TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Final Fight 3’ puts up a good fight but falls short in the franchise
Like movies, there are often debates over whether or not sequels, and perhaps even other entries in a series, are better than the original. With younger gamers getting more and more intro retro titles, discovering old series for the first time, there is certainly a belief that a third installment of a game is better than the franchise’s debut, but is this way of thinking always correct?
Today on Turn to Channel 3, we put this notion to the test as we take to the streets of Metro City for “Final Fight 3,” the last “Final Fight” title on the Super Nintendo and definitely cause for debate within the annals of beat ‘em up history – is this the greatest “Final Fight” entry of all?
Let’s get to it!
“Final Fight 3” (SNES)
Don’t get me wrong, “Final Fight 3” has a pretty good soundtrack. My issue with it is that, at times, the audio can come across as kind of muffled. While this is more apparent with sound effects, the soundtrack itself just doesn’t seem as clear and crisp as you’d expect from the SNES.
Also – and I know this isn’t just me being nitpicky here – the soundtrack, while good, seems bland and generic in comparison to other “Final Fight” games as well as any other Capcom brawlers. In a way, this almost makes it seem like the developers and composers either believed it didn’t matter because this was the end and fans of the series would buy it anyway or (and we will touch upon this a bit more) this is leaning hard, too hard, to keep up with the competition, namely, the “Streets of Rage” series on the Sega Genesis.
The characters, enemies, and bosses are all the most detailed and well-done of the series, hands down, and while that’s certainly something to cheer for, the lack of originality and variety in level design most certainly is not. By 1995, cliché staples in beat ‘em ups were driven into the ground, but the fact that Capcom, of all companies, chose not to give “Final Fight” a different look for its SNES swan song is disappointing to say the least. The only level that has any kind of different look to it is the Chinatown level, which is, of course, quite brief.
In addition to the bland design, this is the first of many notes in which the direct copying to compete with “Streets of Rage” begins because a lot of the levels look oddly familiar if you are a fan of both series, and I am.
While the glaring use of branching paths is another “Streets of Rage” rip, the use of special moves is pretty cool, but it doesn’t change two very glaring issues with “Final Fight 3.” For starters, don’t expect to enjoy two-player co-op in this game unless somehow you really love playing a beat ‘em up with some of the worst lag in SNES history. The slowdown in a level filled with enemies and two players taking them all on further compounds the overall lameness this game has for blatantly ripping off its rival.
Secondly, you better put this game on hard difficulty because even normal has you breezing through bad guys and bosses with ease, and I think, deep down, many lovers of this genre of gaming want to be challenged, want to be frustrated by tough enemies and bosses, and not find themselves bored from mowing down level after level of them. The opportunity was there to make “Final Fight 3” the toughest, most badass entry in the series, but this is another example of developers being so tired of working on the SNES and wanting to just move on while cashing in on the longtime popularity of the series.
Speaking of cash grabs, just the cartridge alone for “Final Fight 3” will run you anywhere between $90-$100, with a complete copy soaring between $260-$300! I, for one, was a far bigger fan of “Final Fight 2” and don’t see how “Blatant Streets of Rage Rip-off 3” is worth that amount of money, with the only possible explanation being that not that many people bought it in 1995, probably because they played it before on the Sega Genesis.
Don’t get me wrong, “Final Fight 3” isn’t terrible, as long as you don’t go into it expecting much.
That does it for me. In June, we’re blasting into Contra Month, taking a look back at four entries in the franchise’s lush gaming history, so stay tuned for that, stay cool, and game on!