Final Fight 3
  • Genre:
    • Beat 'Em Up
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 12/22/1995
    • US January 1996
    • UK 03/13/1996
Score: 85%

This review was published on 10/27/2017.

Final Fight 3, known in Japan as Final Fight Tough, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up video game developed and published by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Famicom. It was originally released in Japan on December 22, 1995, North America in January 1996, and Europe on March 13, 1996. Like the name indicates, this is the third game in the Final Fight series, which originally began in 1989 with the release of the original arcade game. Despite the fact that the series started out in the arcades, Final Fight 2 and 3 were exclusive to the SNES, Nintendo's 16-bit home console of the early-to-mid 1990s. However, Final Fight 3 came out fairly late into the SNES' lifespan. By the time of the game's release, next generation hardware such as the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation were already out and about. As such, games on the SNES had to push the console to its limits in order to keep up. Capcom did just that with Final Fight 3, and it shows. The first two Final Fights are pretty decent, but Final Fight 3 is way better.

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In the last two Final Fight games, former professional wrestler and mayor of Metro City, Mike Haggar, fought against a bunch of gangly gangsters known as Mad Gear with the help of his friends. After being defeated twice in a row, Mad Gear was no more. Peace reigned for a time, but then Capcom realized they had to make another Final Fight game, and that peace came to an end. No, it's not Mad Gear again; this time, a new gang is in town. The criminal organization in question refers to itself as the Skull Cross gang, and it has brought chaos back to the streets of Metro City. Guy, a guy who helped Haggar out in the first Final Fight, but was absent in the second one due to his training, returns in Final Fight 3 to provide his assistance once again. Joining Guy and Haggar in their fight are two new faces: Lucia Morgan, a detective in the Metro City Police's Special Crimes Unit, and Dean, a street fighter whose family was murdered by the Skull Cross gang. Will this truly be their final fight?

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As usual, you're able to walk in eight different directions on the ground with the d-pad, jump with the B button, and attack with the Y button. Tapping the attack button a few times does a basic combo, and jump attacks are executed by attacking during a jump. Pressing the jump and attack buttons simultaneously still triggers the special attack that drains a little of your life bar, but it's now also bound to the A button by default. Naturally, these button layouts can be completely customized in the options menu that's accessible from the title screen. Grabs work as they always do; you walk right into enemies to grab them, and then either tap the attack button to hit them while they're being held, or press the attack button in conjunction with a direction to throw them away like the trash that they are. Everything feels pretty, pretty, pretty good.

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Instead of the typical two or three playable characters like in the last few games, Final Fight 3 bumps the total character count to a whopping four. As previously mentioned, Haggar and Guy return from previous games, but Lucia and Dean made their debut in Final Fight 3. Haggar is the only universal constant in the Final Fight series, having appeared in all of the games up until this point, whereas this is the second game Guy has appeared in, not counting Mighty Final Fight for the NES. In any case, while everyone is controlled in a similar manner, there are quite a few differences between each character. Haggar has more throw moves than everyone else due to his wrestling experience, Guy's ninja-like skills allow him to jump off walls, Lucia primarily attacks via rapid kicks reminiscent of Chun-Li from Street Fighter, and Dean has electrifying attacks that briefly stun foes. All the characters are a delight to control, so you'll have a ball no matter who you pick.

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Just like before, the environment is littered with oil drums that can be demolished with your attacks. Often, these drums conceal within them items. A couple of the items exist purely to give you points, while some replenish varying amounts of your health. Rarely, a drum may contain a weapon. Most weapons are of the melee variety, usually extending the power and range of your attacks. Some weapons, however, are thrown as projectiles. Regardless of what weapon you're armed with, you'll immediately drop it when hit. Plus, weapons are always dropped for good during screen transitions. The first two Final Fight games are the same in this regard, but Final Fight 3 does make one alteration to the weapon system. Previously, only Cody from the first Final Fight specialized in a particular weapon, but in Final Fight 3, all characters have a preferred weapon that they excel with. When armed with their preferred weapon, characters will gain a combo unique to them. It's a nice little feature.

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While the first two Final Fight games are fairly similar, Final Fight 3 brings plenty of new things to the proverbial table. Similar to another beat 'em up made by Capcom, Captain Commando, you can now dash by double tapping left or right on the d-pad. If you attack while dashing, you'll do a dash attack, and attacking after a dashing jump executes a dashing jump attack. Additionally, double tapping in the opposite direction that you're facing causes you to do a backwards quickstep that's useful for dodging attacks. It's also now possible to grab enemies from behind, which gives you access to slightly different grab attacks and throw moves. Further, you can switch to a back grab if you grabbed someone from the front, and vice versa. Another new thing you can do in Final Fight 3 is strafe. Holding either the L or R button keeps the direction you're facing locked, allowing you to effectively moonwalk. This is by no means a necessary maneuver for a game of this type, but it's occasionally handy to have around. Oh, and there's more.

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On top of all that, you now have access to command based special techniques similar to a traditional fighting game, such as Capcom's very own Street Fighter. In other words, some moves are activated by doing a specific motion on the d-pad before pressing the attack button. The exact motion differs depending on the move and character, but because they're harder to pull off, these moves are typically better than your regular attacks. Much like the Super Combos in Capcom's excellent Super Street Fighter II Turbo, you have a Super Move gauge that gradually fills up as you land normal attacks on enemies. Once the gauge is full, you'll be able to use your Super Move by inputting its button command, which differs depending on the character. As its name implies, the Super Move is the most powerful attack in your arsenal. However, if you don't use the Super Move fast enough, the gauge will reset back to zero and you'll have to wait until it's full again before you get another crack at it. You definitely don't want that to happen, because Super Moves are super cool.

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Like the arcade version of the first Final Fight and Final Fight 2, this game allows a second human player to jump in at any time for some cooperative goodness. Things do slow down a bit when there's too much action on the screen, though, and that includes a second player. Friendly fire is also still possible, but thankfully, you're now allowed to turn it off in the options menu. Interestingly, a new feature Final Fight 3 adds to its cooperative play is the ability to have a computerized partner instead of a human being. This is worth doing if you're a loser who has no friends, but the AI is rather poor. You can improve the AI via the options menu, but even on its best setting, it's still no match for the average human brain. The computer can't use continues, either. Still, a dumb computerized partner is better than no partner at all. At least, that's what I tell myself every night.

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Unlike all the previous Final Fight games, Final Fight 3 features branching paths. The way in which this works is a little esoteric, though. Every so often, you'll be able to destroy parts of the scenery by throwing enemies into it, and this sometimes leads to an alternate path in the stage. Destroying the environment is already a fun thing to do, but the fact that you're rewarded for doing so makes it even more enjoyable. Hopefully, no environmentalists will read this review. Depending on the path you take, the character you're playing as, and the selected difficulty, you'll get slightly different endings. It's a very cool concept that adds replay value to the game. Also, the occasional bonus stages are back, but they're way crazier this time around. The first bonus stage pits you against a giant bulldozer, and the second one has you dodge countless rolling oil drums before fighting a super computer. As with the regular stages, the bonus stages are fun to play.

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Being that they're beat 'em ups, all of the Final Fight games are quite simple. However, Final Fight 3 ups the depth by a considerable amount with more characters, Super Moves, branching paths, and other neat stuff. It's even got jiggle physics for the boobs of all the female characters in the game, which was a rarity for the time. If that alone isn't enough to convince you to play Final Fight 3, then I don't know what will.

Word Count: 1,635

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