Welcome to the fifth episode of the Smash Underdogs series! In these articles, I’ll be looking at some of the lesser talked about names in Smash speculation. These characters aren’t big shots like Sora or Crash but would be just as enjoyable with the type of content they could bring to the table. The goal of this series is to get people invested in these characters and have them hooked on the idea of these underdogs becoming playable in Smash one day.
Being the mayor of a city is a very tough job. You have to beat up gang members, save your kidnapped daughter, and eat food out of trash cans. Ok well... maybe not every mayor will have that on their resume, but Capcom’s own Mike Haggar from the Final Fight series certainly will.
Who is Mike Haggar?
First Appearance: Final Fight (1989)
Latest Appearance: Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition (2019)*
*As part of Lucia’s character story which released in 2019
Mike Haggar is one of the central characters of the Final Fight games - a side-scrolling beat ‘em up series created by Capcom. In addition to being the face of the series, Haggar is the only character to be playable in all of the three original games.
As both the mayor of Metro City and a former professional wrestler, Haggar receives a message from the Mad Gear gang that they have kidnapped his daughter Jessica in exchange for a ransom. In order to save his daughter, Haggar teams up with Jessica’s boyfriend named Cody as well as a ninja named Guy to beat down the Mad Gear gang across all of Metro City. After Jessica is saved, Haggar takes to the streets again in Final Fight 2 to save both Guy’s fiance and his master from the new Mad Gear gang. This time he is assisted by his friend Carlos, who wields a katana, and Maki, a highly skilled ninja. In Final Fight 3, Haggar and Guy team up with police officer Lucia and street brawler Dean to take down a brand new gang known as the Skull Cross Gang.
One of the first of many beat ‘em up games by Capcom, Final Fight is considered to be one of the signature classics of the genre. Haggar has crossed over into a variety of Capcom games over the years, most notably the Marvel vs Capcom games - where he was playable in Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite - as well as Saturday Night Slam Masters.
Final (Street) Fight(er)
Final Fight has a deep connection to another Capcom series: Street Fighter. Both series are set in the same universe so many Final Fight characters have appeared in the Street Fighter games as playable characters. These characters include:
- Guy, Cody, Sodom, and Rolento in the SF Alpha games
- Maki in the handheld ports of SF Alpha 3
- Hugo in SFIII
- Poison in USFIV
- Abigail and Lucia in SFV
Despite being the head of the series, Haggar himself has yet to appear in a Street Fighter game as a playable character. Whether this is because he’d be too similar to Zangief or that they’re saving him for later remains to be seen. Although he’s not playable in Street Fighter, Haggar has been able to find a home in the series through various cameos such as in Lucia’s SFV character story.
Lucia about to break Haggar the news that she got into SFV instead of him
Trivia: The first Final Fight game was originally planned to be a sequel to the first Street Fighter and was originally known as Street Fighter ‘89. It was eventually renamed to Final Fight while the Street Fighter series continued through Street Fighter II which would become a worldwide phenomenon.
“I’m Interested in Final Fight! How can I play it?”
The first Final Fight is one of seven games included in the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle. All three of the original games are also available on both the Wii U and New Nintendo 3DS via the eShop. There are a few other Final Fight games you can get from there, but keep in mind that Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight has nothing to do with the series.
Haggar’s Chances for Smash
To put it bluntly, Haggar’s chances of appearing in Smash are not the greatest. For starters, the last Final Fight game was Final Fight: Streetwise all the way back in 2006 which received poor reviews upon release. Furthermore, Haggar is a Capcom character so he faces a mountain of competition with more popular and relevant characters like Phoenix Wright, Monster Hunter, and Dante.
That said however, Final Fight is Capcom’s signature 2D beat ‘em up series - a genre that is not yet truly represented in Smash yet. Haggar’s appearance in the Marvel vs Capcom games as well as the ever increasing number of Final Fight characters in Street Fighter shows that Capcom hasn’t forgotten about the series. Also while I did mention earlier that Final Fight is in the same universe as Street Fighter, this would not pose an issue at all. The only Final Fight related content in Ultimate is a spirit of Cody which is based on his Street Fighter Alpha 3 incarnation anyway.
Why Should Haggar be in Smash?
Grapplers are an interesting and unique character archetype in fighters that Smash does not have many of (the closest true grappler being Incineroar). With lots of wrestling and grabbing moves from his original games, Haggar would be quite possibly the most adept grappler in Smash. While there are many great beat ‘em up candidates such as Billy/Jimmy and Axel Stone, Haggar would be exceptionally great on his own for his grappling abilities.
Some may argue that Cody would be a better choice to represent Final Fight. While Cody would be a great pick as well, I think Haggar would be the best fit considering he’d be a more unique big brawler type as well as his bigger prominence within the main series.
Haggar’s height, weight, and dash speed would be about the same as Ganondorf’s while his walk speed would be around that of King Dedede’s.
Haggar’s main gimmicks are his grabs; all of Haggar’s normal throws deal a ton of damage/knockback while he would have an additional two grabs as part of his special moves. All of his other attacks would be relatively strong and not as slow as you’d expect from a big character like him. His normals would feature wrestling moves that are from Haggar’s game appearances as well as a few original moves for things like down tilt and such. Examples of a few of his wrestling normals would include his dropkick and body slam attacks, which would be his forward aerial and down aerial respectively.
To improve his long reach game and differentiate himself from Incineroar, Haggar’s down special would utilize items from the Final Fight games. More detail on that specific move in the special move list below.
Neutral special: Piledriver
Haggar’s most signature attack. Press B and Haggar will instantly grab whatever is in front of him. When you grab someone you can actually keep walking around with them, though the longer you walk with them the more time the opponent will have to mash out. When the enemy is grabbed, you can press B again to fly the enemy in the air before slamming them into the ground. Like Bowser’s grab move, you can move your direction in the air while the opponent can mash out at low % health to prevent early stage KO’s.
If you grab someone with this attack while in the air, Haggar will immediately piledrive them into the ground since you can’t walk around.
Side special: Lariat
Haggar’s special move in the Final Fight games. This attack is similar to Incineroar’s neutral special on account of them both being based on a real world wrestling move. Unlike Incineroar’s version of this move however, Haggar’s version covers more area above him and allows him to move a greater distance in one direction more easily. The downside of this lariat attack compared to Incineroar’s version is that the lower part of Haggar’s body is open to attack apart from when the move is first used.
If used in the air, Haggar will briefly slow down his fall making it a decent recovery option. This will only work once and any subsequent uses will lack the fall speed slowdown until Haggar touches the ground.
Up special: Hoodlum Launcher
This is one of Haggar’s special moves in Marvel vs Capcom 3. When you use this move, Haggar will pause for a very brief moment before lunging either diagonally in the air or to the left/right (depending on which direction you hold). The startup for this attack is a bit longer than the piledriver and the distance you travel isn’t all that great either, however Haggar will have super armor during the first part of the attack to compensate.
If an enemy is caught by your attack, Haggar will toss them in the air by a very small distance. This move only deals a small amount of damage (about 3%) but the opponent will be put in a tumbling animation and Haggar can move immediately afterwards. This makes the opponent open to some very strong moves/combos.
If you manage to grab an opponent while you are in the air, Haggar will be able to jump again after using this move even if he had previously used all of his jumps. This helps greatly with his recovery and makes the opponent think twice about edge-guarding Haggar despite his normally crappy recovery.
Down special: Barrel Bust
While writing the Underdog article for Axel Stone (another beat ‘em up character), I considered adding a move that would implement the many pickable items in Streets of Rage. In the end I favored a different move that was more akin to Axel’s in-game arsenal, but I have always had the previous idea on my mind. To tie in the many items found in Final Fight as well as differentiate Haggar’s moveset from other heavy-weights, I decided to give Haggar a new move which utilizes the series’ signature brown barrels.
Press down special once and Haggar will pull out a brown barrel and slam it on the ground in a standing position. With the barrel now out, Haggar can either destroy it or throw it at the enemy like the actual barrel item in Smash. If you hold B while Haggar pulls out the barrel, Haggar will instead smash it instead of placing it on the ground. You’re probably thinking: what is the point of breaking the barrel? Well that is where the big part of this move comes in: the contents of the barrel.
When the barrel is broken (whether it be by holding B during the initial animation or by hitting it once it's placed), one of 4 items (3 weapons + 1 food item) will appear, each with a 25% chance of spawning. When Haggar is holding one of the three weapons, he will temporarily gain a new jab, forward tilt, and forward Smash until he loses the weapon (either by using it too much or dropping it). The items from the barrel as follows:
- Pipe: A lead pipe that is the strongest of all of Haggar’s weapons. A fully charged smash attack from it can KO the opponent extremely early. It has great range when swung, but it's only downside is that it takes a long time to use.
- Knife: A small knife that Haggar will throw at the opponent in the case of his forward tilt. Doesn’t deal much damage but it launches very fast. Forward smash would be Haggar swinging the knife very quickly; it has small range but is the fastest of all of Haggar’s smash attacks.
- Katana: Essentially a faster but weaker version of the pipe, and definitely the most balanced of all the weapons.
- Meat: A tasty meat treat that restores 5% HP.
Opponents can pick up the weapons but they can only throw them; no unique moves gained unless the opponent is also playing as Haggar (similar to how other Warios can ride each other's bikes). The meat item can also be eaten by anyone.
In order to spawn a new barrel (and thus a new object), none of the 4 Haggar items belonging to that specific Haggar can be out on the stage. You can do this by overusing your current item a lot so that it breaks (after 5 hits per item), throwing the item off the stage, or just letting the item sit on the ground for about 10 seconds. This mechanic is similar to Wario’s bike and can lead to some intense moments of trying to get back to an item after the opponent knocked it away from you (much like in Final Fight).
Some people may not like the randomness of this move, but I thought it’d be a nice tie in to Final Fight since you are always breaking barrels and trash cans to get items. Plus there are much worse cases of RNG in Smash such as with Game & Watch and Hero.
Final Smash: Final Haggar Buster
This is Haggar’s level 3 hyper move in the Marvel vs Capcom games. Haggar will grab an opponent standing right in front of him and perform a lengthy cinematic where he throws the enemy into the air and slams them into the ground. Any other enemies standing near Haggar while this final smash is used will be blown away by the final impact, while the unfortunate person who got grabbed in the first place will be blown away even farther.
Similar to other characters like Wario, Haggar would actually have two costumes with 4 colors each: his usual appearance with green pants as well as his Final Fight 3 outfit with a ponytail and extra gear. Here are my ideas for Haggar’s costumes:
- Default outfit.
- Haggar’s outfit from Final Fight 3.
- Based on Cody, boyfriend of Haggar’s daughter Jessica and one of the three playable characters in the first Final Fight. He later becomes a criminal in the Street Fighter games starting with his debut in Street Fighter Alpha 3.
- Based on Guy, a ninjutsu warrior who is playable in Final Fight 1 and 3 as well as an occasional playable character in the Street Fighter games starting with Street Fighter Alpha.
- Based on Hugo, a recurring enemy in the series who is among the Andore wrestling family. He is also an occasional playable character in the Street Fighter series starting with Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact.
- Based on Carlos, Haggar’s katana wielding friend and one of the three playable characters in Final Fight 2.
- Based on the “retired general Haggar” palette swap from the Marvel vs Capcom games.
- Based on Rolento, a recurring boss character in the series as well as an occasional playable Street Fighter character starting with Street Fighter Alpha 2.
Because of the many enemies and playable characters in the Final Fight series, there is a ton of potential when it comes to spirit battles. Here are just some of the ones I thought up of:
- Blue Terry with an ore club in New Donk City. Based on how Cody is a street brawler while the ore club is a small reference to his criminal upper attack in the Street Fighter games.
- Red Greninja that is extremely aggressive on Bridge of Eldin. Based on Guy being a fast ninjutsu fighter, while the stage is a small reference to Guy’s Street Fighter Alpha 3 stage which takes place under a bridge.
- 3 Pink Zero Suit Samus’ on New Pork City that will primarily attack with forward smash and up-B. Based on how Poison is a common enemy in the games and how she mainly fights with her legs.
- 3 big Incineroars on Boxing Ring. Based on how Hugo is one of the many Andore wrestling family members.
- Red Ike on Boxing Ring. A Samurai Goroh assist trophy will also assist Ike. Based on the second boss fight of the first game which takes place in an underground arena.
- Yellow Snake on Wrecking Crew. Likes to throw out grenades and missiles plus there are a ton of explosives lying around. Based on the Rolento fight in the first game which takes place in a construction area.
- Red Sheik on Suzaku Castle, Based on Maki being a ninja fighter while the stage is meant to resemble the first stage of Final Fight 2.
- Purple biker Wario on Fourside. Uses his bike a lot as a reference to Belger’s wheelchair that he fights in. During this fight you have a red Peach as your ally (based on Jessica) and you lose if she dies.
Classic Mode: Metro City Beat Down
By the request of viewers, I’m gonna start making classic mode routes now for each character going forward (or at least I’ll try to). Haggar’s classic mode would be based on the levels of the first Final Fight game. Each battle is a stamina battle while there are a ton of additional enemies assisting the primary one. The stages are as follows:
- Stage 1: Yellow biker Wario (Onett)
- Based on the first level of Final Fight, which takes place in a street environment with Wario being based on Damnd.
- Stage 2: Incineroar with Takamaru assist trophy (Spirit Train)
- Based on the second stage which is a subway train, while Incineroar and Takamaru are based on Hugo and Sodom respectively.
- Stage 3: Blue Bowser (Arena Ferox)
- Based on the Edi E. boss battle which takes place in an area where lots of people are watching you.
- Stage 4: Yellow Snake (Norfair)
- Based on the fourth stage which is an industrial area with lots of burning fire. Snake represents Rolento who is the final boss of the stage.
- Stage 5: Giant white Donkey Kong (Great Bay)
- Based on the Abigail boss battle which takes place in the Bay Area of Metro City.
- Stage 6: Dr. Mario (New Pork City)
- Based on the final level of the game which is a large corrupt city area.
- Final Boss: Master Hand (Omega form Fourside)
- Donkey Kong’s classic mode shows that Master Hand doesn’t have to be on Final Destination so he’d be here in this case. A blue Terry and a red Greninja would assist you representing Cody and Guy respectively. Based on the final boss battle which takes place at the top of a building at night.
Stage: Metro City Subway
A side scrolling stage based on the second level of the first Final Fight. The stage keeps scrolling with enemies coming out to attack as well as barrels rolling towards the left (which happens in later levels). Eventually you would hop off the train, walk on the tracks for a bit, and then board a new train.
I initially did consider making the stage based on the first street level from Final Fight, but in the end I thought this idea would be much more unique. Plus Smash is lacking train stages.
Each of the original three Final Fight games has their own unique stage clear theme. It was hard to choose between the three of them though my personal choice for Haggar’s victory theme would be the Final Fight 2 stage clear theme. The stage clear theme from Final Fight 3 is a close runner up.
Like many other great beat 'em up series, the Final Fight games have amazing tracks to jam out to while beating up people.
- Final Fight - Metro City Slums
- A remixed version of this song appears as Guy’s theme in the Street Fighter games, which would also fit well in Smash.
- Yet another remix of this song appears in the Marvel vs Capcom games as Haggar’s theme, another potential great tune for Smash.
- Final Fight - Metro City Subway
- Final Fight - Andore Cage Fight
- Final Fight - Rolento Battle
- A remixed version of this song appears in Ultra Street Fighter IV as Rolento’s theme, which would also fit well in Smash.
- Final Fight - Bay Area
- Final Fight - Abigail Fight
- Final Fight - Street of Luxury
- Final Fight 2 - Carve a Dragon Wood
- Final Fight 2 - Bust up the Railway
- Final Fight 2 - Sleep Junk Down
- Final Fight 2 - Bears are Hiding in the Woods
- Final Fight 3 - For Metro City
- Final Fight 3 - Law and Disorder
- Final Fight 3 - Smeared Graffiti
- Final Fight 3 - Straight to the Top
Mii Fighter Costumes
In addition to doing classic mode routes, I’m also gonna start adding in potential Mii Fighter costumes for these Underdog articles going forward. Here are the ones that would probably release alongside Haggar:
Poison's Mii Hat would consist of her hat and hair while Rolento's sword would be his staff. A full-on Mii Costume for Poison would be great to have, but for obvious reasons it probably wouldn't happen.
This article took a long time to release due to a ton of drama I’ve been dealing with (basically everyone in my house caught COVID-19 at some point but we’re all better now). I'm really glad with how it turned out so I hope you all feel the same.
Next time on Smash Underdogs: Hats, masks, and… an umbrella?
Author's Note: How do you feel about the Final Fight series and Mike Haggar? Would you like to see Haggar in Smash one day? Let us know in the comments below!