Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Final Fight

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bill-swift - April 2, 2014

The golden age of gaming was ludicrously punchtastic. Everywhere you looked, there was punk/villain/monster/robot ass to kick. It was enough to make even Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sly Stallone scream shit to this, and choose to star only in wank Tom Hanks-flavored romantic comedies.

Y'know, Golden Axe, River City Ransom, Streets of Rage and all of that good stuff. If you weren't scrolling from left to right and crushing angry dudes' gonads into pudding as you went, you were gaming wrong. Today, we have another fine specimen of this: Final Fight.

This chunky-ass arcade cabinet was released in 1989, the same year that Golden Axe appeared. Unless the latter's fantasy-based, oh look I'm a cliched barbarian with a broadsword and alarmingly bulgy speedo-clad crotch theme, this was a beat-em-up in a more contemporary and realistic setting.

Synchronized man-tastic ballet is all well and good, until someone splits the crotch of their pants.

It's a story of kidnap, revenge, a bastardly criminal gang being bastardly and the most badass mayor you ever saw. Meet Mike Haggar, Cody and Guy.

That's the mayor with the freshly kidnapped daughter, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's best buddy respectively. Each of the trio have marginally different strengths and attack styles (as always), and you must choose one to cruise through the mean streets with. Your opponents are the legendary Mad Gear gang, and they're all desperate for some a-punchin' and a-kickin' justice.

Which you'll dispense across a series of downtown-y levels. It's a simple setup, with a button to attack and another to jump. This allows you to perform combos, aerial attacks and some grapply goodness besides. You know how this sort of thing goes down.

Holy balls, those are some tight jeans! While he's waving knives in faces and crushing souls, the other dude camply brandishes his wrist. It's not hard to tell who's doing all of the work, right here. Get your shit together, orange karate dude.

As similar as it is to Streets of Rage, Capcom's effort has a few elements on its side to make Final Fight memorable. It looks as decrepit now as you'd expect, but for its time its visuals and jangly techno-tastic music were impressive. Relatively. If you squint a bit. Everything was pleasingly cartoony and big and brash, at any rate.

Final Fight also began life as a intended sequel to Street Fighter, which may well explain its insistence on being first to include proper named health bars for your opponents. And everything damn else, even stray dustbins. Where else in video games will you find trashcans with health bars? Nowhere, that's where. Which is reason enough to treasure Final Fight, now and always.

Source of images: gamefaqs.

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