Saturday, April 17, 2021

Which Series Was Better: Final Fight vs. Streets of Rage.

April 3, 2021 by  
Filed under Ent., Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( Capcom’s Final Fight and Sega’s Streets of Rage are two beat ‘em ups that really breathed life into the genre during the 90s.

Prior to that we had Double Dragon and River City Ransom in the 80s but as the games went on Double Dragon began to lose its charm. By the 1990s, it was like “What are we doing here?”

I will say an exception is Battletoads vs. Double Dragon which was a fine DD game. However, Final Fight and Streets of Rage pretty much rescued the genre and showed beat ‘em ups coming in afterwards how it should be done.

Of course, which one is the better series is a matter of preference.

Final Fight (1989, 4 main games)

First off, I preferred the graphics of Final Fight over Streets by a country mile. The first game in the franchise looked like a colorful predecessor to Streets.

However, once the sequels dropped in 1993 and 1995 respectively, it upped the expectations of graphics. It also helps that Capcom began improving the art style of its games around 1995 with Street Fighter Alpha and Darkstalkers being prime examples.

Speaking of Street Fighter Alpha, another thing I really loved about FF is that it exists within the world of the World Warriors. Actually, it flows with the main Capcom franchise better than SF flows itself.

The action in Final Fight is straight up brawling. You and another player—if you choose to do so—will take to the streets of Metro City battling the Mad Gear gang.

That’s it. It’s just level after level of spanking henchmen and trying to beat level bosses. FF is simple as hell in execution and play but it’s fun and rewarding without few additional gameplay mechanics.

You’re able to break barrels and other containers for food which restores health and use opponents’ weapons. There are other items to pick up but those are more for the outdated high score element.

Final Fight vs. Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage (1991, 4 main games)

Oh yes, Streets of Rage. The music and the character design are what I’d put over Final Fight. Not only that but the action in SoR isn’t as stiff as some of the FF games.

By early 90s standards I guess you could say it was more fluid even if 2D games were still pretty damn rigid at this time. For instance, if you’ve never played a side-scrolling shooter from pre-1997, give one a spin.

You really have to be quick on the movement pad to avoid getting killed by a bullet storm…in space.

Back to Streets. This game had an identical formula in that you play as ex-cops Axel, Blaze, and Adam as they take to the streets to combat The Syndicate and its leader Mr. X.

These gangs have pretty much made Wood Oak City unsafe and the cops can’t do anything to stop them because some are on the take as well. It’s standard late 80s-early 90s action movie stuff.

As an early 90s side-scrolling beat ‘em up, the gameplay isn’t particularly unique or anything. It wasn’t until the third game that the series really started to explore new features.

I will award style points for adding new characters with each entry.

The Winner: Streets of Rage

It’s was close but Streets won mainly because Sega put enough trust into publisher Dotemu to allow them to create a fourth game in the franchise. On top of that, the fourth game looks amazing and the gameplay is on par with the graphics and art style.

Streets of Rage 4 is the perfect example of fans wanting a new game in a franchise, getting said game, and the game being both good and true to the franchise.

The franchise as a whole is extremely consistent. Perhaps it was for the best that it went on hiatus for a time before the right minds and talents came along to do the franchise honors.

On That Note: Revive Final Fight!

On the other hand, you have Final Fight which had its last main series game in 2006 with Final Fight: Streetwise. While I enjoyed the game, the FF franchise just didn’t have the steam or appeal to warrant Capcom investing in anything other than Street Fighter, Monster Hunter, and Yakuza.

Hell, its signature RPG Breath of Fire ended up being on the shelf for a few years before Capcom dusted it off back in 2016. It’s just how Capcom operates—in an age where people want something new but are still nostalgic for a time when games were direct.

The characters of Final Fight were long since adopted into the SF series so it’s not like they were just wasted like the entire Dino Crisis series.

It would be interesting to see a new FF as the technology and expectations are different. Streetwise was a step in the right direction as far as modernizing the series for a 2000s audience with 2000s hardware.

However, we’re in an age where gamers will rock with a 2D side-scroller. If Capcom either licensed the series out or put a young team in charge of a new FF, it would definitely some major surprise factor to anything Capcom releases.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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