If Street Fights Were More Like Final Fight…

Final Fight
Final Fight, a classic arcade game
[Play Flash version online for free]

Your name is Cody, and you have no past, only a backstory. Some street gang kidnapped your girlfriend Jessica, you are told, and you need to punch them all out in order to rescue her. Details are not important–just start punching!

The clock is ticking, literally. You have to reach the end of each gang-infested street before the timer reaches zero, or Jessica is finished. Unfortunately you never learned to run, much less drive a car, or ride a bicycle, or even take the bus. No, Cody, you never learned much of anything in your life: all you can do now is walk around, jump, kick, punch, and “special attack.”

Lucky for you, most of the Mad Gear gang attended the same inner-city schools. Although there are more than a thousand members in this gang, they always approach to battle you in small and uncoordinated groups, attacking from one of two fixed directions.

There are no threats or intimidation, no pleading or bargaining here. No tactical intellect, and no emotion. Aside from the occasional moan, grunt, or kiai, these streets are dumb and silent.

The best response to a mass attack is to launch a series of flying kicks–which you can execute perfectly every time, without ever getting tired. A single flying kick knocks four enemies down just as easily as one, and if you knock them down a few times, they disappear. Gang members never block or grab, and rarely move out of the way.

Historical map
“Poison” from Final Fight

It is a mystery how this gang ever managed to kidnap anyone, frankly–but they clearly do know how to attack you. Each member specializes in a different style of armed or unarmed assault. Those who use weapons carry them openly, and everyone else wears a distinctive uniform to represent their favored combat skill.

The samurai warriors fight with spears, while the transvestite hookers use somersault kicks, and the zombie skeletons carry a flaming sword and shield. (Mad Gear is a criminal gang, but also very progressive in its support for alternative and undead lifestyles.) All of these thugs follow a predictable script, and none of them will ever surprise you….except for the hookers, maybe.

Still, wouldn’t it be better to call the police, instead of risking your life in this street fight? No. In Metro City, all the cops are dirty, and they belong to the gang. Also, you have three lives, so losing one or two of them is no big deal.

Final Fight - Select Player

Your vigilante crimefighting efforts are fully supported by Haggar, who is Jessica’s father, and also a retired professional wrestler, and also the mayor of the city. Both of you are willing to accept the risk, as is your friend Guy, a flamboyantly dressed ninja. Guy’s interest in this street battle is unclear, though he seems to enjoy the pursuit of fist-based justice. (Maybe he is Metro City’s District Attorney?)

Final Fight demo

Aside from Jessica, none of you have any family to support, or to protect from the vengeance of the Mad Gear gang. So there is no need to worry about retaliation. There are no drive-by shootings here–in Metro City, there is only one street, and nobody seems to have a working car. Besides, everyone you’ve beaten immediately fades out of existence, remember?

The toughest men in this gang are waiting for you at the end of each street. You can tell how strong they really are, not only because of their location and their clothing, but also due to the long yellow health bar that floats above their heads. But have no fear, and rely on your invincible “special attack,” and you’ll probably make it through.

If not, Cody, then you’ll have to spend another fifty cents and start over again from the beginning.

Do you think Final Fight is anything like a real street fight? Can you identify even one difference?

3 comments on “If Street Fights Were More Like Final Fight…”

  1. Man, this game brings back memories! Mainly because I could never get to the end. I remember when this game came out in my elementary school years my parents were turned off by the “violence” of the game. Little did they know that this pails in comparison to some of the games that are out there now.

    As whether this has anything in common with a real street fight, I feel that the fact that this is a game already discredits this as being “as realistic” to a real fight in any way. I have yet to be caught in street fight but I have been the eye witness to numerous ones and real fights are controlled chaos events. There’s no planning, nothing pretty, and you really don’t know what’s going to happen next. Things happen faster than you can think and next thing you know the other party has already crossed a few boundaries and into your face.

    Though, wouldn’t it be nice for all fights to be like “Final Fight”? Just press the red button, or the blue button, or both as the same time. 🙂

  2. Wow, this definitely brings back memories. I actually beat this game way back when I was a kid (on the home system, not at the arcade—that would have cost a “fortune”). It’s a classic game though; it’d be neat to see a remake of it sometime.

    Thanks for posting this, it was fun to remember 🙂

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