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Retro Fire

Written: 7.18.08
Acquired: 2.4.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $5

Pub: CapcomNov. '91
Dev: Capcom8 MEGS

Are you a sadistic and bloodthirsty game player? Do you enjoy partaking in the odd boisterous barbaric brutality?  If you answered yes, then you sir probably enjoy the classic beat 'em up genre. The good news: SNES is loaded with them. Take control of the Lee brothers, the Battletoads, ninjas and knights, heck, even BatmanFinal Fight was the very first to hit the SNES; it helped pave the way for the others. But any bad news?  Hmmm, well...
"Are those skull earrings?"
"Why yes, Mommy got me 'em"
"Cool, I have a pair just like that at home"
"Yeah ain't they great. They accentuate my scar"


Final Fight originated as an arcade in Japan (December 1989) and shortly made its way to the US at the turn of the 1990s. No, it wasn't the first beat 'em up ever, but it was one of the earliest and the first to hit the Super Nintendo. It will forever hold that distinction as #1... but is it truly number one, as in the best?  Not by a long shot. Capcom missed the mark a bit on this one. True FIGHT aficionados were left with a game that was a shell of its arcade counterpart. Does that mean the game itself is bad?  Not necessarily

Let us take a closer look then...


Not only was Final Fight the first beat 'em up to hit the Super Nintendo, it also happened to be the 2nd SNES game I ever played. Way back in December 1991 on a cold and dreary morning on vacation in beautiful Lake Tahoe. As documented in F-ZERO, the first SNES game I ever played, I found myself home alone in the huge cabin we rented out on
a Sunday morning. My family and friends left to breakfast while I was still asleep. My mom didn't want to wake me up after a long night of hanging out with the guys so she decided to let me snooze. The moment I woke up, I felt a chill and knew something wasn't right. The cabin was right out of a horror movie, with demonic-looking hallways and weird hissing noises coming out its sides as though it were a real breathing entity. The cabin was freezing too!  I crept downstairs and found a note from Mom explaining why she let me sleep in, telling me to make some Honey Nut Cheerios for myself.
But food was the last thing on my mind!

Ever feel a presence in
the room with you?  That someone, or something, is watching you?  That's how I felt on that cold, dreary December morning of '91. But being 8 years old and resourceful, I believed spirits would not mess with me if I had the radio or TV turned on -- any kind of noise. I believed they only attacked those who were 'alone.' So I watched a WWF show for a while. Then I spotted Tommy's Super Nintendo lying on the floor. With no Sunday morning cartoons on TV I decided to fire the ole Super NES up. I started with F-Zero, and then played Final Fight, up until my family and friends came home. Yes, part of me was ecstatic to see them again -- I was no longer alone with this cabin from hell, but something funny happened during my playthrough with the SNES... it made me forget about ghosts and spirits, and instead transported me to the future of video gaming, where you could snap a guy's neck in two and soar 200 feet across a race track suspended high above a futuristic city -- all in stunning graphics and sound. I never looked back


[Bah, every story begins this way, or with Once Upon A Time -Ed.]

                                                      "Forget GUY, it's just you and me old-timer!"

Shhh!  How dare you accuse Capcom of milking a game's name!

Yes, there is an option mode!  Some folks think there isn't one, but there is, here, you see!  With Extra Joy on, your special move is just "A" instead of "Y + B"... comes in handy


Nope, but damn can they fight... observe!


Ole Mike has perfected his German Suplex to a tee, ramming his victim
head first into the canvas. That'll give them something to remember you
by!  Er, that is, if they are still conscious...

Hags' good ole grab, headbutt twice and piledriver combo

His classic spinning clothesline special will clear traffic in a hurry! 

Did you know you can punch twice then immediately throw them?  Just hold onto
up or down on the control pad while you're delivering your punches. Sadly, I didn't
know about this until a couple years ago, d'oh!  Very cool stuff, and effective too!


Cody's knuckle sandwich combo... want fries with that?

For major damage and a sweet-looking combination, jump in with a downward
strike, punch x3 and end with a shoulder throw. +10 for style, +100 if you knock
out some other baddies on the opposite side too!

Cody's Spiral Kick special would make the Lee Brothers proud


Starting out in the classic SLUM, you march your way through crime-ridden Metro City in five different zones. Yes, the arcade had six. But more on this a bit later...


Who could ever forget Final Fight's perilous continue screen?

It's OK... you certainly weren't alone...  *evil grin*

                                                 Ah quit yer bitching, I like to cut it close "BUDDY"


So, what does one do?

                  ... that's right!  Extend the
                  olive branch!  Maybe Mike
                  Haggar's got some candy
                  there, or even money

                         [Or a black eye -Ed.]

                                              Or that

"OK that's the last time I buy deodorant at the 99 cent shop..."

              Knock over tires or drum cans
              to reveal items for extra points,
              weapons or food to replenish
              your health along the journey.
              I wonder who puts it there?  I
              guess every major crime lord
              has a little bit of heart in them,
              I suppose...

"You guys want some....

                                                                     .... COME GET SOME!"

They never learn, do they?

               OH CRAP!

               Surrounded by a group
               of petty thugs, what's a
               guy to do in this ruthless
               day and age?!

                                                               "I'm warning you -- STEP BACK BITCHES!!"


Sure, connecting on your special move will take away a small portion of your health, but when surrounded especially, it's the right call. Otherwise you'll most likely be on the receiving end of a gang attack and lose significantly more energy than you would if you employed your special at the first sign of trouble

                                                "Oooooh, knifey. This may come
                                                 in handy... unlike the wifey"

                                                [Note: Ya, I should have conducted
                                                a background check before hiring...
                                                ladies, please understand this writer
                                                has a learning disability, my utmost
                                                and sincerest apologies -Ed.]

Haggar can only toss the knife while Cody can actually hang onto it for a bit and go MICHAEL MYERS up in this mutha!  Cool little touch. Wanna launch the knife?  Then hold down, easy!

Haggar finds a useful
purpose for it all right...
as he flings it at fatty
with the FURY OF A

[Sorry fat people, he doesn't mean it -Ed.]

Compare Haggar's throwing motion with this left-handed pitcher... pretty close wouldn't you agree? Pitching is actually an unnatural motion; the arm is not meant to go that way. The stress it places on the bones of the shoulder, arm, and back is immense. Ever see pitchers after the game sporting a huge ice pack over their shoulder?  Who could blame them, it's a tough line of work. But damn, you see the money some of these cats are raking in?  If my son turns out to be left-handed, I'm buying him all the equipment and taking him to all the camps I can. That bum Zito on the Giants, 126 million dollars?  Are you freaking kidding me?!  Pitchers take a toll on their body, and their paychecks are just as heavy... what a life

Gotta love the little things in life, as well as in video games!

Say hello to the first boss, Damnd!  Er I mean, Trasher. Boo, hiss! Damn that censorship, pun intended

At any rate, Damnd (hey, I can call him whatever I want) is a bit of a puss who prefers calling on his lame ole lackeys to do the fighting for him. His trademark sit and whistle makes the seamless leap over to the SNES port. At opportune times, Damnd will try to blindside ya, the git!

                                                              *whistles*  "Damn you look fine today, Mike!"

He laughs now, but we know who gets the last laugh!  [Joker? -Ed.]


                                 "That's right!  Shouldn't
                                 have messed with me

"How could I lose to a guy in the
middle of a mid-life crisis!?"

"HEY!  Keep that on the down low
will ya!"

                                   *Damnd crumples over*

                                   "So, no final words eh?
                                   Funny, they usually do"



Nice rumbling sound effect; this IS the SUPER Nintendo after all...

El Gado with the ole reliable KIDNEY PUNCH!

... and Hags with the more reliable sword slash... it never fails!

Cool sequence huh?  Yup, when timed right, you can deflect the enemy's projectiles. Sure, you could just sidestep it, but REAL MEN DROPKICK!!

You most definitely are, El Gado

                                                        Oh snaps, they shouldn't have said that...

TIP: Never get on a crowded public transportation unit with THIS guy

                                                      I guess even bad guys can show a little heart

So, er, Katana is the boss of stage two. He's very agile and lethal

                                               Hey is that ANDORE in the crowd?  Sure looks like it


Not a Rick Roll, I promise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOqk_q4NLLI




Ah, you gotta love Twisted Sister. Their cult song "We're Not Gonna Take It" became something of a rebellious cry for teenagers and young adults in the '80s with its never-say-die mantra. It was the unofficial official anthem of a generation more than twenty years ago, and, quite frankly, in some circles today it still is



[COULD WE?  -Ed.]



Haggar, you don't like very many things do you?

Sure you could put yourself on the guest list in advance, but where's the fun in THAT?  Haggar is a guy I want to party with... ohhhhh YEAH

Gado's not the sharpest knife in the drawer  *rimshot*

                                                 Cody pops in for a special cameo like only he can

"I got the ugly one, he ain't got nothing to lose!"

                                                         SO BEAT IT!  But you wanna be THERE!


[AHEM! -Ed.]

Sorry... on with the rest of the review  *adjusts tie*

These two Andores are the sub-bosses of stage three... super tough

Speaking of Andore, I've always loved the big beefy goons in beat 'em ups. Nothing
satisfies like taking these macho men out of commission. Abobo was an actual boss
while Andore headlines the regular enemy roster... I've always had an affinity for those
tough guys who weren't quite bad enough to be an end boss. Call them the "Barons of
Hell" if you will, though technically, the Baron of Hell (two of 'em) was an end boss of
sorts... but I digress. Andore and Abobo, I salute you. Whenever I think "beat 'em up
baddies," Andore and Abobo are the first two to pop to mind

J moonlights as a Streets of Rage baddie... it's true

There you go Haggar!  Now you got the rhythm down!

                                                          Meet Metro City's corrupt police force!

Get too close and he'll pound you with his Billy Club!



"Cute dog"

"Hey Haggar!"

"What?  Have I taken one too many blows to the head?  Doggie, YOU TALKIN' TO ME?"

"You're lucky!  Capcom took out a WHOLE stage to make life easier for ya and for them as well!"

                                           "I don't play that shit!"  [Sorry to all the gays out there -Ed.]

No one did bathroom scenes quite like Capcom could. Remember Birdie's stage from Street Fighter Alpha 2?  It's always a riot to beat up the bad guys against a grimy and dodgy looking backdrop!  This is FINAL FIGHT, not A WALK TO REMEMBER!  WOO!

Somewhere I can hear "WHAT A RUUUUSH!"  What a tough boss


Smash several glass windows. A lot tougher than the car... who knew glass could be harder to demolish than a car?  Oh those silly Capcom boys


FACT: Haggar's never turned down a fight or a challenge

                                                             [25... *sniff*... the memories... -Ed.]

FACT: Axl is as dumb as a rock

                                    You see?!

                                    Oh well, at least Axl
                                    can use Haggar's 60
                                    bucks to help pay for
                                    the medical bills eh?

Just a funky glitch, they don't really hide in the hedges... too bad!

                                                   They're like the kamikaze pilots of FINAL FIGHT!

[Geez, thanks for the helpful tip, Einstein!  -Ed.]

                             Watch out for the shattered
                             glass too. Here you can see
                             what happens if you don't get
                             out of the way. OH MY GOD
                             HAGGAR'S LEGS!

                             That proves it: 

                             Broken glass = dangerous

                             [What a revelation -Ed.]

As they say, this ain't his first barbeque!  Quite literally

                                                   You might wanna look away, this gets graphic...

It's true... it's DAMN true

                                                There's nothing like knocking them into each other!

Or even better, you get to pick your own path!  Too bad, so sad

                         Say hello the final boss: BELGER!

                         Is it just me, or is there something
                         wrong with this picture eh?  It just
                         doesn't look right, considering it's
                         a game on the Super Nintendo

                   [I see nothing wrong with it whatsoever,
                   if ya catch my drift... bom chicka wow
                   wow!  *WINK* -Ed.]

                                                         Actually it wasn't. More censorship FTL!

I just love how Jessica has no eyes. Belger is a handful, but you can grab
and throw him consecutively if timed and positioned correctly

"Let's see what you got, big boy!"

                                                 A neat touch. Belger really only cares about himself

                                                               Rest In Peace Donald Pleasence


                                                     "I'LL HAUNT YOU BEYOND THE GRAAAAVE!!!"

OUCH. What a way to go

                                                   [Hmmmm, where have I heard that before? -Ed.]


Not a Rick Roll. I'm above that... just barely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_1PMEfUMQI

                                                                 'TIL THEN I WAAALK ALONE

It doesn't take much for a lady to be, ahem, persuasive


The SNES port took out Guy. Then Capcom released Final Fight Guy which included Guy but was still missing the other vital parts... d'oh!

The SNES port kissed Guy good-bye

And of course, missing was the all-important two player mode. Early beat 'em ups like Rival Turf proved it was possible, as did subsequent SNES brawlers. Even with one player, Final Fight slows down to a crawl at times... yikes!

We hardly knew ya, two player mode  *sniff*

                                           Very close indeed but Capcom shouldn't have stopped here

Elevators were modified for whatever reasons. In the SNES
port, you don't actually see your character ride through it

Obviously the SNES could only replicate so much of the arcade. I personally missed the rundown jagged wooden setpiece there. Baddies remain the same for the most part though, sans one major change... more on this in a bit

Metro City oughta look decayed and decrepit like it does here!

SNES couldn't have the word "SEXY" sprawled across their bathroom doors, could they?

                                               "Excuse me sir, do you by chance have any Mentos?"

The SNES port sees a maximum of three baddies onscreen at a time. In the arcade you had as many as eight!

Gone is the rush of taking out a small gang in the blink of an eye

Here's the missing fourth stage: the Industrial Zone. It's very tough and I actually could do without it, but it does take away some of its authenticity. Also note the scantily clad broad there...


Of course, Roxy/Poison was way too controversial for us baby Super NES players, so Capcom altered it to be this lame looking bloke Sid or Billy... gah!  Another loss for the Organization of Anti-Localization (there's really such a thing, look it up in the yellow book)

[Anti-Localization, or Anti-Censorship?  -Ed.]

Long before you whipped his ass in Street Fighter Alpha 2, Rolento whipped yours at the end of the Industrial Zone. SNES port?  HE GONE!


Belger hasn't changed much in the translation. Though in the arcade he actually had a wheelchair, and in the SNES port it looked more like a mobile love seat, which would suit Jessica just fine I'm sure [OH LORD!  Images, the images... AHHH!  -Ed.]

Belger returned in Final Fight Revenge (Saturn) in zombified form!


Being one of the earliest SNES releases, some critics were kind enough to overlook its deficiencies. Many fans, however, were not so forgiving as these publications were

  • EGM: 8, 7, 7, 7
  • Super Play: 86%


Final Fight is flawed, yes, but it remains fun to this day in spite of its warts and short cuts. Would I play it over some of the other brawlers, such as Ninja Warriors or The Combatribes?  No, but as one of the first Super NES games released, and the second one I ever played, there's a certain charm and sentimental value to it that I can't discard. That plus the fact that I still enjoy it to this day. For its time, the graphics were pretty damn good. Despite some missing frames and semi-awkward animation, the characters are large and well detailed. Back in '91 this was, quite frankly, BIG mind-blowing visuals, especially coming off the rinky dink 8-bit Nintendo. One could tell, the new generation of games was officially upon us. This was just the beginning. Things could only get much better. And it did
"UMM... are yooou... BIGDICK305?"

The sound was solid, though Cody and Haggar's grunts are the same, oops. The tunes aren't Streets of Rage good, but I remember them to this day. The gameplay is what you'd expect from a 1989 beat 'em up. The move set was limited, though the punch then grab combo is good stuff, and the port suffered from no two player mode and yet still it slows down in certain spots. That takes a point or two off the final score, and it's a shame
of all these glaring holes, because the arcade was really, really good. I don't buy the argument that the Super Nintendo was too limited to handle some of these aspects, because subsequent brawlers proved it was possible. I think Capcom either were just lazy and content taking short cuts or that they just were too inexperienced with the SNES hardware to get more out of it. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that these warts are what SNES players had to put up with. Still, I thought it played well enough in its time to be worthy of a playthrough or two. On the default difficulty and allotted continues, the game can be BRUTAL. For gamers who rather see a beat 'em up to its end and not worry about dying halfway through, there's the nifty option screen to adjust difficulty and continues accordingly. So, everyone is served in that regard. For a real heart attack, crank the difficulty all the way up -- YOWZERS!

I will always remember Final Fight fondly as one of the "cornerstones" during the system's infancy, as well as the second SNES game I ever played on that cold and dreary December morning of 1991. Yes, I wish the game was more faithful to the arcade; from the MIA two player mode to the missing stage to even Roxy and Poison, but hey, what IS here really isn't half bad, especially for its time. It's a classic case
of "it coulda and shoulda been so much more, but hey... it is what it is."  Any diehard Super Nintendo fan should have a copy in their library, if for nothing else but historical value. However, for everyone else, this is but a fleeting note in the passage of time; nothing more, nothing less. While a butchered and watered-down port, that doesn't mean that the game we DID get is a bad one. It just could have been leagues better. Somewhat of a bittersweet start for Capcom, but judging from their entire SNES body of work,
I'd say they definitely more than made up for it

SNES Final Fight... overall a disappointing translation... but still fairly decent, for its time

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 6.5
Longevity: 5.5

Overall: 6.5

Note: Capcom released a sequel in 1993: Final Fight 2