Tuesday, January 26, 2010

VC Look: Final Fight 3

We're all familiar with the beatemup classic Final Fight. While not a good game on its own it had a lot of great qualities that found their way into truly great titles like Streets of Rage 2, Bare Knuckle 3, and obviously Capcom's future beatemups like Cadillacs & Dinosaurs and Battle Circuit. Strangely enough while Final Fight debuted as an arcade game all of its sequels(ignoring last-gen's Streetwise) were on the SNES only.

Metro City is once again in trouble. In fact things are so bad that a wannabe dictator is attempting to take power and even the cook of a local restaurant has gone rogue. It's a riot zone out there and only the mayor Mike Haggar, his Bushido-buddy Guy, and a couple of nobodies can make things right. What follows is the standard format that practically every arcade beatemup goes by. There are six stages with a boss at the end of each and filled with thugs. Unlike most beatemups however there are optional areas to find(basically hidden rooms with 1ups or other goodies) and even an alternate path with a couple different stages and a different boss.

Final Fight 3 has four playable characters though you can rightly assume that the ones I didn't name in the last paragraph are useless. The game employs a number of interesting features like special moves that are performed with controller motions(like any fighting game) but for these two other characters their moves just aren't any good. Couple this with a lack of good combos and crowd control moves and you have a serious lack of character balance. To compare Haggar has an extremely useful and safe spinning pile-driver while Guy has a fireball special that can be easily comboed for quick and easy damage. The other two guys rely on slow special moves that leave them open to damage and can miss easily.

While the genre has been no stranger to repetition and a general lack of variety Final Fight 3 turns that dial all the way to the right to create one of the most bland beatemups I've ever went through. The strategy for every foe in this game boils down to walking up to them and punching and/or throwing them. There's one guy that moves around a lot, a big guy that charges, and a woman that does backflips. As far as the regular fodder is concerned this is all of the variety in the game. The bosses aren't much better either as it seems like the easiest way to become a boss in Final Fight 3 is to have a weapon. Bosses are also distinctive by using a move that allows them some invincibility after being knocked down so the player simply can't stand on top of them and pummel them as they get up. Something as simple as jump-kick is out of reach for 90% of the enemies you'll face in this game. This is absolutely pathetic for a genre that's life-blood is in creating interesting encounters. As expected the level design is non-existent but I guess when the fights themselves wouldn't benefit from anything in the way of traps or other objects it doesn't matter.

This game is also lacking in terms of challenge. First off it seems that with no matter the difficulty setting I always start with five lives. 1ups also happen to be very frequent and the only real tough spot is the fifth boss due to a number of cheap attacks. I'm not even sure what the settings really affected aside from maybe making enemy health meters a bit longer. Adding some new enemies or even throwing in more of them in each level is probably a bit too much of a hassle. Even the game itself lacks the impact that most beatemups have(including Final Fight 1). There's no satisfaction from perform devastating attacks on a foe and everything feels weak and lifeless like people were clobbering each other with wiffle-bats instead of actual bats.

Really I can't think of anything nice to say about this game. It's really one of the saddest efforts Capcom has ever put forth and the only reason it has the title of "Best SNES beatemup" is due to the complete lack of competition. Really if you're looking for a respectable beatemup and have already played everything you're better off giving everything a second play cause this game is pathetic.


  1. Seems weird to take Final Fight to task for lack of challenge while triumphalising SoR - it's harder than those (notably easy) games.
    If you are looking for an SNES beat em up, go for Gourmet Sentai - it's fun and novel (though also pretty easy).
    The Streets of Rage series is preposterously overrated, though - no game in it would even make the top 20 best beat em ups.

  2. The original arcade Final Fight is a much harder game but with part 3 I felt that none of that challenge carried over. Even on the hardest setting it was still an easier game than SoR2 and BK3 on normal. I try to avoid direct comparisons whenever possible but at the same time I think that's the only way I can relate FF3's lack of difficulty properly.

    I'll give Gourmet Sentai a look though and even if it's not challenging hopefully it'll at least be fun. Beatemups like Denjin Makai 2 prove that it doesn't take challenge to make the genre entertaining.