Final Fight is a Man’s videogame.
First off, you’re walking through Metro City (let’s be real, it’s probably Detroit) beating up hundreds upon hundreds of guys who are set to beat you up for no particular reason. And you’re the Mayor of Metro City, off to rescue your daughter. Fulfilling campaign promises
AND being a good father. That’s hella manly. Unless you’re playing as Cody or Guy, but really, who would pick them over the Mayor? If you’re playing Cody, it better be because your buddy offered to fight you over who got to be Haggar, and you lost.
Second, the game is hard as balls. Specifically, Haggar’s titanium balls. I’m playing it on my iPod Touch (which is also what I’m writingthis on) and it’s kicking my ass. Two quarters barely gets me to the last chunk of the second level. That’s about how I did when I had this game on the SNES. First game I ever bought, actually. Clearly I had an excellent eye for manly games as a little kid.
The manliness absolutely pervades the graphics and sound, which is to say that everything is dirty and hard and frayed and muscled. The subway system would probably give you gonorrhea if you did something stupid like sit on the seats. Even a romantic walk by a lakeside park involves an asswhooping. Only the last boss’s offices are clean, and that’s because he’s The Bad Guy. And the music is manly as fuck–no sissy dance tunes like Streets of Rage, no sir, just some lone wolf ass kicking music.
Perhaps the manliest part of the game, though, is the fact thatthere’s only one woman in the game (well, it depends on how you count Poison, the notoriously-retconned transsexual enemy), and you only see her for a few frames in the intro. Jessica is the MacGuffin that drives the game, and as it turns out, that’s not just due to a poorly-developed in-game narrative; according to Street Fighter Alpha canon, Cody grows apart from Jessica as he realizes that he was just in it for the senseless violence, and ends up getting thrown in jail.
My girlfriend occasionally comments on how she thinks the whole men going to strip clubs together thing is a little bit weird. “You’re all there together, looking at the same women and getting lap dances and erections together,” she says, “it just doesn’t seem that far off from having sex with each other. Seems like getting lap dances from the same woman is about as close as two straight guys can get to sex.”
Couched none too subtly in this offhand remark, of course, is the implication that straight guys at a strip club are actually releasing their sublimated gay sex urges.
Somehow, Final Fight doesn’t seem that dissimilar. Whoops, Jessica is gone! Time to lose the shirts and engage in intimate muscled physical combat with each other.
Nate: what about all the chicks you’re beating up?
me: according to Capcom USA, that’s Poison, a transvestite. or something like that, i forget (localization reasons–it wasn’t acceptable to punch women)
me: unlike Streets of Rage, there’s no playable female character. and hell, Cody and Haggar are practically in Wikipedia under “Twink” and “Bear”, respectively
Nate: fair enough then. I’ll admit, I was a bit too young to appreciate the finer points of Final Fight’s universe. and I haven’t gone back
me: Jessica is actually just the beard that lets all the gay men of Metro City relieve their closeted homosexual urges by beating the shit out of each other.
Nate: …i see.
me: and really, the emblematic weapon of the game is a FUCKING PIPE
Nate: i’m failing to come up with suitable counter-points here. it was a simpler time? sometimes a pipe is just a pipe? outfits were ridiculous as a matter of course back then? i dunno
me: oh i wasn’t even paying attention to the outfits though olive slacks + one cross-chest strap wouldn’t look out of place at the folsom street fair Nate: touche
That’s right. Final Fight is actually a story about Metro City, the world’s first all-gay metropolis and the dirty criminal subversive seductive thrills that lie within, tempting straightlaced young men to play for a mere 25 cents a pop. No women here, guys! ~Let’s have some fun~