"Mayor Mike Haggar vowed to snatch the streets of Metro City back from the crooks with his bare knuckles! But the Mad Gear Gang snatched his daughter Jessica. Now there's gonna be some bone-crushing dues to pay! Jessica's boyfriend Cody and his friend Guy hit the streets hard with Haggar, denting heads downtown and slugging it out in the slums. Now you're Haggar, Cody or Guy, each with his own fighting style. Demolish gangland henchmen, samurai swordsmen and musclebound crime bosses in a fist-to-nose frenzy!"
—Game description from the X68000 version.
Final Fight is a belt-scrolling beat 'em up by Capcom originally released for the arcades during the very end of 1989. As one of the earliest games for Capcom's CPS hardware, Final Fight helped popularized the beat em' up genre during the early-to-mid 1990s that was previously established with the likes of Irem's Kung Fu Master and Technos Japan's Renegade and Double Dragon. It was ported to a variety of gaming platforms such as the SNES (in two different versions), the Sega CD, and the Game Boy Advance among others.
In the original game, the Mad Gear gang kidnaps Jessica, the daughter of Mike Haggar, former pro wrestler and current mayor of Metro City, because Haggar would not turn a blind eye to their dominance of the city's underworld, as the previous mayor had. Haggar teams up with Jessica's martial artist boyfriend Cody, and his sparring partner Guy, a ninjutsu master seeking to test his skills, so that they can save the city and Jessica. The game has life meters not only for the heroes, but also for the villains.
The game's development contains some interesting titbits: the people in charge of Capcom at the time requested a sequel to Street Fighter (this was more than a year before Street Fighter II). As such, the game was originally known as Street Fighter '89, but had its name change before release when the game ended up becoming a side-scrolling beat 'em up and not a competitive Fighting Game. The Final Fight universe was later folded over into the Street Fighter canon when characters from Final Fight started to appear in the Street Fighter series beginning with Guy and Sodom's appearance in the first Street Fighter Alpha and up to Cody and Guy's return in Super Street Fighter IV.
While Capcom produced several beat 'em ups for the arcade after Final Fight, the game itself was only followed by two straight-to-home console sequels for the SNES before fading out completely. Two attempts to revive the series in 3D were made by Capcom USA: Final Fight: Revenge, a 3D fighting game featuring characters from the original game (including a zombie version of Belger) for the Sega Titan hardware (which saw a Japan only home port for the Sega Saturn as Capcom's final game for the system); and Final Fight: Streetwise, a Darker and Edgier attempt to cater to the Grand Theft Auto crowd that is probably better known for its gratuitous use of the "F word" than any genuine quality it might had.
In April 2010, an Updated Rerelease of the first game was brought to Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network featuring remixed music from the staff behind Bionic Commando: Re-Armed, and new HD filters. It also comes with the old Capcom game Magic Sword.
It has a character sheet.
- The Guy and Haggar dolls added in Final Fight Guy serve as instant extra lives. The GBA version also adds a Cody doll as well.
- The Guy doll also appears in Final Fight 2 as a 1-Up for all three characters.
- All There in the Manual: The instruction booklets for the first and second games give each boss (except the Final Bosss) a paragraph of backstory you wouldn't learn in the actual games.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Subverted in the GBA version. You don't get new clothes for the characters, but you can change the color of their clothing. Alpha Cody and Alpha Guy count somewhat in this regard. Even though their sprites are different, their fighting ability are identical to their regular counterpart. Now if only they had added Haggar from Slam Masters as well.
- Bar Brawl: Stage 3. West Side.
- Big Applesauce: Yeah, the setting is "Empire City", but it's clearly supposed to be a darker Expy of New York.
- Black and Gray Morality: Final Fight: Streetwise. The rest of the series are more of Black and White Morality.
- The Japanese version of the arcade game had a scene in the attract sequence which showed Jessica tied up in her underwear, which was edited out from the U.S. and World versions. The scene was redrawn for the SNES and GBA ports, now depicting her in her more traditional red cocktail dress. The Sega CD port uses the underwear version for the Japanese version and the red dress version for the overseas versions.
- The transvestite enemies, Poison and Roxy, were replaced by Billy and Sid in the overseas versions of the SNES and GBA ports, all the alcohol power-ups were replaced, and Damnd and Sodom were renamed into Thrasher and Katana (although they kept their names in the GBA version).
- The Sega CD port was censored overseas, much like the SNES port, although Poison and Roxy were kept this time (albeit with more modest clothing).
- Mary and Eliza, the knife-wielding female grunts in Final Fight 2, were replaced by male counterparts named Leon and Robert in the overseas versions. Unlike Poison and Roxy, Mary and Eliza were not transsexuals.
- Canon Discontinuity: The Street Fighter Alpha series pretty much invalidated most of Final Fight 2 by giving Guy a completely different Bushin-Ryu master (Zeku instead of Genryusai), having Sodom lead the new Mad Gear instead of Retu, and having Rolento leave the gang instead of still being a part of it. With all these inconsistencies taken into consideration, Maki might be considered a Canon Immigrant, but only if you count her appearance in the GBA and PSP versions of Alpha 3 as canon.
- Cast from Hit Points: Pressing the Attack and Jump buttons simultaneously performs a "Megacrush" move, a spinning attack that takes out all surrounding enemies but at the cost of the player's health. This became a standard feature in many subsequent beat-'em-ups.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Final Fight 2 featured a cheat code that allowed both players to use the same character. The second player character is distinguished with an alternate palette. This feature was carried over to the GBA version of the original game.
- Combos: In the original game, the player's attacks changes with each consecutive hit after the second one. Final Fight 3 added more varied combos such as dash attacks and super moves.
- Comic Book Time: The Japanese arcade version was set in 1989, but the international versions and the SNES port changed it to "sometime in the 1990s", which was then changed to 1992 for the Sega CD version (despite being released a year later in 1993). The GBA version (released in 2001) goes back to the original 1989 date.
- Despite changing the year the game was set, Sega for some reason did not change the main characters' birth dates. Instead, they updated their ages by three years (Cody went from 22 to 25, Guy went from 24 to 27, and Haggar went from 46 to 49).
- The Japanese version of Final Fight 2 had Haggar's age given as 50, but the English version changed back to his age in the first game (46).
- Competitive Balance:
- Contemptible Cover: The original SNES port features a cover that is naught but a blank background and an extreme close-up shot of Haggar and a burly Leather Man thug, possibly meant to be Abigail, eyeballing each other. It sends a somewhat different message of what the game is about than Capcom USA probably intended.
- Covers Always Lie:
- The packaging illustration for the SNES version depicts a stare-off between Haggar and Abigail, with three different images between them of a character vaguely resembling Guy beating up other punks. The original release of the SNES version did not feature Guy.
- The American cover for Final Fight 2 features two different depictions of Damnd (traced over from different sources), Cody, Guy and other characters from the first game that don't even appear in the sequel.
- The American cabinet for the arcade version features enemies wielding lead pipes (only the player can wield pipes in-game) and the good guys fighting multiple opponents in a wrestling ring (when only Sodom appears in such stage in the game).
- The packaging illustration for the home computer ports by U.S. Gold depicts Cody (with dark hair instead of his usual blond) confronting a group of punks in a train with a few bystanders witnessing the action. In the game, the only people in the train besides the player are all enemies.
- Cut the Fuse: In the original game's Game Over screen, you're tied up with a bomb next to you. Continuing means a knife drops in to cut the fuse.
- Death Trap: In the first game, when you lost, the bad guys just tied you up to a chair with a bundle of dynamite placed in front of you. In the later games, they get a bit more elaborate.
- Demoted to Extra: Cody and Guy in Final Fight 2. The latter does return to player character status in Final Fight 3.
- Die, Chair, Die!
- Dope Slap: When Cody ignores Jessica at the end of the first game, Guy has to intervene by beating the crap out of Cody, auto combo and all. He then gracefully backflips out of frame.
- Elevator Action Sequence: The second area of the Industrial Area round.
- Every 200,000 points: In the arcade version, the game can be set to allow up to five extra lives (one for the first 100,000 points and the rest for every subsequent 200,000 points), just one extra life or none at all. In the SNES version, the player can gain even more extra lives after the fifth one, resulting in a somewhat easier game, but the maximum stock the player can hold is capped at nine.
- Exploding Barrels: The ones that are on fire, anyhow.
- Fight Clubbing: The heroes fight Sodom in an underground fighting ring and the Andore family (Father, Grandpa and Uncle) in a steel cage match.
- Fireball Eyeballs: In the intro to Final Fight 2, Haggar briefly gets these, which then form the "2" on the title screen logo.
- Have a Nice Death: The continue screens in all three games. The first one has the character tied to a chair with a stick of dynamite placed in front of them, the second has the character tied in a flooding room, and the third has a spike trap descending towards your tied character.
- Head Swap: Most of the enemy grunts except for Poison and Roxy, as well as all the Andores, who are actually palette swaps. Abigail, the Round 5 boss, is a head swap of Andore.
- Hurricane Kick: Some of the Megacrush attacks. Specifically Cody's Double Kick and Guy's Senpūkyaku, as well as Lucia's Hurricane Spinner. Maki's Reppūkyaku is a variant done while in a handstand.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Smash background object, receive perfectly healthy foodstuff, get health back.
- Improvised Weapon
- Mission Pack Sequel: Final Fight 2 is basically the SNES port of the first game with nation-themed stages and different enemies, along with a full 3-character roster and 2-Player co-op mode brought back. It even brought back Rolento, a boss from the original arcade game who was missing in the SNES port.
- No Communities Were Harmed: Metro City is VERY obviously based on New York City.
- Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo/Market-Based Title: Final Fight 3 was released as Final Fight Tough in Japan.
- One-Man Army: All the heroic warriors are this (at least if you're playing alone).
- One Game for the Price of Two: The first SNES version did not feature Guy, so a second version (titled Final Fight Guy) was made specifically to bring him back by removing Cody from the roster. There are other minor differences between the two versions, namely a revamped selection of difficulty settings with different enemy placement and new power-up items, but the two versions are otherwise identical save for the character roster.
- One Steve Limit: There are two enemy characters named Billy in the series, one in the first SNES game and the other in Final Fight 3 (although the former was just Poison's replacement in the export versions of the game). Retu, the final boss in Final Fight 2, has a similar name to Retsu, the Shorinji Kenpo master from the original Street Fighter.
- Rape as Drama: Well, the implied threat of it.
Haggar: You son of a... What have you done to her?
- Rated "M" for Manly: Final Fight: Streetwise.
- Respect the Pipe: Pipes are common weapons, known for being slow but hard-hitting with decent range.
- Rewarding Vandalism: Hungry? Destroy some trash cans and get a whole roast chicken!
- Segmented Ending: Final Fight Guy had one, as did the two SNES sequels.
- Shaggy Dog Story: From the Game Boy Advance remake:
Alpha Guy: As I thought, Jessica is here.
- Shared Universe: With the Slam Masters and Street Fighter series.
- Shout-Out: The first game takes a lot of inspiration from Streets of Fire.
- Sinister Subway: The second stage in the original game.
- Spiritual Successor: Pretty much every CPS beat 'em up Capcom produced afterward is Final Fight with a new theme or popular license (i.e. Knights of the Round is medieval Final Fight, Captain Commando is sci-fi Final Fight, and so on).
- Super-Deformed: Mighty Final Fight is essentially the original Final Fight converted to the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System with an experience points system and chibi characters and a more humorous plot.
- Unique Enemy: The "regular" and Junior versions of Andore are very common in the original arcade game, but the Father, Grandpa and Uncle variants are exclusive to the cage fight scene in Round 3 (and Uncle only appears if a second player is present).
- In the original SNES version, only Grandpa and Uncle appears (Father was Dummied Out). In the Guy version, the player fights Father and Uncle first, and then Grandpa and Uncle again on the harder difficulties.
- All three unique Andores appear in the Sega-CD version during Time Attack mode.
- Grandpa Andore becomes a recurring enemy in Final Fight 2.
- Urban Segregation
- Vice City: Metro City.
- Villains Out Shopping: Some of the gang members are just hanging out in the subway train and Bay Area before encountered. Bred was shopping inside the gas station while his car got mauled by the heroes.
- Wasted Song: BGM2 is only used in the second area of Round 1.
- Would Hit a Girl: Subverted in the original game due to the ambiguous nature of Poison's and Roxy's birth sex (although the player can still punch Jessica when she's being used as a shield by Belger). Played straight with Mary, Eliza and May (not to mention Maki and Lucia) in the SNES sequels.
- Yellow Brick Road: Arguably the Ur Example within the beat 'em up genre.
- Yoko Shimomura: Composed part of the music.