Final Fight: Double Impact (XBLA)

Review – Final Fight: Double Impact

Side-scrolling beat ’em up/Coin-op

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Final Fight: Double Impact isn’t, as you might expect, a 1942: Joint Strike-style remake with an emphasis on co-op play but rather a double-pack featuring Final Fight (obviously) which gets top billing and Magic Sword which gets no billing at all. There’s a good reason for this.  Final Fight is the poster-child for the 1980s scrolling beat-’em-up whereas Magic Sword is a bit gash.

Yeah, you just hang back Guy.  Haggar will take care of this.

Yeah, you just hang back Guy. Haggar will take care of this.

So, let’s follow Capcom’s lead and talk about Final Fight first.  The first thing you need to know is that this is pretty much a straight port of the arcade game – it even starts with the CPS1 BIOS screen – albeit it with a revamped soundtrack (which is actually a nice and beefy update of the original), a choice of graphic filters (mostly awful) and very solid online co-op play.  It plays just like you remember and, for my Microsoft digital bumwad, is the best game of its type on XBLA.

If you’ve never had the pleasure, Final Fight is the archetypal arcade fighting game.  You get a choice of three characters, Mike Haggar (strong but slow), Guy (weedy but quick) and Cody (the middle man with a ridiculously long leg) and you can partner up with one other player as you face off against six stages full of all manner of henchmen and bosses.  Not to mention… SODOM!  Eek!

In its day, Final Fight was truly superlative.  The slick gameplay, big sprites, varied levels and brutal fighting action were unparalled in its day and in 2010 and it still stands up as a decent game.  It doesn’t resort to some of the cheaper tricks you find in Streets of Rage 2 and is a shorter, more cohesive game although the fire traps of the Warehouse level still annoy and a couple of the bosses can arguably get to fuck, but you won’t be pulling your hair out.

Magic Sword in the never-getting-used cabinet view mode.

Magic Sword in the never-getting-used cabinet view mode.

The game itself, like many Capcom arcade titles, is a bit of a credit-feeder though (as is made evident by an achievement for completing the game in under eighteen credits) which takes the shine off a little.  A one-credit mode (with leaderboard support) would have added to the game’s lasting challenge but unfortunately the infinite credits mean you’ll be ploughing through the entire game in less than thirty minutes.  That said, Capcom have done their bit to try to add a little longevity by including ‘accomplishments’ that unlock bonus content (mainly art but also some other nice bonuses) and these are the trickiest challenges in the game, especially the time-based ones, although there isn’t anything here that should take more than a couple of attempts to do.



Secondary Review

I fucking love Final Fight, so quite frankly I was priapic with excitement when I heard about this game being released. Not only do you get Final Fight you get another game as well, Magic Sword which is a platformer hack and slash. For 800M$P that’s already a bit of a bargain.

If it was just a straightforward ROM port of these games, then I should say it should be cheaper and just chucked onto the Xbox Live Game Room. This isn’t a cheap ROM you get a lot of extras chucked in as well.

The Vault is a collection of art, comics and even an episode of the Streetfighter Saturday morning cartoon from the early ’90s. You have to complete various challenges within the games to unlock these, which adds some longevity. This is good since once you’ve completed the game that’s usually it.

Magic Sword isn’t that great of game and it soon runs out of ideas, you even fight the same boss three different times. The only real incentive to play through it multiple times, is because of achievements, one of which is to unlock everything in the vault. Final Fight is a stone cold classic though, which is nearly worth the 800 point asking price solo.

Secondary Score: 7/10

Compared to the urban street-fighting charms of Final Fight, Magic Sword is a far less appealing game.  It looks like a much older title thanks to some confusing visuals simple combat but is infact a year younger than Final Fight.  The game follows the ‘swords and magic’ template and is plays much like Rygar or Rastan which is to say it all takes place on one plane rather than letting you walk up and down.  Also, your moves are limited to simply slashing your opponents and occasionally releasing some fairly rubbish magic attacks.

The aim of the game is to climb the fifty floors of a tower which involves fighting your way through a series of short levels looking for a doorway to take you up to the next floor.  In your way are various traps and monsters as well as some tricky, but reasonably fair, bosses.  As with Final Fight, you can also enlist the help of a co-op buddy although at this point, things on-screen can get very messy indeed.

There are some nice touches such as allies that you can rescue that will fight alongside you and level warps to find but mainly it’s just a fairly bareboned game that most of us never played for more than a minute on MAME before firing up something else that didn’t look rubbish.

So overall you’ve got an aged classic and a pointless bit of filler.  800M$P seems a little pricey for what are basically a couple of ROMs, but Final Fight still has enough about it to justify the spend.  Hopefully Capcom can follow this up with some more doubles from their archives but for now, this’ll do.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 6/10

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