A staple of the 1990s arcade scene, side-scrolling beat ‘em ups are simple enough in nature for anyone to grasp and compelling such that anyone can enjoy them. Though it started on its path to popularity in the arcades, beat ‘em up games are actually one of the older genres in the industry.
Whether it is the proto-fighting game Kung Fu, Double Dragon or the Kunio-kun series of games, beat ‘em up games have, in one form or another, from the start. But one series helped put the genre over the top – and may have given rise to the world’s most popular fighting game in the process.
We’re talking, of course, about Final Fight, the legendary quarter-destroying arcade machine featuring Mike Haggar, Guy, and Cody as they battle across Metro City in their efforts to rescue Jessica and destroy the Mad Gear gang.
Featuring a rocking soundtrack and graphics that were the standard for the day, Final Fight gave us a preview of Capcom’s later arcade hit, Street Fighter 2.
The fighters (and their enemies) were huge and detailed sprites that sported fluid animation and cool-as-hell fighting moves. A motley crew of opponents kept things fresh from beginning to end and the equally outlandish (and out there) boss characters just added to the overall 1990s action-movie vibe of the game.
This style of graphics would later make an appearance in Street Fighter 2 and that’s no coincidence. Originally titled Street Fighter ‘89, Final Fight began life as a member of the Street Fighter series.
In fact, it was the follow up to the original Street Fighter arcade game, albeit with a different gameplay mechanic at its core. These ties between the Final Fight series and the Street Fighter universe are still prevalent to this day and, indeed, if you’re looking for a FF character (good