Of course, the real reason this game feels so authentic is because of the visuals. Capcom hasn't gone back and redrawn the visuals or anything, instead they have purposely made the game look as beat up as possible. Instead of simply giving you the emulated game sandwiched between a couple of black bars, Final Fight: Double Impact adds authentic cabinet art in the unused areas of your widescreen television. What's more, the game gives you a realistic looking television, one that looks like it came from 1989. The screen has a rounded shape and, depending on how you set up your visuals, you can play the game exactly how it looked in the arcades. Imperfections and all, this game successfully gives you the impression that you're playing a twenty year old arcade game.
As I sat there in front of my television set I was transported back to a time when nobody knew what high definition TVs were. It was a time when nobody cared about polygons and a 45 minute arcade game was considered a good deal. I completely forgot that I was staring at a 1080p display; instead I was transfixed on how beat-up that virtual television screen looked. I was reminded about the rounded edges and the scan lines. It all took me back to my youth in some dark and seedy arcade. It's shocking how effective all of these theatrics are, yet this would be the version I would go back to for precisely that reason.
These visual effects aren't enough to make up for some outdated gameplay, but most gamers should already know what they are getting themselves in for. This is a faithful compilation of a couple ancient arcade games; you're not spending $10 for the advanced gameplay. What you're getting with this game is the very best console port, complete with useful information, achievement points and online play.
Both games also come with an in-game achievement system of sorts. As you play through each title a series of challenges will pop up, rewarding you with a series of bonus features if you complete them. This may not be enough of a reason to get you to play the game for hundreds of hours, but I found myself playing through each game for a fifth or sixth time just to see if I could complete the challenges. These challenges may be an artificial way of enhancing the game's life, but it definitely worked on me.
Final Fight: Double Impact may not be full of surprises, especially if you're the type of gamer who grew up on these arcade games. However, I have a hunch that there are a lot of Final Fight fans that never gave Magic Sword proper respect. Hopefully this Xbox Live Arcade release will remind people how great these arcade cabinets were. Perhaps it won't be long before we see other classic Capcom arcade games hit the system, perhaps Gun.Smoke or Strider. No matter what the future holds for Capcom, fans of classic arcade games should give Final Fight: Double Impact a shot.
Final Fight: Double Impact packages two great games into one worthwhile download. Both Final Fight and Magic Sword hold up well, especially when they are displayed in between authentic cabinet art and visual effects. Throw in online gameplay and you have a pair of must-own titles for the Xbox 360!
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