|Completion Date||Nov. 9, 2014|
|Runner||Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy|
Streetwise is a Final Fight game that holds a very special place in my heart. The game features Cody's (previously unmentioned) brother, Kyle, beating up everyone in his path to earn street cred. Then Cody gets kidnapped after getting hopped up on a drug called glow, and Kyle spends the rest of the game beating up everyone in his path to find him. Oh and he meets Guy and Haggar. Doesn't fight them though.
Mechanically, Streetwise has quite a bit of depth. Mixing strong and light attacks in various combinations gives different attacks with unique utility and strength. Throws give multiple options and can often be comboed into. The instinct bar can be used to boost attack damage or to initiate specific special attacks. Quick steps can be used to evade enemy attacks and punish the recovery, or you can counter them by blocking them at the last moment or attacking them with similar timing. Most of these techniques are used in various places throughout the run. Theres also an assortment of weapons with various uses. Bats and other blunt weapons are generally bad unless you can stike a prone enemy with them, in which case it instantly kills them. You can also strangle people with them for another instant kill but the animation is prohibitively long. Knives are very strong, defeating most enemies in two quick stabs which combo together. Katanas are less useful than knives but do good damage in the situations that call for them. Grenades are mostly useless due to their long fuses, while molotovs are fantastic since they instantly defeat standard enemies. That leaves the guns, which are all about as good as youd expect a gun to be in a street fight.
Because of how this game functions, most of the game is spent running directly to the next scripted even in the story. I attempted to skip individual story events, but it ended up that pretty much everything needs to be done to allow you to move on, so there is not much room for creativity in an any% run. As far as these comments go, I am only going to elaborate on my stategies for dealing with the boss fights and the rationale behind them.
The game begins with a pit fight against Handsome Bob. Handsome my ass. This is a very simple fight; Bob will always do a punch upon standing up, so I counter it with the flipkick and do a strong stomp. Rinse and repeat till KO. Apparently even though I was never hit during the fight I am terrible at defense. Oh well. There are slightly faster strategies for fighting him, but this particular method is consistent, gived me a good ranking which gives me some needed cash for later, and most importantly makes Bob look like a total jackass.
After a pair of forced fights against some assorted thugs, I take on the Weasel riding a forklift with some spiky barrels strapped to the front. Weasel gets temporarily knocked out when he rams the arena walls, so I take that time to strike. He recovers faster as his health gets lower, so its important to save big hits for the end of his healthbar. Such as stabbing him in the back repeatedly.
Now I get a tipoff that theres a dude named 2-Ill who can help me out, but he's not a popular guy so I have to bail him out of a fight with some thugs to get his help. Of course, like any good escort mission, I lose if 2-Ill's health is depleted, and it can be difficult depending on how agressive the AI feels in any given moment. Then its a subway ride to Little Italy to a nice hotel climb punctuated by not one, but two fights with a dude known as "The Stiff." The first fight can be a bit difficult to control because The Stiff can dodge out of hitstun at any time and start shooting at you. To aleviate this I stick mostly to quicky strikes and throws, but I end up getting some pretty terrible luck and nearly dying. Fortunately I get a free health refill for the second fight, which is also much easier since punishing The Stiffs wakeup attack prevents him from dodging, resulting in a simple loop.
A whole boatload of skipped cutscenes later, I end up in Kyle's Apt. and have to head back to Little Italy for more info. Fortunately its now in walking distance so I can avoid several loading screens going through the subway. This time I break into the mafia's front building and start busting everyone up for a chance to talk to their leader, Vito, then get thrown into a cage match with a colorless man named Ghost. This can be a rather difficult fight; Ghost does a lot of damage and has multiple unblockable attacks. He can also block and counterattack strong strikes. Add to that the fact that I have not bought any of the powerups available to my health or damage output and the odds look stacked rather against Kyle. By doing the delayed jab string continuously, I create a situation where either Ghosts attacks are struck before they start, or else Ghost attempts to block and counter. If he blocks, the delayed punch string will option select (a term for a series of inputs that results in different favorable outcomes depending on the opponents actions) into the quick counterattack. I can then hit him grounded to force him to stand and initiate the loop again. Regardless, Vito isnt terribly happy with Kyle for all this and has him thrown out instead of giving Kyle any information.
Out of leads, Kyles only hope is to raid Codys apartment, but to do that I have to play a game of memory with Madam Celeste. Im actually pretty bad at this and Im sad to admit I lost more than one attempt to losing it. Digging through Codys stuff lands Kyle a picture of a rather promenent figure from Cody's past, so I set my sights to the docks where I take on a whole lot of skinheads to meet the former mayor of the city, Mike Haggar. Mike has seen better days, and it turns out he can be more of a neusance than help during fights since he doesnt really do any damage. Either way, Haggar then teaches Kyle a technique that I dont actually want, and gives some advice on how to get on Vito's goos side. Haggar is also one of the locations where I can buy upgrades, so I up my damage output and instinct gain before stealing his beer on the way out.
After a host of cutscenes, I end up in a fight with Andore. Massive as always, Andore requires a different approach than fights so far because he will not be staggered by hits unless they are finishing strikes. I can generally stay safe by backstepping out of range of his attacks, then doing a lunging series to counter. He can also randomly cancel moves into dropkick, so sometimes even this dodge and counter method doesnt work. Every once in a while he will start just backing up or stand still without taking action, which can be an opportunity for me to strike depending on my positioning and reaction time.
After some running, cutscene skipping, and bug squashing minigame, I end up in a fight with a group of ninjas and then Lou, all supervised by our brother's good friend Guy (who Cody never bothered to tell he had a brother, apparently, since he has no clue who Kyle is). The ninjas are annoying since, while they fight one at a time, the next ninja will strike IMMEDIATELY after the previous one is defeated, which often leads to unavoidable hits during move recoveries. Lou is a really dangerous fight because he has pretty high damage output, and can counter a lot of strikes. I deal with this by doing delayed strong punches, which he generally dodges less than doing them as early as possible, then comboing into the throw which he cant dodge when he is in hitstun. After the Lou fight, Guy teaches Kyle another move I dont actually want him to know.
Then I geuss Guys dojo gets set on fire and I have to escape. Fire, conveniently, kills enemies instantly, and so is a useful tool through this section. Otherwise I just have to carry the extinguisher to make paths, and get rid of nearby enemies to prevent the auto-aim from targetting them. After escaping, I make a trip to Vitos restraunt where I get to do more rat kicking, then go see Vito get murdered by his henchman Blades at the church, who I then fight. I have a few different strategies on Blades with varying degrees of speed and consistency. At first, I try one of the faster methods, strong strikes into throws, but switch to delayed jab strings when his AI was countering and gaurding too often to make it viable.
Somehow during this, Guy managed to catch ( anow seriously drugged up) Cody, so I pay them a visit before making a trip to Tigers gym to buy one last damage upgrade. This costs me a moderately large amount of time due to having to go through 2 loading screens, but I believe the benefits are worth it because of how many boss fights are left in the game and how long many of them take. Next is another pit fight agains Weasels crew. This time there are several glow zombies in the mix, who ignore light blows. They can also pull out grenades attempt to suicide bomb you, which can actually be useful since it instantly kills them. Otherwise, nothing special here until the (what should be very fatal) minigame.
With this, the free roaming portion of the game is over. Instead of being allowed to wander, there is no choice but to go directly to the next objectives. I meet up with Guy before heading into a forced fight, followed by a puzzle fight where I have to open the exit with a machinegun while holding thugs off. That passage leads me to a fight with Stiff Death, a glow-super zombie version of our good friend from earlier in the game. Stiff Death is a very obnoxious fight because he cannot be interrupted or stunned by attacks in any way, so the only option to damage him is to pick at him with quick attacks during his recoveries. In additon, once he reaches low health, he will break open rat cages and consume them to recover large amounts of health, and when all the rat cages are gone he will being using attacks that put him in the ceiling and out of Kyles reach for long periods of time. For whatever reason, he got stuck in an AI loop that made him punch the wall forever instead of doing his usual patterns, a glitch that I had head about once but never actually got to happen before or since. This single event saved me over 2 minutes in this fight, and unless I find a setup to make this happen consistently, makes this run really stupidly difficult to beat.
After his glorious victory over death, Kyle is dumped out into the burning streets of the slums, and I have to take him to the bar to rescue his girlfriend Venessa. Upon getting there, I begin what is by far the most frustrating and stupid sections in the game; and escort mission involving 2 npcs who have predictably poor AI, a shared healthbar, and in general not mich health to speak of. The biggest threats in this section are the glow zombies who pull out grenades, since those grenades will instantly kill my companions, and the knife-weilding glow zombies since they will never flinch on any strength hit and can easily do over 50% of my companions health with a series of knife stabs. If I miss any one of those two enemies or I get bad luck woth their targeting, there is no chance of me finishing this mission. I played slightly more cautiously here than usual, primarily because I was terrified of losing this run after the amazing Stiff Death fight, and manage to make my way through. Afterwords, I am automatically placed into a fight in front of Little Italy's church, and assist the police in a raid of it. This leads into the final section of the game, which is a boss rush against glow zombie versions of the four horsemen of the apocolypse (which ties to why the Stiff was called Stiff Death earlier).
First up is War, played by our good friend the Weasel. War is unique because he stands on an elevated platform that Kyle can't reach, so I have to use the assortment of weapons available to damage him. He only has two attacks, the first being grenade which are dangerous mainly because they destroy the terrain I need for cover, and the second being actually firing his chaingun. Ideally, I want to get a lot of molotovs and grenades as my weapon drops since they do damage quickly, and in addition can interrupt his attack patterns. Shotguns are also decent, the smg and pistol are generally undesirable. But all said and done, the game is a very poor cover shooter for this section. Ideally, Id like to end the fight with a shotgun to carry to the next fight, but its not even remotely worth setting up if the situation isnt already there.
Famine is next up, played by Blades. This boss has a wide variety of attacks, many of which he can combo into eachother and all of course do pretty huge damage. He can also only be flinched by finishing attacks, so interrupting him can ne difficult. By standing at a very particular distance, I can force his AI to do a lunge attack which I can easily counter for good damage, and this is by far the most reliable tactic Ive found for beating him quickly. The only real potential problems are if I miss the window to counter and get hit, or if I hit the exact last frame of the counter which will cause both of our attacks to miss and leave me very vulnerable. I make a point to grab a shotgun before finishing the fight so that I can have it for the next boss.
The last of the four horsemen is Pestilance, played by.... Well honestly Im not sure who this is if its even anyone in particular. This boss has two phases, neither of which will flinch to any attacks. The first phase constantly leaves hazardous pools of acid that I have to avoid, but otherwise is mostly unthreatening. While I can punch him during downtime for minor damage, most of the damage comes from picking up the giant slimes he periodically lets out and throwing them at him. Its possible to hit him with 3 in one cycle, but it requires good luck with where he places them and where they leave their acid pools, and is not something I would generally expect to get. The second phase doesnt have any particular weakpoint like the previous form, and one of his three main attacks gives me no opportunity to strike him. I use the shotgun I carried in to add some damage during the attacks I cannot aproach him during, but unfortunately this phase a lot of luck and patience is just required. I carry an smg out of this fight instead of using it now because it does minimal damage to Pestiance regardless.
The four horsemen defeated, Kyle heads to the roof to find Father Bellah, who soon reveals himself to actually be Belger's brother on a revenge trip against Cody, who's now also a tripped up glow zombie and has taken on the role as Death. Cody death only flinches against finishing attacks, which can make it difficult to strike him continuously. He has 5 attacks, of which 3 are really notable. He can do a straight jab, which I can interrupt with a fast enough finishing strike, a grab which I can mash out of before it does much damage, and criminal upper, which is uninterruptable, bit oddly enough can be blocked. I'm still knocked down upon blocking it, but I take no damage and it leaves Cody in a long recovery animation. After beating Cody, another fight starts with..... Cody. This time he has significantly less health, but the fight is also made more complicated by Belger throwing grenades into the mix. Once Cody is down again, Belger jumps down to try to revive him, giving Kyle his chance to beat him. I use the smg to take off the first half of his health since it completely juggles Belger for what I can only describe as "some reason." Afterwords, I attempt to dodge his scripted wakeup attack and hit his recovery with strong punches, or catch him if he gets away before he revives Cody and retreats again. I use a very particular string of attacks here because Belger will counterattack a combo longer than 6 hits if the 7th hit doesnt knock him down. And with that the game is over.
To anyone who read through this block of text, I wrote it on mobile over the course of multiple weeks, and transfering it destroyed the formatting. I decided to leave it this way, since I've already given writing this far more time than the game deserved.