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Final Fight Streetwise

Score: 40%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Fighting

Graphics & Sound:

Final Fight: Streetwise takes place in a dreary, run-down city overrun by crime and gangs. In other words, the same gritty, urban environment that has become the vogue with developers over the last few years. Like other games, Streetwise tries to make up for shortcomings in gameplay with gritty looks and the overuse of four-letter words.

When you first begin, Streetwise looks pretty good. Once you get past the first few areas, the “newness” of it all wears off and dullness sets in. Gameplay doesn’t really help out the lack of scenery either since you spend a large amount of time backtracking through areas, as you beat up the same few thugs over and over again. The camera doesn’t exactly help out all that much either. It doesn’t default to your back and instead requires manipulation. Constantly having to stop the action to readjust the camera in order to see what’s around you tends to hamper the gameplay and leads to more than a few cheap shots from enemies.

The audio side of the presentation is deplorable. Music is outright bad and basically tries to fit the whole “street” image the game tries to build for itself. Voice work isn’t much better and relies on too many “sentence modifiers” (you know, those fun, four-letter words) rather than good writing. Of course, there isn’t much to the story to begin with, but the profanity is really unnecessary.


You play as Kyle, the younger brother of Final Fight’s protagonist Cody. At the center of the story is a new, highly addictive street drug called “Glow” that gives users super-human strength. Somehow Cody has gotten himself involved with the drug, so it is up to Kyle to get him out of the mess.

After a “Fight Club”-styled fight that opens up the game, Streetwise opens itself up to a free-roaming mission structure. The opening fight is a good indicator of what to expect from the game as things never get much deeper than button-mashing your way through fights. You walk to different locations, go through a painfully-dialoged cutscene then fight someone… that is about everything the game has to offer as far as gameplay goes.

A number of absurd side missions are also available around the city. One mission has you to stepping on roaches, while in another you’re killing rats. Rather than adding meaningful content to the game, side missions feel like pointless filler.

The real kicker of the entire package is the inclusion of the original Final Fight as an unlockable. Not only does the original highlight some of Streetwise’s gameplay flaws by showing just how dated it is, but the emulation isn’t all that good to begin with.


Missions are usually composed of beating up gangs of mindless thugs. Each is brainless and doesn’t put up much of a fight. Enemies become harder as you progress further into the game, yet the difficulty is more because of an increasing number of attackers and not because they’re actually getting smarter.

Game Mechanics:

There’s a good number of combos and moves that can be unlocked though gameplay, though none matter all that much since you can go through the entire game mashing away on one button. So, rather than buying new moves, it is usually a better idea to just keep pumping up your attack rating. Most moves can hit multiple enemies at once, negating any difficulty posed by fighting multiple enemies.

Bosses follow easy-to-pick-up-on patterns that offer some very slight strategic elements. While this may introduce use of the block button (something you’ll rarely use when going up against the legions of thugs), you can still get through boss battles by pounding on the same attack button.

Unlike recent retro-releases like Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, Final Fight: Streetwise’s gameplay doesn’t stand the test of time too well. Arcade brawlers like this may have been entertaining ten years ago, but expectations have changed. In its defense, Streetwise tries to evolve the formula, but never fully evolves; the result is bland, broken gameplay. If you really feel the need to play an arcade fighter, pick up the much better (and cheaper) Capcom Classics Collection.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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