Final Fight, originally released in 1989 in the arcade, was a huge success for Capcom. It was ported to the Super Famicom in Japan just in time for the Christmas season of 1990, and it came out stateside for the SNES in September 1991. Although an impressive early SNES game in many ways, the port was somewhat butchered. Namely, it lacked a 2-player co-op mode, Guy was M.I.A., an entire stage was cut out and of course, censorship because Nintendo early ’90s. In the late summer of 1993, Capcom attempted to rectify matters (and cash in) when they released a sequel, Final Fight 2, exclusively for Nintendo’s 16-bit system. It might very well be the first SNES game to have an exclusive sequel with the first game being an arcade port. (I certainly can’t think of an earlier example of such off the top of my head. If you can, then comment below). Unfortunately, Guy and Cody are sadly nowhere to be found, but on the bright side there’s now a 2-player co-op mode. Was Capcom able to strike gold, or were they simply looking to make a quick buck based on the brand that was Final Fight? Let’s head over to Metro City and find out…
The North American box is a little shady. Damnd, an old boss from the first Final Fight, can be seen on the box but he never appears in Final Fight 2. Also, there’s a green mutant peeking from underneath the sewers. There was no enemy close to this in the actual game. Ah, the ’90s. Bless your heart.
STROLLING DOWN MEMORY LANE
The above was originally written on RVGFanatic (the first version) on November 21, 2012. That date marked the 22 year anniversary of the Super Famicom. As I write this now, the Super Famicom is now nearly 28 years old and counting. Wow, if that doesn’t make me feel old! Well, as the picture above states, I suppose I owe you a story…
December 1991. I was 8 years old on vacation with my family and friends in Lake Tahoe. Back in the day my family formed a strong friendship with four families. Together, between 10 parents and 16 kids, we had some of the most legendary sleepovers in the history of mankind. 11 boys and 5 girls, ranging from birth dates of 1978 to 1986, staying up late doing whatever it is that boys and girls do. We rented out a HUGE cabin where all 26 of us stayed. It was INSANITY. One of the guys, Tommy, brought along his newly acquired Super Nintendo with copies of Super Mario World, F-Zero and Final Fight.
A very bizarre and peculiar thing happened on that trip. Something so strange that it haunted me throughout my childhood. That Sunday morning, my mom decided to let me sleep in while everyone else filed out for breakfast. I woke up to an empty cabin with weird odd noises coming from every which direction. If only those cabin walls could talk, who knows what ghastly and terrible secrets might be shed? I tip-toed downstairs, calling out the names of my family and friends. All the while knowing deep down that no one would answer my cries. No one living, anyhow.
Indeed, all I heard back in response was the loud hissing and groaning of the creepy cabin. Suddenly a cold chill swept up and down my spine as I knew something wasn’t right…
After braving my way to the kitchen at long last, I found a note taped to the fridge.
Everyone woke up early except for you and we went out to get breakfast. You stayed up so late last night and you need the rest. Make yourself some Honey Nut Cheerios, and don’t watch too much TV. We’ll be back soon.Love,
I couldn’t believe it. My mom actually left me home alone in the middle of nowhere — OK not quite, but still! Did she not watch Home Alone?! I remember opening the fridge and seeing an ice cold can of 7 Up, my favorite soda back then. Oh how I wanted to grab that bad boy and chug it. But alas, I was not about to use the bathroom. There was no way in hell I would risk having to saunter down that demonic looking hallway that stood between me and the bathroom…
Ever feel a presence in the room with you? That someone, or something, is watching you? That’s how I felt on that cold dreary December morning of 1991. But being a resourceful kid, I believed that spirits would never mess with you if you had the TV or radio playing. Any kind of noise would ward off evil spirits. They would only attack those who were alone in silence. So I promptly turned on the TV to watch WWF Wrestling Challenge for the hour. It wasn’t long before I spotted Tommy’s Super Nintendo lying on the floor. This was my chance! The older kids hogged the system the night before, leaving me out in the cold. I fired up F-Zero first and then played Final Fight until everyone came back from breakfast. Part of me was ecstatic to see them again as I was no longer alone in this cabin from hell. But something funny happened during my first SNES experience. It made me forget about all my fears and worries. Instead it transported me to the future of video gaming, where you could snap a guy’s neck in two and soar 200 feet across a race track suspended high above a futuristic city — all in stunning graphics and sound. And ever since that fateful December morning nearly 30 years ago, I’ve been a Super Nintendo fan for life.
THE STORY GOES…
ROUND 1: HONG KONG
Oddly (and regrettably), weapons in Final Fight 2 are more detrimental to you than they are to the bad guys. That should never be the case. There seems to be a split second delay when trying to use weapons, and I definitely do better when fighting with just my bare hands. The sound effect for the weapons are also incredibly weak. Nowhere near Capcom’s usual quality. Shocking and disappointing, which is sort of the theme throughout this game.
Haggar’s piledriver now rotates in mid-air and looks a lot more fluid and impactful than it did in the first game. At least Capcom got something right here.
Censorship strikes again. Won Won looked even nastier in the Japanese version — he wields a deadly meat cleaver there.
ROUND 2: FRANCE
Andore and Abobo were my two favorite goons to beat up as a kid. There’s just something satisfying about destroying the snot out of a towering titan with a jacked up physique.
Punch, punch, press up and punch. It’s an instant 3-hit combo ending in a throw that protects you and dishes out extra damage to any surrounding bad guys. In a pinch? You can do this after one punch instead of two. A staple of the Final Fight franchise, I wish all beat ‘em ups featured this handy technique. No need for grapples, although you can still do that if you want.
You’re on a midnight stroll looking for some thugs to trash and you spot some lackeys loitering around. Sometimes you can even sneak in a hit or two before they come to their senses. Truly a beloved staple of the genre!
You have to show them that you’re really not scared
You’re playing with your life, this ain’t no truth or dare
They’ll kick you then they beat you then they’ll tell you it’s fair
So beat it, but you wanna be bad
Just beat it, beat it, beat it, BEAT IT!
No one wants to be defeated
Showing how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right
JUST BEAT IT, BEAT IT, BEAT IT!
The Street Fighter games and the original Final Fight did this a thousand times better. From the weapons sounding weak and lacking impact to the way the car is animated as it’s being destroyed, this car bonus stage comes off as a very weak homage. Shame, Capcom. SHAME!
ROUND 3: HOLLAND
Mines are scattered throughout this stage. Holland is my favorite level in the game because of that and the boss, Bratken.
They told him don’t you ever come around here
Don’t wanna see your face, you better disappear
The fire’s in their eyes and their words are really clear
So beat it, just beat it!
You better run
You better do what you can
Don’t wanna see no blood
Don’t be a macho man!
Standing 6’7″ and weighing in at 434 pounds of muscle, Bratken is a psychotic overgrown boy who loves toys. He was bribed to join the gang by being locked in a room filled with toys. But now he’s bored and wants to get out. Looks like he just spotted you, his next teddy bear victim. It’s too bad the rest of the game isn’t as interesting as this.
Love his, ahem, smashing entrance. Not the best animation though as dude is a bit stiff. But hey, that’s probably from being cooped up in his little cell there more than it is lazy programming on the part of Capcom, yeah? Right…
ROUND 4: ENGLAND
No one ever accused Final Fight 2 of being original. I love how Andore looks when he’s being thrown. Seeing his big old carcass flying around the screen like that is real sweet and satisfying.
Most of Final Fight 2 possesses a desolated and bleak look but this stage is the lone exception.
I never liked this clown. The look, the aesthetic, even his name Philippe. It just came off as very generic and forgettable to me. Give me Clown from Fighter’s History any day!
This bonus round is damn hard. Props if you can complete it.
ROUND 5: ITALY
This is particularly hazardous as you don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room and as I stated earlier, the weapons in this game suck. A beat ‘em up where weapons are useless is a crime. That’s a plain simple fact.
Capcom made a few glaring omissions with the SNES port of the first Final Fight. One of which was taking out a stage that featured Rolento at the end. I guess in their quest to fix past errors, Rolent came back for Final Fight 2. Love the shadows that trail him. Still shots does this no justice. You have to see it in motion to truly appreciate it.
ROUND 6: JAPAN
We come to our final stop, Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun. And, apparently, the Land of the Rising Haggar. Hmm. I’ll leave it at that.
Andore’s design was inspired by Andre the Giant. The 7’4″ 500 pound giant was a major attraction in the world of professional wrestling. Rest in Peace, big guy.
He blocks a lot and is a pain to put away.
Carlos is so tough that his sword is mostly for show. He’ll whip it out though in a tight spot. The sword, of course.
But ah, if only it were that simple. With Belger rotting away in some ditch, the new head honcho is a weird looking dude that goes by the name of Retu.
As the boys are busy trash talking,
Tung Fu Rue Genryusai hangs precariously in the air.
A dramatic ending to a rather dull, pardon the pun, final fight.
The text above was inspired from the final two lines of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. Speaking of which, I had a chance to see the original Halloween in theaters back in 2012 when it had a special one night only showing. I can’t wait for the definitive sequel this coming October!
Fear not, Belger fans. He would later return to the series as Cyborg Belger in Mighty Final Fight, and then once more in Final Fight Revenge.
Final Fight 3? Naaah, Capcom would NEVER milk a franchise… oh who am I kidding? Let’s face it, they’ve produced more sequels than most horror movie franchises!
SAVE ME MAYBE?!
Obscure video game fact: Mike Haggar has a twin. The Haggar we know and love died in Final Fight 2 (as you can see here). That explains the ponytail Haggar sports in Final Fight 3…
TRICKS AND SHENANIGANS
Interesting note about the 2-player mode: you can hit your buddy but the damage inflicted is minimal. A fun little trick is hitting both your partner and a boss character simultaneously. You can hit your friend repeatedly without them falling over, and bosses can get caught in this endless loop. Your friend takes very little damage per hit while the boss will take normal damage. You can easily abuse this system. There’s also a code to play as the same character. Press Down, Down, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right, Left, L, R at the title screen.
Final Fight 2 offers four difficulty levels. The easier ones are a joke but Expert is downright brutal, with enemies requiring a hundred hits before perishing. You can only unlock the full ending if you can beat it on Expert (which features a nice Guy cameo). On a final note, there is some text in-between stages but no pictures to go along with them. It reeks of lazy programming and a lack of attention to detail, something very uncharacteristic of Capcom back in the ’90s.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Final Fight 2 received mixed reactions. Oddly enough, despite being previewed twice by EGM, it was never reviewed. However, in EGM’s bi-monthly affiliated sister publication, Super NES Buyer’s Guide, Final Fight 2 received ratings of 85, 85 and 92%. GameFan, notorious for handing out high scores like free condiments, was split with their thoughts on this sequel. They gave it ratings of 70, 78, 84 and 93%. The 23% differential in the 70% and 93% ratings makes it one of the biggest scoring discrepancies in GameFan’s history. Super Play rated it 75%, which by their standards is a fairly respectable score especially for a beat ‘em up (a genre they often rated on the lower side). Most gamers seem to agree that Final Fight 2 is slightly above average at best, and at worse, kind of dull and not too good.
Final Fight 2 was one of those sequels that my brother and I highly anticipated back in 1993. We loved the first Final Fight but hated that we couldn’t play it together. Final Fight 2 promised to fix that glaring omission. While the 2-player mode is nice, there’s a bit of occasional slowdown. But that’s not the worst offender. The game, for some reason, is missing the magic of the first Final Fight. Even if you forget about comparing it to the original and judge it strictly on its own, it’s honestly kind of drab. There’s nothing particularly lousy about Final Fight 2, but it just lacks the magical ingredients that made the original so fun and endearing. Final Fight 2, in a lot of ways, really feels like a “direct-to-video” (or direct-to-SNES) sequel. And maybe that’s because it literally is. But Final Fight 3 proved you can be direct-to-video and still be good. Frankly, Capcom kind of went through the motions here and it shows.
That’s not to say Final Fight 2 is a bad game. But being decent yet disappointing sums it up best, and shows you the high benchmark standard that Capcom set with the first Final Fight. On the bright side, the visuals are pretty strong by late ’93 SNES standards, aside from some stiff animation and some backgrounds border on being a bit lifeless at times. On the down side, the music and sound effects are below Capcom par. Weapons are essentially ineffective. Carlos and Maki are generic enough to be forgettable as is the final boss. But although it lacks the polish you expect from a firm like Capcom, there’s no denying that beat ‘em up fanatics will still find some level of enjoyment; it’s not incompetent or unplayable by any means. There are just so many better choices available on the SNES, such as Return of Double Dragon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. I’m glad Final Fight 2 came out, but I’m disappointed with how it turned out. Oh well, at least Capcom got it right on their third try. After all, they say third time’s a charm…
BONUS: MEGABITS AND ANNIVERSARIES
August 1993 was a big month for Capcom. They released two major sequels: Final Fight 2 (10 MEGS) and Street Fighter II Turbo (20 MEGS).
I remember thinking how cool 10 MEGS was because at the time SNES games were either 4, 8 or 16 megabits. A few were even 12. But 10? That was unheard of, and I think Final Fight 2 is the first 10 MEG game on the SNES. Games boasting 10 megabits were even harder to find than ones with 12.
In the same month Capcom blew our minds when they released the first ever 20 MEG game, Street Fighter II Turbo. What a time to be alive. Can’t believe it’s been 25 years. Happy 25th anniversary to Final Fight 2 and the SNES port of Street Fighter II Turbo!