Electronic Theatre Preview: Final Fight: Streetwise

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Electronic Theatre Image            Final Fight is a franchise to which many-a-hardcore gamer will require no introduction. Being a true old-school side-scrolling beat-‘em-up the series’ fame often precedes it. With many of the original characters having appeared in numerous other Capcom titles since the last Final Fight, Final Fight CD for SEGA’s ill-fated Mega-CD console, there will be many new fans that will recognise Cody and Guy without realising their origins.

 

            The build playable at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) showed much promise. With five playable levelsElectronic Theatre Image and a rather Fight Club-esque cut scene preceding the first bout, the graphics are nothing less than stunning for the PlayStation2. The idea of the game is rather simple; beat your way through a level until everyone cowers at the sight of your trembling fists. Brutality is a basis – not an option. The two attack buttons, Cross and Square, feature instinctive combos that can be varied with combinations of the two. An inventive Instinct Mode (which is limited by a meter below your health bar) is accessed by pressing L2 and creates a slow-down effect highlighted by a blue glow around your character.

            Of the missions available, all of which offered reliable play experiences, none felt like Final Fight more than a street-brawling escapade against hordes of zombie-type beasts titled Warehouse Ambush. A gun could be purchased from a bystander as well as all manner of close-combat weapons obtainable from grounded enemies and general scenery as you battled through the seemingly never-ending swarm and tried to help to trapped civilians. Unfortunately, this level also succumbed to the common element – too many enemies on screen resulted in the dreaded slow-down.

            While Final Fight: Streetwise is often dictated to by the common flaws of sloppy development, it’s by no means a poorly though-through title. Being what I would consider one of the first true follow-ups to the original 2D side-scrolling beat-‘em-ups of gamings’ so-called golden age, the title rectifies the mistakes evident in titles such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Underworld by staying true to the genre’s original basic formula. Just the E3 build was playable enough, and I have high-hopes for the rest of the title that remained under-wraps.

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