Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?
If there is one genre that has truly seen something of a major comeback in recent years, it is the beat-’em-up or scrolling brawler genre. Led by releases such as River City Girls, Mayhem Brawler, Fight’n Rage, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, and Streets of Rage 4, it seems that the gaming community is ready to start scraping face across pavement in this simple, but surprisingly cathartic venture.
Publisher Numskull Games and British outfit Bitmap Bureau (of Xeno Crisis fame) is looking to dropkick the market with its own homage to the nose-busters of old, Final Vendetta, a brand new title currently in development for PC and console platforms. You can check out the first gameplay trailer below, which sees a trio of heroes kicking ass on the streets of Londinium in face-pounding action.
Final Vendetta will tell the story of Claire Sparks, a young woman and expert martial artist who teams up with her friends and housemates to rescue her sister from the clutches of the evil crime organization “Syndic8.” Alongside retired pro-wrestler Miller T. Williams and street fighter Duke Sancho, the trio battles their way through the alleyways and avenues of London, bringing fist-assisted justice to the domes of the Syndic8’s army of street soldiers.
As y’all know, I love a good brawler, and while Final Vendetta certainly looks to check the boxes when it comes to throwing down a solid dose of the old street justice, I have to admit I think it might be taking its “homage” tone to something of a negative extreme. While this trailer is crammed with bone-crunching action and rad tunes, Final Vendetta, on first impression, seems to lack identity.
Our hero is visually Blaze Fielding in all but name, Duke’s flurry of punches into uppercut is pulled straight from Axel Stone’s special, the stages include Double Dragon‘s open garage and Final Fight‘s subway. There’s a car-smashing bonus stage. Some moves (such as Miller’s torture rack into elbow drop) are cribbed from The King of Fighters. One baddie, (depicted in the top screenshot), basically has Andy Bogard’s head, and Claire is literally doing Yuri Sakazaki’s “Haoh Sho Ko Ken.” The SoR “grab ‘n’ flip” mechanic is present. The game’s title is Final (as in “Fight“) and Vendetta (as in “Vendetta“).
While all of these elements can be considered tribute, it’s ALL tribute… even the intro sequence.
It definitely looks like there’s fun to be had — there’s always room for more brawlers and I dig the grimy street vibe that Bitmap Bureau is bringing to this party, but while Final Vendetta is certainly a love letter to the genre, it needs to be more than a mash-up of all that came before it if it wishes to stand out in an increasingly busy market. Again, it’s early, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the game.
On a more positive note, Final Vendetta looks to be a pretty feature-packed release, promising two-player co-op action, four individual game modes (Arcade, Survival, Boss Rush, and Versus), flashy fight mechanics including strikes, grabs, juggles, and defensive maneuvers, multiple difficulty settings, a slew of secret unlockables and, coolest of all, an original pulse-poundin’ soundtrack composed by artist Featurecast and the legendary ’90s dance act Utah Saints… U-U-U-UTAH SAINTS!
For physical media fans, Bitmap Bureau is putting together a colorful and stylish Collector’s Edition, containing a boxed copy of Final Vendetta on PS4, PS5, or Nintendo Switch, alongside a soundtrack CD, a deck of 32 character cards, and a fun “Street Chicken” decal. A Super Limited Edition will also include a barrel-shaped USB stick, an A3 poster, and an A4 artbook. Prices for these editions were not confirmed.
As Destructoid’s resident Groin-Knee-er and German-Suplexer, I will be keeping an eye on this release, so when more release information is forthcoming, I’ll be sure to give you the word on the street.
Final Vendetta is scheduled to launch in May on PlayStation, PC, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.