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539 - Final Fight

Best Games - Final Fight

There were side scrolling beat ‘em up games before Final Fight. Capcom didn’t invent the genre. That honor should probably go to Technos and the Kunio-kun series. The Technos game Double Dragon may have even been the first game to truly nail walking right and punching. Those games are great too, and I will probably get to them at some point, but this write up is about Final Fight.
First, let's talk about the characters. The bigness of the characters. Can you imagine, walking into an arcade in 1990 and seeing a lot of games with little characters or planes or spaceships, and then you look over and there are these positively giant men of this one screen just punching the crap out of each other? It’s not only a couple of dudes, either. The screen is full of huge men and women. All of them are punching and kicking and flipping.
There have been some big guys on screens before Final Fight. Some of the guys on Double Dragon are pretty big. Nothing like this though. The guys on screen in Final Fight are enormous. They are detailed and vibrant in a way that’s still pretty shocking to look at today.

Just look at that. Also, that door has DICK written on it.
Big, glorious sprites are great and all, but if the game doesn’t play well, it really doesn’t matter how pretty it is.
This is a developer that is one iteration away from creating Street Fighter II, inarguably one of the best fighting games ever made. While games like Streets of Rage, and subsequent brawler games, might feel as good or even better than Final Fight, at the time when it was released, Final Fight had the fastest, most precise, most solid feeling hand to hand combat that had ever graced an arcade machine. Characters punch and kick almost as fast as you can press the buttons. There are a small set of special moves for each character, and some unique joystick and button inputs. A combination of speed, animation, and sound effects make punches and kicks feel like they land. Sprites don’t just overlap or pass through each other, they hit. It’s all an illusion, but it’s a satisfying one.
Other developers would go on to make better, faster, more complicated brawlers in the years after Final Fight, but this is the game that gave those other teams permission. This is the one that paved the way. 
It’s so beloved that most, if not all, characters from Final Fight have made appearances in other Capcom games, several of them showing up as playable characters in the Street Fighter series.
Final Fight is one of the best games, and that door just has DICK written on it.

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
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