Final Zone: Streets of Rage.

This is a game that I always see as part of a package, mainly due to first playing it on the ‘MegaGames II‘ compilation where it bundled Golden Axe, Shinobi, and this game into one cartridge.
Since first playing it in 1996, I only managed to complete it last year after many tries and refusing to use the features of what an emulator can grant you.


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After fighting your way through the seven rounds, and trying to not be distracted by the sublime soundtrack, you find yourself at the eighth round; a mansion.
You’re faced against the highest tiers of each enemy that you’ve faced throughout the game, and eventually you find yourself fighting previous bosses. One that took me so long to win, were fighting the twins.

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You have to time your jumps and kicks at just the right time to cancel theirs. You’ll lose many lives and become incredibly frustrated as you miss a potential hit, but eventually you’ll defeat one, and then the other after a good 15 minutes.
You break open the door, finally facing ‘Mr X’ sitting on a chair, with an appearance that reminds me of a Republican candidate. Here is where you’re now faced with a decision.

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Select no and his organisation is yours to take over if you win, showing the bad ending. Or if it’s two players, you fight against each other.
Select yes and the final fight starts, with the potential good ending to earn.

You’re fighting his two henchmen and eventually he gets off his chair, and starts firing a machine gun, emptying bullets as fast as one can.
He is much faster compared to other bosses, so now and again it’s a matter of timing it right in order to throw one of the henchmen in his direction, or timing a flying kick.

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There’s also a lead pipe that you can pick up which could aid you and result in more damage than by just using the characters’ fists. But it’s slow to attack with, and by the time it swings and connects with one of the three, you’re already pummelled with those bullets.

Eventually, after defeating the henchman and dodging the bullets, he flies off with the last punch you give, and slams to the ground in spectacular slow motion.
Bullets laying everywhere, which then switches to credits and 4 scenes interspersed showing the team celebrating.

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If the twins were here instead of the henchmen, it would have been one of the longest and challenging boss fights, but luckily they knew where to stop.
It’s one of the most challenging games, but you keep coming back to the game and to win against the boss, because it’s simply, fun.
It’s immersive, and mixed with the soundtrack courtesy of Yuzo Koshiro, you don’t mind if you have to start the round again.
It’s also why I’ve got a vinyl of the soundtrack on order, directly lifted from the masters, thanks to Data Discs.

It’s a game I wish was on more devices today in a remastered form, but for now you can buy an emulated version on the Steam and Xbox Arcade channels.

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