Capcom brawler takes fight worldwide
As a child of the early ’90s, Final Fight not only increased my addiction to arcade games, but also introduced me further to Capcom’s skyrocketing rise as a game developer. I dived into Final Fight 2 to relive my arcade glory days.
In Final Fight 2, time has passed since Mike Haggar, Cody Travers and Cody’s friend Guy defeated the Mad Gear gang, restored peace to the streets of Metro City and rescued Haggar’s daughter Jessica from the Mad Gear’s leader, Belger. That peace is short-lived when the remnants of Mad Gear return under a new leader and kidnap Guy’s fiancée, Rena, and Guy’s sensei, Genryusai.
With Cody away on a trip with Jessica and Guy away on secret training, Haggar is joined by Rena’s sister, Maki, and Haggar’s friend Carlos Miyamoto on a worldwide quest to crush the Mad Gear and rescue Rena and Genryusai. FF2 has a lot going for it; it’s a direct sequel never released in arcades with a lot of new material despite no new general mechanics.
FF2 has an expanded battlefield with Haggar, Maki and Carlos starting their journey in Hong Kong and ending that journey in Japan. The main protagonists make their way through several locales in Europe in their search for Rena, all the while surrounded by improved graphics over the first game. The backgrounds are high quality, and the sprites are well-drawn and crisp for each character with a lot of attention to detail.
The attention to detail also shows up in the controls. Overall, control is simple even though each character has a unique fighting style. Haggar still has his pro wrestling moves, Maki makes use of Ninjitsu and Carlos practices martial arts and sword skills. Though they are generic in execution, it’s fun to see how each character operates during the fight.
Power-ups are still obtained via smashing various objects and range from steamed Chinese buns to a pair of shoes that can increase health or score points. Finding either a Genryusai or Guy doll will give an extra life or invincibility. As for the music, it is arcade perfect just like its predecessor. It’s a nice soundtrack of early Capcom brawler, and it fits the action perfectly in each of the game’s locations.
As much as I enjoyed FF2, the game does have some flaws. While each character has their own awesome special moves, using them does cost health. That’s annoying when you’re trying to use more powerful moves to defeat bosses and trying not to die at the same time. Also, during the timed bonus stages, control is hit or miss when striking objects; if it’s not done perfectly, you lose the bonus points. I also got frustrated when I couldn’t take the weapons I found into other areas. That cheapens the use of the weapon and makes it useless shortly after picking it up. And, the challenge level is ridiculous. I needed a cheat code just to get to the real ending in expert mode. It’s too easy to die and taking hits from off-screen enemies is terrible.
Final Fight 2 placed the series in the ranks of Capcom’s top-tier franchises. While it hasn’t seen the level of push of say, Street Fighter or Resident Evil, the beat-’em-up is fondly remembered as one of Capcom’s crowning achievements.