Mighty Final Fight

aMighty Final Fight USA 188x266 Mighty Final Fight NES Nintendo Review ScreenshotDeveloper:

 June 1993
US Cartridge ID: NES-MF-USA

Players:  1
Genre: Beat `Em Up
Supported Peripherals: Controller

ROM Size: 2 megabit
Mapper: MMC3 (128k PRG, 128k CHR)

Requires Flash10

By 1993, Capcom was one of the few  third party developers still actively producing 8-bit games, with most of their competitors having moved on to the more powerful and commercially viable 16-bit platforms. Mighty Final Fight was one of their last efforts for the aging NES, followed only by Mega Man 6 and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, both released later the same year. Rather than posing as a port of the 1989 arcade classic Mighty Final Fight USA 015 256x224 Mighty Final Fight NES Nintendo Review ScreenshotFinal Fight, Mighty Final Fight serves as a satirical adaptation of its inspiration, infusing the original’s game play mechanics with a sense of humor that remains firmly tongue-in-cheek throughout.

Loosely following the plot line from the original, Mighty Final Fight  roots itself in Metro City,  a once peaceful place that now finds itself dominated by crime and violence at the hands of the Mad Gear gang. Belgar, the cyborg leader of the Mad Gear, has decided that Metro City is not enough: he has kidnapped Mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter, Jessica, and plans to force her hand in marriage. When the mayor, a former pro-wrestler and street fighting champion, learns of his daughter’s abduction, he enlists the help of his friend and student of ninjistsu, Guy , along with Jessica’s boyfriend Cody, a master of karate and boxing. Together, they must rescue Jessica and clean up the streets of Metro City.

Unlike the Super NES port of Final Fight (1991), all three characters are selectable at the onset of the adventure. Haggar, Guy, or Cody must fight their way through five major areas of Metro City to reach Belgar, including the slums, the river, a mansion, a factory, and the harbor, all outlined on a map shown at the beginning of each stage. With fighting taking place on a 2.5D plane, Mighty Final Fight plays similarly to other genre classics, most notably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game and Streets of Rage (Genesis,Mighty Final Fight USA 064 256x224 Mighty Final Fight NES Nintendo Review Screenshot 1991). Admirably, the game preserves the same controls, timing, and mechanics of the arcade Final Fight and its two Super NES exclusive sequels, with each character granted the ability to punch, jump attack, use weapons, and perform combo and special attacks, and throw their enemies via simple control inputs. Each character plays differently, giving the game a fair amount of replay value. Haggar is slow but extremely powerful, specializing in grappling maneuvers.  Though the weakest of the three, Guy is the fastest and most agile character, specializing in quick strikes. Cody is the most well balanced of the three, being average in terms of both strength and speed.

Mighty Final Fight replaces a traditional score with an experience meter akin to that employed in River City Ransom. Experience points earned are dependent on the method in which the character dispatches their opponent: while a jump kick kill only earns one point, killing an enemy with the final hit of a combo nets six points. Once enough experience is gained and the character levels up, the health bar will be extended, the character will become stronger, and access to new special attacks will be granted. Since Mighty Final Fight USA 140 256x224 Mighty Final Fight NES Nintendo Review Screenshotthere are a finite number of enemies that appear during each stage, the experience point system demands a fair amount of planning and strategy on the part of the player, lest Round 5 be reached with a woefully underpowered character.  In addition to extra health, reserve lives, and continues, experience points can also be gained through picking up items or scoring well on bonus rounds.

In order to better accommodate the capabilities of the 8-bit NES’ hardware, the graphics underwent a huge stylistic overhaul.  In contrast to Final Fight’s  huge, at times photorealistic fighters, Capcom used the Japanese “chibi” style to render all character sprites in Mighty Final Fight. This shift endows all in-game characters with huge heads and tiny bodies, making them appear as cute, child-sized versions of their 16-bit former selves. The sound design is reminiscent of that in Capcom’s NES Mega Man series, with catchy synth leads and over-the-top sound effects that nicely complement the action.

The US release version has been slightly censored from its original Japanese Famicom incarnation – while the hilarious pre-boss dialogues are relatively accurate in their English Mighty Final Fight USA 172 256x224 Mighty Final Fight NES Nintendo Review Screenshottranslations, the names of some the bosses have been changed: Thrasher was originally called Damned, and Katana was first known as Sodom. Strangely, the female enemy characters have been left untouched, though in the US SNES version of Final Fight they were all altered to appear as effeminate men.

Mighty Final Fight is a fun and playful take on a hugely successful franchise. It’s endearing quirkiness, first-rate controls, and reasonable challenge make for an excellent alternative to the more serious fare typically of the beat ’em up genre, and as such, is well worth a serious try.

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Capcom, 7/1993
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Mighty Final Fight
Capcom, 6/1993