Final Fight: Double Impact PS3 review - 360 - Review
If you frequented arcades at all back in their glory days, chances are you’ve run across either Final Fight or Magic Sword. A street brawler and a side-scrolling fantasy hack’n slash respectively; these games collectively gobbled up more quarters than a New Jersey turnpike at rush hour and provided countless arcade fanatics with hours upon hours of gameplay.
Now, Capcom has released both games in one great downloadable package in Final Fight: Double Impact. Double Impact offers two games in one, giving players arcade-perfect translations of the two aforementioned games, as well as some added bonuses. The games look and play fantastically, accurate not only to the look of the original arcade hits, but also to the overall feel of the arcade experience thanks to solid drop-in online play. If you’re at all a fan of the original games or of the arcade experience in general, this is one that you should pick up.
The first game in this pairing is Final Fight. In Final Fight, you play as one of three different characters: Haggar, a former street fighter-turned-mayor of a crime-ridden city who embarks on a vigilante mission to kick some ass and rescue his kidnapped daughter, Jessica, from the clutches of the Mad Gear gang; Cody, Jessica’s vigilante martial artist boyfriend; and Guy, Cody’s ninjitsu-practiced friend. You’ll fight your way through six stages of diverse baddies, taking down bosses and using your own fighting styles and strengths to bring down criminals and defeat varied bosses at the end of each stage.
The second title in the mix is Magic Sword. In Magic Sword, you play as a sword-wielding warrior as he works his way up a 50-floor tower in order to defeat the dark lord Drokmar, who is utilizing the power of the Black Orb for evil purposes. You are not alone on your journey, as you are given the ability to free Drokmar’s prisoners and have them fight alongside you, using their specific classes (a la Ninja, Amazon, Mage, Cleric, and so on) to assist you in your quest. However, once you scale the tower and defeat Drokmar, you’re given the choice to destroy the Black Orb or utilize its evil power for yourself.
The two games in the package boast drastically varied gameplay, with one being a Double Dragon/Streets of Rage-styled brawler and the other being an action-packed side-scrolling dungeon crawler. They are both quite challenging in principal, but gamers should have no problem completing either of them, as continues are unlimited and drop you right back into the action where you left off. However, the real challenge of the package comes from the Vault feature. The Vault gives you sub-achievements for each game, requiring you to do things above and beyond simply playing the games and completing them. You’ll have some that simply require you to complete each stage with a specific character, while others will have you complete a level within a certain time limit or get a certain amount of points. Performing these successfully will unlock additional features in the sub-menu, allowing you to view concept art, comics, and so on.
These games are also both arcade-faithful to a fault. You aren’t allowed to pause the game when in the online-enabled mode. Even if you hit start and access the game menu, the on-screen action continues to unfold, leaving your character open for brutal beatings. This is frustrating at times, especially if you just want to open the menu and play around with the games aesthetic or change the soundtrack, but as this is aiming for a pure arcade experience, this is simply the nature of the beast. The online play is also quite impressive. By default, your game is always online even when you are playing by yourself. This allows other players to pop into your game, much like they would at the arcade if they had quarters to put up. This is a great feature that keeps with the overall arcade experience, and online play moves smoothly without many bouts of lag. Additionally, you can play cooperatively offline, allowing a buddy to simply pick up a controller and start playing.
The games themselves look great; while they aren’t the best looking games on the platform, they hold up quite well and boast fine animation and large character models. The image can be played around with a bit, letting you smooth the on-screen image, crisp it, or stretch it for widescreen TVs, similar to what you’d find on a PC emulator. The real treat here, though, is the cabinet mode, which faithfully reproduces the overall look of the original arcade games. The screen is bowed slightly at the edges and the image is interlaced to maintain the look of old CRT monitors, while the cabinet itself is adorned with artwork and gameplay instructions, which is a great touch for nostalgic arcade fans.
The sound is also well done. The original arcade soundtracks have been reproduced perfectly, while Capcom has included updated remixes of the original scores. The tunes here aren’t as drastic a change as those in Bionic Commando: Rearmed (or even those in Final Fight CD…anyone?), but they sound great. There are few caveats to be had in Final Fight: Double Impact. The lack of a pause feature can be an annoyance, and the buttons cannot be remapped, making this a little difficult should you want to get into the complete experience with an arcade stick peripheral. However, there’s definitely a lot to love here, especially if you’re an old-school arcade fan.