[Review] Street Fighter II: The World Warrior


REVIEW # 00000000 00111111

Street Fighter is maybe the first big beat ’em up saga of gaming history and the second installment, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was without any doubt the most famous and influential. While it wasn’t the first brawler released (who remembers SNES’ Final Fight?), it was the first to hit a worldwide succes, and it was later followed by a crowd of fighting sagas such as Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Dead or Alive. Street Fighter was ported on almost all consoles and devices even if the original arcade game still remains the best and the touchstone for the other brawlers. In 2008, Guinnes book of World Records stated that SFII hold the records as “First Fighting Game to Use Combos”, “Most Cloned Fighting Game” and “Biggest-Selling Coin-Operated Fighting Game”. Not that bad for a sequel…moreover SFII is maybe one of the best sequel ever made, one of those games that completely outclassed the predecessor. Just to understand it was nominated 42 times (according to Wikipedia) “best game ever” 6th overall in term of number of citation and 1st among the fighting games.

Street Fighter II has been later ported on almost all consoles with some remarkable versions such as the one for SNES and MS-DOS but are available versions for Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive, TurboGrafx 16, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, 3DO, Amiga CD32 and Amiga.

The success of the game was so huge that instead of making another sequel, Capcom decided to realease only expansions for it, like Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II – The New Challenger and Turbo and Hyper Street Fighter (the 15th anniversary version of the original). Then Capcom ended the superlatives for the adjectuve “super” and they finally released SFIII in 1997.

My heart says…

Brawlers are not my business usually. Actually I’ve played a fistflu of beat ’em ups in my life, beigh the best Tekken 3, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 and, well, Street Fighter 2 is one of my favourites. I’ve never organized a tournament with my friends, even because no one of use was really into this kind of games but I played SFII by myself in my bedroom, even because I didn’t want to share my secret love for Chun-Li with anyone. I’ve fond memories of this game even if playing it for me has always been a sort of pastime (while on the other hand I played more intensely Mortal Kombat) and I’m quite attached to it because one day my computer crashed so bad when I was playing it. I was controlling E. Honda and I started to fight with his hundred hand slap; I don’t know if it was because i pressed the attack key too much or too hard but suddenly Honda couldn’t stop moving his hands. No key was working, nothing could have stopped him. So I had to physically shut down the computer unplugging the jack. And when I restarted it the only think I saw was a brown screen. Thank was the time when E. Honda crashed my 386.

I hated him for this…

Splash screen

70%

Probably the worst part of the game. Good for the game itself it lasts only a few seconds and nobody cares about it!

Graphics

Both the arcade and the SNES versions (the only one I’ve played in the past) and  the MS-DOS port, the other one I’ve played so far have great visuals. No slowings, no flickering, nothing that could have affected other games before. The characters moves in front of an almost fix pre-rendered screen with the possibility to scoll a bit right and left and the variety of their movment is one of the key features to the success of the game. Every single stage has its own background that is very recognizeable even without knowing the set of the fight: when you fly to U.R.S.S. (good ‘ol days when there was still the U.R.S.S…) Zangiewf moves in a set with painting that recalls immediately the communism (you can notice the big red hammer and sickle on the floor), while when you fly to the U.S to challenge Guile the set is very “Top Gun” style.

The 9/10 grade is an average between the 8/10 of the MS-DOS version (which is unfortunately afflicted by slowings and a dull controls) and the 10/10 of the SNES version, since at the very release of the console the port of a game like this was believed to be impossible. Well Nintendo did it!

Narrative

After the worldwide success of the saga, quickly the literature and the cinema started a race to exploit the success of the brawler, improving the narrative aspect of the game with was, even if marginal, rather defined and with its own importance.

The game takes place 9 years after the events of the first game when M. Bison announce a world fighting tournament in order to fight against the world’s best fighter, defeat hium and take possession of his body using the Psyco Power developed by Shadaloo to become a perfect being.

Every single character playable in the game has its own reason to attend the tournament: Ryu wants to fight Sagat again, Guile seeks revenge for the death of his friend Charlie Nash, Chun-Li seeks revenge too but for the death of his father and so on.

So SFII is not the classical brawler where you have to kick ass everywhere no reason why, but has a complex although straightforward plot.

Gameplay

If you’re practical with the brawlers you’ll surely know how SFII works. And even if you’ve never played a game like this, its fame it’s so great that you’ll know anyway hot to manage the controls. You can embody one of the eight fighters: Ryu (JAP), Ken (USA), Guile (USA), Chun-Li (CHN), Dhalsim (THA), E. Honda (JAP), Zangief (URSS) and Blanka (BRA). Then there are other four that can be used only in Super Street Fighter (Thunder Hawk, Cammy White, Fei Lond and Dee Jay, but this will be matter for another post maybe) and the four bosses, Vega (ESP), Balrog (USA), Sagat (THA) and Bison (THA).

Well, I don’t want to tell you which warrior is the best or who’s the worst, even because I really don’t know. I suppose all of you have a favourite character, the one you think it’s for sure better thad the other ones. Speaking for myself I would say Blanka. I’ve always loved his diversity, his special ability to generate electricity and his martian-punk color and style. However I reckon Dhalsim for his skill to hit the opponent even from the distance with his extendible arms and legs and therefore avoid the melee, has maybe something more than the others. I also think that Zangief is the weakest of them all and is the character I’ve used the less.

Anyway I would like to know who’s your favourite character so please answer the poll below

The player has to fight against all other opponents in a two-rounds match (an extra round is played if the first two result in a draw) and then against the four bosses, so nothing new on this side. The inspiration from Final Fight is clear in the bonus stages you play every three matches (in the single player mode) where you have, for example to break a car or some barrels.

Sound

Both the arcade and SNES versions feature great in-game music and good sound effects. Every character has his own particula voice and set of “phrases” that are usually limitated to shouts.

Longevity

There aren’t so many characters in SFII and for sure there are other beat ’em ups that feature a larger selection of fighters and matches (for example in Mortal Kombat) but having the possibility to try all the 8 characters with all their attacks and most important the possibility to fight against another human player it’s a great plus for the longevity of the game that in the end turns out to be high.

Final Score 89/100

75%


Year: 1991

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Genre: Fighting, Beat ’em up

Game Mode: Single Player, Double Player

Original Platform: Arcade

From same developer/publisher:

  • Track & Filed (1983)
  • 1942 (1984) and sequels
  • Ghost ‘n Goblins (1985)
  • Castlevania (1986)
  • Metal Gear (1987) and sequels
  • Bionic Commando (1987)
  • Mega Man (1987) and sequels
  • DuckTales (1989)
  • Final Fight (1989)
  • Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (1990)
  • Little Nemo: The Dream Master (1990)
  • Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (1990)
  • The Little Mermaid (1991)
  • TaleSpin (1991)
  • Darkwing Duck (1992)
  • Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (1993)
  • International Superstar Soccer (1995)
  • Resident Evil (1996) and sequels
  • Silent Hill (1999) and sequels

Inspired to:

  • Final Fight (1989)

If you liked it you can also try:

  • Streets of Rage (1991) and sequels
  • Mortal Kombat (1992) and sequels
  • Fatal Fury (1991) and sequels
  • Virtua Fighter (1993) and sequels 
  • Tekken (1994) and sequels
  • Dead or Alive (1996) and sequels

Other chapters of the saga:

  • Street Fighter (1987)
  • Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (1992)
  • Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting (1992)
  • Super Street Fighter II – The New Challengers (1993)
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo (1994)
  • Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors Dreams (1995)
  • Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996)
  • Street Fighter EX (1996)
  • Street Fighter III (1997)
  • Street Fighter III – Second Impact (1997)
  • Street Fighter EX Plus (1997)
  • Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha (1997)
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998)
  • Street Fighter EX 2 (1998)
  • Street Fighter III – Third Strike (1999)
  • Street Fighter EX 2 Plus (1999)
  • Street Fighter EX 3 (2000)
  • Hyper Street Fighter II (2006)

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. thedeviot says:

    Street Fighter II was a landmark game. I’ve owned several of the ports, SNES, Genesis, and computer versions. The initial MS-DOS port by Hi-Tech Expressions is pretty awful. The graphics, are on point but nearly everything else is abysmal. Horrible controls, floaty jumping, just bad. When Capcom took publishing duties into their own hands for a brief period in the 90’s they had Rozner Labs port Super Street Fighter II, and Mega Man X to DOS. Both of which came with a pretty nice Genesis styled six-button game pad. These were pretty much 1:1 with the excellent Super NES versions (Though Mega Man X was missing the pilotable mechs in the Chill Penguin stage) I played the hell out of both of these releases. Finally, after focusing back entirely on consoles again (which they would stop to give us in-house self-published versions of Street Fighter Alpha, Alpha 2, Mega Man X3, and Resident Evil 2 a few years later), GameTek ported Super Street Fighter II Turbo to MS-DOS which was pretty close to the Panasonic 3DO version. I never had this version, but I did see it in a store once. And only ever once. Kicked myself for years for not buying that one.
    Anyway, great memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Thanks for the super detailed comment and for sharing your adventure with all the ports of all the versions of SF! Next time I will search something about a game I’ll talk to you first! 😀😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thedeviot says:

        Well, I don’t know everything about everything 😉 But I played A LOT of Street Fighter back then. Also main Ken in any version. Bring on the flowcharts!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. Panda says:

    Great review of a classic game! I liked using Blanka and constantly electrocuting my opponents, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always wound up using either Blanka or Chun-Li (because this was back in the 80s/90s so it was awesome that there was a woman who could kick ass lol). Blanka had really simple moves, and I was never great at brawler anyway, but Street Fighter II is so iconic even people who don’t typically play those types of games can say they logged a lot of hours with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Yes, Blanka was quite simple but his possibility to generate electricity was a so good idea that IU couldn’t help using him as my weapon of choice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that’s why I liked him and Chun-Li, too! You just need to hit the button quickly. We had one of those controllers that was automatic, so you could just hold the button down! I was never good at some of the other characters’ moves, so Blanka, Chun-Li, even Honda were my characters of choice 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Mill says:

    I always had a crush on Ken.
    That good looking wavy-blond-hair-mofu. Hmmmm.

    Great review btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have played the Champions Edition version of this game available on the Mega Drive. I liked the diverse characters and interesting special moves used in the game. I agree that the graphics were good and the stages were recognisable, with some interesting background details and movements. I liked the mention of Guile’s stage resembling a scene from “Top Gun”, I have wondered if it was intended to reference the film It is also interesting how the story was added to the game. The background to the characters were discussed in the instruction manual, the game consists of fighting different characters around the world and ends with an animated sequence showing the resolution of the character’s story. I disagree with the thoughts about the splash screen, I liked the designs of characters fighting, although I did wonder who they were. I enjoyed the story about how playing E. Honda crashed your computer. I was always annoyed when other players used the “turbo” and “auto” settings on the Mega Drive controllers so E. Honda would be constantly attacking and I wondered why the fighters fought him in the bathroom.
    What are the differences between the other versions of this game? Was there any differences between the ending animated sequences for M. Bison, Balrog, Sagat and Vega? Is this game similar to the first game in the series?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      I think Guile’s background was pictured intentionally like Top Gun. If not, maybe the designers unconsciously associated the character with Tom Cruise and designed the set like the movie. Regarding the splash screen maybe I don’t love it because is way more “simple” and less detailed than the game and the two fighting characters actually pop up from nowhere and we won’t see them again in the game. Maybe an intro that could have contextualized the game should have helped. Unfortunately I’ve played only the MS-DOS version and the SNES one just a few times, so I cannot compare all the versions, but I will surely try to find a Mega Drive copy to check the differences. For sure, even if the “base” is the same, SFII is way better than the first installment of the series, more polished, better gameplay, more moves etc…In the end is a game that also the ones who dislike brawlers have played at least once and for sure they cannot avoid to admit is a great game…

      Like

  6. Ryan says:

    I have a whole load of respect for Dhalsim. I used to just play against my Dad in the arcade, and I always chose Blanka, spamming electric shock. One day I went to a different arcade with my auntie and actually played against the CPU and got my ass royally handed to me. I thought I was a Street Fighter pro before that. It took a meditating old yoga guru to teach me some humility.

    Liked by 1 person

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