Small dudes, big action.
The immediate difference noticed in Mighty Final Fight to its original arcade counterpart is the portrayal of the characters. Gone are our large realistic heroes and villians, they have been reduced to almost child like comical proportions. This works surprisingly well on the NES. Instead of an attempt at a direct port of an arcade game that ran on superior hardware, Capcom opted for a scaled down 8-bit revamp. Our familiar heroes are there as are the majority of the bad guys we knew in the arcade, just smaller, sillier and sporting heads in DK mode.
As for the gameplay, it's the Final Fight you knew and loved in the arcades. Controls are quick, smooth and responsive. The punches, flying kicks and tosses are all there. One button for attack the other for jump, together they unleash your character's special attack. Just like in the arcades. A noticeable variation from the original is the experience bar that builds with each thug you dispense of. By building your experience bar you gain EXP levels that ultimately lengthen your health bar. An interesting alteration that perhaps makes the game a tad easier than it should've been.
The backgrounds in Mighty Final Fight are well rendered and colourful, almost staying true to the original locales.
The characters themselves for the most part look ridiculous, that was likely the intention of its creators, but at times(i.e, on the receiving end of an attack) they appear just TOO silly. The sound affects are nothing to write home about, the obligatory bumps and crunches when delivering or receiving blows, but you cannot expect too much from an 8-bit beat em up effects-wise. In game music though not memorable, is not bad either. It won't have you humming the tunes afterwards but it won't have you clambering for the mute button either. Two obvious omissions made in Mighty Final Fight are the lack of a 2 player option and not a single player-usable weapon to be seen in the games entirety.
The Bottom Line
Despite the few discrepancies compared to its arcade counterpart, its aim stays true to the original arcade version.
Mighty is like a flawed little brother to its senior Final Fight. The older may be more popular and tougher, attractive, slicker, cooler and remembered by all. But the less attractive little brother shares the same genes that made it's senior great. In its own arena it holds the well deserved title as one of the best beat em ups to grace the Nintendo Entertainment System.