Secret Final Fight ‘grab’ tech resurfaces decades after original release

final fight grab escape tech capcom arcade


As some of the regular Destructoid clan may know, Final Fight is my favorite game of all time. I’m not gonna roll out why all over again, who cares, yo? Just know that I’ve plunged hours upon hours (upon hours) into Capcom’s legendary brawler, and across myriad platforms — thus, I was left reeling by some recently rediscovered tech, which is hidden away deep inside the grindhouse gutter fighter.

As noted by Japanese arcade aficionado @hijiyan_jp, (with the good word spread by dedicated brawler historian Belt Action Central), it is possible for the player to “break free” from the death grip imposed by some of Metro City’s meanest villains, such as Andore and Abigail. This action is activated via a button command that was impossible to perform on the original arcade cabinet, but remains built into the code of the original ROM, as well as Final Fight‘s many home ports.

Here’s the science: Final Fight is a two-button game (A/B), though the ROM contains a placeholder for a seemingly unused third button (C). This button, designed for developer usage only, lets Messrs Haggar, Cody, and Guy, break free of Andore’s grabs by pressing Up + C, dodging an energy-sapping chokehold or brutal tombstone piledriver. Given that the dedicated cabinet only had two buttons, this escape was impossible for quarter-dropping kids in the arcade.

Through emulation, however, it is possible to remap Button C, and thus gain access to the secret escape. Weirder still, it seems that this move was directly incorporated into Final Fight‘s home releases. Belt Action Central has already reported that SNES players need only hit Up + Attack to activate the grab-break, with Game Boy Advance release Final Fight One also featuring the same shifty get-out-clause. Dedicated speedrunning community Speed Demos Archives has also been long aware of this secret function, spotlighting an explanation of the mysterious “Button C” and its use on the site’s Final Fight page.

So there you have it, my fellow vigilantes, no more piledriver peril… I wish this shit worked on Street Fighter V‘s Abigail. Anyway… I gotta run… I have a personal best to beat.

About The Author
Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse
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