The Street Fighter legacy, part II

RyuKen

So three games in. The original, one unofficial sequel and one official sequel that ended up becoming a separate franchise and yet still no Street Fighter II.
Capcom next release a new Street Fighter game that is set in the future…well it was the future when it was originally released, now its the past.

SF2010 start

Street Fighter 2010: Released for the NES in 1990, developed and published by Capcom. This “sequel” was another attempt at doing something different with Street Fighter, unlike the previous Street Fighter 89/Final Fight…this one was not as successful.

The game was known as Street Fighter 2010 in Japan but named Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight (may as well make two tenuous links to other Capcom games for the price of one) for the American and European release. This one really has pretty much nothing to do with the Street Fighter franchise at all and opts for a scrolling/action/platform style more akin to Strider over the beat em’ up, one on one fighting games Street Fighter is known for. Even more so, the English translation changed the name of the main character to Ken and even adapted his back story to attempt to tie this all into the Street Fighter series, where as the original Japanese release had the main character named Kevin.

You play as Ken supposedly from the original Street Fighter game who has since retired from his martial arts career after winning the tournament and has become a scientist…because, why not? Ken has developed a new substance called “Cyboplasm” which provides superhuman strength to any living organism. Ken’s lab partner, Troy is murdered and the Cyboplasm is stolen. Ken sets out to bring Troy’s killer to justice and to get back his Cyboplasm.
Yes that really is the plot to a Street Fighter game.

The objective is to defeat a designated target on each level, sometimes more than one target per level, before you can move onto the next stage. Ken can jump, climb walls, back flip as well as shoot his energy projectile weapon which can be upgraded by finding power ups in the levels…and yes, this is still a Street Fighter game we are talking about here.

SF2010 screen

The game is a pretty average action/platformer…but it really has nothing to do with Street Fighter. Even if we forget about the English localisation tenuous links to try to tie this into the existing Street Fighter series. The original Japanese version is still titled; Street Fighter 2010, so Capcom clearly wanted it to be considered a bona fide Street Fighter game anyway…and its really not.

Well after all of that mess, can we finally get a genuine and authentic sequel to Street Fighter?

SF II start

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior: Eventually, in 1991, Capcom did release the REAL sequel to Street Fighter into arcades. Though most people just call it Street Fighter II, its full official title is; Street Fighter II: The World Warrior.

This one was much more like the original game, but with a whole lot on new features thrown in. Instead of only having old rivals Ryu or Ken as playable characters, Street Fighter II added a total of eight playable characters. Back are the original Ryu and Ken but joining them on this world tour of fighting was; sumo wrestler E. Honda (Japan), beast-like mutant Blanka (Brazil), former USAF special forces operative Guile (USA), Interpol officer Chun-Li (China), pro wrestler Zangief (Russia) and finally yoga master Dhalsim (India). Other updates and iterations added more characters later.

What was amazing about this game and elevated above everything else in the arcades at the time was the fact each character was unique with their own back stories, move sets and special moves. Each of the eight fighters had their own personal reasons for taking part in this fighting tournament and all eight had their own endings to the game too.

But there was more then just the playable eight fighters as the game also had four boss fights, though you could only fight against these bosses and not actually play as them…yet. We had; professional boxer Balrog (USA), bullfighter Vega (Spain), kick boxer and original boss from the first game Sagat (Thailand) and mysterious evil dictator M. Bison (???).

I suppose now would be a good time to bring up the name changes. In the original Japanese version, the bosses names are different. M. Bison was called Vega, Vega was originally Balrog and Balrog was named M. Bison. Part of the reason for the name change was due to the fact that the American boxer looked VERY much like Mike Tyson and having him called M. Bison (the M even stood for Mike) was thought a possible legal issue. So they swapped the names around for the English versions.

SF II screen

Street Fighter II exploded and rightly became a worldwide smash hit. It revolutionised the tournament fighter genre of gaming forever and its influence is still found in any one on one beat em’ up today. The game was ported to pretty much every home machine between 1992 up to today. Every home computer/console from the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 to the Super Nintendo, Mega Drive, even the Game Boy right up to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 had some version of Street Fighter II made available. This game was everywhere and still much loved today.

But Capcom didn’t follow up Street Fighter II’s success with an immediate sequel, oh no. Instead they churned out updates and alterations on the main game with; Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, Super Street Fighter II Turbo and finally Hyper Street Fighter II and I’m pretty sure I’m still missing a few other versions thee too. These updates offered various new gameplay options such as new special moves, new costume colours, increased speed, the ability to play as the four bosses, new battle modes and even all new playable characters.

SF II characters

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers added four all new characters to join the original 12 (the eight standard and the four bosses), the new characters were; indigenous warrior T Hawk (Mexico), special forces agent Cammy (England), Hong Kong movie star Fei Long (China) and kick boxing musician Dee Jay (Jamaica). Just as with the previous characters, they each had their own moves, back stories and endings.

But those new versions up there ^^^ were only the officially relased ones by Capcom as there was a slew of unofficial/bootleg ROM chip upgrades made by fans that also found their way into the arcades…but I’m not going to cover all of those here. Just how many official and unofficial versions of Street Fighter II there are, I’m not 100% sure on, but its a lot.

Oh, by the way. Let it be known here that this trend of releasing multiple updates and alternate versions of the same game becomes a running trend with Street Fighter from this point on.

Street Fighter II is also where the crossovers to Final Fight began. Interesting titbit coming up…

SF II punch

That image is from the introduction to the original Street Fighter II arcade. Recognise the blonde fella?

Cody

Its actually Cody from Final Fight.
But that is not all as Zangief’s wresting moves and even build as a character is very similar to Mike Hagar from Final fight. In fact, part of Zangief’s history is said to be connected to Hagar’s as they were old friends and former wrestling partners.

But I could sit here and yak on about Street Fighter II all day (did you know a bug discovered in early game testing resulting in developing a combo system which is now common place in these games?), I could probably even write its own separate in depth article. But I have a lot of games to cover and need to move on.

So as we leave Street Fighter II behind, Capcom must have Street Fighter III next…right? Nah of course not, this is Capcom we are talking about here.

SF Alpha start

Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams: Also known as; Street Fighter: Zero. This is the start of a whole new series within the Street Fighter franchise. Developed and published by Capcom, released into arcades in 1995. Street Fighter Alpha/Zero is set after the original Street Fighter but before the events of Street Fighter II. So I guess its a sequel and prequel?

Maintaining the style perfected by Street Fighter II and throwing in a load of new features along the way. Adding a three level super combo system, counter attacking technique, air blocking and chain combos along with various other refinements. Characters include Street Fighter staples; Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat and M. Bison but new to the roster are; Birdie, Guy (from Final Fight), Sodom (also from Final Fight), Charlie and Rose. Then there is the addition of Akuma and Dan as hidden characters that can be accessed by meeting certain requirements while playing or imputing a specific code.

SF Alpha screen

Just as with Street Fighter II previously, Alpha/Zero was ported to various home machines at the time; Game Boy Colour, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Sega Saturn and Windows all had their versions. Alpha/Zero also spawned its own franchise (within an already existing franchise) and had two sequels. These sequels added more refinements and even more characters including some Street Fighter II and Final Fight favourites taking the count to over 40 characters in total.

SF Alpha characters

I feel its time to move on and end part II right here. But there is a lot more Street Fighter action coming up in part III where we may actually get to see Street Fighter III…after a few more other games series within the same series…

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