It’s time for Adi’s Time Tunnel. This is where I look back at a technology from the past. Today things are going to be a little different. This is because it’s the 25th Anniversary of a game that is one of my all-time favourites. I am of course talking about Street Fighter 2 – The World Warrior.
Street Fighter 2 was a competitive fighting game that was first released in the arcades in 1991. For those of you who have been living under a rock, the plot is that there was an international fighting tournament. You have to pick from a small cast of 8 characters:
- E. Honda
Once you do this you travel on a plane to the native country of each character to defeat them in a match. Each match consisted of three rounds and you had to win 2 out of 3 rounds to move onto the next character. Even after you had finished those characters there were three more characters: Vega (AKA Claw), Balrog (AKA Boxer) and Sagat. Once you have defeated them you get to fight the final boss of the game known as M. Bison(AKA Dictator, evil drug lord and leader of the evil Shadaloo organisation). Once you have defeated him you are the grand champion of the tournament.
Street Fighter 2 was also one of the first games to feature a six-button layout. It had 3 punches and 3 kicks (light, medium and heavy for both punch and kick). The heavy attacks did the most damage whilst leaving a big window for your opponent to attack you. The light attacks did the least damage but had a smaller opening for a counter attack. Needless to say, it really was about knowing when and where to use the various attacks.
There was one innovation that has become a core mechanic in today’s fighting games and that is the combo system. Originally a glitch, the idea is that you could start off a given move and cancel the animation of it to go into another move. A good example of this is Ryu. For example, you can do a crouching medium kick and stop the animation midway by quickly doing a fireball. That would register in the game as a 2-hit combo. This very basic system would then go on to be one of the core mechanics in most of today’s fighting games including Killer Instinct, Tekken 7 and of course Street Fighter V/5.
There was a two player mode which could be activated by simply inserting a coin and then pressing the start button for player two. If a player won a match then they can continue to play on at no extra cost. The loser would put in another coin if they wanted to play again.
At the time, the game had started a huge explosion in the arcade. You would see two players at the cabinet and then a huge line of people behind them. You put down a coin or a token to indicate that you have joined the queue of people waiting. If you win, you keep playing until you lose. When you do you would have to get back inline to try again. Again, if you lost you would have to put in another coin so you had to make what little money you had last as long as possible. You would have one guy who would master doing a special move and until someone could figure out a counter the guy would be untouchable.
Another point worth noting is that there were also various versions of street fighter 2 released on game consoles. There was a Super Nintendo/SNES release, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis release and even a game boy release.
There were many iterations of Street Fighter 2 released which were as follows:
- Street Fighter 2 – Champion Edition(which gave players the ability to play as M. Bison, Balrog, Vega and Sagat)
- Street Fighter 2 Turbo – Hyper Fighting
- Super Street Fighter 2 – The New Challengers (this also released on the Super Nintendo/SNES)
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- Hyper Street Fighter 2: The Anniversary Edition
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo Revival (Game Boy Advance)
- Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix (PlayStation 3 and XBox 360).
There was one controversy though. Originally, the boxer in the Japanese release was M Bison and Dictator was called Vega. In order to avoid possible complications for the American and UK releases of the game, the names were swapped around so that the dictator was known as M Bison and the boxer was called Balrog.
Can you still find it out there today? The answer is yes. There are still some arcades out there like Galloping Ghost Arcade in the USA and The Heart of Gaming here in London, UK where you can go play it. You can also play it online thanks to FightCade (which allows you to play older arcade games online with close to no lag).
Again, Street Fighter 2 is one of my favourite fighting games of all time. It really does bring out the competitive side in me. Whilst I never played Street Fighter 2 in the arcade I played it on the Super Nintendo in the early 1990s and whilst I was not the best gamer I enjoyed every match that I played in (even the ones where I lose). I think that either Ryu or Claw(AKA Vega) was my first character that I ever played with. I just wish sometimes that I could go back and experience the hype and excitement of the arcade scene that Street Fighter 2 had created. For me one of the big things that really stood out about street fighter 2 is how the overall mechanics of the game allowed for really close matches. Since attacks did a lot of damage, you could easily have 10% left but mount a huge comeback and win the match by using a simple combo consisting of two or three hits.
Another thing that I really liked about Street fighter 2 was the simplicity of the mechanics. It was the basics of just having punches, kicks and a few special moves that made it easy to pick up but hard to master. Of course the unintentional combo system in the game allowed for some of the best to really show off and leave the opponent wondering “how on earth did he/she do that?”.
What was your first memory of Street Fighter 2? Let me know in the comments.