Bitmap Bureau’s Final Vendetta is another slice of tough as nails 90’s worship. Following their more recent efforts of Battle Axe, and everyone’s favourite Smash TV Xeno Crisis, they’ve fancied taking their own spin on another classic 90’s genre. The 2d Beat ‘em up, lets see how it fights against the competition.
Most people who’ve played one of these kinds of games have usually played a Final Fight, a Streets of Rage or a Ninja Turtles. Arcades were full of clones of these guys back in the 90s, and Final Vendetta would be a perfect fit in amongst these quarter guzzlers.
Final Vendetta sees our three protagonists, (Claire Sparks, a martial artist from hub of the chav Essex. Duke Sancho a London born bare knuckle fighter, and Miller T. Williams, a disgraced former Pro Wrestler) who are trying to rescue Claire’s kidnapped sister from a vicious gang named the syndic-8. Pretty standard fare but we don’t usually play these types of games for their story. Each character has their own play style, with Miller the Powerhouse, Claire the speedier character, and Mr Sancho (my current favourite) as the all rounder. Each will suit a slightly different play style, but Final Vendatta’s going to have to using all the tactics you can muster due to it’s high difficulty, each character has a few unique combo’s, and you’re able to get a few extra hits via a juggle if you can get your enemy up in the air. As mentioned Duke Sancho was the character I relied on the most, most of my later progress came with Duke, he seems like the easier option.
We pick up in London, which actually looks like London, from street signs to really familiar looking camper vans you’d see on peoples drives, the visuals here are looking great, with some nice vibrant looking levels, and a decent amount of detail. Unlike a lot of these games the visuals feel very right to the locations you visit in the game.
Character models look great if a little uninspired, a couple of palette swaps per enemy, but they still look good. They’re well animated most of the time, my main gripe seemed to be the basic punch only seemed like it had 2/3 frames of animation, which was super fast but I’d have preferred something a bit more fleshed out.
We do get some very SNES/Final Fight inspired videos at the start of the game, which again look pretty good, they have a big bold chunky look to them which feels like it’s been directly lifted from the mentioned fighter.
The difficulty is absolutely matching to Bitmap’s style though, each of their games has that early 90’s arcade difficulty, where you’re going to spend a lot of money to get through the game, or you’re going to learn and get good. Each way back then usually ended up in spending quite a bit of money. It’s especially unforgiving, you will have 0 continues and only the lives you start with to finish the game with. In game you’ll be swarmed with 3 or 4 enemies on screen and everything usually ends up in their favour, each enemy hits hard and will happily take a good chunk of health from you, boss difficulty is definitely up there with other genre boss fights where 2 or 3 hits will end up losing you a life. You do have a few tricks up your sleeve too, a heavier attack, and a special (built up with chained attacks), you also have an extremely rare block button, however certain attacks are very unblockable, obviously with the genre you will have some health pick ups along the way, some of these will add a little or a lot of health, but also fill your super bar so you can get a good attack if you’re struggling, there are a few hidden 1up’s on each level, with some of these being impossible to find.
Audio is pretty good, if not great, general audio is fine, health picks up and items get their own noises, the character audio is pretty basic, and there’s no spoken dialogue in cut scenes but for what we don’t have, we make up in an absolute jam of a soundtrack by England’s own classic dance duo Utah Saints, listening to some of their earlier stuff you can tell why they were handing this project. Having started in 1991, they would have been right here playing Final Fight and Streets of Rage at home, the music captures the genre perfectly. If released then Final Vendetta’s soundtrack would probably been talked about as fondly as Streets of Rage 2, Yeah I said it.
Final Vendetta does have a few little bits that make it a little less great, obviously the difficulty is going to put a lot of people off, even on easy mode this totally kicked my arse and as I write this up I still havent finished it, there’s no online multiplayer but again from what I remember Xeno Crisis didn’t so this matches previous titles. It is a shame but it’s not surprising really.
So overall everything adds up for the Final Vendetta experience (TM Dunk), its difficulty is up there with their other titles, but you’re going to want to chip away at it, get better and ultimately finish it. But it’s good, but more than likely going to be overshadowed by another very similar game releasing in it’s launch window.