Multiplayer games are hard to do on a portable, it's just a sad fact of life.
(Que dramatic voice) In a city (Metro City) where gang members rule the streets, in a time (1989) of uncertainty, it’s up to one man (Mayor Haggar) to clean up the streets. But when his daughter, Jessica, is kidnapped by the Mad Gears, Haggar, Jessica’s boyfriend Cody, and his training partner Guy will make them pay!.
Testosterone dripping Final Fight was an arcade hit back in the day. Similar to the Double Dragon series, this is a side-scrolling action game. You progress through the level fighting through waves of gang members before reaching that levels boss. Sound simple? Well it is.
First things first, you pick your character. You can choose between slow but strong Haggar, average Cody, and quick but weak Guy. Then you take your character out into the streets, which is where you start to see the flaws of this title. Your one basic attack move is the punch and as long as your fighting only a few baddies all you have to do is face in their direction and wait for them to run into your waiting fists. But just when you think it’s too easy you come up to a bunch of enemies whom you have almost no chance of defending yourself against. Sure you can use a special move to attack in all directions, but that costs health. As you begin to master the characters fighting style (punch punch turn punch punch turn punch punch turn…) you’ll be able to handle yourself better but it can still be completely unfair when your forced to fight two or more heavies at the same time.
Luckily, by defeating enemies in the game you can unlock special options to make the game easier (why do games do things like this? Shouldn’t they start out easy and get harder?). These options are nothing special but will let you select the default starting amount of extra lives and a stage select. Notice, however, that I said easier and not necessarily easy (while on Normal difficulty, it usually takes me the max. amount of lives just to beat the final level).
Identical to the SNES version of the game. The sprites are large and the multi-layered backgrounds are well detailed. However, I would like to point out that the change of a female punk baddie into a male punk baddie is nothing but disguised sexism (if there is anything this game lacks it’s sure as heck not extra testosterone).
The game comes with the kind of music you’d expect from an early Capcom game as well as the kinds of sound effects you’d expect from a street brawler (“Ugh”, “Bash”, “HIYA!”…)
The game has a two-player mode but requires both Gameboys to have a copy of the game. This is very unfortunate because the game practically relies on the two-player mode. With two players you can fight knowing that you got someone watching your back, something essential for playing as the lumbering Haggar.
You can unlock special options by defeating lots of enemies but none of it is very special or generally worth the effort (or lack there of) spent unlocking them. The one option that’s actually kind of cool is the unlocking of SF: Alpha character sprites for Cody and Guy, but as I said you don’t even really have to try, just keep playing until you beat enough baddies. It’s okay though, the challenge of the game makes it really fun in small doses.
The Bottom Line:
Fans of the old arcade game will enjoy this game, and Street Fighter fans may even notice that several characters had their origins in this game (Cody, Guy, Katana, etc.), but regardless this isn’t a very well suited for play on the GBA. It‘s not that there is a technology gap, the sounds and graphics are very well represented, but because it’s so hard to play multi-player on a Gameboy. If you try to play just in single-player mode you’ll be stuck with receiving cheap shots on your unprotected behind which will force you into playing on the easiest setting and abstaining from playing as Haggar altogether (and what’s the point of playing FF if you can’t play as the performance enhanced super-Mayor). That kind of playability just doesn’t do justice to the original.