It’s an understatement to say that Capcom disappointed everyone with the SNES port of Final Fight. The missing 2 player coop, levels, and character smacked of a rushed product. And then they did it all over again with Final Fight Guy, which instead of adding him to the game removed Cody in his place. The SNES version was a pretty big deal: Final Fight lit up arcades nationwide and the chance to play it without breaking the bank was a dream that they crushed. So to make up for it we have Final Fight 2.
Final Fight 2 was released exclusively for the SNES in 1993. Years have passed since the defeat of the Mad Gear gang but that doesn’t mean they are finished. Under new leadership they have kidnapped Guy’s fiancée Rena and master Genryusai. With both Cody and Guy gone new recruits Maki and Carlos pick up the slack. With 3 characters and the missing coop restored it’s obvious Capcom set out to right the wrongs created with the first game but in doing so Final Fight 2, while enjoyable feels a bit like a retread.
Ditching the confines of Metro City the trio of characters set out on a transcontinental hunt for the Mad Gear boss, pounding faces around the world in the process. Haggar is exactly the same, with his devastating array of wrestling moves. Maki is a proper substitute for Guy, having trained under the same master. Carlos is the most balanced of the 3, neither too fast nor too strong. With new leadership comes new members and the Mad Gear gang are almost completely comprised of new enemies with their own attack patterns to learn. But for those that grew attached to the original’s antagonists some familiar faces return, such as Rolento and the Andore family.
While it’s nice to have new characters to play around with the game could really have used some more depth to its combat. The moveset is nearly identical to the original’s meaning you have a basic selection of punch, punch, kick combos, a few throws and a special attack and that’s it. Spamming the same repetitive attacks gets old fast and in light of Sega’s Streets of Rage 2 and the brawlers flooding the arcade it sucked to see Final Fight, the pioneer of the genre fall behind.
The greatest strength of Final Fight 2 is that even thought it was made for the SNES it wouldn’t have looked out of place in the arcade. The graphics maintain the same aesthetic as the original arcade game, with some of the largest sprites in a beat em up from that generation. The trip around the world allows for more interesting scenery rather than the same old slums of Metro City. Some of the new locales are very picturesque in their level of detail and if you keep an eye out you might spot some cameo appearances from other Capcom characters as well. There’s little to no slowdown at all considering the amount of chaos on screen at times which is a far cry from early SNES efforts. The music doesn’t rise to the same level as the graphics but isn’t offensive; that’s the best compliment I can give it.
Mechanically the game is sound and does a good job of replicating the arcade feel. But therein lies the problem. Final Fight 2 sticks so close to the tenets laid down by the first game that it doesn’t aspire to be anything greater. In an era where games like Streets of Rage 2 raised the bar for the genre the limited selection of moves and repetitive enemies stick out like a sore thumb. That isn’t to say the game is no good, far from it. Final Fight practically pioneered the modern beat em up formula, and though its sequel sticks to the exact same principle that means it is still one of the better beat em ups on the console.
Go into it expecting more of the same action as Final Fight and you won’t be disappointed. For those that had sampled more advanced games in the genre this is a mild disappointment but still worth playing for its solid action.