Saturday, April 17, 2010

Twice the Old School in a Fantastic Package... The Final Fight: Double Impact (PSN) Review

Note - I had footage of me playing these games, but I guess it didn't turn out well. Here's my video in case y'all still want to see it.

Capcom knows how to do old-school right in this current generation of consoles especially on the downloadable services like Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network from Bionic Commando Rearmed, Mega Man 9 and 10, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Their latest downloadable offering is Final Fight: Double Impact, a fantastic retro package that consists of the early 90s beat-em ups Final Fight and Magic Sword. These two games were great brawlers in the arcades during the early 1990s and these two together are still blasts to play today. For what you are paying, there is plenty of retro goodness with challenges, GGPO-like online play, and lots of fanservice for fans of the games as well as Capcom in general.

Final Fight is the star of this package as it is the arcade version from beginning to end. If you don't know the simple story to this classic, something is wrong with you if you're around in the 90s that skipped on it. Anyway, Metro City Mayor Mike Haggar's daughter, Jessica, gets kidnapped by the Mad Gear Gang as it is up to him, Cody, and Guy to save her. Since it is an old-school beat-em-up, the game is obviously not that long, but definitely a coin guzzler at the time. Good thing there is unlimited continues, so its easy to breeze through as an experience, but players would be pushed to play through it without continuing. Each character has their advantages and weaknesses as Guy is faster, but does not produce much damage, Cody being the middle ground, and Haggar being slower, but can produce more damage especially when grabbing enemies pile driving them at will. Final Fight is still as good as it was back in the day being simple to play, but hard to master beating up the Mad Gear Gang. Magic Sword is the other game of the bunch and while it may seem like an odd addition to this package, it is actually also as fun as Final Fight, but in a different fantasy-like setting. The simple goal in this game is you have to transverse through a castle of 50 floors to save your land from evil hands with a choice at the end of going with the good or evil ending. Unlike Final Fight however, Magic Sword is a little more chaotic with lots of things going on screen with your hero character and minions that have to be freed by various keys. The different helpers from giants, wizards, knights, and ninjas provide a good hand for a temporary time, but your sword is still your main weapon especially with various magic spells being used depending on which minion you have following you. Double Impact has specific challenges for both games giving them more replay value where you have to do certain objectives to unlock things in the Vault from getting a certain score in a level, finding the secret rooms in Magic Sword, and so on. Unlockables on the vault range from fan art of the games, Street Fighter comics, and even the Final Fight episode of the Street Fighter cartoon that was on the USA channel in the 90s.

Being that Double Impact offers the arcade versions of Final Fight and Magic Sword, Capcom and Proper Games definitely did a great job of recapturing the arcade experience. Co-op can be played either locally or online with obviously another player. Recapturing that arcade experience allows for drop in drop out play just like you're slipping in quarters back in the day. If you're worried that the online will be laggy, don't be since the network code is based off GGPO, the infamous code used to play old fighting games on the computer. With GGPO, you are pretty much getting lagless gameplay as it performs better than most network codes out there. Hopefully, more games use this code as it is just a start for its console appearances. Surely, it is always better beating down the opposition with another person as much as playing them alone trying to complete challenges. The online experience, however, can be perhaps mixed as someone would leave the game right off as you join as if they forgot to change their settings of how people would join your game either by anyone, invite only, or none at all. Also, players are just willing to do challenges for specific levels or just go straight to the end of the game, so it could be rare to find another random person to play a whole game with you meaning its best to play these games with a friend that is willing to go all the way.

Graphically, the two games are arcade perfect, but it depends on the customization of how you want the games look. On default, there is the cabinet mode where the actual arcade cabinet is the border for the games. There is also options for widescreen, no cabinet, and filters as seen in the downloadable release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 last year. For this new release, the soundtracks are remastered for both games and they are arguably one of the better remade soundtracks for any old-school game in recent memory as it sounds modern while maintaining that old-school feel. The other sound effects of hitting, item grabbing, etc. remain unchanged from their original releases.

Final Fight: Double Impact is another great example by Capcom of how to treat your old-school games right as other publishers and developers around that time should take notes. The arcade experience has been recaptured to the best of their ability with drop in/drop out play, great network code thanks to GGPO, and enough replay value to play the games numerous times with the challenges to unlock goodies on the vault. The remastered soundtracks for both Final Fight and Magic Sword are also another highlight of this package even though there is an option to play the original music instead. Sure, after unlocking everything in this release, there isn't much to do and playing these games too much in a single day can get draining and repetitive even though they're both short beat-em-ups. For ten dollars, you can't go wrong with Final Fight: Double Impact if you still love the old-school and you're a Capcom fan seeing all the references used in the games that have followed them especially in Final Fight.

Score = 8.5/10

  • Two great beat-em-ups in one package
  • The arcade experience has been recaptured with drop-in/drop-out online play
  • GGPO network code lives up its name for this release
  • Remastered soundtracks are among one of the better remade soundtracks today
  • After unlocking everything in the vault, there isn't much to do other than play them for nostalgic reasons.

No comments: