Final Fight Streetwise is a beat 'em up. In the story mode, you control Kyle Travers, who is on a quest to find his missing brother, Cody. As you play through this mode you can earn cash to buy new moves, weapons and other items. There are two main attack buttons: light attack (X button on PS2, A button on Xbox) and the heavy attack (square on the PS2, X on Xbox). Using these two buttons you can perform combos against enemies.
There is also a button used to grab and throw enemies. When close to an enemy, press the circle button on PS2, or the B button on Xbox. Kyle will grab the opponent and throw them. Alternatively, when Kyle grabs someone, start bashing the light attack button to make him knee his opponent a few times instead.
To block, hold the L1 button on PS2, or the Y button on Xbox. Kyle will defend himself from punches and kicks thrown at him...and surprisingly he can even block bullets!
Kyle is also able to dodge, letting him move quickly toward or away from an opponent. On the PS2 version, hold the block button, then press triangle along with a direction on the left analogue stick. On the Xbox version, hold the right trigger, then press the black button and press a direction on the left analogue stick.
Throughout the game you will come across weapons, such as baseball bats or shotguns. The melee weapons will break after several uses, whilst you will lose any guns when their ammunition has been depleted. To pick up a weapon, stand over it and then press the circle button on PS2, or B button on Xbox. If you don't want to have a weapon equipped, press the R2 button on PS2, or the white button on Xbox. You can equip a weapon by pressing the same button again.
Beneath the red life gauge is another gauge, which is colored blue. This is the instinct meter. To fill up this gauge, keep fighting and beating enemies. The instinct gauge lets you use "instinct mode", which is a way of powering up your moves. Whilst using standard attacks, hold down the L2 button on PS2, or left trigger on Xbox to activate instinct mode. You can tell when this mode is on as the instinct gauge will go a brighter blue, and some blue shadows will appear behind Kyle as he does moves. This will increase the amount of damage Kyle's moves do.
The instinct meter can also be used to perform counters. Whilst blocking, press either the light or strong attack buttons as an enemy attacks you. Kyle will do a counter move that will send his opponent flying away from him. You can buy other counter moves in the various gyms of Metro City.
The red bar above the instinct meter is the health gauge. When you are attacked, this gauge will decrease. If it completely emptied, Kyle will be knocked out and the game will restart at the previous checkpoint, with the health gauge being refilled. To replenish this gauge you need to find food items or first aid kits, which you can find dotted around the streets, or they may appear out of defeated enemies. To pick up food items, just stand over them and press the throw button.
Another way of getting food items is to go inside the various shops you find to buy things. These cost money, but the shops are your only other option if you can't find any food on the streets.
In each part of Metro City you enter, you can gain or lost respect. Gain respect by beating gang members and completing side missions. Lose it by attacking innocent people. By gaining respect, you can eventually get the local gangs to leave you alone (they won't attack unless you do). But if you lose it, some of the bystanders may attack you!
As you run around Metro City, you can talk to people who will give you side missions to do. Whilst you don't have to do side missions, it is generally a good idea to do them as they're easy ways of making some quick cash. See the side missions page for the missions which crop up more than once. Read the story mode guide to see the unique missions.
The reason you'll want cash is to spend it on new moves and other useful things. There are a couple of gyms you can visit in Metro City, where you can buy new combos and techniques, along with some stats boosts (such as making the instinct meter larger). Some of these are quite pricey, so complete as many side missions as you can to get the required cash.
Another thing you can spend cash on is allies. You can find people willing to help Kyle for a limited amount of time -and a price. They'll follow you around for a bit and help you fight anyone you encounter on the streets. They won't help you in the side missions or the story mode's key events, making them a bit of a waste, in all honesty. The prices for each ally vary, as do their attacks. For example, Haggar will easily throw enemies around, whilst a cop for hire will use his shotgun.
To bring up the menu, press select on PS2 or back on Xbox. The menu has several options in it. The first is Kyle's journal -if you ever forget where you are meant to be going next, read it, as Kyle will have written a "to do" list. You can also access a list of side missions you have started or completed. The skill tree shows you all of the moves you currently have, whilst the stats shows you things such as how much respect you have in each part of Metro City. Finally the music player lists the music you have available to listen to.
In either version, press start to pause the game. From here you can either resume playing, enter the options menu (where you can change things such as the music volume or vibration settings) or quit. To save your game, you need to quit -when you enter the quit option, another menu will come up asking if you want to save. Select yes or no, and you will eventually be taken back to the title screen.