I suspect Final Fight isn’t actually my final fight

final fight overall impressions

I didn’t do too deep on the latest Capcom-themed Humble Bundle, obtaining only the games in the $1.00 or more tier. Specifically, these ones: Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3, Strider, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, and Final Fight Double Impact. The second tier already contains a few titles I own, such as Remember Me and Mega Man 9/10, and the rest didn’t stand out to me as must-haves. But finally having a copy of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix after all these years of only ever playing a demo version over and over and over, and for only one hundred pennies? I couldn’t resist. Regardless, those are words and stories for another post, on another game. For today, let’s talk about Final Fight.

Or, more specifically I guess, Final Fight Double Impact, which is the name of the thing I got from this latest Humble Bundle. Not really knowing much about this product, I assumed this was either a new Final Fight game in the beat-em-up series or a remake of the Super NES port. Turns out, nope. It’s a bundle, containing two arcade classics from Capcom’s history: Final Fight and Magic Sword. I have absolutely zero record with Magic Sword, and not much more with Final Fight, always being a Streets of Rage fanboy more than anything else, but know enough about the brawler through osmosis thanks to the Internet.

Final Fight‘s plot is hilariously legendary, one for the ages: the Mad Gear street gang has kidnapped Mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter, Jessica. Being a former pro wrestler and more muscle than policy-pushing man, Haggar refuses to give into their demands. Instead, he sets out to rescue Jessica with the help of her boyfriend, the martial artist Cody, and his friend Guy, a modern-day ninja. Y’know, cool dudes. They’ll do this together, punching and jump-kicking and slashing with a sword or lead pipe every Mad Gear goon and gal in Metro City, regardless of whether they are visible on the screen or not.

Truthfully, I only meant to see what this Final Fight Double Impact was and how it ran, but then I kept playing, eventually getting to Belger, the final boss, and kicking his gun-toting behind right out a window. That is, with a little help from some random online friends that jumped in and out of my game as I continued to hit continue after losing enough lives. See, I really never played many of these beat-em-ups in the arcades, save for that X-Men one, as they existed only to eat your quarters and I was more interested in spreading my quarters around, sampling a wide array of game types. Playing on a console with unlimited continues negates that mentality, and you can see credits roll in a number of side-scrolling brawlers so long as you persevere.

Final Fight is fine. The mechanics are simple yet solid, and somewhat addicting. You can punch, jump attack, pick up items like health and weapons, and even burn a little health to use a super attack that is good at clearing out a number of goons at once. I found a really good strategy of simply standing by the edge of the screen and mashing the attack button repeatedly; enemies will begin to walk into your firsts, and you can watch their life bars tick down without even putting a face to a name. Speaking of names…oomph. There are some doozies in here, such as Bill Bull, Holly Wood, and Wong Who.

In actuality, Final Fight is a great game to sort of lose yourself in for an hour and change. Yup, with unlimited continues, it doesn’t take too long to finish this fight, especially when you have the help of random online players. I went through just about every level with Guy, messing up once towards the end when I accidentally picked Haggar, but I can see myself going through this again with just Cody or Haggar all the way. This version comes with a bunch of built-in challenges, like finishing a level with only using one character or a certain number of continues or hitting a specific tier of points, and all that feeds into unlocking art and extras in the gallery, as well as trophies.

I also plan to still check out the other half of this bundle, but don’t expect to beat Magic Sword in a single go like I did here. Unless it really is some kind of magic sword. Final Fight contains a sword as a wield-able weapon, and it performs its own kind of magic in completing dominating the playing field unless you are going against those fire-tossing dudes. Anyways, yeah–this isn’t my final fight.

The first to finish this free-to-play Ben-Hur race is the last to die

gd Ben-Hur second post pic

It sure has been a lot of games completed haikus–seven in a row!–and nothing much else here on Grinding Down for these past few months, and that’s fine. This happens every year. My archives prove it so. Summer is crazy-busy for me at the day job, which basically means I find myself with both less free time to think and write about all them videogames in my possession. Plus I’m trying to get some comic books done for MICE. Do not fret; I’m still playing things here and there, jumping from game to game and system to system like an unchained glutton, but unfortunately I’m just not finding the time slash energy to put down all my hot takes. That is until now.

The other night, while mindlessly scanning the list of new releases on Xbox One’s store, I noticed a free-to-play thing called…Ben-Hur. Hmm. Curiosity got the better of me, and I had to know what exactly this was. Not because I’m some huge fan of the 1959 film starring Charlton Heston as the title character or even the least bit interested in this new re-imagining of the source material (though Morgan Freeman’s hair looks amazing). I’m just forever bewildered by tie-in videogames of all shapes and sizes, whether they are for movies, comic books, or even pizza-delivering establishments. I went into Ben-Hur thinking it’d be a quick, lackluster experience that existed only to constantly urge you, the player, to stop playing, drop some cash, and go sit in a movie theater instead, and I wasn’t disappointed in that prediction. At least I got a bunch of Achievement points, right?

Here’s how Ben-Hur goes, and try not to blink or you’ll miss the entire rundown: you participate in a chariot race where need to mash the A button to accelerate–but not too much as your horses will tire–and pull the left and right triggers to whip opponents on either side of you in hopes of taking them out for good. The natural goal is to come in first place, and you can do this by being a strong racer or simply eliminating the competition. Whipping the horses or running opponents into traps and other obstacles on the course does the trick. A season is made up of three individual races, each with their own number of laps and opponents. That’s it.

My first session with Ben-Hur lasted a total of twenty-eight minutes, in which I both won the season without breaking a sweat–or my chariot–and popped 8 of the 10 easy-as-pie Achievements. I’ve since gone back and gotten one more Achievement, and a part of me wants to get the last one, which requires destroying every opponent in every race of a season, but I think if I don’t get it the next time I play this will simply be removed both from the Xbox One and my memory. The tricky part is that you, the titular Ben-Hur, must destroy all the chariots yourself; they can’t be destroyed by other players or their own undoing. That’s as challenging as this live-or-die race gets, and the most hilarious cause-and-effect happening is seeing these health power-ups tossed out on to the track the moment you take a teeny tiny bit of damage.

Turns out, Ben-Hur was published by AOL and developed by Float Hybrid, which creates “branded experiences,” and Krome Studio, the developer of games I actually enjoy, such as Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. Maybe that’s what was missing from Ben-Hur: boomerangs and that distinct-sounding Australian English that I’ll never be able to perfectly replicate. Oh, and no, this did not inspire me to purchase a pair of tickets for the new movie. If anything, I’m inclined to stay far, far away.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #49 – Final Fight

gd games completed final fight

Jessica taken
Mad Gear must pay, says mayor
Off-screen punches win

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #48 – Ben-Hur

2016 gd games completed ben hur

Take the reins, Ben-Hur
Steer this freebie, for glory
Easy Gamerscore

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #47 – Lost Ethereal

2016 gd games completed lost ethereal capture

Saving your dead fam
By walking through the realm of
Spirits, pixel art

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #46 – Barb

2016 gd games completed barb

Ordinary day
For an ordinary Barb
Nothing is as seen

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #45 – Read Only Memories

2016 gd games completed read only memories rom

Join Turing on quest
To find maker, stop Big Blue
Sick, killer mesh tunes

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.