws his gun and then move in for a quick kill. That way, you will either fight no underlings or very few of them.
  • Apparently, if you can have six knives on the screen, Edi E. won't fire his gun. I could never manage to do this myself, but there are videos on YouTube that demonstrate this phenomenon.
  • Right after Edi E., at the beginning of the new stage, there is an easy way to avoid being burned by the flames. Keep your vertical position constant, in other words, never move up or down; just move left and right. With the exception of the first two set of flames, no other flame will burn you. You need to either jump over or time your move to avoid the first two flames. You can watch me demonstrate this trick in the video at 16:30.
  • In the last stage, there are hidden items behind some of the columns. For example, see 46:03, 46:08, 46:46, 46:52, 47:07, 47:51 and 47:53 in the video.