The Origin of Brawlers – Final Fight (1989)
Final Fight started as a sequel to Street Fighter, but developer Okamoto’s new game turned into a sidescroller brawler. Re-named Final Fight, the game drew heavily on Streets of Fire, a 1984 action film, for its plot and the character Cody. Cody, Mike Haggar and Guy battle the Mad Gear Gang to rescue Haggar’s kidnapped daughter, Jessica. Many of the gang members’ names are rock music references, including musicians Sid (Vicious), Axl Rose, and Slash, the band Roxy Music, and album title Abigail by King Diamond. Okamoto later went on with his development team to make Street Fighter 2 in 1991. In 2003, he left Capcom to form Game Republic (株式会社ゲームリパブリック), which stopped operations, apparently bankrupt, in 2011.
The gameplay in Final Fight is simple, with buttons for jump and attack; pressing both at the same time instantly defeats your enemies but costs health. The large, well defined characters make the game engaging in spite of the simple moves. As usual, the characters and settings were heavily edited and localized for the western markets; a wheelchair became an office chair, boss Damnd was renamed Thrasher, and boss Sodom became Katana. In the SNES port, transvestite characters Poison and Roxy were replaced by male Billy and Sid; having a man beat up a woman was considered to be bad taste. Poison’s gender is often debated and the character reappears in later Final Fight versions and spinoffs; she has become a cult favorite.
Gift of Ben Rog-Wilhelm, 2013.021.003, 2013.021.004