Final Fight VS. Streets of Rage: Brawl of the Brawlers!

Script written by Briana Lawrence

Which was the true king of 90’s side-scrolling beat-em up brawlers!? Streets of Rage or Final Fight? Well let’s find out by sittin’ down and watching ‘s Final Fight VS. Streets of Rage: Brawl of the Brawlers!

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Final Fight VS Streets of Rage

It’s time we take this battle to the streets! Welcome to, and today we’ll be pitting two of the biggest side scrolling beat em up franchises against one another: Final Fight and Streets of Rage.
Get ready to knock over a few barrels, eat an entire chicken from a chandeleur, and stay on the same screen until all those thugs are knocked out. Yeah... now we can start.

Round 1: Combat
The basic mechanics of both games are simple enough. Step One: Beat up Thugs. Step Two: Fight a Boss. Step Three: Profit? In Final Fight, each character has their own fighting style, and each character can also pick up a weapon and use it against their opponents.
Streets of Rage works in a similar fashion, but there’s a few little details that make the combat feel like more than just a Final Fight clone. Not only does each character have their own style, but each character has their own advantages -- and disadvantages. This means that you have to think about what style suits you best, especially if you’re playing co-op with a friend. Let’s look at the first game as an example. Adam is extremely powerful and can jump higher than the other characters, however, he is the slowest on the team. Axel fixes that by being powerful and fast, but he’s not so great at jumping. While Blaze may be the weakest on the team, she makes up for it with her speed and jumping.
While both games definitely helped define the beat-em-up genre, Streets of Rage does combat a touch bit better than FinalFight by offering more variety with the characters and their skills. As strong as the Final Fight cast is, the ex-cops also have speed and agility on their side... and at least one police officer friend serving as backup for one game.

Winner: Streets of Rage
Final Fight: 0 / Streets of Rage: 1

Round 2: Graphics and Sound
Both games feature a similar story of taking back the crime infested streets, but each one approached it in their own way. Final Fight is much brighter and more colorful despite the decrepit state the city is in. Streets of Rage, on the other hand, is dark and gritty at all times to highlight the city at its breaking point. The character models for Final Fight are more defined than the sprites of Streets of Rage, but gameplay feels smoother for the latter -- especially for console releases, which we’ll delve into later.

When it comes to sound, Final Fight has a decent soundtrack. It’s not the kind of music you’d listen to outside the game, but it does serve its purpose as you set off to take down the Mad Gear gang. This isn’t the case with Streets of Rage. To say that the soundtrack is amazing is an understatement. A mix of techno, a dash of house, and a clear hip hop influence created some of the best soundtracks that the Genesis had to offer. The music of the game sets the tone and, frankly, gets you in the mood to punch as many thugs as you can. It feels like the developers invested just as much time with the soundtrack as they did with the overall game.
With that in mind, we have to give this round to Streets of Rage. Not only is it great to look at, it’s great to listen to, and you have to respect a game that treats its music like a core part of the gaming experience.

Winner: Streets of Rage
Final Fight: 0 / Streets of Rage: 2

Round 3: Characters
So who are these people who eat meat out of barrels? After the Mad Gear gang kidnaps the beautiful Jessica, we meet our core cast of Final Fight: Jessica’s boyfriend, Cody, Cody’s friend, Guy, and one of the coolest mayors in video game history: Mike Haggar -- who just so happens to be Jessica’s father. Yep, before Liam Neeson, there was Mike Haggar, who bodyslammed his way through the streets to save his daughter. While the character roster does change throughout the series, you can bet that one of these guys are involved in the story somehow.
Meanwhile, over at the rageful streets, we have three ex-cops who are trying to make the city a safe place to live. Adam, Axel, and Blaze have to face off against the mysterious Mr. X, a daunting task since he’s even got police officers on his side. Much like Final Fight, the character roster does change throughout the series, but these three are always involved in the plot somehow.
That being said, we feel that Final Fight wins this round, hands down. The characters of this series are just so damn memorable. In fact, Mike Haggar alone is enough to win this round, but he’s a generous man who leaves room in the spotlight for Cody, Guy, and let’s be honest: Poison, Hugo, Rolento, and Sodom, because even Final Fight’s random thugs and bosses standout.
We’ll see you all in Street Fighter.

Winner: Final Fight
Final Fight: 1 / Streets of Rage: 2

Round 4: Home Console Version
When you run out of quarters -- and trust us, we did -- then it’s time to take the fight to your living room. If you had a Super Nintendo, then Final Fight was the beat-em up game of choice. Meanwhile, the Sega Genesis opened its arms to Streets of Rage.
Huh, it’s as if they knew there was a console war going on.
While it’s great to be able to play an amazing game in the comfort of your own home, the SNES port of Final Fight paled in comparison to its arcade counterpart -- and no, it’s not because of the censored content, it’s because of the gameplay. While we know that limitations are to be expected with ports, Final Fight’s were rather severe. This goes beyond a stage being removed and there being less enemies on screen, we also missed out on a character -- Guy -- and co-op was removed. No co-op in a beat-em up? Yeah, you’ve already lost.

Streets of Rage really lucked out by being exclusive to the Genesis. While Final Fight dominated the arcades, Streets of Rage really gained momentum on console. The SNES Final Fight was still fun, but knowing all the content we missed out on was a real letdown. This was … somewhat fixed with the release of “Final Fight Guy,” which replaced Cody with Guy, but that had a limited release in the U.S. There was also “Final Fight CD”, but... how many of us actually owned a Sega CD so we could take in those glorious, fully voice acted cutscenes? While subsequent sequels did have co-op, it was too late, as Streets of Rage already had that taken care of.
It’s all right, Final Fight, we’ll always save a few extra quarters for you.
Winner: Streets of Rage

Final Fight: 1 / Streets of Rage: 3
Round 5: Legacy

Streets of Rage is a pretty remarkable entry in the history of the Sega Genesis. Adam, Axel, and Blaze are one of the many reasons why we entered the 16-bit era. The gameplay, the soundtrack -- good lord, the soundtrack -- Streets ofRage will live on as the ultimate beat-em up experience.
So with all due respect to the Genesis kids... Final Fight takes this one.
Without Final Fight, Streets of Rage wouldn’t even be here. The game was created for the sheer purpose of going up against Final Fight... which really puts its superior home console version into perspective. It was, and still is, one of the best things about console wars: other companies giving it their all to compete against one another. At the time, Final Fight was the beat-em up game of the day, an impressive feat for a game that wasn’t even supposed to be a beat-em up. Once upon a time, Final Fight was going to be a sequel to Street Fighter, but Mike Haggar, Cody, and Guy had other plans.

Not only does Final Fight live on through the likes of Street Fighter, but it lives on for giving us some of the best that the 90s had to offer. Because of Final Fight, we were gifted with Streets of Rage, and arguably, other great side scrolling beat-em up adventures.

Winner: Final Fight
Final Fight: 2 / Streets of Rage: 3

After all those beat downs and dumpster raids for food Streets of Rage emerges on top for this battle, though with a legacy like Final Fight’s, we can’t see the destroyers of the Mad Gear gang too upset about this decision.
Still a But we’re curious: which side of the street do you stand on? Keep the battle going in the comments, and don’t forget to punch that subscribe button for more intense versus matches here at

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