Tag Archives: haggar

FGC #590 Final Fight: Streetwise

Today’s article contains one (arguably) graphic GIF of Playstation 2 quality. The image is basically the point of this essay, but if you are squeamish around such a thing, please be aware of its presence beyond the “read more” link du jour. Probably nothing you haven’t seen before, but, ya know, it bothered me, which brings us to today’s topic…

That logo is hotWhere is your videogame uncanny valley threshold?

Today’s game is Final Fight: Streetwise. As many people know, this was Final Fight’s attempt to enter the 21st Century with a Playstation 2 game that upgraded/marginally rebooted the original arcade classic. And, given Final Fight was always a handful of baseball bats away from just being The Warriors, this could have worked out well. Fight weirdos in strange costumes across a generally grungy city? Tale as old as time! And, while Final Fight: Streetwise maintained the concept of “beat ‘em all up”, it went a little off the rails when it decided to start aping the wrong crowd.

The blitheringly obvious greatest influence on Final Fight: Streetwise? Grand Theft Auto 3.

And this was not a good thing.

It is easy to see what happened here. Grand Theft Auto 3 was possibly the most popular and influential videogame of the era. And, to be clear, “influential” in this case absolutely means “there were 10,000 games all trying to get a piece of that sweet, sweet GTA3 pie”. This was the epoch when “sandbox gameplay” became a bullet point on every game cover from Final Fantasy to Hitman. Some of these copies were net goods, though. Spider-Man went from having “levels” to gaining the sprawling cities he always needed, and we likely would have never seen something like Fable without it being pitched as a “medieval GTA”. But, on the other end of the spectrum, we had any number of titles that wanted to make a claim at “gigantic, open worlds” without putting in the effort to actually design said worlds. And thus did we play through a number of games that would have been simple, progress from level to level affairs a few years earlier, but now had to have “hub cities” that were about as densely populated as Lost Springs, Wyoming (look it up!). And now you were forced to putter around for hours between missions and maybe the best you could hope for was some kind of collectible scavenger hunt. Apparently, the lesson so many game designers took from GTA3 was not that it had a fun, varied world where you were constantly learning you could do new things (God, I could write an article just about the exhilaration of finding a car jump ramp for the first time in GTA3), but simply that it was “big”, and you could walk around at your leisure. Oh, and GTA has a lot of “maturity”. Maybe we should shoehorn some cusses into our games, too…

FIGHT!Final Fight: Streetwise decided to chase the gameplay concepts and maturity of Grand Theft Auto 3 like a Japanophile running down a katana collection. FF:S takes place in a largeish (by PS2 standards) world with distinct neighborhoods, shops, and citizenry. There is the main plot, and a variety of “side quests” that can be distributed by assorted townsfolk/drug dealers. There are quests, both required and optional, that allow for the player to experience an escalation of regular gameplay, or more “minigame”-like fare. And, while Final Fight has always been a “street” franchise that included mature themes (the boss of Level 3 is a corrupt cop! You can eat his gum!) and roaming, malevolent gangs, the decision was clearly made at some point to make Final Fight: Streetwise feature characters that could be immediately described as “hardcore”. The central problem of this story is not a princess kidnapping, but a new drug on the streets. Our current hero is battling in an underground fight club to make ends meet, and all the previous protagonists are all suffering from various states of decay and corruption. And the new characters are all either morally compromised, or clearly too good to survive the whole of this adventure. This is a real story about real people in a real mean neighborhood.

And, unfortunately, you are not at all prepared for how this game is blitheringly, rock stupid from top to bottom.

You can read a game summary, Final Fight wiki article, or even the previous paragraph and think to yourself, “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.” You may be like me, and imagine a game that indulges in that “grim ‘n gritty” style, but, even if it’s not your thing, it can still be good. It has happened before, right? It doesn’t have to be bad! This is a Capcom game! They know what they’re doing!

This happens all the timeWell, bad news, folks, Final Fight: Streetwise is an aggressively stupid game. There is no other way to describe it! This is a story where the featured characters are all idiots that always choose the single stupidest move possible. “This guy tried to kill me once, but maybe if I be polite, things will be better… whoops, got tricked, now he tried to kill me again.” That’s a plot point! It is meant to be a surprise when the mafioso that initially threw the protagonist into a deadly pit fight then again tries to kill the hero through an immediate bout of arson even though he was being so polite. And, granted, “being polite” should be rewarded for Kyle Travers, as his default mode is just cursing and punching people. I am not just talking about during gameplay, either! Kyle immediately resorts to fighting literally everyone he encounters. With a deft hand, a writer could portray Kyle as a man that knows he is in a rough situation, and immediately reacts to even the slightest kindness with inversely reciprocal brutality. But this is not a story written by a deft hand. This is a story about solving every problem with punching, and being rewarded for punching as hard as possible. And this translates to the gameplay, as literally everything in this world, from the sidequests to the gyms where you can spend your rewards, exists exclusively to power Kyle’s punches. And, again, this is a videogame, that could work. But, unfortunately, it all works to make this Final Fight world seem entirely too small to support the kind of game that could be happening here. It makes every corner of Kyle’s quest feel… stupid. This is a stupid hero doing stupid things in a stupid world.

A meeting of the mindsBut it is still a world. And it is a world that, with its “streetwise” aesthetics, tries to be realistic. The voice acting and graphics are great (by a Playstation 2 standard), and, if you are willing to forgive a number of (stupid) limiting choices in the game, you could easily see this as more of a “real world” than the cartoon world where you frequently see a dude in a gi tossing fireballs out of his hands. The venues in Final Fight: Streetwise are like those from the original Final Fight: subways, fighting rings, and the mean streets. And, while there are a few fantastic special moves as Kyle levels up, the majority of the fighting is based on traditional punches, kicks, and grapples. It is easy to slide into the simple comfort of playing this generally mundane game, and imagine you are controlling a real character in a real world.

And then you bash a sleeping dog with a baseball bat.

Here comes a GIF of that thing I just said

FGC #570 Final Fight

Let's wrastleI think I’ve figured out how Final Fight has influenced the characters of Final Fight. Here are my findings:

First of all, Final Fight, in at least one form, is 100% canon in the Capcom universe. This presents an issue: which version of Final Fight is meant to be canon? And, if one version is canon, then what is the deal with all these other Final Fight games? After all, we’ve got Final Fight 2, Final Fight 3, that one ridiculous Final Fight fighting games with the zombie, and absolutely no other Final Fight franchise games ever again. The point? There is a Final Fight timeline. There are actual sequels to Final Fight. But Final Fight in its original form mutates across different systems and (possibly) timelines. What is going on here?

For the answers, we shall work backwards from Final Fight’s first prominent canon appearance elsewhere: Street Fighter Alpha. The Street Fighter universe has been surprisingly stable over the years (give or take Jimmy Nash in other media), so it is safe to assume anything established in Street Fighter is consistent canon. And who are some Final Fight characters to appear as playable in Street Fighter? Guy! And his frenemy, Rolento! And who doesn’t appear in the Super Nintendo version of Final Fight? Guy! And his frenemy, Rolento! Now, you could theoretically claim that this proves nothing. Why? Well, Guy and Rolento both had a stake in Final Fight 2, so their rivalry could have conceivably been founded not during the Metro City incident, but amidst the globetrotting of Final Fight’s second adventure. However, Cody shows up in Street Fighter Alpha 3, and his change in demeanor is outright stated to be a result of Metro City shenanigans, and he did not make an appearance in Final Fight 2. So Rolento’s familiarity with Final Fight’s chief protagonist only has one explanation: Final Fight: Arcade is the true story of Final Fight.

Glad we have a straight answer there.

This only happens in one versionSo Final Fight: Arcade is how it all happened. Where does that leave Final Fight SNES, though? This is a Final Fight title, but it is missing the Factory Stage, Rolento (the Factory Boss), and, most glaringly of all, Guy. One can forgive a lack of a two player mode for not impacting the canon, but two whole characters missing? And not even mentioned? What happened there?

The answer is simple: Final Fight SNES is Cody’s memory of how Final Fight happened.

It all makes sense: Cody is established in the arcade version as something of a hotheaded rival to the cool, collected Guy. And, during the ending, Guy kicks the crap out of Cody, because… uh… Guy was having a rough day? Something like that. So how would Cody take that loss? He would write Guy out of the story! “Yes, I rescued my girlfriend, Jessica. Well, I guess her father, Mayor Mike Haggar helped, too. But, you know, I was in charge. The mayor listens to me and these dukes,” Cody states as he takes a moment to kiss his fists. “Guy? Oh, that wannabe ninja dude? Yeah, I mean, he and I spar sometimes, but I don’t remember him helping out at all. Yeah, don’t remember that guy at all. Get it? Guy? Because his name is… Oh, whatever, you wouldn’t understand.” This also accounts for Poison’s change in gender, as Cody would never admit to being smacked around by a woman, even if she was a highly capable Mad Gear member. And as for Rolento and the factory? Cody knew what he was doing when he omitted Guy, so he wanted to avoid blowing the whole story with something as fantastic as fighting through a flaming factory on the way to stomping a militia leader. Cody can embellish how much meat he eats out of barrels, but nobody is going to buy the fact that he could soak a grenade or two without it being his final fight.

And Final Fight Guy? You could probably claim that that is the story from Guy’s perspective, wherein Guy omits Cody in response to hearing Cody’s version of events. But Guy apparently gives Cody a pass on helping for “being in Japan” during the events of Final Fight…

Nobody buys this

There is not a single person that knows Cody that would believe that dirtbag street punk would ever visit Japan, left alone leave Metro City for any reason other than hearing the McRib is back a few towns over. Cody is the exact kind of vagrant that bums around his hometown forever and spends the rest of his days complaining about his knee arthritis kicking up when it rains. Nobody believes Cody has a passport. Nobody believes Final Fight Guy right from Guy’s first words.

Is it hot in here?And speaking of testimony, Final Fight One, the Final Fight version that appeared on Gameboy Advance, allowed “new” Cody and Guy to be playable characters. After punching enough dudes, you can select not only Guy, Cody, and Haggar, but also Street Fighter Alpha’s Guy, and Street Fighter Alpha 3’s Cody. This means you can play as Cody in his 2nd evolution: a down on his luck convict wearing his prison stripes. Given the dialogue spoken during Final Fight One (and, yes, this is the one [non-mighty] Final Fight version where the characters actually talk past the opening), the “future” characters are revisiting their own memories of Final Fight as their older selves. So why would that be happening? The answer lies with “Prison Cody”: this is one of Cody’s many parole hearings, and Cody and Guy are both testifying about how Cody is an upstanding citizen (that punches hundreds of other citizens). Future Cody even admits that he does not remember the factory area (because he took a shortcut), but goes with the story because he wants to show accurate parity with Guy. Everybody on the same page? Great! Maybe Cody will be back on the streets and… fighting? Again? No, probably best to keep this malcontent locked up.

But, as we all know, Cody is eventually released in the Final Fight/Street Fighter canon. By Street Fighter 5, Cody is not only a free man, he is also the new mayor of Metro City. And, for that significant rehabilitation, we must thank the power of cartoons.

Mighty Final Fight is the greatest deviation from the other Final Fight releases. At first glance, this NES game may appear as a simple “demake” conversion of Final Fight, similar to how many SNES/NES games were “shrunk” to fit the parameters of a Gameboy cart. But upon actually playing Mighty Final Fight, you’ll find this is much more than a “chibi” graphical switch. Your characters level up! The stages/backgrounds are totally different! Certain bosses return for fresh rematches! There is some kind of weird dialogue! The final boss is a cyborg now!

Going down?Actually, let’s focus on Belger. In the original Final Fight story, he is a “legitimate businessman” kingpin of crime that has kidnapped Jessica because he wants to extort the mayor. In Mighty Final Fight? Belger is a cyborg “beast” that kidnaps Jessica because he has a crush on her. He’s practically Bowser! And does that make Cody into Mario? Maybe! And what else is missing from Mighty Final Fight? Edi E., the corrupt cop that previously stalked around Metro City. With the removal of a “morally gray” police officer and his favorite sidearm, Mighty Final Fight becomes a lot more kid-friendly. Right down to Mike Haggar getting a “whacky” hammer to swing at his foes (oh, there’s the Mario of the group), everything about Mighty Final Fight seems to be made to appeal to younger kids not yet old enough for the “real” violence of Final Fight.

So it’s pretty obvious what happened here: Mighty Final Fight is the “animated series” version of Final Fight. It is the adaption of Final Fight made for children. And considering who might have a reason to create to such a thing (and an entire city’s budget to do so), one can presume Mayor Haggar himself produced and oversaw the creation of Mighty Final Fight. How do you get a whole new generation of Metro City youths to grow up to be fine, upstanding citizens who do not join the Mad Gears? Indoctrination! Hagger is good! Mad Gears are bad/silly! The mayor is always going to help you out, children, he just has to escape from Abigail’s deadly kisses right now!

And did it work? Well, as previously mentioned, Cody becomes Mayor of Metro City by Street Fighter 5. He has traded in his prison stripes for a fancy suit. And what else has Cody dropped? He lost his previous “throw a rock” fireball…

I almost had 'em

And picked up the Tornado Sweep ability…

This is justice

Which was Cody’s special attack in Mighty Final Fight.

World's strongest dude

Yes, you guessed it, Cody watched a cartoon version of his Final Fight adventures while in prison so much, he not only learned how to be a better man, he also internalized an entirely new special move. Mighty Final Fight influenced the youth of Metro City and Cody Travers.

Final Fight may have a lot of versions, but at least some of them are doing some good for the community.

FGC #570 Final Fight

  • System: The Super Nintendo version is most ingrained in my mind, but it is also the worst. Go play the Sega CD edition! Or the arcade! Or the weird-ass Gameboy Advance version! And Mighty Final Fight for the NES is its own animal that I really should be covering separately, but I only have so much time.
  • Number of players: A good version of Final Fight has two, but it is not unusual to only see one.
  • Love you, AbbyLet’s Talk about Mighty Final Fight for a second: This is one of the few beat ‘em up games where it feels like the level up system is justified, as it doesn’t completely break the difficulty of the game depending on your level (it mostly just gives you extra health and a fireball). This, almost by default, makes Mighty Final Fight one of the best beat ‘em ups out there, and certainly top two for the NES (see also Project, The Manhattan). And the final boss is a cyborg gangster, which is better than some dork imitating a disability while tossing off crossbow bolts.
  • Favorite Final Fighter: Mayor Haggar is how I learned to stop worrying and love the piledriver.
  • Forever Friends: Guy and Cody have appeared in Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter 4. Cody returned again for Street Fighter 5 (with Lucia and Abigail!). And Mike Haggar has been showing up in the Versus franchise. But the Final Fight trio never appeared in a playable incarnation in the same videogame ever again. Well, unless you count Final Fight Revenge, which no one does, least of all its participants.
  • Have fun!What’s in a name: In addition to Poison’s identity issues, the SNES/GBA versions rename Damnd and Sodom (to Thrasher and Katana, respectively). I understand having to think of the children when seeing a name that sounds an awful lot like “damned”, but Sodom is biblical, people! You religious people love the Bible, right? Leave the poor Japanophile be. And he was named for a German thrash metal band, anyway…
  • Did you know: Katana/Sodom is the only boss in Final Fight that doesn’t call for reinforcements. I guess this means he’s honorable?
  • Would I play again: I am occasionally nostalgic enough to replay Final Fight. I don’t usually last past the subway, but I’m pretty sure Damnd will never be able to enjoy a hamburger again.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Shock Troopers for the Neo Geo! That’s shocking! And maybe trooping! Please look forward to whatever that means!

OH MY GOD

FGC #332 Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite

Note: This article may contain general spoilers for the story mode of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. Nothing heavy, but you have been warned.

Gonna take you for a ride?I once claimed that Street Fighter V was the most disappointing game of 2016, and I stand by that statement. Street Fighter V at launch wasn’t a bad game, and it certainly was another Street Fighter game, just… Like the unenviable musk that lingers around anyone that stands downwind of Zangief, there was an unmistaken stench of exploitation surrounding the entire enterprise. Arcade mode was gone, survival mode was boring (could you please use random select for opponents? Please?), and online versus seemed built for someone that had already picked out a “main” (on day one, apparently). Eventually, we received a full story mode, new fighters (and a few old ones), and at least one character that apparently snuck in from a certain other game. Street Fighter V still comes off as disappointing, but now it at least feels like a complete game (albeit one still made for the more hardcore fans).

When I first started playing Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite while waiting for the complete download to finish, I was already noting why MvCI would inevitably be my most disappointing game of 2017. Admittedly, for my tastes, MvCI had an uphill battle, as Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is one of my top games of all time. And, if that game didn’t exist, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 would fill that same space. I’ve loved the Vs. series since Akuma first smacked around Cyclops, and the later entries that seem to include every character ever (except Daredevil) hit every neuron in my brain’s pleasure center like an epileptic Ping-Pong ball. I have videogame attention deficit disorder, and all I want to do is play as every character in every other round. I’m not certain I’ve ever picked the same team in MvC2 twice (except when trying to beat Abyss, then it’s Cable/Mega Man/Cyclops all the way). And MvC3 felt like a game that was built by people that played MvC2 for a decade, made a mental list of everything they’d add if they could, and then did. Zero! Thor! She-Hulk! Give or take an X-Man or two, that roster is perfect, and the gameplay matches it. And it’s even fairly balanced! No more Sentinel/Magneto/Storm defeating everybody! Most of the time!

Pew pewConversely, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite feels like it was designed by committee. There is not a single Marvel character that did not appear in a movie (or, in Captain Marvel’s case, is about to appear in a movie). The Capcom side isn’t much better, and features three stubbly white guys that have nearly identical facial portraits. We’re chasing power stones, where are the crazy anime characters of Power Stone? Where are my ghost tricks? Where is Ryu (the dragon, not the other one)? Heck, we don’t even have a single Street Fighter that was introduced after 1991. Akuma and Wolverine practically started this franchise, but they’re left behind because I guess the new, edgy version of Bionic Commando is a bigger draw (but not the new, edgy version of Dante, that guy sucks). And, while I know I’m railing at corporate overlords that only deign to make such a game because they have the spare cash from all the successes that are featured in this title (Avengers: The Movie made more money than the GOP of most countries, and I’m sure at least six people bought Dead Rising 4), I’m still more than a little annoyed at how… cheap this all appears. This feels like the most low-rent and recycled the franchise has ever been, and that’s even considering one of the best entries was about 80% recycled content.

And, oh yeah, the graphics suck. They, like, just do. I can’t explain Captain Marvel’s face. I… I don’t want to look at it anymore.

Lady Marvel

Dammit! Now I’ll never read this article again.

So I was all ready to hate on MvCI as the biggest letdown of the year when, after 40 gigs and 4 hours, the download finally completed (note: despite apparently having downloaded nearly 2 TB of games to my Playstation 4, I still only kill time with Sonic Mania. I will play that game until my eyes fall out of my skull). I could already play with the complete roster in versus mode, but now story and arcade modes were available. Fun fact: arcade mode is nothing, but it at least exists, so it has a leg up over Street Fighter V. And then there was story mode. I wasn’t expecting much, but, since I more or less bought the game “for the story” (it certainly wasn’t just so I could play as Rocket Raccoon [again]), I decided to give it a try.

And damned if that didn’t justify the entire endeavor.

Looks different, tooSaid it before, and I’ll say it again: There is no way to please fans of a crossover series. “Heroes” are meant to be the heroes of their own stories, and when you group a bunch of main characters together, everyone gets reduced to their component parts. A character that previously led an entire adventure is condensed to being “the smart one” because they solved like one problem without punching in the original tale. And, inevitably, your favorite character is reduced to being practically a sidekick to whoever is arbitrarily chosen as the “real” hero of the piece, and, ugh, did you see how Sora was able to defeat Power Trident Ursula with a stupid lightning spell? Totally non-canon. That would never happen.

And this is all utterly true of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite…

FGC #059 Final Fight 2

The Main Man(continued from page C1) which is why it became a custom of the area to store our cooked meats in crates and barrels.

Also, this week in 199X was another curious historical event for our beloved Metro City: the political plummet of former mayor Mike Haggar.

We’ve discussed Mayor Haggar many times in this series, from his victories as a professional wrestler to his political campaign that involved suplexing a live shark (and this author maintains that, had that feat been attempted in the water, we would have seen a very different history of Metro City). Discussing Mayor Haggar at this point seems almost superfluous, as even school children know the minutia of the man, like how he met his beloved Nancy, and if someone is at all curious to learn more, they need only get within fifteen feet of Mike’s Maritime Maintenance to hear tales spun well past closing. Here’s a tip, when he starts talking about the time he fought a giant, hungry space god, it’s time to head home.

But there’s one tale Mayor Haggar never tells.

Readers old enough to remember the rise of the Mad Gear Gang and the ensuing conflict (dubbed by some overzealous reporters as The Final Fight of Metro City) will no doubt recall the heroics Mayor Haggar showed during the battle. Congresswoman Jessica Haggar, then just a teenager, had been dragged, quite literally, into the conflict, kidnapped from what should have been a pleasant evening of dancing with her then boyfriend, Cody Travers. Reports diverge at this point, but it is confirmed that Mike Haggar personally waded into the fray to rescue his daughter. Haggar was joined by Cody and/or an “international ninja” named Guy (last name unknown). The reasoning behind this differing account has been discussed before, but it is still my belief that various news sources chose to downplay or outright eliminate Guy from history due to his nationality ruining the “heroic native sons” narrative for Cody and Haggar. Later, Cody’s descent into crime could not be associated with “Hero Mayor Haggar”, so he was erased to make way for Guy’s reemergence. Whatever the case, whether everyone fought side by side or singularly, all three men were at least involved in the conflict, and were eventually victorious over the Mad Gears. Jessica Haggar made it home without a scratch, escorted by her father and two freshly minted heroes.

He's worth so many pointsMost towns don’t declare a city-wide holiday celebrating the day a man was defenestrated through a skyscraper, but Metro City has never been most towns. Mayor Haggar experienced a popularity surge not seen since the days of knights and demons, and many called for Haggar to run for positions like governor, senator, and even president. Haggar was riding a wave of national popularity, but it would be the international stage that would knock him from that perch to the cold, dark waters below.

As Cody Travers began his crash from hero to outlaw (yes, gossip rags at the time claimed Cody was “on vacation” with the mayor’s daughter, but Jessica’s autobiography From Lariat to Law School: One Woman’s Journey would later reveal that Cody was already having problems with the MCPD, and was only on the streets thanks to her father’s influence), Guy was continuing his training traveling the world. Guy was keeping a low profile, likely trying to hide himself from any gang reprisal, when information was leaked that Guy’s fiancée and future father-in-law had been kidnapped by a newly reformed Mad Gear Gang. Presumably, this was all an effort to draw Guy into a trap far away from Metro City, but there was one glaring problem: Guy was nowhere to be found!

Enter Maki Genryusai, the last remaining blood relative of the victims. Maki attempted to contact Guy, but received no response. She was a trained martial artist, so she considered rescuing her family singlehandedly, but she came to a fateful decision: she contacted Mayor Mike Haggar for help.

This cannot have been an easy decision for the mayor. On one hand, Guy had been a faithful ally of Haggar and all of Metro City in the past, and had been instrumental in rescuing Haggar’s own blood, so it would be only appropriate to reciprocate the favor. On the other hand, this kidnapping happened in far off Hong Kong, far beyond the jurisdiction of an American mayor. But perhaps the issue had already been decided when Haggar learned the Mad Gear Gang was responsible. Aides on site that day would later claim that fire burst forth from the mayor’s eyes when he was confronted with the realization that some Mad Gear members had not yet experienced his piledriver of justice.

Mayor Haggar’s journey was now inevitable, but as he prepared to leave his beloved city and join Maki on this deadly quest, another warrior threw his fist into the ring. A curious young man named Carlos Miyamoto claimed that he owed a favor to Haggar and Guy, and pleaded to assist the assault team. Very little is known about Carlos, and he was never seen again beyond this “second” Final Fight, but many have floated the theory that his love of katanas and obvious Japanophile tendencies (Carlos Miyamoto? One doesn’t need to be an onomatologist to see the problems there) reveal that he was an unmasked, incognito Sodom, a bitter former Mad Gear member. This conflicts with reports that Sodom was participating in a martial arts tournament around this time, though rumors still abound.

The trio journeyed initially to Hong Kong, but found information that the Mad Gear Gang had fled to Europe. Everyone flew from country to country in pursuit of the gang, visiting an American Marine Base in France that had been infiltrated, and then touring Holland to follow the lead of an imprisoned criminal claiming to have Mad Gear ties. An international incident nearly occurred when that prisoner, Bratken, recommended Haggar find the remaining Mad Gear members in England. Unfortunately, this was all a fiction of Bratken’s sadistic mind, and Haggar and company accidently demolished a circus troop starring England’s beloved Philippe the Clown. Luckily for everyone involved, it’s legal to maim a clown after 8 PM on a Sunday in the UK, so no one was prosecuted for damages.

Finally, Rolento, a lieutenant in the Mad Gear Gang, was found hiding in Italy. When questioned about how Rolento could be free and living in Italy after his reported defeat during the Metro City incident, Cody Travers claimed he “couldn’t quite remember ever meeting the guy. Did we ever actually go to his factory?” Regardless, Rolento was finally apprehended at his Italian villa, and revealed the shocking truth to Haggar: the Mad Gear Gang had never left Japan, and this European tour had all been a distraction. He went on to explain that transporting two captives across Europe would be a “logistical nightmare” and “too much trouble” and “what were you morons thinking?” Rolento gained an all new scar that day.

Back in Japan, Haggar, Maki, and Carlos ventured through the Mad Gear Stronghold, and confronted Retu, a part-time kabuki performer who had acquired the reins to the Mad Gear Gang. After some twirling and jumping, Maki decided to just kick Retu through a window. Retu survived, however, because, unlike his predecessor, Retu was hurled out of a window on the ground floor. Retu went on to get a job with Channel 6 in the small town of Springfield, and Maki was reunited with her family.

SHULK TIMEThe Mad Gear Gang was never seen again, but Haggar was not greeted with a hero’s welcome upon his return to the states. He had only been gone a week, but in that time, the worm had turned, and Metro City was in an uproar over its mayor’s latest “vacation”. The Mad Gear Gang had sympathizers in Metro City’s government, and information had been leaked that revealed that Mayor Haggar and his entourage had traveled Europe entirely on the city’s dime. Metro City had been in an economic spiral following the gang wars, it was in no position to support international vengeance quests waged by its politicians, so Haggar was in hot water. He tried to explain that eliminating the Mad Gear Gang “once and for all” would be the only way to keep the city safe, but a city needs more than flying kicks to stay secure, and Haggar had threatened that stability more than a hammer punch ever could.

The inquisition that started this week back in 199X would last for months, and Mayor Haggar may have had mighty muscle control, but he was a poor politician when it came to damage control. Attempting to maintain his persona as a super-powered “everyman”, Haggar grew a ponytail, and claimed that this whole debacle was the result of him “going through some stuff”. The public wasn’t buying it, though, and it seemed all but assured that Haggar’s term would end with the man leaving office in disgrace.

Fortunately for Haggar, but unfortunately for the city, the Skull Cross Gang rose from the ashes of the Mad Gear Gang, and attempted to seize control of the city. Haggar and a returning Guy worked together with gang informants and the MCPD to stop the riots that ensued during the conflict, and, while that battle is a story for another day, it did serve to catapult Haggar back to his former standing. Haggar would go on to serve another two terms, and was followed by his own hand-picked successor, Mayor Two P.

Just goes to show that Metro City will love you if you beat up thugs in Metro City, but not anywhere else.

Well, that’s it for this week’s column. Be sure to come back next week, when, in honor of his birthday, we’ll take a look at the life of Mr. Hoover, aka Metro City’s own Baby Commando!

FGC #59 Final Fight 2

  • So angrySystem: Super Nintendo, though also available on the Wii Virtual Console.
  • Number of Players: Two, just as it should be.
  • This Final Fight has two simultaneous players, but it got played a lot less than Final Fight 1, why? I’m going to have to go ahead and say it’s due to a complete lack of adolescent evolved acrobatic amphibians.
  • Guy Problems: It is a really odd choice to base the entire game outside of Metro City, travel to Asia repeatedly, and make the captives related to Guy… but not include Guy as a playable character. Was he switched for Final Fight’s first female, Maki, at the last moment, or were the developers just toying with Guy’s random absence from Final Fight SNES? The world may never know.
  • Favorite Character: I don’t know why I played as Carlos so much as a kid. Hm, probably because swords are cool. Anyway, Haggar is much more fun as an adult, mainly because he seems to have an actual move repertoire. I want to like Maki more, but I can’t really find her niche here, as Carlos seems faster, and Haggar is definitely stronger. I think Maki is supposed to be fast, though.
  • Did you know? This article is a tribute to my mother. Figure that one out.
  • Would I play again: Yes. I was rather surprised at how much more I enjoyed this game over original Final Fight, and now I really want to give it a try with two active players, which I think I only ever experienced once during a rental some twenty years ago. Somebody please grab that second controller, there’s senseis to save!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… to go out on maternity leave. Wait. What the hell? ROB, is this one of your damn excuses that…

Huh?

Oh, alright. Yeah. That… errr… I don’t… Huh. Wait, maternity leave? You’re a girl robot? Then who is the…

Huh?

Primal Prime, the time traveling revived control suit that became the very embodiment of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership itself? You’re the father? Oh, this raises so many more questions. So, so many.

Well, great, what the hell am I supposed to do in the meanwhile, Random ROB? What’s that? There’s something on the back of your maternity leave request? Oh.

This could work...

Yes. This could work. Come back later today for more information on FGC Reader’s Choice Challenge.

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