Mighty Final Fight
  • Genre:
    • Beat 'Em Up
  • Platform:
    • NES
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 06/11/1993
    • US July 1993
    • UK August 1993
Score: 75%

This review was published on 10/19/2017.

Mighty Final Fight is a side-scrolling beat 'em up video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom. It was originally released in Japan on June 11, 1993, North America in July 1993, and Europe in August 1993. This game is a spinoff of Final Fight, a coin operated arcade game created by Capcom, which was originally released in 1989 before being ported to various home platforms in the early 1990s. Of all the Final Fight ports, the one on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was the most well known. By 1993, just about everyone ditched their 8-bit NES for its 16-bit successor, the SNES. Oddly enough, Capcom still elected to put Mighty Final Fight on the NES, even though the previous game was already on the vastly more powerful SNES. Despite the massive downgrade in technology, Mighty Final Fight still manages to be a good game.

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Whereas the original Final Fight featured characters of somewhat realistic proportions, Mighty Final Fight miniaturizes the whole cast into tiny caricatures of themselves. In Japan, this sort of thing is referred to as the "super deformed" or "chibi" art style. Chibi is a Japanese slang word describing something that's short in stature. Anyway, this art style meshes rather well with the limitations of the NES hardware, as it hides the console's inability to render the larger sprites of the original arcade game. That's likely the main reason the developers went with this approach. Had they tried to recreate the arcade version's advanced visuals on the NES' primitive hardware, the game probably would have looked awful. As it currently stands, Mighty Final Fight is one of the better looking games on the NES. Its endearing art style plays into the system's strengths, and thanks to that, the graphics have aged well.

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The story is conveyed in a more comical manner than in the first game. However, other than the change in tone, the plot of Mighty Final Fight is essentially a retelling or reimagining of the first Final Fight. In other words, a gang of gangsters known as the Mad Gear kidnap Jessica, the beautiful daughter of Mike Haggar, the hulking mayor of Metro City. With seething rage, Haggar is ready to pulverize these putrid people himself, but he isn't alone. Joining him is Cody, Jessica's boyfriend, and Guy, his best friend. Outside of the more humorous portrayal of the plot, the only other major story difference is the motive behind the kidnapping. In the original Final Fight, the Mad Gear kidnapped Jessica in an attempt to coerce Haggar into cooperating, but the villain of Mighty Final Fight ordered the kidnapping because he fell madly in love with Jessica. Admittedly, this is a small detail.

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The basics are basically the same as they were in the first Final Fight. That means you use the d-pad to freely walk in eight directions on the ground, the A button for jumping, and the B button for attacking. If you hit the attack button enough times, you'll execute a basic combo that knocks the enemy flat on the ground. Jump attacks are also possible. Pressing the attack and jump buttons simultaneously executes a strong spin strike that hits surrounding foes in exchange for some of your life meter. Grabbing also works like it did in the arcade release, in that you simply walk into enemies to grab them. Once an enemy has been grabbed, you can either press the attack button to pummel your captured foe, or press the attack button in conjunction with a direction on the d-pad to throw them into other enemies. The simplistic control scheme of Final Fight works remarkable well with the limited amount of buttons that are available on the NES controller.

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Like the arcade version of Final Fight, but unlike the SNES ports, there are three playable characters to choose from. Cody is a tough street fighter, Guy is a guy descended from ninjas, and Haggar used to be a professional wrestler before he got into politics. In game terms, this means that Cody is a balanced fighter, Guy is a real fast guy, and Haggar is the slowest of the bunch, but also the strongest. They're all controlled in mostly the same way and generally have similar moves, but exhibit different combos in addition to their differing attributes. Haggar is also special because he has multiple types of throws, whereas everyone else only possesses a single throw move. The different characters are cool because they're different.

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Occasionally, metal drums will roll towards you from off screen, and if you punch them at the right time, you'll break them open. Frequently, breaking these metal drums leads to wonderful goodies. These goodies include health restoring food, 1ups, extra continues, and weapons. However, Mighty Final Fight handles weapons differently from the original arcade game, in that each character is limited to only a single weapon that's unique to them. You'll only ever find the weapon that's suitable for your character, though, so you don't have to worry about encountering something they can't use. As for the weapons themselves, Cody gets a knife, Guy gets a couple of shurikens, and Haggar gets an oversized mallet. Like the other games, weapons are merely temporary, but they're highly helpful.

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Beside the cutesy art style, the other major difference between Mighty Final Fight and the original is the addition of a leveling system. It's reminiscent of River City Ransom, an NES game by the creators of Double Dragon, Technos. This isn't the first time Final Fight has taken inspiration from Technos, considering Final Fight itself is directly inspired by Double Dragon. At any rate, every time you beat up an enemy in Mighty Final Fight, you get experience points. Gather enough experience points, and your character will level up, which increases the size of their life bar and the amount of damage they do. Each character can only reach a maximum of level six, but they gain a unique special attack upon reaching level four. These attacks are triggered by rapidly tapping left or right on the d-pad and the attack button at the same time, and they're as follows: Cody earns a hadoken-like energy projectile called the "Tornado Sweep," Guy learns the "Tornado Kick," and Haggar's special attack is a destructive dash known as the "Running Clothesline." While hard to execute reliably, these special attacks are very useful.

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There are a grand total of five stages, dubbed "rounds," and they're all fairly urban locales, such as city streets, harbors, factories, and so on. In order to reach the end of every linear stage, you'll have to beat up countless gang members. Unlike the arcade game, only two enemies can be on the screen at a single time. This limitation makes things less unfair, but also less exciting. Some areas do contain bottomless pits, though, which are neat, because you can toss enemies into them for quick victories. However, your computerized adversaries are fully capable of using this same strategy against you. There are still bonus stages that reward you with extra lives or experience points depending on how well you do, except they have you break rolling metal drums instead of wrecking cars or smashing windows. The stages are fine enough, but they're a little more repetitive than the arcade game due to there being fewer enemy types.

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Due to being released for the wrong system at the wrong time, Mighty Final Fight went completely unnoticed by most gamers of the time. That's a shame, because this is a good game. In fact, this is one of the best beat 'em ups on the NES. It's basically River City Ransom, except with more action and less RPG elements. However, unlike River City Ransom, Mighty Final Fight is strictly single player. That isn't a total deal breaker, but it is a bit of a setback for a game like this. On the bright side, the soundtrack sounds like something from an 8-bit Mega Man game. Considering Capcom created Mega Man, that's not surprising.

Word Count: 1,352

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