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Final Fight One

Life can be tough sometimes. You have to deal with school, work, relationships, and just about everything that existence can throw at you. It’s not easy to make it out there. Sometimes you’ll feel as if you’re the lone sane person in this crazy mixed-up world of ours, with no one else to rely on. Have you ever felt that the whole world was against you? Have you ever thought that people were plotting your undoing or your utmost misery in general? I know, I know. It sounds unlikely even for most conspiracy nuts out there.

However, such things can happen in video games. Take the trials and tribulations of a certain Mike Haggar, the mayor of Metro City in 1989. This upstanding citizen is on the warpath, implementing all sorts of new laws to make his town a better place. His rough and tough commanding style has many evildoers cowering in their acid-washed jeans. But as order finally starts to gain a foothold in this hive of scum and villainy, things take an unexpected turn for the worse. A powerful and influential gang called Mad Gear has kidnapped Jessica, Mayor Haggar’s daughter, and is holding her for ransom! Unlike some other government officials, Haggar doesn’t give into demands and plans to settle the score himself. Mad Gear made two huge mistakes when they kidnapped Jessica. Not only did they mess with one of the most powerful people in Metro City, but they also incurred the wrath of a former street fighter. It’s time for you to go out into the streets, kick ass, and take names as you annihilate every thug in your path.

Of course, Mike Haggar didn’t get to be the mayor by punching his opponents out of office. While Haggar has a physically dominating stature, he’s also a very smart person. He realizes that he can’t take on Mad Gear by himself, so he turns to his fighting buddies to help him out in his time of need. Thus we’re introduced to Cody and Guy, two young and energetic fighters who are more than willing to help a friend. As this terrific trio hits the mean streets of Metro City, you’re given the option to choose which character you want to play. Each character has a unique moveset and abilities. Guy has some pretty fancy footwork embedded within his sleek ninja abilities. Cody is the tried and true generic beat ‘em up hero with some truly terrific punch combos and some mighty fast hands. But if speed isn’t your thing, you can control Haggar, the big man himself. Not only can this monster do a spinning clothesline with ease, but can pick up any enemy and throw them around like a rag doll. It’s these three fighting styles that make up the ultimate anti-Mad Gear force to be reckoned with.

Once you’ve chosen your fighter, it’s time to go on your righteous crusade against evil. You have to wreak havoc through every section of Metro City as you follow the kidnapper’s trail. You’ll have to march through all sorts of generic city locales, from the dark slums of the West Side to the classy buildings of the uptown district. As you make your way down the streets, you’ll come across hundreds of Mad Gear thugs that are ready and willing to take you out. You’ll face fat bald guys, punks with green mohawks, blatant ripoffs of Andre the Giant, pyromaniacs, and more run-of-the-mill tough guys than you can shake a fist at. These guys flood the screen from just about everywhere. All of the passengers on the trains, all the homeless guys on the pavement, even a few guys in the bathroom stalls will come out and take a swing at you. It’s like you’re in The Matrix or something. Sometimes, these staggering numbers can weigh you down. There’s only so much that you can do at once. You have to keep on your toes, dodging and attacking whenever necessary.

However, you don’t have to rely solely on your fists and feet to see you through the day. There are plenty of blunt and sharp objects lying all over the streets of Metro City. Sometimes you’ll find a handy little throwing knife glittering on the pavement. Other times, you’ll find a lead pipe or even a Masamune in the heat of battle. While some of these items seem a little unlikely in such a gritty urban environment, they pack quite a punch. Also, there a are a few powerups and health replenishing items strewn around each stage. For some reason, you can usually find a whole chicken or some sushi in almost every oil drum or chandelier that you break. But as you’re getting pounded into the ground, you won’t care about where your health is coming from; you’ll just be thankful for getting any aid at all.

And as tensions arise and emotions are stirred, you’ll get to see the epic struggle of good versus evil with some decent sound and design. Considering that this hails from a game created over ten years ago, this new incarnation makes some good use of the GBA’s abilities. All of our trusty heroes have their own battle cry, along with a few varied grunts and yells. Also, the refurbished music mix adds a lot to the dark and dangerous levels of Metro City. All three of our heroes have their own statures and looks, like Haggar’s ridiculously large biceps or Guy’s sleek legs. However, the majority of the bad guys are only clones of five or six different and basic designs. All of the rock and roll druggies have mohawks and jeans, just with different color tones. Most of the thugs all wear the same dark clothes. Even the Andre the Giant ripoffs only wear different wrestling costumes. If this doesn’t signify the lacking of enemy variation, the fact that they all have names makes it a dead giveaway. At least Metro City itself is portrayed with keen attention to environment. You can see and hear the trains coming and going out of the subway station. You can see litter tumbling down the street as the light breeze blows through. If you look closely enough, you’ll realize that Metro City is essentially a clone of New York City, complete with the World Trade Center looming in the background of the last level.

Despite the fine action that this game has to offer, one has to wonder what will become of overall series. It’s a real shame that Final Fight hasn’t taken off in popularity like a few of its contemporaries. Besides this awesome little cartridge, the drama of Metro City is limited on this generation of gaming machines. Maybe it’s the dying out of beat ‘em up games and general that has lent to this game’s obscurity. But whatever becomes of the gaming genre, Final Fight One will always be a testament to the old style of arcade and console action that many older gamers have come to appreciate.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2005.

Gentle persuasion

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