Somewhat of a misnomer, this two-game mini compilation contains the original arcade version of Final Fight as well as the completely unrelated action-adventure game Magic Sword. Final Fight: Double Impact features excellent emulation, multiple display options, remixed music and drop-in/drop-out co-op that simulates playing in a real arcade.
In Final Fight, you can play as three characters who must rescue the kidnapped Jessica from the Mad Gear Gang; a group determined to destroy Metro City. Each character in this seminal side-scrolling beat ’em up has their own unique play style.
Mike Haggar is the mayor of Metro City and Jessica’s father. He is a slow brute of a man that can power bomb gang members. Cody, Jessica’s boyfriend, is fast but takes a lot of damage. Cody’s best friend Guy has the ability to “wall jump” off the edge of the screen.
Whether alone or with a partner, you will move left to right through six distinct areas and dispatch hundreds of Mad Gear Gang members using a simple, two-button control scheme. One button jumps, while the other attacks. Pressing both will unleash a powerful “death blow” that can help when you are surrounded, but at the cost of some of your life bar.
Health can be replenished by destroying environmental objects and grabbing food pick-ups. You will also find weapons like pipes and swords, which can help when trying to deal with each area’s boss.
Final Fight is still one of the best beat ’em up games ever released some 21 years later and it holds up remarkably well. The graphics are colourful, detailed and feature huge character sprites. The music is also quite good, which should come as no surprise to fans of Capcom games from this era.
Magic Sword is a longer and somewhat deeper experience than Final Fight. This distinctive side-scrolling action-adventure game puts you in the role of a hero that must traverse an evil sorcerer’s 50 floor tower and stop him from using the Black Orb to take over the world.
As you climb the tower, you will encounter chests that contain keys. These keys unlock prison doors and free several types of recruitable ally. Each ally, such as a Ninja and a Warrior, has a unique look and attack trait and defense level. Choosing the right ally to take depending on a floor’s layout or enemy types can be very beneficial.
Like Final Fight, Magic Sword uses a simple two-button control scheme where one button jumps and the other attacks. Pressing both together will trigger a screen clearing magic attack, but at the cost of some life energy.
Getting through all 50 floors takes about an hour, but there are secret doors that allow you to skip floors and some that lead to bonus levels as well so play time can vary widely. Magic Sword still looks and sounds great and this fast-paced action adventure holds up well in 2010.
The Vault is a series of in-game challenges across both Final Fight and Magic Sword that unlock bonus content such as concept art and posters. There is even an episode of the 1990s Street Fighter cartoon that features the characters from Final Fight. Challenges task you with things like beating a game with a certain character or getting through a level in a set amount of time.
Considering the relative brevity of both games, the Vault challenges and achievement set go a long way to adding replay value to this package.
Emulation, handled here by Proper Games, provides multiple display options. The arcade monitor filter uses a phosphoric glow and scan lines to provide an authentic feel. There are also crisp, sharp and classic filters. Both games include an awesome cabinet view mode, though you can also set it to widescreen, centered or zoomed modes.
Both games have remixed/arranged soundtracks on by default, which sound fantastic thanks to a great mix of retro and modern tones. You also have the option to listen to the original soundtracks as you play, which arguably sound even better.
By default, when you create a game session you are online and can be joined at any time by anyone. You can change this setting to be invite-only, or you can choose to play offline entirely. Of course, both games support local two-player action. An option lets you delay control input to maximize quality on poor connections.
You can also set up a custom match that allows you to start from a mid-game save file and adjust the difficulty level. You can save your progress in both games at any time and an auto save will be created if you exit.
In my experience, online play has been extremely smooth and almost seamless. When a player joins a session, the game pauses for just a few seconds before getting back into the action. Several weeks after release, there is still a very healthy community and I rarely go through a play session without being joined midway.
Final Fight: Double Impact represents both great value and possibly the best arcade game emulation on a home console to date, including excellent netcode from GGPO. Magic Sword and Final Fight are both great games and different enough from each other to keep the package from feeling stale.
+ Excellent Emulation, “Arcade Perfect” Performance
+ Arcade Cabinet Display Mode
+ Nearly Seamless Online Play
+ Remixed Audio Sounds Fantastic
+ Vault Challenges Add Replay Value
– Both Games Last Under an Hour Each