The beat 'em genre has been around for a long time. For me there are two games that immediately come to my mind when I think about beat 'ems...Double Dragon and Final Fight. Just like Double Dragon and how it took time for an arcade quality home port to happen, Final Fight has had it's hardships when it comes to home console versions of the game.
The Super Nintendo version of the game was one of the first home versions I played and while it was fun, it was far from arcade perfect. One of the playable characters, Guy, was missing from the game and there were other changes made to the game. Years later I found out that the game was released for the Sega CD and was arcade perfect...or so I thought. To get a true arcade perfect port you have to look overseas to the Sega Mega CD version.
Sega's Mega CD platform is region locked so don't expect to just pop this in your U.S. Sega CD console and hope to have hours of fun. For this very reason this game wasn't added to my personal collection until about a month ago. After securing a Mega CD 2 to add to my Mega Drive console, I knew this was one of the first games I wanted to pick up.
I sat down over the weekend to enjoy the game and I just couldn't put it down. Playing solo I've still yet to beat the game. I can usually start off really well, but there are just a few bosses (Sodom, Edi E.) that hand me my butt no matter what strategy I try to use! However that didn't stop me from several play throughs and getting a decent high score of 1,271,364.
The opening scenes in the Sega CD version has the same "animated" scenes, however when Hagger is informed that they've (Mad Gear) has kidnapped his daughter, Jessica, she is shown in a red dress.
However in the Mega CD versionx the same scene has Jessica exposed. Why I don't have a clue. When the actual game starts and you see Jessica in the hands of the Mad Gear, she is shown wearing a red dress. So that would mean that in the Japanese version of the game her dress was obviously removed, yet they fully dressed her before they moved her to another location. How nice of the gang!
The SNES version of the game completely replaced the two female characters, Poison and Roxy, with generic male figures. Nintendo was also very strict w/ their games so it doesn't surprise me that they didn't want players beating up women.
The Sega CD version included Poison and Roxy, yet their appearance was still altered. They basically are wearing a little bit more clothing. Compare the above Sega CD image with the Mega CD image below.
Their top and pants are much shorter in the Japanese version and when punched, both Poison and Roxy do show off a little cleavage. Personally I could care less, but at least in Japan Sega was able to keep it arcade perfect.
In addition to these graphical changes, the first bonus stage was unchanged in the Mega CD version. Beat up the car and score perfect and you'll see the Mad Gear guy walk out and fall to his knees crying "Oh God!", original voice and all.
If you are looking to play the best version of this game, obviously the Mega CD game is the way to go. However I understand that this version isn't the easiest to play. The Sega CD is a great port and the route most gamers will end up taking. The Xbox Live version is also a great alternative if you don't have a way to play either of the CD versions.