Lookin’ Back #24 – Street Fighter II

A classic fighting game from years gone by.

One of my favourite genres of games as a kid was fighting games/beat ‘em ups.  From games like Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat on the SNES and Mega Drive, to Fighters Destiny on the Nintendo 64.  I’m not as big of a fighting fan as I used to be.  I’ve enjoyed Dead or Alive 4 and Virtua Fighter 5.  But the game that made me fall in love with fighting games back in the day was a genre classic, Capcom’s Street Fighter II.

Street Fighter II initially appeared in the arcades way back in 1991, and featured 8 selectable characters who were, for the most part, very distinctive and had great character.  From the sumo style of E Honda, the pro wrestler Zangief to the stretchy yoga master Dhalsim, each character felt different, with the exception of the almost identical Ken and Ryu.  You fought all the other characters and then fought the four unplayable boss characters, Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M. Bison.

sf2-1

Street Fighter II was a big part of the boom in beat ‘em ups in the early nineties, and was followed up by a number of different iterations.  The Mega Drive saw Street Fighter II Championship Edition, which had alternate colour schemes for characters, allowing for two players to pick the same character.  Also, the boss characters were playable in the game, but no new characters were added.  The SNES had Street Fighter II Turbo, which had everything from the Championship Edition, plus the extra option of being able to change the game speed, from the standard speed all the way up to super hyperactive speed levels.

Championship Edition and Turbo had the same graphics and music as the original version of the game.  In 1993, Capcom made Super Street Fighter II.  This version of the game had the 12 characters from the previous Street Fight II variants, plus 4 new characters, Dee Jay, T-Hawk, Cammy and Fei Long.  It featured a new, more vibrant graphic style and remade versions of the original stage music.  All the original characters had new special moves.  In particular, Ken and Ryu were given unique moves which at least gave them a non-cosmetic difference.

sf2-2

With each iteration, the Street Fighter II games got more balanced, and more fun to play.  Of course, there were quite a few moves that frustrated people, or at least they frustrated me.  Things such as Blanka’s electric shocks or Honda’s Hundred Hand Slap, which were both very difficult to stop once they got going.

A fun addition to the arcade mode of the game was the mini-games that appeared after a few fights, which gave you different tasks to accomplish, including destroying as many falling barrels as possible, or trying to destroy a car.  Great fun little distractions.

In my opinion, the classic music, the varied look and design of the characters and the overall gameplay made this the greatest fighting game ever made.  What is your favourite fighting game?  Why not visit the forums and let us know.

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Mike is Brutal Gamer's Indie Editor. He has been playing video games since the early 90s and is fond of racing games, puzzlers and MMOs. Typing /played while in WoW makes him cry, but not enough to stop him playing some more.
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