Final Fight 2
Ah Final Fight, my favorite beat 'em up series. Apparently the fight was not final after all, because here we have an SNES exclusive sequel. Making the game Super Nintendo exclusive was pretty much Capcom's way of making it up to SNES players since they got the short end of the stick when it came to the home console ports of the first Final Fight, as the Sega CD version was naturally far superior. Apparently the problem with Final Fight SNES as Capcom claimed was limitations in the SNES hardware which was their explaination for why Guy was cut out, as well as an entire stage. And yet FF2 has 3 characters and six stages just like the original Final Fight arcade. But the sequel proves to be a worthy successor to the first game and a pretty decent game in its own right, though of course it isn't quite as memorable as the first game or the third one. However, in typical sequel fashion it is on a much grander scale.
Taking place months after the events of the first game, Metro City has enjoyed some semblence of peace ever since its muscle bound mayor Mike Haggar brought the pain to the gang members that terrorized it, alongside his daughter's boyfriend Cody and his sparring partner, Guy. Unfortunately the peace doesn't last long. One day, Haggar gets a phone call from Maki, the sister of Guy's fiancee who is also a bushinryu ninja. Maki's sister Rena has been kidnapped, as well as their father, the great Bushinryu master Genryusai.
It turns out the Mad Gear gang has been revived under the leadership of a man named Retu, and to make matters worse, they've gone international. With Cody away on vacation with Jessica and Guy away on a training mission, it's up to Haggar, Maki, and some random swordsman Capcom clearly made up at the last minute because they realized they needed a third character for the game, to save the day. I guess having his girlfriend and soon-to-be father in law kidnapped didn't warrant Guy coming back to help save them himself, lazy douche. Though the real question is how does the 40th Grandmaster to the Bushinryu ninja lineage manage to get defeated by some random street punks and get kidnapped?
So after an admittedly cool transition in which the fire in Haggar's eyes convieniently forms the "2" in the Final Fight 2 logo as the title screen comes up, it's time to go. At the character select screen, you're met with the choice of Haggar, the ninja girl Maki, and the swordsman Carlos. Though at first glance these two newcomers might appear to be nothing more than Super Street Fighter II rejects, they're actually pretty good replacements for Cody and Guy; Carlos plays virtually just like Cody from the first game, and just like Cody, he's the only one who can hold onto the knife after stabbing an enemy. Despite carrying a sword on his back, its only actually used for his Desperation Move (the animation for which is pretty cool). Maki, who's uniform bears a pleasing resemblance to Mai from King of Fighters (though Maki isn't quite as...jiggly), plays similar to Guy from the first game. Her special weapon is Tonfas, she is the fast-but-weak character, and she can perform the "Off the Wall Kick". Haggar is back as the only returning playable character from the first game, with a slightly cooler design. He's the heavyweight slow-but-strong character, and the most badass mayor ever.
This time around, instead of the whole game taking place in one city, Haggar and co. are traveling around the world, with each of the game's six stages being set in different country. You will get to kick Mad Gear butt in everywhere from Hong Kong to Paris to London, and I actually thought this was a pretty cool idea. Like all beat em ups its even more fun with a partner, and unlike the SNES version of the first game, Final Fight 2 supports co-op. The controls are much smoother and fluid as opposed to the rather stiff controls of the first FF on SNES. It's an old school beat 'em up, so there really isn't much depth to the gameplay beyond "go to the right, dispatch a group of enemies, continue" until you reach the boss at the end. It's just good old arcade style button mashing fun, and while it's not quite as memorable as the other two games in the original trilogy, it's definately a nice apology from Capcom for how butchered the first game was on SNES. . This one is often seen as the black sheep of the original trilogy because of the scale of it, as well as the fact it is much more light hearted and not quite as gritty as the first and third game, but in its own right, it is enjoyable. If you are a Final Fight fan or even just a beat 'em up fan, it's worth checking out and is also available on Virtual Console for a modest price.