Everyone knows Final Fight, don't they? Well, if you don't, it's a side-scrolling beat-em-up, and for many it's the side-scrolling beat-em-up. Of course, the NES couldn't handle a direct arcade port, so instead Capcom chibified all the characters; thus MFF was born.
The plot is the same as every Final Fight game: Mayor Mike Haggar's daughter Jessica is kidnapped. Haggar blames Cody at first, which is a little harsh, but of course it turns out that the Mad Gear gang is behind it all. This time, instead of kidnapping her to force Haggar to do their bidding, Mad Gear's leader Belger has fallen in love with her. Aww. So, our heroes set off to rescue her, and Belger will soon learn that love really can be painful, painful like an elected city official drop-kicking you in the face.
Haggar, Cody and Guy are all playable, and, it must be said, kind of adorable. Well, except Haggar.
Obviously, I'm going to play as Haggar. Guy appears to have learned a form of ninjitsu based on tickling your enemy into submission, and Cody doesn't have a sweet moustache, so Haggar is the only choice. The gameplay is pretty much the same as the grown-up Final Fight, all of it coated with that unmistakable Capcom sheen of quality. One difference is that MFF features an experience point system: clobber goons, get stronger. You get more EXP for dispatching them with certain moves: the lowly and oft-repeated jumping kick scores a measly one pont, but suplexing a guy is worth more. Plus suplexing is just better.
You start off in the slums, moving forward and suplexing guys left and right. The enemies are chibi versions of previous FF goons, including Rolento, who sports a truly sinister smirk. The boss is Damnd / Thrasher, and he is great. He asks you to join Mad Gear, and of course I said yes. Well, joining a gang is what all the cool kids are doing, right? But I saw turned down because apparently I looked like too much of a mama's boy. It's takes some brass balls to say something like that to Haggar, so credit to Damnd. I still beat him to death, though, and then it's on to stage two, the Riverside. WARNING! The riverside contains Poison!
She really doesn't look impressed, huh? I really love that sprite. There's a lot of character crammed into about twelve pixels there.
The boss is Sodom, and Haggar wastes no time in letting the Japan-obsessed weirdo know who's boss:
Stage three is set in the old town, and the very first thing I did on this stage was suplex a guy down a hole, and yes, it was as cool as it sounds. Haggar didn't get to be Mayor for nothing, you know.
The music, which is excellent throughout, is especially good in this stage. If you like the music from the NES Megaman games, then you'll get a kick out of it:
Stage three's boss is Abigail, and he's angry. Well, you would be, being called Abigail and all. A nice touch is that when he grabs you, instead of his normal deadly grapple, he tries to kiss you. Haggar does not look impressed.
Stage four is the factory. The factory has a section where you're in a lift. Of course it does, this is a side-scrolling beat-em-up. They always have lifts. Always. Always. At least on this one you can kick guys of the side for an instant kill. You can also see the floor number changing as you descend, which is a nice touch. The boss is Sodom again, but red. Once you beat him up a bit, he changes his atack pattern and starts dashing around, trying to tun into you. I fail to see what running in Haggar is supposed to accomplish; You might as well run into a tree. It is a rare example of a boss getting easier once you've dealt him some damage.
The final stage is set in the Bayside area, with more great music:
You have to fight Abigail again and Sodom again, again, which feels a little cheap, but I can't feel too bad when I can do a piledriver. Yes, you can pick a guy up and piledrive him into the floor, or, if you prefer, you can piledrive them onto another enemy's head. Performing that maneuver gives me a kind of satisfaction that should probably be reserved for more important things, like getting promoted or becoming the first man on Mars. It's like a tiny voice in the back of my head says ...yeah! under its breath every time I do it.
The last boss, Belger, uses a nice turn of phrase at the start of the fight:
Unfortunately, he is a dick. I know that, as the head of a vicious crime syndicate, it was unlikely that he was going to offer me a cup of tea and a biscuit, but he's cheaper than bargain-basket copies of Jordan's last single. He stands at one side of the screen shooting rocket fists at you (oh, did I not mention that he's a cyborg now?) and when you make it over to him, he legs it to the other side of the screen. This is very, very frustrating, but I guess it made it feel all the sweeter when I trapped him in a corner an pummeled the everloving crap out out him. Then he explodes (because he's a cyborg, you see). Jessica is reunited with her meat-mountain of a father, and Metro City is once more at peace. Yay!
Mighty Final Fight is damn good fun, you know. By not trying to shoehorn the arcade version into a NES cart, Capcom came up with something a little different, and it's definitely worth playing. So go to Metro City, young warrior, and punch an oil drum for me!