To give our intrepid heroes Guy, Cody and the one-man wrecking team Mayor Mike Haggar (from Capcom's 1991 arcade game Final Fight) a breather between rounds of piledriving Andore and Damnd, some rounds had inter-level bonus stages spliced in where Players 1 and 2 would work out their frustrations on inanimate objects without fear of retaliation (to say nothing of splinters or shrapnel!) Whoever wrecked the most havoc in a set time period would rack up some hefty bonus points, and the carnage against anthropoid targets would resume.

There were a few of these - first and foremost among the riotous spates of mayhem arriving in the form of most thoroughly trashing an automobile, apparently owned by a member of the Mad Gears gang. Windows, windshield, hood, bumper, carburetor, engine block - piece by piece the entire car would be reduced to its constituent components by high kicks and roundhouse punches.

After blowing off some steam this way (literally and figuratively - venting the players' destructive energy while simultaneously causing the radiator to puff sadly in a final gesture of futile defiance) the characters would exeunt stage left (in search of some presumably perfidious plate-glass windows), shortly thereafter the owner of the former car wandering on-screen and exclaiming, in shock, immediately before bursting into tears (I'll bet he'd just made the last payment on it):


The Metro City gang of heroic ruffians wouldn't be seen again for many a game but Capcom recognized a star when they had one - among many crates and oil drums, the self-same car logged another appearance shortly thereafter as another target for inter-level violence in various versions of Street Fighter 2: The World Warriors, in every case being most effectively reduced to rubble by Blanka's electric shock field, Chun-Li's repeating kick and E. Honda's wacky sumo hand action. The brief trend of providing inanimate objects for players to smashy smashy to dust between baddies was also featured (albeit in a marginally more martial-artsy context) in the arcade version of Mortal Kombat - almost assuredly more in emulation of SF2 than FF.

The no-skill button-mashing tactics applied against these defenseless inanimate objects also opened the door to "twitch" inter-level bonus stages providing no greater challenge than seeing which player could hit buttons faster. This was first seen divorced from a car-destruction context in the arcade game of The Simpsons, masked in one case as inflating a Krusty-the-Clown's-head-shaped balloon with a bicycle pump and elsewhere in self-slapping back to consciousness.

Strangely, the mad button-slapping mania seems to have endured as a more-longstanding trend in arcade games than wanton aggression exercised upon immobile objects and fixtures did - this can be seen manifesting at perhaps its most frantically minimal and stripped-down level with Hyper Bishi-Bashi Champion, all the while the only car destruction going on in our nation's arcades being merely the inevitable result of inept drivers in excessive simulations.

1 "Oh, my car!" was in fact an adaptation from the arcade version's original exclamation "Oh, my God!" for the sanitized SNES conversion of Final Fight, but makes much more sense as a node-title. According to QXZ, it sounded (due to poor synthesis or a low sampling rate perhaps?) much more like "Oh, my cuh!" - plainly a cause for endless amusement.

Many thanks to TheBooBooKitty for actually playing through the entirety of the arcade version of Final Fight to check my facts 8)

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