Take that, Streets of Rage!
Published by Brandyn
Final Fight 3
Year of Release: 1995
Platform: Super Nintendo
By 1995, beat 'em ups were starting to lose steam. Especially due to the coming of consoles that could produce 3 dimensional graphics, people were moving on to different genres. But that didn't stop Capcom from releasing the SNES gem known as Final Fight 3.
By this time, the Streets of Rage series on the Sega Genesis had kind of stolen Final Fight's thunder. While the arcade Final Fight is one of the best beat 'em ups ever, the Super Nintendo version was passable at best. While the SNES exclusive Final Fight 2 was something of a step up, it still wasn't even close to matching the fun experience of the arcade version of the first, and so people turned to Streets of Rage to fulfill their needs when it came to a great beat 'em up they could play at home. This game not only put Final Fight back on the map but it also gave Super Nintendo users who were fans of the genre a game to be proud of.
After Mike Haggar and co. permanently dismantled the Mad Gear gang in Final Fight 2, Metro City has enjoyed some semblence of peace for a brief period. You would think that in a city known for having a mayor that's so ripped he puts Dwayne Johnson to shame and likes to personally hit the streets and beatdown bad guys, hooligans would mind their manners. Especially since he destroyed the toughest street gang in town twice. But alas, it isn't long before a series of gang wars initiates as the remaining factions all battle for dominance (this place needs Harvey Dent as the D.A.). Eventually, the Skull Cross gang emerges victorious and picks up the Mad Gear's mantle (at least their name is cooler and doesn't sound like a 90's skateboarding shop). Haggar springs into action when they attack the police station and break out their leader, Black.
This time around, there are four characters you can choose from instead of the usual three. This would have been especially cool if SNES supported four-man play like many beat 'em ups in the arcades. There is Haggar himself; Guy the ninja from the first Final Fight; A female cop named Lucia; and Dean, a former Street Fighter who seeks revenge after the Skull Cross brutally murdered his family when he refused to join them. All four fighters are viable and fun to play as. No two feel the same and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. The only problem is that they fall flatly into two categories: speed (Guy and Lucia) or power (Haggar and Dean). Unlike the first two games there is no middle ground character like Cody and Carlos.
The first thing I noticed is that the animation is much more fluid this time around compared to the stiff sprites and choppy movements in the first two games. Both the art style and engine recieved a major overhaul. And rightfully so, as that is what makes the first two feel a tad bit dated compared to the beat 'em ups that came out at around the same time. The visuals are really colorful and the character models are much smoother, though I have to forgive Haggar's horrid outfit and ponytail in this game. But more importantly, Capcom has expanded the movesets. Before, you only had a jump, an attack, and a jump attack. This made the previous games feel somewhat monotonous after a while as it was frankly just a mindless button mashing fest. Final Fight 3 introduces the ability to pull off Street Fighter-style special moves by doing special inputs with the D-pad and attack buttons (once the blue meter at the bottom of the screen fills up). It not only keeps the game interesting, but it really helps when enemies are ganging up on you to keep you from having to use your life-draining Desperation Move too much.
Another cool mechanic the game introduces is branching paths. Although the action takes place primarily within Metro City like the first game, you will not experience every level in the game on one playthrough. Certain things you do will take you different places, like for example on one stage there is a bus stop sign. If it gets destroyed in the fight, the bus will not come and the level will end there. But if the sign remains intact the bus will take you to the other part of the level and you will be on a completely different path. It's pretty neat, and adds replay value beyond "get a higher score." There are even multiple endings to the game depending on which paths you took and your performance, so Capcom went out of their way to add replay value to this beat 'em up and they succeed.
Lastly I'd like to praise the game's soundtrack. The first game's soundtrack was gritty, the second game's soundtrack was quirky. This game's tone is not as gritty as the first game but grittier than Final Fight 2, and the music's tone in this installment seems to be...suspense. At least that's the best way I can describe it. It fits really well though, and nothing gets you pumped while moving to the right and mashing the attack button over and over like a good mood-setting musical selection.
While the first Final Fight remains my favorite, Final Fight 3 is a close second. It's a huge step up from the second game and it's finally the Final Fight game that SNES players deserved, even if it was four years late. It would also be the last traditional style game in the franchise. Following FF3 there was Final Fight: Revenge on the Saturn which was a one-on-one Street Fighter style fighting game, and finally there was Final Fight: Streetwise on the PS2 and Xbox which is an unfortunate mishap that most fans consider a Final Fight game in-name-only. Will we get a proper Final Fight 4 someday? Only time will tell, but if you are a fan who has not played 3, you definately owe it to yourself. It is exclusive to the SNES and available for download on the Virtual Console for a modest price.
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Last edited by dilashyaa; 03-01-2014 at 06:26 AM..