This should make you think twice about those games you loved as a child.
I don’t think there’s much of a mystery as to why some classic games are re-released on modern consoles. Often, the time-tested (and mother-approved!) games of yesteryear that make it to the download space are well-deserving, and usually see a nice following of fans. Big-name and lesser-known games alike get their day in the sun when the sky of server space is the only limit. It gets me a little giddy when games like Frogger, Mr. Driller, and Virtual ON get their moment in the sun (even if I feel like the only person playing them). But in the world of old-school gaming, we tend to forget that some games are just better left to the past.
[image1]Enter Final Fight: Double Impact, with both Final Fight (the arcade version) and its companion in this bundle, Magic Sword. I don’t know why they chose to put Magic Sword along with Final Fight… maybe since it’s not very famous? Or because they wanted to make money on a game no one really remembers? Seriously, I’ve been around and playing for decades and never heard of it before.
Final Fight, the “classic” side-scrolling brawler, is here in all its arcade glory, ready to take your head off. Take control over one of the three main fighters – Guy, Cody, and Haggar, who have all since moved on to successful fighting game careers (Guy and Cody more than Haggar) – and tear through the Mad Gear Gang to save Haggar’s kidnapped daughter. This is the arcade version, so it is pretty for a game released in 1989, but that’s about it; otherwise, it’s still as frustrating as it’s ever been.
Honestly, nearly every game in this genre has some difficulty with how many characters can beat the tar out of you on a single screen (not to mention the bosses that make the floods seem like a Swedish massage), but this might take the cake. When one of the Achievements is “Play through without continuing 18 times”, maybe it’s time to back off a tad.
[image2]Magic Sword, also included, is the same basic concept but with weaker execution. You take command of a small warrior with a big sword (which he sharpens vigorously once or maybe twice a day if he isn’t too sore) who’s been burdened with the task of climbing to the top of a tower to dispatch the evil God at the summit. At that summit is a Dark Orb, which holds all of the evil power of the world. It’s similar to Final Fight in that it’s a flood of bad guys that all feel more than a little cheap with their attacks but a lack movement.
Even with the ability to move around each area, the space still feels limited to the most primitive of side-scrolling movement. And to top it off, each level feels remarkably similar; sometimes it’s fire, sometimes it’s water. and sometimes it’s spikes, but most of the later stages have those gaps in the floor that’ll hurt you, with the same enemies getting your way. That’s really it. Keep going up, and keep hitting stuff. And when they keep coming, you’ll keep fighting them. It’s more traditional, in that it’s just not interesting, with one of the most bland, generic, boring stories I’ve ever heard to give a video game some kind of premise.
All these titles really do is show how much the genre has advanced since, well, them. I mean, here you’re beating up copious amounts of palette swaps, racial stereotypes, celebrity knock-offs, and
women girls that look like they just left the set of a Whitesnake video. As a child I would watch them cross the screen and think, “Hey, that’s weird. Why is that girl pulling up her shirt as she’s punched in the face?” Now , I actually recognize what’s wrong with the picture, seeing the same fat guy that just had a different color of suspenders and pale skin charge at me with a bald head and Fu Manchu ‘stache. Thankfully, this has (mostly) gone from the gaming realm as we’ve gotten more “mature”.
[image3]While the games aren’t much to speak of, the extras are kind of interesting. Of course, there’s fan art and concept art, but playing through Final Fight even earns you the opportunity to – get this – watch the Final Fight episode from the Street Fighter animated TV show! You can witness the awesome (read: uncomfortably cheesy) animation in all of its grainy, pixilated glory. It makes me long for the days of the original TMNT cartoons and Samurai Pizza Cats. *le sigh*
Also, the look of the interface is really, really cool. You’re shown both games, complete with arcade cabinet, in the game’s setting… a graffiti-covered alley for Final Fight, and a mystical… umm, fantasy spot for Magic Sword.
If I were giving a grade on presentation, the marks would be higher. But since I actually have to play through the games, I have to take a not-so-pleasant trip down memory lane. Oh look, some game didn’t pick up after themselves, and I’ve stepped in it.