Final Fight: Double Impact
Images of punk hairstyles, tube station graffiti, tasteless outfits and half-decent Eddie Murphy films are but a few things conjured in the mind when someone brings up the early nineties, at least for someone who spent so much of their childhood sat in front of a TV screen. It’s with a real sense of nostalgia then that Capcom’s classic Final Fight comes to Live Arcade and the Playstation Network complete with –you guessed it – punk hairstyles, station graffiti and a group of blokes who should know better than to wear tight, ripped vests. Although the game will excite those above a certain age, the formula – much like Eddie Murphy himself – may not have stood the test of time well enough to make an impact on those too young to remember.
The term ‘Double Impact’ refers to both Final Fight and Magic Sword, a fantasy side-scroller that is included in the package. Both are presented well, having undergone an HD polish in a slightly more eye-pleasing way than in Backbone’s attempts at converting the Sonic games to Xbox Live. There are a number of visual options available, ranging from an arcade booth frame with a smaller screen size down to a customisable zoom complete with smoothing or sharpening. Each game looks as nice as you might remember and the fact they’ve not been given a complete overhaul actually works in their favour.
The first of the games, Final Fight, is likely your reason for considering a purchase. Fans may be disappointed to learn that only the first title from the series has been included but what is here has been handled with care, one of the best additions being the remastered music. The option to toggle this on or off, which will return you to the simple bleeps from the original, is welcome, though when the beats start pumping there’s very little reason to do so – they really are that much better.
The compilation is certainly an interesting one. True, both are side-scrollers and originated from the arcades, they each feature waves of enemies that approach you from all sides and both are beat-em-ups as opposed to jump-oriented platform games. Still, with Final Fight anchored to an urban world and Magic Sword flying off with the fairies into a fantasy realm of swords and sorcery there’s certainly variety on offer. Once you tire of one, the other awaits so you probably won’t feel too short-changed despite their relatively short length. Extras can be earned by completing tasks such as finishing a level under a certain time or using no more than a specific amount of continues. Comics, concept art and videos can be unlocked, adding replayability to the otherwise very linear experience.
If you’re unaccustomed to games such as these, they can come across as cheap and unfair. For the most part this is exactly what they are; designed at the time specifically to eat up as much of your hard earned cash as possible while tempting you back with the dream of reaching the next stage. To combat the frustration of restarting, infinite continues are at your disposal, as well as a save system that lets you continue from the stage you were last playing. It can be irritating when enemies floor you due to cheap tactics –such as Sodom, the wrestling samurai – but with no real penalty for death you can just sit back, enjoy the experience and leave your frustrations at the door.
While Final Fight provides power-ups in the form of pipes and knives, Magic Sword goes one better in this department. Much of your time will be spent opening chests for keys, then using these keys to open up prison cells for partners to join in your quest. Only one can be active at a time but there are many to choose from such as a crossbow-wielding woman, a spell-throwing wizard and by far the most interesting of all, a dragon that hovers behind you, shooting multiple projectiles at once. Weapons such as a flame sword can be equipped and prove to be indispensable during the many boss fights, which have been fantastically designed even if their battle tactics consist of floating around in a random frenzy.
Fans will be pleased to know that both games offer co-operative multiplayer, online and off. You and a friend can take on all levels locally and the difficulty level can be adjusted accordingly. Should you wish to engage in battle online, the game offers a drop-in/drop-out system to alleviate any problems associated with hosting. Some will consider playing with a friend in the room as the truest way to experience titles such as these and we’re inclined to agree, given how multiplayer was supported all those years ago.
For those with fond memories of whittling time and money away in the arcades, Final Fight Double Impact is well worth a look. The rest of the world will still find something to enjoy, as even though these offerings have aged to the point where few teenagers will look twice, there’s still a good deal of charm that exudes as you punch, spin and slash your way to victory – just don’t expect it to last for longer than a few hours.
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