Final Fight 2 (SNES) review
"Let’s face it, Capcom’s SNES port of masterful brawler Final Fight was a bit of a disappointment. Not only were fans of the original were “treated” to simpler fights, with no more than three foes on screen at once, but also to some surprising omissions. Gone were one complete level of the arcade game, two-player simultaneous play AND super-cool character Guy. Sure, the game still had the ultra-awesome Final Fight vibe, but a deaf, dumb and blind man could tell something important w..."
Let’s face it, Capcom’s SNES port of masterful brawler Final Fight was a bit of a disappointment. Not only were fans of the original were “treated” to simpler fights, with no more than three foes on screen at once, but also to some surprising omissions. Gone were one complete level of the arcade game, two-player simultaneous play AND super-cool character Guy. Sure, the game still had the ultra-awesome Final Fight vibe, but a deaf, dumb and blind man could tell something important was missing.
Perhaps as an apology for all that foolishness, Capcom decided that SNES players deserved to get their hands on a brand spanking new Final Fight game. One with three playable characters, a FULL six levels and two-player action. A dream come true, right? Well, maybe not....
On the surface, Final Fight 2 is a wonderfully-designed game. The levels are all diverse and quite attractive and you’re given a vast horde of foes to kick, punch and piledrive your way through. Series veteran Mayor Mike Haggar returns with his powerful array of pro wrestling moves, but Guy and Cody are replaced by a pair of new characters. Sword-bearing Carlos takes Cody’s spot as the well-rounded warrior, while Maki is the female equal of Guy -- she can even perform his off-the-wall kick!
Your three heroes feel an obligation to wipe out the resurrected Mad Gear gang. Under new leadership (and with a nearly all-new group of thugs), these guys are back up to their old tricks kidnapping folks left and right. Out of obligation, duty and nobility, our heroes head out on the warpath. Traveling from country to company, they wipe out each pocket of Mad Gear resistance (apparently, they’re a world-wide organization now). The fighting is well-done, with some nicely-done animations for most characters. Haggar’s piledriver definitely ranks higher on the “artistic meter” than it did in the first game. Now, as he leaps into the air, he spins around a couple of times with his precariously-placed foe, before slamming into the ground with neck-shattering impact. It’s a sight to behold.
Now, if only Final Fight 2 possessed that intangible “fun” factor that both the arcade and SNES version of the original had. It’s not that I didn’t have fun battering my way through this game -- it’s that I didn’t have the same sort of fun. Here, it was more of a mindless pursuit of violence without any charm beyond the thrill of kickin’ ass and takin’ names. I blame it on the enemies, themselves.
Let me explain: in Final Fight, you had a number of different enemy classes -- all of which acted differently and when grouped together, could seemingly utilize teamwork to take you down. You started with a number of simplistic brawling characters that tended to walk up to you with fists raised. While occupied with thrashing these plentiful adversaries, you’d be at risk of falling prey to any number of other foes. A pair of speedy, cape-wearing guys loved to get behind you and fire off punches. A trio of fatties took delight in putting their heads down and running over you. Two girls (or punk guys in the SNES) were quite apt at nailing you with flying kicks if you let your guard down. The point is that each and every class of Final Fight enemies was different than all the others. The diversity of their movements and actions only added to the game’s immense amount of playability.
Now, let’s cut open Final Fight 2 and see what pops out....hmmm....not much more than a collection of drab, unexciting foes. The best of them are little more than takes on some of the better Final Fight enemies, while the worst are clones of the generic footsoldiers of the series’ originator. There are a lot of the latter. By my count, a total of six enemies are capable of doing nothing more than slowly shuffle toward you before unleashing weak attacks. Two more only differ in that they have more range and move with a bit of additional speed. Then you have a pair of husky bruisers that (if possible) may even be slower than the average enemy, but can block attacks and pull off a damaging bear hug from time to time.
Of the regular enemies, that leaves a mere handful that were somewhat interesting -- and a few of those were members of Final Fight’s “Andore” clan. It’s not a good sign when a recycled character from an old game is among the new one’s most memorable. You also have a electricity-conducting fatso (think “Bill Bull” with a new trick) and a pair of acrobatic knife-handlers. Even though those two tended to have smaller life meters than virtually all other regular enemies, I feared them the most because they were the only ones capable of any sort of unpredictability in their moves. At any time, they might leap into the air and land with a painful knife thrust to my head -- which is a lot more of an attention-getter than a telegraphed (and weak) punch to the face or kick to the shins.
And to make matters worse, you only tend to have up to three enemies on the screen at once, meaning you’ll have none of those classic arcade Final Fight battles where you’d be trying to hold off six or so foes with nothing but bare fists and a fury born of desperation. And let’s face it, those boring, one-dimensional brawlers become a lot more interesting when they have you surrounded and are beating you down from every angle.
The boss fights would (at least to a degree) redeem the “excitement” problem if not for one little flaw -- the final one is B-O-R-I-N-G! He’s slow-moving and only seems to have short-range attacks. All I had to do was bide my time until he was in the right place, grab him, give him a pounding, run away and start the process again. A far cry from the tense, final battle in Final Fight, where you PRAYED you could finish your opponent off before he got some distance and was able to send lethal bolts crashing into your flesh.
I want to complement Capcom for creating a Final Fight game for the SNES that corrected the many omissions of the first one, but I can’t. While Final Fight 2 has three characters and a two-player mode, it has its own flaws. The battles are still simplistic, only this time, they’re against a series of lame, boring adversaries. I won’t deny this game likely would be a great deal of fun to play with a friend, but as a solo effort, I’ve seen better.
Featured community review by overdrive (June 23, 2005)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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