Otaku USA Magazine
Final Fight: Double Impact

Should anyone out there still find Capcom’s Final Fight (1989) an unfamiliar flurry of fists from a bygone arcade era, they just might not be that into beat ’em ups. As much as I tend to prefer other entries in the genre—mostly, I realize now, from a time when arcade games based on licensed properties tended to be pretty killer—every time I revisit Final Fight I remember just why it’s such a staple. Capcom’s recent release of Final Fight: Double Impact, which brings the Metro City masher into the HD realm along with the sword ‘n sorcery tower climber Magic Sword, successfully reinforces that notion.

Final Fight contains pretty much all the essential quirks of its arcade and console brothers and sisters. It’s got selectable dudes of varying degrees of buffness, including the inimitable Mike Haggar, mayor of Metro City. It has punks in biohazard jackets lookin’ for a scuffle. It has characters that will go on to be featured in Street Fighter games—from Cody and Guy to the katana-wielding boss, Sodom. It has pipes, knives, swords, and carelessly-tossed bundles of dynamite.

But most importantly, it has piping hot turkey ready for all the quick-thinking dumpster divers out there brawling in the streets.

The game holds up really well here, with the option to either play it in full widescreen mode or in the original aspect ratio with a mock arcade cabinet acting as the borders. The remixed music won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it also doesn’t clash heavily with the absurdity on screen. It sounded more to me like Streets of Rage-era Yuzo Koshiro taking on the FF soundtrack, which is fitting. No matter the preference, there are tons of options in the package, so there’s likely a setting in there to please even the most finicky of fans.

Capcom also added a slew of tiered challenges beyond the standard achievements. These range from money/points-earning goals to completing stages, and ultimately the whole game, in a set amount of continues. The latter is where it gets really tough, because Final Fight isn’t exactly a breezy walk down the block. These are some mean-ass streets; quintessential quarter-munching. Unlimited continues may zap the challenge on a surface level, but just try holding out on the later stages and see how long you last.

The other half of this collection, Magic Sword, is an interesting fit for the package. While some may expect a more streetwise beat ’em up as the accompaniment to Final Fight, it’s kind of nice to choose between two decidedly different takes on the genre.

The name may not click as quickly as Final Fight for some, but if you were hanging out in arcades around 1990, you probably played Magic Sword. One of the main hooks here is freeing secondary characters to assist your brave warrior as he ascends a seemingly never-ending tower. In truth, the Dragon Keep is a manageable fifty stories in height, but even when some floors can be completed in under a minute, it’s a hefty, and at times grueling commitment.

The best times to be had here come when you and your partner are totally beefed up, blasting magic at every beast in sight. There’s not a ton of variety in the bosses, but the ones that are present on select floors are pretty impressive to behold. They’re also there to drain both the life and will out of people playing the game with actual money.

Magic Sword does drift into tedium more quickly than Final Fight, but just like most beat ’em ups/hack ‘n slashes, it’s much more enjoyable with a friend knocking noggins by your side. This is precisely why nabbing this collection via either XBLA or PSN comes highly recommended. Playing co-op online with friends is both a breeze and a blast, and significantly extends the life of both games.

The old-schoolers that grew up with these have likely already made their decision, but even those that never got a chance to appreciate them should give Final Fight: Double Impact a spin. There are tons of retro-revivals out there, and genres like 2D platforming will never die. Beat ’em ups, however—at least as they were in the late ’80s and early ’90s—are a different beast. They really don’t make ’em like this anymore. Enjoy it.

Publisher: Capcom

Developer: Capcom

System: Xbox Live, Playstation Network

Available: Now

Rating: T