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Final Fight

Final Fight photo
Final Fight

Final Fight's birth name was actually Street Fighter '89

Poison and more
Jul 08
// Brittany Vincent
Did you know that? It's an interesting tidbit of information, and you can find that and more in the latest Did You Know Gaming video, which covers Final Fight this time. It's a series a lot of gamers have conveniently overlo...

Review: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy

Feb 11 // Dale North
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII  (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleases: February 11, 2014 If you missed the first two Final Fantasy XIII games, you're not going to have any idea what's going on in Lightning Returns. But, for those that are caught up, I'm pleased to say that you can expect some story resolution. Even as a supporter of the other two series games, I would never claim to fully understand their stories, and even now I'm a bit unsure of what happened at some points. But things do wrap up nicely in Lightning Returns, with a conclusion that puts the series to rest once and for all. The details don't really matter as much at this stage, though. It's just a bit less than two weeks away from the end of the world, and Chaos has swept over the land. God has tapped Lightning to be the Savior, and has tasked her with gathering as many souls as possible to be taken away to a new world before this world's end. Even if you are fully up on the story thus far, just about everything outside of Lightning herself will be new to you. Square Enix ditched their fast-paced paradigm battle system, switching to a action-based affair where Lightning moves freely and fights alone. She has access to three outfit load out sets called Schema that she can freely switch between at any time. Each Schema has its own gauge that depletes as any of the four abilities assigned to it are used, and each of these gauges refills over time. The idea is to switch between the three Schema constantly, using the available gauge of one while the others refill. Each of these Schema allow the assignment of one outfit to it, and each outfit gives the Schema unique abilities and statistics. Lightning Returns' designers went wild with the designs of these outfits, giving Lightning clothing sets that range from skimpy, almost bra-and-panties getups to elegant evening gowns to full battle armor. Some of these outfits are so ridiculous and funny that I'd hate to spoil the surprise. Add on the ability to accessorize and even tweak custom colors, and this clothing change system is like a strange game within itself. After assigning an outfit, the player can customize the Schema fully, assigning up to four abilities, two accessories, and even a adornment to it. With all of the possibilities provided, this system allows for some very deep equipment and attack ability strategies. The depth and freedom are appreciated, but the game provides little guidance on how to fully take advantage of the system. This will have players learning the hard way -- dying. Normally a little trial and error wouldn't be a problem, but dying takes precious time, a resource that is limited in Lightning Returns. It took a fair bit of time to become fully comfortable with Lightning Returns' battle system. For me, the learning curve extended way beyond the game's tutorials, which had me struggling well past the introductory stage. It takes some time to get a feel for how effective your attacks are, and even more time to learn how magic and abilities can be upgraded. The hardest part was getting used to watching for visual cues from enemies to block properly. But, once you do learn its intricacies, Lightning Returns' battle system can be quite fun. After fully understanding the attacks and their power, and after nailing timing and movement, I had a good time juggling enemies, punishing them with their known weaknesses. After learning how to do it, switching at just the right time to perform a perfect guard and counter attack feels really good. The stagger system from the previous XIII games returns, though you'll find that it requires a lot more effort and speed to take them down. And even after you get the system down, it will keep you on your toes throughout the entire game. While I prefer the system of the previous games, this new one is enjoyable on its own merits. The sink-or-swim theme continues with Lightning Returns' leveling system -- there really isn't a leveling system to speak of. Being the Savior, and having a power almost on par with a god, I suppose that it wouldn't make sense to be able to get considerably stronger. But that's at odds with the countless situations I came across where Lightning simply wasn't strong enough to get through quest boss battles. Lightning Returns' enemy encounters give nothing in the way of challenge indication, so you'll find yourself going into battles with no idea if you'll make it out of them alive. And again, a death costs you valuable time on the clock. With the lack of a leveling structure, competition of missions and quests are the only way to grow Lightning's power in Lightning Returns. Finishing any will add points to Lightning's attack and magic stats as well as increasing her total available hit points. But without clear indicators for Lightning's strength or enemy challenge, you're left guessing as to whether your current ability will be enough to make it through a given challenge. Lightning can escape from any battle, and even a death permits an escape of sorts, but using this ability will cost you an hour off the clock. Since Lightning only has the world's 13 remaining days to complete her mission, an in-game clock is constantly counting down, keeping the pressure on. The idea is neat, and it sounds like the concept would provide good motivation for players to do as much as they can in the time they have. But, in the end, the use of the clock seems like an unnecessary pressure that somewhat hinders the player from fully being able to enjoy the varied lands and wealth of missions Lightning Returns provides.The ever-present time updates made it hard for me to relax and enjoy, which is a real shame. With the clock's constant pressure, many of the game's quests seem like they would be a waste of the precious time left. For example, looking for seeds to plant a garden seems silly when everything will cease to exist in a matter of weeks. And choosing to, say, look for a townsperson's lost dog over saving a village from an attack from a deadly beast feels like a poor choice, no matter how much you'd like to help out. Many of the things Lightning ends up doing seem really strange to be doing considering that the world is ending. Adding even more pressure is the mandatory 6:00 a.m. curfew that Hope enforces so strictly that he teleports you out of whatever you were doing. The chances of the player being interrupted while in the middle of something are fairly high, which is quite annoying. It doesn't help that Hope begins nagging at you to prepare for the upcoming curfew while you're trying to wrap things up. And while we're on Hope, expect to hear him talk a lot. He basically never stops chatting. At first, he's quite helpful with his situation summaries and system guidance. But it's only a matter of time before he starts to wear on you, telling you things you've already heard, or worse, things that need no explaination. At his worst, one lengthy dialogue set will be abruptly cut off to start another. It became a sad sort of game for me to see if I could flag another event to get him to chain to a third rant. There should have been some option to shut Hope's voice off. At least Hope keeps Lightning company. Lightning Returns feels kind of lonely, especially when compared to the previous two games, where you'd always have a companion or two running with you. While Lightning has plenty of encounters with both new characters and old friends, she walks through the majority of the game completely alone, and even has cutscenes where she'll talk to herself. There are a few instances where a partner will fight alongside Lightning in battle, but most of the time she's a lone warrior. It's too bad that the clock is always running, as Lightning Returns is totally open for exploration. Linear? No way. The four lands of Nova Chrysalia are filled with challenging quests, a range of interesting characters, lovely scenery, and lots of dungeons to explore. It’s even better when you’re able to ride on the back of a chocobo to have easy access to it all. I took the first opportunity to go sight seeing, marveling at all of the massive set pieces and architecture. I talked to NPCs, got caught up on some of the optional backstory, and tweaked my outfits to look their absolute best. But then I looked up and found that I didn’t have much time left to complete the game’s main quests, and things were never the same after that. If you’re the type of gamer that wants to see and do everything, Lightning Returns could be a frustrating experience for you. There is a sort of New Game+ mode provided, but it only lets you return with your gear and abilities. You’ll have to redo all of the quests you've already done on top of the ones you've missed to fully complete the game. Going back seems like even more of a task when you consider how difficult Lightning Returns is. This game is ready to punish you right out of the gate, and doesn't seem to care if you don't have the battle system down yet. Even from the beginning, enemies gang up on you and pummel you with weaknesses and chains that sometimes seem impossible to break out of. Some boss fights are so hard that one of my controllers has developed a permanent creak from stress squeezing. Even with the game set on easy you'll have an uphill climb. Lightning Returns looks good, though some of the shine of the previous games of the trilogy has seemed to have worn off a bit. The designers have done a great job of building a world full of interesting attractions and bold designs. It's just that things don't always look great up close. Some buildings and NPCs feature blurry textures and rough edges, for example. But, as always, the backdrops are beautiful, which kind of makes up for some of the mushy walls and cut corners you'll find. The musical score is fantastic, and even more varied than the previous Final Fantasy XIII games. The melodic orchestral pieces in particular are gorgeous. The Wildlands overworld song was so moving that I would just stand in place to listen to it. But pretty much all of the score is varied and exciting. The chocobo themes are outstanding, and one related battle song should have you rolling. Those looking for more of the serious tone of the previous series games may be disappointed in Lightning Returns' lighthearted tone. I liked that the creators weren't afraid to goof off and keep things fun, though. While seeing Lightning crack jokes in goofy garb may make some of the more straight-laced series fans cringe, I though it was nice to see the lighter side of what was a very serious character. She's not so flat and lifeless now, which I think is a big improvement. Lightning Returns may sound like a bit of a hot mess on paper, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. The time limit can be a bit frustrating, as can the game's difficulty and lack of guidance. But there are several excellent dungeons to explore, a few smart quests to take on, some really good backstory elements to learn about, and even some surprisingly touching moments. The world is a delight to explore, packed with countless little hidden treasures and sites. Rare items are everywhere if you're looking for them. And the boss battles are fantastic, with the final fight being one for the ages. Now, if you didn't like the first two Final Fantasy XIII games, I don't think this third one will do much to win you over. But there's plenty of fun to be had in Lightning Returns if you're open to it, and are willing to overlook some of the messiness.   
Lightning Returns review photo
Third time's the charm
Finally! The story of Final Fantasy XIII is finally final with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy. But this closing act turns the trilogy on its head with brand new play mechanics and a game structure that is unlike anything seen in the previous titles. Lightning herself may be (mostly) the same, but everything else is quite different. The third time's the charm, right?


Fashion Alert: Who Wore It Better?

Funky Fresh or Pretty Poison?
Dec 20
// Max Scoville
The Daisy-Dukes-and-a-'Beater look is back in a big way this season! Who's rocking the outfit better, Funky Kong or Poison?
Capcom photo
Producer ponders revival for Final Fight and Dungeons & Dragons
With the arrival of the new generation, Capcom is looking to try new strategies for how to better satisfy its audience. And while Deep Down is an interesting experiment, a producer at Capcom has some other ideas in mind -- an...

The nine worst girlfriends in videogames

Feb 14 // Vito Gesualdi
Jessica – Final Fight On the surface, Final Fight’s Jessica seems like a rare catch, a high-society gal with a definite knack for fashion and a particular interest in bad boys. Not to mention how hard it can be to find a decent date in Metro City, unless you’re into having beautiful transvestites beat the crap out of you. The real problem with dating Jessica though? Meeting her parents, specifically daddy: Yes, Haggar is pile driving a shark, and no, he doesn't need to explain why Meet Mayor Mike Haggar, the man who pioneered the pro-wrestling politician angle (long before Jesse “The Body” Ventura tried to steal his swagger). This is the kind of father-in-law you don’t want to mess with, as one wrong step will result in a literal whirlwind of hurt. Remember, this is the man who tackled his city’s gang problem by punching it to death; the kind of guy who goes to work in suspenders because he knows that he’s just going to rip through any dress shirt he puts on once he thrusts those beefy arms out to his sides and spin-punches the crap out of whatever junior assistant screwed up his coffee order. So, how do you think he’s going to treat the guy who forgets his little girl’s birthday? If your answer was anything other than “pile drive his skull into the pavement,” you've got a lot to learn about Mike Haggar’s America. And don’t even think about trying to report your savage pummeling to the police, because Mike Haggar IS THE LAW. How do you really think Jessica’s former boyfriend wound up in jail? I really shouldn’t have told her she looked fat in that dress… Aeris – Final Fantasy VII To be fair, Aeris actually seems like a pretty fantastic girlfriend. She’s a dedicated church-going woman, maintains her own small flower selling business, and despite being relentlessly pursued by the evil corporate goons at Shinra she manages to maintain that winning smile. I'm dying Cloud... you'll carry this moment with you for the rest of your life... If anything is wrong with Aeris, it’s the fact that she’s well… deceased. But beyond the obvious fact that necrophilia is generally frowned upon, the bigger problem is this girl doesn’t know how to stay dead. And I'm back!  See, one of the great things about dead people is that they stay dead. For instance, I miss my grandfather a lot, but because he has the decency to remain in his corpsebox deep beneath the earth, I’ve mostly been able to cope with the loss. Aeris however, seems to pop her head up in just about every new SquareEnix game that comes along, which has got to be weighing a serious emotional toll on her former boyfriend. What’s that Cloud? There’s a movie sequel to the game where you watched me get a sword jammed through my heart? How’s about I show up and help reopen those terrible wounds? Oh, Square’s making a fun Disney tie-in game meant for preteens? How do you feel about my dead ass prancing around? Would a corpse woman tormenting her former lover be appropriate for this E-rated title? Thing is, though it’s creepy to watch Cloud chase his dead girlfriend through the streets of Toontown, watching Tifa continue to pursue that spikey-haired jackass is even worse. Seriously, girl, it’s time you stop crushing on that mopey loser and get with a real man. Might I suggest a little bit of brown sugar to spice up your life?Catherine - Catherine Many men hope to wake up with a beautiful woman in their bed, though before you start pining for the titular character of Atlus’s Catherine, know that this privilege comes with a horrible price. You think it’s bad when your girlfriend forces you to watch some crappy Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy? Imagine if instead she forced you to fight for your life in a terrible nightmare realm, featuring the two worst things in the world: trippy demonic manifestations of your darkest fears, and CRATE PUZZLES. [embed]244682:46909[/embed] To be fair, main character Vincent totally deserves to be impaled by a giant fork. He’s got a perfect girlfriend already (Katherine), and he wants to sleep around with some blonde hussy. Why? Because he’s afraid of commitment? Get it together jackass. Point is, if you happen to be dating a fantastic woman and some random chick with a suspiciously similar name starts flirting hard up on you, it might be time to GTFO. Anybody - Fire Emblem: Awakening When battling your way through Nintendo’s blistering tough series of strategy RPGs, it’s hard to not get attached to the game’s many capable women. Beautiful sorceresses, graceful Pegasus knights, even scantily clad immortals, so the Lolita-fetishists can pretend they don’t have a problem. She's 1000 years old! IT'S NOT CREEPY! Problem is, as attractive as these women may be, your chance of forming a lasting connection is slim. Because let’s face it, you suck at strategy RPGs. Half these girls are going to die before you even make it through the tutorial missions. Rose – Metal Gear Solid 2 Making a relationship work definitely requires a lot of communication. Thing is, while many men complain about their girlfriend’s constant texting, imagine how it would be if you had a stealth communication device implanted in your ear canal, and for no good reason, the military decided to give your girlfriend the frequency code. I know a lot of people weren’t fans of Metal Gear Solid 2’s Raiden, but regardless of how you feel about long-haired pretty boys with samurai swords, you have to have some sympathy for a guy who’s busy trying to rescue the goddamn President of the United States, only to get forced into a conversation about his “feelings.” Hey baby, I’m about to fight an immortal vampire atop an oil platform. Can we maybe talk about this later? Yorda - Ico Look, I get it, there’s a certain exotic appeal to having a foreign girlfriend. Hell, there’s even an entire industry catering to supremely lonely creeps who would rather buy a wife from abroad than take the chance on becoming a decent person. That being said, somehow the weird glowing girl from Ico leaves much to be desired. Thing is, it’s going to become very hard to make a relationship work when the only conversation topics your significant other understands are “climb that crate” and “dammit, you stupid girl, I’m all the way over here -- will you please get away from those shadow monsters, please!” Seriously, don’t even get me started on those shadow monsters. What’s that, all your guy friends are having a poker night? Sorry, buddy, but you’re stuck at home making sure your significant other doesn’t get pulled into a swirling portal to oblivion. Pass.Tails – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Look, I’m not personally into the whole “furry” thing, but even if you were going to pick an animal partner I think you could do much better than Sonic’s stupid fox girlfriend. Not only does she have one of the most annoying voices in all of gaming, but--Wait, Tails is a guy?Oh. Well he still sucks.Sakura – Street Fighter Though I understand the whole schoolgirl thing definitely appeals to many fellas, you may want to seriously reconsider breaking your state’s statutory laws for a fling with this spunky street fighter. As cute as Sakura may seem, her methods of showing affection are borderline psychotic. I mean let’s be honest, Sakura has a major crush on Ryu. Though rather than express her affection in a sane and rational manner, she instead decides to basically become his female clone. So while taking to wearing a similar headband is on par with your typical teenage obsession, putting in countless hours of training to learn all of a man’s signature fighting moves? That’s beyond the realm of creepy obsession. Do not want. Every male game protagonist ever Sorry fellas, but you’ve gotta admit that for every lackluster gaming girlfriend, there’s about fifty muscle-bound morons who offer literally nothing in terms of dating potential. Just take a look at some of our most beloved gaming stars: a fat middle-aged Italian plumber who still hangs out with his brother; a guy who thinks mullets are still in style; a physics nerd. This douchebag. And of course, legions and legions of muscle-bound morons whose only real method of communication is some indiscernible grunting and a burst of fire from their plasma rifle.Point is, as much fun as it is to jump into the shoes of these digital heroes, real girls aren’t hiding in castles. As nice as fantasyland might be, maybe it's time for losers like us to turn off the console and get ourselves a real date. Nah... [Haggar image courtesy of jnkboy]
Worst gaming girlfriends photo
Suddenly my prom date seems alright
If you’re anything like me, Valentine’s Day is a very special time of year. A time to be reminded that your crippling social anxieties and complete lack of desirable personality traits mean you’re likely to ...


Theatrhythm Final Fantasy preorder gets you this stylus

Apr 19
// Dale North
Stickers! I f*cking love stickers!  You can get all up in stickers if you pre-order upcoming 3DS rhythm game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Square Enix has announced a bonus for North American customers: a gripped stylus tha...

Final Fight: Some guys are kicking some ass

Dec 11
// Jonathan Holmes
Here is a music video about Final Fight 3. The singer of the song has a chalice filled with alcohol, and he appears quite serious about contemplating the many aspects of Capcom's often overlooked SNES beat 'em up. He re...

Cities in fighting games suck (or are totally awesome)

Nov 30
// Tony Ponce
One of the two. I can't decide which. Fighterpedia is a fairly new web series about fighting game lore. There have been two videos prior to this one, but I wasn't sold on the concept until episode three here compared the his...

The Ballad of Mike Haggar

Aug 04
// Conrad Zimmerman
I tried to write my own verse in a vain attempt to match the poetic brilliance at work in this poem exalting the might of the mayor of Metro City. It is beyond me. Witness and be amazed.  [via YouTube]

Talking Tekken with series producer Katsuhiro Harada

Jul 27 // Wesley Ruscher
We began our conversation talking about perhaps one the biggest games of the show, Capcom and Namco Bandai's clash of the titans, Street Fighter X Tekken, which was first announced at last year's Comic-Con. Harada-san explained to me that the fruition of this epic crossover came to be while having drinks and Korean Barbeque with Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono one evening. As the night went on and drinks were thrown back, the two legends of the fighting game world thought it was such a bold idea, that it just had to be great. As we continued, I inquired if he thought this collaboration would help further strengthen the Tekken name in the U.S. While Harada-san agreed that the series has fallen out of the spotlight somewhat since its PlayStation One days, he went on to explain that Tekken has always -- and continues to be -- number one in Asia and Europe. With Street Fighter being the top fighting game in the U.S., together they would mutually strengthen their legacies around the world. I wondered if this was part of the reason why Tekken 6 came to the Xbox 360 -- to help strengthen the brand overseas. Harada-san shared with me his love of PC gaming and to him, the Xbox 360 audience is very similar to the PC audience. They are passionate gamers that stick to their platforms. So bringing the Tekken franchise to the Xbox 360 was only natural to reach a broader appeal. He continued to say that more Tekken will "of course" come to the Xbox 360 in the future. "If you are not making games on the 360, then you are doing something wrong," Harada-san said.  Following this going to print, Hirada reached out to clarify what he meant... "The X360 has a large market in the US especially, so lots of fans had been asking for a version on that platform. So we made the decision to go multiplatform so that as many people as possible could play the game on their desired platform." With the focus of our discussion shifting back towards Street Fighter X Tekken, Harada-san's passion was made ever apparent when I explained my impressions of the new characters that were added. Capcom brought their latest build to Comic-Con and I was able to spend a good amount of time trying out the latest roster additions before the interview: Tekken brawler Steve, enigmatic samurai Yoshimitsu, Street Fighter favorite Dhalsim, and the biggest reveal of the show, Final Fight vixen Poison. Yoshimitsu, with his unconventional move set, fits nicely into Street Fighter X Tekken's 2D gameplay with both new Capcom fighters Dhalsim and Poison. Steve on the other hand I found a hard character to get down. He's a puncher like Balrog and Dudley, but he just doesn't have the same speed and reach that make those fighters so ruthless in the Street Fighter world. After describing my thoughts on Steve, I asked Harada-san a question he had never been asked before. What kind of Tekken fighters does he think best transition into the Capcom's 2D fighter? Harada-san answered that he felt characters that are more kick focused fit best.   "Punches in Tekken have arcs that make it tougher to implement," Hirada-san said as he clenched his fist and animated his body in the style of a sweeping Tekken punch. If you have seen videos of Hwoarang in action, it's easy to agree with Harada-san's feelings. His sweeping kicks move across the screen in similar fashion to Kim Kaphwan of Fatal Fury fame. He's fast and furious and so far my favorite Tekken addition. But as I watched Harada-san imitate the downward strike of a Tekken blow, my curiosity got to me. What Street Fighter characters, in his mind, were going to fit most naturally when they make the jump into his Tekken X Street Fighter? A chuckle came from Harada-san during his answer as I too laughed at the man's bravado. "Maybe I shouldn't say this, as I mean no disrespect to Ono-san, but Ryu and Ken will probably be even better in 3D." Again it was all about the punches with Harada-san. His reasoning for this thought is 3D allows for better, more impactful combos. But at the same time he issued concern about characters that may not work or will be a challenge to do when Tekken X Street Fighter gets closer to completion. Dhalsim, Guile, E Honda and Blanka all have their own unique challenges to overcome. Really any character that can hurl their body across the screen, at least the impression I got from Harada-san, may not make the final cut. But if you've seen Tekken 6's Alisa whose fighting repertoire (she has chainsaws for arms) already feels fresh out of a Capcom fighter, these just may be temporary hurdles.  And speaking of Alisa, she's the one Tekken character Harada-san would like to see make the final roster of Street Fighter X Tekken. With a 2012 launch date for Street Fighter X Tekken, I asked Harada-san if he was worried that the success, failure, or Capcom's tendency to iterate on their games would affect the release of Tekken X Street Fighter. "I've talked with Ono-san and we planned a time-table for the games, but who knows there may be one Super Edition," Harada-san joked. With my time with Harada-san coming to an end, I realized I had only scratched the surface on all the Tekken properties coming. Starting with Tekken Hybrid and Blood Vengeance later this year and moving on, Harada-san confirmed that 2012 was going to be the year of Tekken -- in addition to fighting games in general -- and we could look forward to much more in the near future.

Katsuhiro Harada, the over eccentric producer of the Tekken series, was a busy man at this year's Comic-Con. With myriad Tekken properties to pimp though, he still made time to discuss anything I wanted about his esteemed fig...


Hugo, Cody, and Guy teased for Street Fighter X Tekken

Jul 21
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: There is a live stream of the game going on right now. Check it out!] After seeing Poison, Steve, Dhalsim, and and Yoshimitsu announced for Street Fighter X Tekken today, I figured that Capcom would wait at least 24...

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