Fighters History may not be a household title by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s not to say this fighter didn’t have a history. Released a year after Street Fighter II was on the Super Nintendo, Fighters History had a few similarities, to say the least, to Capcom’s famed brawler. So much so, Capcom had filed a lawsuit against Data East for copyright infringement, which Capcom eventually lost. Since Street Fighter II and Fighters History have had a somewhat storied past, they will be the subject of the latest Comparison Series.
Today’s focus will be on Street Fighter II.
If you’ve never played Street Fighter II over the last 20 years, this is basically the most beloved fighting game ever released. Along with Mortal Kombat, we witness the explosion of the fighting game genre like never before in both the arcade scene, and the home console market. Featuring eight selectable fighters, with all but two playing completely different from each other. But what exactly made Street Fighter II so beloved, and the measuring stick in which all future fighting games were measured to for years after its release? Well, it’s not just one aspect, but several.
The major selling points involved the controls and the characters themselves. While by means an easy game to master, it was easy enough to pick up and play, and not the most complicated game to learn. Quarter circle motions and a punch button to throw a fireball from Dhalsim, hold down for two seconds and then press up and a kick button for a Flash Kick from Guile, rapidly mash a punch button to perform a Hundred Hand Slap with E. Honda. Again, relatively easy to learn, difficult to master. Although the controls are fluent enough, jumping felt a bit floaty, which often lead to a lot of domination by anti air characters, such as Ryu and Ken.
The Super Nintendo port of Street Fighter II did come off as a visually impressive conversion, though details and frames of animations were altered in order to fit it all onto the cartridge. Even still, its a colorful game with a superb looking cast of characters and some interesting backgrounds. Some might be a bit simplistic, such as Sagat’s background, which has a giant statue and no spectators, to Chun Li’s background with a busy marketplace going in the background. For a 16 bit title, SFII did show a lot of polish and a commendable use of the systems color palette.
Another thing SFII was quite famous for was the audio presentation. The music still remains as some of the most memorable tunes in video game history. Throughout the run of Street Fighter II titles (Championship, Turbo, Super, Super Turbo, etc.) these tunes have been remixed somewhat, but never held the pulse pounding power that the original had. In fact, it wasn’t until Street Fighter Alpha 2 that this soundtrack was matched. The classic sound effects are still a staple even today. Cell phones shouting out “HADOUKEN!” when a text message is received, wrestling commentators calling flying uppercuts during a wrestling match a “shoryuken” and so on. Twenty years later, the cross cultural influences that not only the sound bytes hold, but the game its self displays, more than represents the fact that Cacpom created a juggernaut of an IP that has extended well outside the reach of the gaming community.
There were only a small handful of issues that were a problem years ago, and still add a bit of annoyance to the overall package. As mentioned earlier, the floaty jumps make any type of jump ins problematic, as just about any anti air attack has plenty of time to develop and knock you out of the sky. Although eight fighters was considered a plethora of combatants to choose from, it was a tease to see these cool boss characters slap you around, and yet you had the inability to play as them, until a year later. Finally, throw damage was way too generous and the ability to make your opponent dizzy was a bit too easily done. In some cases, one throw could tack off 1/4 of your opponents health. With the dizziness, two fireballs could render ones character dizzy. Thankfully, it wasn’t a difficult task to shake yourself out of that state.
Even today, Street Fighter II remains an exciting and addicting experience, regardless of all of the “updates” the game has received over the years. It’s a bright and colorful visual experience, with a memorable cast of characters and one of the best single or multiplayer experiences you’ll ever encounter.
Check back tomorrow for part two of this Comparison Series, as we take a look at Fighters History, the score for each game, as well as which game has the better Visuals, Audio, Controls and Replay!