A genre whose popularity swarmed around the 1980s New York crime wave, Final Vendetta is less interested in those origins than the games themselves. From swiping Streets of Rage’s sound effects to Final Fight’s hidden foreground objects, Final Vendetta isn’t shy about its lack of ideas, but proud of its homage.
There’s nothing original to Final Vendetta. The title, partly copied from an undervalued Konami arcade game Vendetta, even filters into the character designs. Then there’s smaller touches like characters scaling in from the background, mirroring SNK’s bland Burning Fight, or the club lights from Streets of Rage 3. References are endless.
It’s a hectic, tight brawler, eschewing the moderate pace favored by contemporary brawlers, River City Girls or Double Dragon Neon. Final Vendetta doesn’t shy on difficulty either, relying on the beat-em-up’s strategic values that mix-and-match enemy types, demanding variance in play styles to thrive.
For the glossiness and thick, hard pixel lines (straight from SNK’s Neo Geo glory days), Final Vendetta looks the part. It sounds as such too, the driving musical accompaniment borrowing the action dance rhythms from once Sega composer Yuzo Koshiro. All elements are superlative in their loving reverence for the beat-em-up, yet the work is also sidelined by the satisfying, crisp fisticuffs beholden to the classics. Streets of Rage 4 exists, and by an unlucky coincidence, Final Vendetta releases alongside another throwback, that one carrying the Ninja Turtles license. Final Vendetta does itself proud, but its identity exists in pieces over the decades.