On multiple occasions, I’ve heard the expression mentioned that restrictions breed creativity. Sometimes that doesn’t hold true. My last Quality Control pick, Raging Fighter, was a great example of this. The game was a fighting game that just didn’t hold up well on what was essentially a 4-bit hand-held system. Such is the opposite with this Quality Control pick, Mighty Final Fight, from Capcom for the NES. Capcom was basically given the task of porting the SNES (and arcade) classic brawler Final Fight to an 8-bit platform. I would say that they succeeded admirably.
Now, to be fair, Final Fight wasn’t a particularly complex brawler – and the brawler genre in general doesn’t have as much complexity to it as fighting games do. That said, Capcom handled the port very well. As the game couldn’t support the same size of sprites that the original game used, characters are instead depicted in a “Super Deformed” style. To tie in with the change in art style, the story has been altered to something more comedic. This in turn really helps to differentiate this version of the game from the original and give it a sense of identity.
Similarly to the original game, Mayor Mike Haggar‘s daughter, Jessica has been kidnapped by the sinister leader of the Mad Gear Gang, who has gone absolutely gaga for her. Haggar, Jessica’s beau, Cody, and Cody’s friend and training partner, Guy (yes, Guy is in this game), must fight through all the members of the Mad Gear Gang before the wedding ceremony. The game only has a single player mode, instead of an alternating two-player mode like in Double Dragon. However, similarly to Double Dragon, only two enemies can be depicted on-screen at any one time, making crowd control a little simpler.
The game also borrows the sort of “leveling” system used by Double Dragon, among other similar games, of gaining experience points by defeating enemies, which in turn, in theory, unlocks additional moves. I say in theory because, really, you can only unlock one move, and that’s at level 4. Each fighter has a special move that can be unlocked, and is performed by hitting the attack button and a direction on the D-Pad. This move gets you a little extra XP if you defeat an enemy with it. However, by this point you really don’t need to level up any further and the move itself does less damage on average than your regular combo, and you gain no other benefits, like life bar increases or anything else). Power-ups are also moderately scarce, as are weapons (there’s one dropped weapon in the whole game, at the obligatory Elevator level).
All in all, this is a decent classic style brawler, and I would say that I like it better than the original Final Fight, blasphemy though that may be. I would recommend picking it up, if you can find a copy, either as the NES cart or in the GBA collection “Capcom Classics Mini-Mix”.