Final Fight: Streetwise PS2 Review

Back in 1989, Final Fight was born, and back in 1984, I was born. The two of us crossed over nicely and I remember playing the game sometime in the 90’s in a dingy no-name arcade. I enjoyed the game and so did my friend who was playing with me. I think we uttered some badly put together sentences like, “hey this is just as good as that turtle game we played last week.” We were correct. Final Fight was a fantastic game and a few years later I remember playing it on my old SNES, and once again enjoying it and its many sequels. The year is now 2006 and we have consoles with the processing power to make a T-1000 cringe, so it saddens me that the only words I am uttering right now are, “Where the hell did it all go wrong?”

Welcome back to Metro City; it’s dark, dirty and still populated by loads of thugs in need of extermination. This time the game puts you in the shoes of Kyle, Cody’s younger brother (remember Cody? Good times!). Cody is now a convict (we found that out in Street Fighter Alpha 3) and the story continues from there. With old age hitting Cody, he is unable to fight anymore and all the brawling is left up to Kyle. As Kyle, you start off in an area called “Fight Club.” From there you find out Cody’s on drugs (a drug called ‘Glow’) that make glowing light shoot out of his eyes. This leads to you finding out that zombies are the problem and you must fight the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse (who wrote this?!). Ok I’ll admit Final Fight never had the best of stories, but this plotline is truly on some kind of weird tangent. Even worse, the game really is not a whole load of fun to play this time round.

First off, the game gets repetitive quickly. It’s all too easy to get bored of the game long before you reach the end of the first section. Fighting is all about button-mashing – little to no skill is involved for the majority of the game other than blocking. In fact, blocking has been implemented very well and it seems some good ideas have been used to expand this area of the game. Blocking an attack at the right time results in being able to counter; The camera will move up close to the action and everything slows down while Kyle delivers a heavy blow to the opponent

Instead of levels, the game adopts a free-roaming approach (quite similar to the recent The Warriors release). The hood is your home base and this is the only area open at the start of the game – as you progress you unlock more. Disappointingly, none of the area felt very special even though each contains their own kind of enemies. It all just seems like more of the same the further you advance into the game. Even the option to buy additional moves and combos, take part in pit fights and the ability to play minigames in each of the areas (punch a car to death) can’t make the game feel anything less than average.

Presentation

Graphically Final Fight: Streetwise could make your brain rot. The game is set in an old, rundown, dreary-looking city so not really much work would have been needed to make the game look capable, but instead it looks like the developers never tried. Everything, yes everything, is blocky, everything is ugly, everything looks bad – bad enough to make your eyes hurt from strain. Now remember this game is coming from the same guys that brought us Onimusha and Devil May Cry, but it is only when you realise that this game comes from the same company currently developing the upcoming Okami that your brain actually wants to explode into lots of teeny tiny pieces. It is obvious that the presentation tried to appeal to the hip, urban demographic, but ultimately failed. Why appeal to this demographic to begin with – this is supposed to be Final Fight for f*** sake!

Well now even I have resorted to profanity. It brings me onto the voice acting used in the game and surprisingly it is of a high quality (performed well), but yet another disappointment comes from the fact that the quantity of it is not terribly high. As a result it is very easy to get irritated by endless repeats of one-liners from all the protagonists involved. Everything gets repeated over, and over, and over again. You’ll find loads of execration used within the game such as the oh-so-interesting, “Come on, s***head!” Really? Final Fight much?

Overall

Whatever you believe made Final Fight special all those years ago has been ripped apart in this remix of the title, and for some stupidly unnecessary reason the game now contains guns! The game does have one redeeming aspect though – you can unlock the original arcade game as a bonus for playing through. But in a final swift kick to the balls, the emulation of the game is terrible and boasts a choppy frame rate along with overly pixelated graphics. If you are still thinking of picking up the game out of blind nostalgia then please don’t as it will just ruin your childhood memories of the original. Final Fight is dead!

4.3 out of 10

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