Imagine for a second that you live in some sort of a weird alternate universe where your local Mayor is a psyched-up musclebound martial arts expert prone to taking the law into his own hands when his nearest and dearest are put in danger.
Without videogames weâ€™d never be put in such ridiculous circumstances, so hooray for Final Fight Double Impact and its absolutely over-the-top scenario.
TotallyGN readers above a certain age will probably remember the original Final Fight hitting arcades like a Tsunami back at the end of the 80s. Splicing together a side-scrolling screen with a solid and engaging hand to hand combat model, Final Fight became the inspiration for a whole generation of similar games that came afterwards, but this game predated even the mighty Street Fighter 2, a massively influential title in its own right.
Some retro games donâ€™t survive the transition to the Xbox Live Arcade very well. Polishing up sprite-based games and dragging them kicking and screaming into the High Definition era usually means the end result looks and feels slightly sterile in comparison to the original.
Thankfully Capcom have ensured that Final Fight is relatively untouched, looks wise â€“ and it plays pretty much identically to the original arcade machine. Itâ€™s not merely a straight port though, oh no. Thereâ€™s enough new stuff slapped over the top of the core game to make it a worthy purchase, particularly if you like co-op stuff.
Final Fight Double Impact starts off by letting you pick a protagonist to play through the game with (letâ€™s face it, youâ€™d be insane not to pick Mayor Mike Haggard himself). The Mayorâ€™s daughter Jessica has been kidnapped so picking the Mayor, her boyfriend Cody or his best friend and sparring partner Guy kicks off your quest to defeat the nefarious kidnappers, the Mad Gear gang.
As soon as you spawn, youâ€™re thrown in at the deep end and are relentlessly attacked by members of the gang ranging from thin and weedy drug addicts to buxom fish-netted ladies of the night. Teaming up with another player is easily the best way to play through the game, and you can do so either locally or via Xbox Live. Either way, the game doesnâ€™t lag or stutter and co-op special moves are unlocked for those of you who opt to tackle the Mad Gear gang as a deadly duo.
Each character has their own particular strengths. Mike Haggard relies on his brute strength and sheer size to overpower the enemy. Cody is speedy and fast but prone to being knocked down by the gameâ€™s bigger baddies and immense bosses. Guyâ€™s a good all rounder and has his own trademark moves that can floor a crowd of enemies quite satisfyingly.
As well as relying on their fists and feet, all characters can pick up and use dropped enemy weapons or scenic elements like barrels and crates against the baddies.
If youâ€™ve never experienced the game before, youâ€™ll certainly see the gameplay elements that influenced and spawned a million copycats, and even todayâ€™s modern beat â€˜em ups probably wouldnâ€™t exist if it wasnâ€™t for the ground rules laid down in Final Fight.
Achievements and online score tables are included, but thereâ€™s also the addition of an â€œobjectivesâ€ list. These are special sub-achievements that require specific actions to be performed in the game to trigger awards. You might get a piece of concept art, an original item of artwork from the Capcom vaults or achievement points but itâ€™s neat to see this type of incentive included in a way that it doesnâ€™t interfere with the original flow of the game.
Presentation throughout Final Fight Double Impact is of superb quality. Other retro games and services (including Microsoftâ€™s own Game Room) should take a long look at what Capcom has done here and take notes. Slapping the game inside a virtual arcade cabinet and gently tweaking all the elements that made the original such a legendary game certainly means that retroheads will be in heaven with this conversion while a whole new generation can also begin to understand why us oldies get so fired up about classic games.
For your 800 Microsoft points you get one of the best versions of the Final Fight franchise but youâ€™ll also get another slice of Capcom retro history in the form of Magic Sword. Though itâ€™s a similar type of game, same side-scrolling smack-em-up dynamics, and though it came along later itâ€™s really only here as a bit of bonus filler, and it pales in comparison to the action in the main game. Gaming history nerds might enjoy its quaint charms for a while, but itâ€™s not really worth spending too much time on.
Final Fight Double Impact is a fine example of a videogames company with a long history and serious pedigree doing justice to their old material in order to serve it up to a new and appreciative audience as well as old stagers who remember the game first time round. If Capcom repeats this amazing feat of rejuvenation with some of their other classic titles, like Commando, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs or the insanely difficult Gunsmoke then they could quietly pull the rug out from under the quaintly antiquated offerings contained within Microsoftâ€™s Game Room. Nice as it is to see old Atari VCS titles revived and preserved, give me a stonking slice of beat â€˜em up action like Final Fight every time.