Fighting games come as no rarity to the Xbox 360 and the Xbox Live Arcade. The genre is often filled to the brink with big names including the likes of Dead or Alive, Tekken and the long-serving Street Fighter. A fighting title that didn’t have quite the same impact is Capcom’s Final Fight, originally released in 1989 as a coin-operated machine in the arcades and has now made its way to the Xbox Live Arcade in the form of Final Fight: Double Impact.
Final Fight: Double Impact is a side-scrolling beat-‘em-up that plays in a similar style to previous fighting Xbox Live Arcade titles, such as Double Dragon. The narrative sees Mike Haggar, a former professional wrestler, become the Mayor of the fictional Metro City, who promises to overcome the city’s crime problem. However, the Mad Gear gang kidnap the Mayor’s daughter, Jessica, using her as leverage against him and it’s up to Jessica’s boyfriend, Cody, with his brawling partner, Guy, to save her. Whereas the initial storyline isn’t particularly lengthy (likely to last players just under an hour or so), there is sufficient enjoyment to be had from the campaign on the whole.
Players consume the role of Cody, Guy or Haggar, each of whom has their own advantages and disadvantages in terms of statistics. Cody has all-round attributes, Guy is weak though has the fastest attacks and Haggar is the strongest yet is the slowest of the three. Players progress through the game’s seven areas, each of which is a typical environment you’d expect from a city (such as a park, subway etc.).
However, the game’s most established feature is the online co-operative play, which is where the “Double Impact” aspect of the game comes into place. Final Fight allows two players to play co-operatively on a single console and over the Xbox Live service. Working co-operatively allows players to progress quicker, makes enemies easier to overcome and is also fairly enjoyable. Quite possibly the most enticing aspect of the co-operative play is the inclusion of a “Jump In” option, allowing players to join other players’ games smoothly and problem free at any point.
Nevertheless, an issue that occurs as a result of this feature is the lack of being able to pause the game and therefore saving and quitting out when players need a break is the better option. Whilst the solution can be overcome by ensuring players switch off the online co-operative feature prior to starting, it’s additional hassle players have to resolve before they even begin.
Final Fight: Double Impact also comes bundled with another of Capcom’s side-scrolling beat-‘em-up’s known as Magic Sword which follows almost identical conventions to those of Final Fight. The only differences come with the change in style – with the title containing fantasy elements and there are a number of changes in gameplay – with more action occurring on screen. Nonetheless, the inclusion is a welcome one and is a thoroughly enjoyable title that increases the overall game time across the titles as a whole.
Graphically, both title’s environments stick to their retro roots – though have seen a graphical overhaul from their original counterparts so that it isn’t just a direct port – as many Xbox Live Arcade ports seem to be. Similarly, a rather pleasing, updated soundtrack also features, combining the retro music of the originals with a sense of modern goodness. However, the remainder of the game’s audio in both cases proves quite repetitive, especially when you consider their limited gameplay options.
Both Final Fight and Magic Sword are very easy to pick-up-and-play due to the very few controls required to play both titles. Apart from the usual left thumbstick to move the player’s character around, both titles have two other button controls for jumping and attacking. Whilst this is often the cause of button-bashing within both titles, it’s a pleasant reminder for the older gamers of how games used to be.
For 800 Microsoft Points, players receive two impressive side-scrolling beat-‘em-up titles, both of which are thoroughly enjoyable. Whilst neither of the two are particularly long, there is enough content in each to determine multiple playthroughs. If you’re a fan of fighting games then Final Fight: Double Impact is sure to make a positive impact on you.
David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.