Final Fight: Double Impact – The PS3 Attitude Review
Final Fight: Double Impact features two classic arcade games, Final Fight and Magic Sword. Unlike the recent release of TMNT: Turtles in Time, this is not a remake. These are the same exact games that stole your quarters back in the day but with more features, mainly an online multiplayer mode.
Can gameplay that has been left untouched for 20 years still manage to captivate gamers or are these games just too archaic to be enjoyed?
Before you begin playing you’ll be introduced to a stylish 3D interface. This is where you can access all the unlockables, view the leaderboards, and mess with the options menu. The first arcade cabinet you will see is for Final Fight. All you need to do is press Square and the interface rotates to the Magic Sword cabinet. The menu system is really neat and it’s clear that Proper Games, the developers behind Flock!, put a lot of effort into this enhanced port.
Since there are two games in Double Impact we’ll discuss Final Fight first and then move onto Magic Sword.
In Final Fight there are three characters to choose from and each character has their own unique properties. Cody, for instance, is the only character that can wield a knife without just throwing it at an enemy. Guy, Cody’s friend and partner, is weaker than everyone else but he’s faster and can jump off walls. Haggar, an ex-wrestler and mayor of Metro City, is a master of grappling. He has the ability to perform a jumping piledriver to decimate everything and anything in his path.
The story in Final Fight is as simple as it gets. Haggar’s daughter, Jessica, has been kidnapped by a gang called Mad Gear. The mayor decides take matters into his own hands and goes on a rescue mission. Cody, who happens to be dating Jessica, learns of her kidnapping and joins in the quest to save her life. Guy, being the loyal friend that he is, tags along for the ride.
The gameplay is pretty basic but very satisfying. You can chain attacks together and grab enemies. Pressing the attack and jump button at the same time does a special move but it takes away a portion of your health. In Final Fight you can walk in the background and foreground of each level as you pummel waves of thugs. You don’t have to just use your fists either. You can stab, slice, and bash the faces of criminals with knives, katanas, and lead pipes. Along the way you’ll find sandwiches, liquor, and even whole turkeys to eat hidden in barrels. As ridiculous as it sounds, these powerups will recharge your life meter.
Magic Sword is a completely different experience. In this game you play as the Brave One and your mission is to defeat a demon named Drokmar. As you progress through each of the 51 levels you can free prisoners locked in cells and they will assist you in your quest. There are eight allies in total but only the last one saved stays by your side. You need keys to open each cell and you won’t know which ally you get until after you open the door. Depending on the situation you’ll find that certain allies are better than others.
The gameplay is a bit more complex than Final Fight but movement is strictly from left to right and you can jump onto platforms. You are once again limited to two buttons but spamming an attack won’t do you any good. There is a meter that charges up when you’re not attacking and this allows you to extend the reach of your sword with a fireball blast. The Brave One is also equipped with a shield and this can be used to block certain attacks. It’s surprising how good Magic Sword still is and you might find yourself playing it more than Final Fight.
The biggest addition in Double Impact is the online multiplayer. Thankfully, the online play works near flawlessly. If you have a stable connection then you won’t have any problems. On rare occasions you can sometimes tell that you aren’t playing offline due to some jerky movements. These moments are very infrequent and don’t hinder the gameplay at all. Based on our experiences with Final Fight and Magic Sword there is no noticeable input delay.
Being able to drop-in anytime during online play is a huge plus. All you need to do is start a game with the ability enabled and anyone can jump in no matter where you’re at. There is also support for invite only sessions and offline cooperative play. There is no reason to play these games by yourself. It’s also worth mentioning that progress is automatically saved. This means that you can stop playing at any time and continue right where you left off, even online.
If you’re the type of gamer that enjoys tons of unlockables, Double Impact easily delivers. Thanks to the in-game achievement system, there are even more challenges beyond obtaining trophies. Many of these challenges consist of beating a stage by a certain time or by using a limited amount of continues. There’s lots of concept art, pages from UDON comics, and even a full episode of the horrible Street Fighter animated series to unlock. The episode features the Final Fight cast and it’s worth watching just to see how awful the cartoon was. It’s pretty painful.
The presentation in Double Impact is top notch. The arcade cabinet setup is the best way to play either game. Sure, you can remove the border, play in full screen, and even change the graphical filters, but we can’t understand why anyone would want to do that. The filters are more distracting and we found ourselves switching back to the default settings almost immediately.
The soundtrack for both games have been remastered by the same team that did the music for Bionic Commando Rearmed. While it’s nice that the original sounds from the arcade version were included, the remastered tracks are incredible. You can switch to the original music in the options menu during gameplay and this allows you to hear the differences instantly. The full soundtrack is available to download from the Final Fight website. Don’t worry, it’s free.
The only issue we have with Double Impact is the lack of punishment for using continues. You might not get the best score if you keep dying and you’ll probably miss out on some unlockables, but the challenge just isn’t there unless you set a goal for yourself. Both games do support multiple difficulty settings. Unfortunately, the Hard mode doesn’t seem that much more difficult.
So what’s the verdict?
Final Fight: Double Impact contains two great games for $9.99. There really is no reason to miss out on these essential classics unless you absolutely hate Final Fight and Magic Sword. The online multiplayer works beautifully, the drop-in anytime feature is awesome, and there are tons of unlockables to keep you busy for multiple playthroughs. The presentation alone is impressive enough to actually add to the experience. If you’re a fan of the beat ‘em up genre then this is a must have title without a doubt. If you never played Final Fight or Magic Sword before, do yourself a favor and purchase Double Impact. It’s easily the best beat ‘em up on the PSN.