I gave the first Final Fight a bit of a whacking (no pun intended) so I thought it only fair to cast my eye over the sequel and review Final Fight 2 on the SNES. Thankfully a few fundamental problems have been rectified, though some have not.
Rather than being confined to one city, FF2 is a globe trotting Carmen Sandiego-esque romp. Haggar is the only remaining protagonist from the original Final Fight – he is joined by Maki (an almost carbon copy of a certain Blaze Fielding) and Carlos. Maki’s dad and sister have been kidnapped by the Mad Gear Gang (one can only assume they like the occasional drag race) so she phones in a favour to our beloved mayor Haggar. Carlos owes Haggar and Guy a favour so he tags along for the ride. So, a larger character selection, difficulty select and a two player mode – it’s already looking much better. Then you play the game.
Having loved the arcade game it’s (in a way) nice to see almost a direct port to the console. What this means is large detailed sprites on bold backgrounds and thumping music/sound effects. What this also means is that the action can be summed up: walk; attack; walk, jump and attack; repeat. Greater thought has been put to the combos and attack patterns so it’s admittedly more fun than the first installment.
In one player mode the most sprites you’ll see on screen is four including yourself (although this might differ when approaching a boss) even though the sprite handling failure of the first appears to have been rectified (in two player mode I counted five sprites on screen). It’s an odd route to follow as the one player mode is extremely straightforward on “Normal” because of this. With Haggar and Maki you will smash through these levels, his strength unbelievable (of course) and her all round game is fantastic (smashing). Carlos, however, is the worst of the three and please explain to me the point of having a sword on your back if you’re not gonna flippin use it – seriously. The actual acquirable weapons (bar the excellent police baton) do less damage than your usual combo so you might as well steer clear.
The stages are large and so are comprised of a few mini stages (as seems to be the way for side-scrolling beat em ups). The backdrops are pretty boring despite Capcom giving themselves an out of being able to choose anywhere in the world. They all consist of the same types of bad guy (possibly to get around the numerical problem) and the plagiarism (of their own work admittedly) really takes the biscuit. Ignore the hordes of Zangief you have to plough through and the bile inducing Freddie who’s a cross between said Russian wrestler and Guile. You’ll also recognise Andore and a few of the others from the first game. Bosses are your standard oversized neanderthals – hardly inspiring.
When the bonus stages start up you can afford yourself a little chuckle – one wonders whether Capcom does this on purpose. No prizes for those who spot the Chun Li cameo either.
As an arcade port it’s difficult to criticise FF2 – the same graphics, music and gameplay are there as well has a fairly enjoyable two player mode. But aren’t we entitled to more as console owners? This type of action is fine for 20p or 50p a pop but we’re hardly going to shell out the big bucks for this.