Final Fight Double Impact Review

   07/05/2010 at 08:05       Tom       7 COMMENTS. - Score 5/5
 - Final Fight Double Impact, Xbox 360, Xbox Live Arcade, Beat 'em up, Mustache Ride

Ah misspent youth. As a teenager whenever my family went on holiday we would inevitably visit holiday parks around the country and while the days were full of walks in the countryside or swimming in the pool the nights generally meant my parents would go watch the cabaret. While they would try and encourage me to sit and watch the "acts" I was always more interested in the arcade. Not that I would ever have much money to spend, so after spending what little I had I would end up just walking around the place watching the attract modes. A bit sad perhaps but it always seemed the better option than to sit watching some god awful singer or magician.

As such the sounds of the arcade are forever burned into my memory. If I stop and think about it now I can hear the demo modes of Street Fighter II, Wrestlefest and Bionic Commando all mixed in to a thousand other synthesised sounds. Amongst these a can hear one other, a telephone ringing and then that laugh...

Waa-hoo waa-ha-hoooooo

To gamers my age Final Fight is often regarded as a classic. Metro City's mayor Mike Haggar has vowed to wipe out crime and as a response the Mad Gear gang have kidnapped his daughter. The telephone call is their threat - leave them be or she dies. Haggar is an ex-street fighter though and with the help of his daughter's boyfriend Cody and his best friend Guy they go to punch heads until she is safe.

Retro-arcade releases on this generation of consoles have been very popular with publishers and to be fair they've been a mixed bag. At first we saw straight ports like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, TMNT, Pacman and Frogger which were only really good for real fans. Recently HD updates like Super Street Fighter II HD Remix are becoming more common but tend to be a decent bit more expensive. Final Fight holds the middle ground. It's not a HD version of the game. Without filters it looks just the same as it ever did, and it's at the upper end of the price points used for the straight ports (800 points on XBLA). However it's not just a case of Capcom slapping a few achievements and online functionality on to the game, oh no - like a HD remake they've gone that extra mile it's just that the graphics were not the main focus.

It is the presentation that will first grab your attention, and in this area Final Fight sets a new high standard even beating out Microsoft's own Game Room. You see, Final Fight is presented as it's own virtual arcade machine. The menu screen shows the whole machine with the attract mode running. THAT music, THAT telephone call and THAT whooping laugh. Then in game the default setting is to have the original arcade bezel around the screen, worn and battered with use and age. Options exist to remove the bezel and just view it wide-screen or in 4:3 just without the colourful border but why would you want to? What you do want to change however is the filter on the screen. By default it's set to smooth of the jagged pixels - which is standard for these releases along with a "crisp" filter and the ability to turn off the filter all together and view it in it's pixelated glory. What you want to do though is set it to arcade though as they have included the best CRT monitor filter I've seen. By adding subtle scan lines and a slight bending at the corners of the screen we are presented with a very authentic looking arcade game. Younger gamers will think it looks like hell, but this is the arcade experience. All you need is an arcade stick, the lights down low and some sweaty guy in a plastic rain coat and you're there.

The soundtrack has been given a remix too. They've done a nice enough job of it too, not straying too far from the original pieces but I've found myself switching back to the original music. With the graphics and sound effects remaining unchanged the original music fits a lot better. Down to personal preference of course.

Put to Task

Another good feature is the addition of tasks. Like achievements these tasks are unlocked by completing certain objectives such as earning a set number of points or completing levels within a time limit. There are 3 difficulty tiers of tasks each level and when completed they unlock an image such as a piece of concept or fan art. All the tasks seem perfectly achievable so it's a nice touch that gives the player something to work towards without feeling like they have to grind.

Final Fight was all about the multiplayer though. 2 players smashing heads together with the opportunity for the occasional accidental flying kick in to your partners face. Or at least I always claimed it was accidental. Anyway Final Fight is not unusual in the fact it has online multiplayer but what makes it stand out is their use of the GGPO system. Now for those who are not familiar with GGPO, it's a program available on the PC which uses ROMs (*cough*yarr*cough*), of certain arcade games such as the Street Fighter series to enable online play. Through some kind of network
magic that I don't understand and maybe even fear a little it tends to be near lag free and the nearest you can get to playing locally with someone. I'm pleased to say GGPO works just as well on the consoles and I've not experienced anything resembling lag during play. Nice work indeed.

And then we come to the other half of the package. The reason why it's called Final Fight Double Impact. Capcom have seen fit to include a lesser known title called Magic Sword. Released in 1990 – the year after Final Fight, and yet it loses out in all departments. The swords and sorcery themed game just feels like a lesson in survival where you hammer the attack button to withstand the onslaught of enemies approaching from both sides. In Final Fight tactics and skill are required to defeat a wide range of enemies who all approach you differently. In Magic Sword the enemies just walk in a set pattern or just from one side of the screen to the other. On the plus side Magic Sword is blessed with the same care and attention as Final Fight the same presentation, tasks and so forth at least making it worth a play or two.

Regardless, I think another game would have fit the bill much better. Final Fight had a few sequels - why not use one of them? They weren't very good either but Final Fight 2 would have made more sense than some other seemingly random game from the Capcom back catalogue.

I'll tell you right now I'm giving Final Fight Double Impact full marks, 5 lovely gold stars out of 5. I do want to make it clear that this score is within a single context however... If you do not remember Final Fight or are simply too young to have played it "back in the day" then you probably won't appreciate the care, attention and general fan service put in to this package. It comes across as a
release that has had some real love put in to it rather than a cynical attempt at wringing a little extra money out of old fans.

Oh and baggsie Haggar.

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