Final Fight can be played by up to two players simultaneously, with each player controlling a different character.
The controls consists of an eight-way joystick and two buttons for attacking and jumping. The player character can move in any of the eight directions, but can only face and attack to the left or right like in most beat 'em ups. Pressing both buttons simultaneously performs a special move that attacks in both directions, though it uses a little vitality. Players can also grab and throw opponents, as well as use various weapons such as knives, pipes, and swords.