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Virtually Overlooked: Mighty Final Fight


Welcome to our weekly feature, Virtually Overlooked, wherein we talk about games that aren't on the Virtual Console yet, but should be. Call it a retro-speculative.

What do you get when you add up one part Double Dragon, one part Final Fight, and one part River City Ransom? We have no idea how to do that equation-- it seems like three unquantifiable things. Three games, we guess? Is that right?

In an unrelated topic, Mighty Final Fight for the NES is pretty great.

In 1993, Capcom decided to release an NES parody version of Final Fight, their 1989 arcade game that launched with the Super Famicom in 1990 (and the SNES in 1991.) Why they decided to do this is a mystery. Final Fight was already old by the time Mighty Final Fight came out, and the NES market had all but dried up, allowing this game to fly under the radar at high speed. Of course, in 1993, the U.S. was in the midst of Mortal Kombaaaaat Fever, and thus a cartoony NES fighter with, like, no decapitations was probably a hard sell.

Mighty Final Fight is more of a sequel than a remake: the same characters and enemies show up, but the levels are all moved around. The game makes the transition to an 8-bit system with 2 buttons quite nicely; there is some flicker and slowdown, but players of Technos NES games have learned to get over that. Like the SNES version, the game is limited to single-player mode only; unlike the SNES version, Haggar, Cody, and Guy are available. Poison and Roxy, two female adversaries, are even left intact in Mighty Final Fight after having been removed from the SNES game, although how intact Poison has been left is entirely a matter of interpretation.

The player characters differ more drastically than they do in the arcade version. The combos vary quite a bit between characters, and Guy and Cody are much faster than Haggar. All three have new abilities. You can gain experience points by fighting, similar to NES Double Dragon, and at high levels, your characters have access to new attacks like fireballs, by pressing forward and attack.

When the game first came out, the whole thing seemed kind of silly to us, and seemed to undermine the gritty-for-the-early-90's feel of Final Fight, which had somewhat realistic-looking characters. However, hindsight allows us to see that the arcade Final Fight was in fact over-the-top ridiculous, and the removal of the shine of leather outfits and biohazard-symbol detail on people's capes actually makes the game feel less silly than its progenitor. We suppose that our brains have learned to parse NES graphics as more non-representative, so that a cute little character can be interpreted as a regular person; whereas the arcade/SNES's realistically-depicted images of guys who wear football pads and samurai helmets refuse any mental filling in of blanks.

This game would easily be worth the 500 points, while it's hard to say the same for the bowdlerized, incomplete SNES Final Fight. Especially since Guy is right there in the roster, which is impossible for the SNES outside of a separate purchase of Final Fight Guy (which we admit we would buy on the VC, but we're crazy.)

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