Street Fighter certainly has evolved over the years. From the simple but great ground work of the original from 1987, the revolutionary Street Fighter II in 1991 to the Marvel vs Capcom sub-series in the 2000s, right up to today with the latest editions of the Street Fighter franchise. Speaking of which…
Street Fighter IV: The next title in the official Street Fighter series and also the return of original creator Takashi Nishiyama. As Nishiyama left Capcom after the release of the original game to join SNK where he helped create Street Fighter rival games such as; Fatal Fury and King of Fighters.
The arcade version was released in 2008 with PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 ports in 2009.
While the fourth numbered game in the franchise, chronologically this is set somewhere between the Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III. This game was a welcome return to form after Street Fighter III. It was more streamlined, refined and accessible. A real sequel to Street Fighter II if you will. The home ports offered more playable characters than the arcade version with a total of 25 in all. The game’s style was more like the Street Fighter EX series, with the use of 3D polygon characters and backgrounds but still fighting on a 2D plane. Only the graphics where much more smother and detailed.
Classic, fan favourites like; Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, E. Honda, Blanka, Zangief, Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, M. Bison and Akuma all return with the inclusion of Dan, Fei Long, Sakura, Cammy, Gen, and Rose. The game also introduced new characters; Abel, Crimson Viper, Rufus, El Fuerte, Seth and Gouken.
Street Fighter IV received universal critical acclaim with many people claiming it to be the best in the franchise since Street Fighter II. Now with such high praise and acclaim, of course Capcom milked the game for all it could. As with previous games in the franchise, Street Fighter IV had various revisions and updates.
Super Street Fighter IV (2010) added new stages and even more characters; T. Hawk and Dee Jay return from Street Fighter II. Guy and Cody from Final Fight make an appearance. Then there was the inclusion of; Adon, Ibuki, Makoto, Dudley, Juri and Hakan. Then Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (2010) was released which was a version of the previous Super Street Fighter IV for arcades (hence the title) and brought with it a few more enhancements and more characters. This version was later released as both a standalone game and as a downloadable update for the home market. Not done yet as; Ultra Street Fighter IV (2014) was released for arcade, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This one added a few more new stages, new characters (now a total of 44) as well as a few new game mechanics.
There were also versions of the game for iOS and Android devices as well as a version for the Nintendo 3DS called; Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition.
Is that enough Street Fighter IV now? Time to take a look at the latest in the franchise.
Street Fighter V: Wait, straight into the next in the franchise, no new sub-series, no Street Fighter: Alpha Mega EX Ultra Edition? Okay then. Yes, after the success of Street Fighter IV, Capcom got the next proper sequel out with little to no fuss. This time only relased for PC and PlayStation 4 this year, just a few weeks ago.
While Street Fighter IV was a runaway success and met with great praise…not the same could be said about this one. Street Fighter V was rushed out to coincide with the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) an annual esports event that focuses exclusively on fighting games. Due to this rushing out, the game was released unfinished. Okay, so the basic and much loved Street Fighter formula was in tact but most of the game itself was just “missing”. Aside from some minor bugs and glitches, the game was relased with no arcade mode (a staple in the series from the very start), no story mode, as well as missing almost every basic feature you’s expect a game of this type to have. Capcom stated they plan to release all the missing content later via DLC, but most fans were just not happy paying full retail price for a game that was clearly rushed out and missing so much content.
Only a total of 16 characters this time around (I can’t be bothered to do another list, the usuals are here) with more characters being added via DLC later.
What with Street Fighter IV actually being set between Street Fighter II and III, where do you think this one is set? Well its not a sequel to IV but actually set between III and IV. So Street Fighter IV is really a sequel to II and prequel to III, while V is a sequel to III prequel to IV…I think. Rocket science is easier to follow than the chronology of the Street Fighter franchise.
Street Fighter V plays well enough, but again, its just not a full game. Yet it did receive positive reviews anyway.
So there you have it the (almost) entire Street Fighter franchise though (almost) 30 years. But there are still more Street Fighter games which I’ll quickly highlight some of now.
In 1994, Capcom teamed up with Universal Pictures to make a live action film based on Street Fighter II.
This film is bad. How bad? Well it stars Jean-Claude Van Damme playing all American Guile…yes with that accent, we are supposed to believe he is all American. Plus one of its stars, the great Raul Julia, died before this film was released. This film killed Raul Julia.
Anyway, why did I bring this terrible, terrible film up? Well Capcom had the idea of making a game based on the film…
Street Fighter: The Movie: Yes, Street Fighter the game, based on the movie…that is based on the game. Released for the Arcades, PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1995. This one uses digitized images of the film’s cast playing their characters from the film, except for Raul Julia who died before he could start work on this.
This was a slow, clunky mess. While the basic gameplay mechanic of the Street Fighter franchise was there, it just did not work.
Capcom vs. SNK: Similar to the previous Marvel vs Capcom series, this was yet another series running within the Street Fighter franchise. This time featuring characters from various SNK games against various Capcom famous characters including some from the Street Fighter series.
This vs series featured a total of six standard fighting games and even spawned yet another sub-series within this series of card collection games called; SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters with four games in that series.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Yes, another vs series. This time its various famous Japanese anime series/characters going up against some of Capcom’s finest.
Same old schtick. This vs series only managed two games with; Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars.
Street Fighter × Tekken: This one is quite interesting as its a crossover game that uses the infamous Street Fighter formula, but includes Namco’s Tekken series, putting their fighters into the world and style of Street Fighter. Think Street Fighter IV’s style and gameplay with Tekken characters thrown in.
So far, there is only one game in this rather unique concept. However, it has been said that Namco are developing their own game where it will be Tekken x Street Fighter. So a Tekken game with its style and gameplay that features Street Fighter characters. But that was first announced in 2010 and it may never happen, though Namco say they are still working on it…
Next…actually, no more. Not that there are no more Street Fighter related games/series for me to take a look at (Street Fighter X All Capcom, Capcom Fighting Jam, Super Puzzle Fighter, Super Gem Fighter Mini-Mix/Pocket Fighter, Namco × Capcom, Street Fighter: Puzzle Spirits, Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation and others too). I’m just a little Street Fightered out now.
I just wanted to cover the main games in the franchise as well as take a look at some of the more interesting series within the franchise…and I think I have done that, plus this retrospective is long enough already.
Street Fighter is a king among fighting games. Sure, it has had its ups and downs over the almost 30 year history of the franchise. It has spawned other notable franchises and crossovers (Final Fight). Even after all this time, Street Fighter II is regarded as one of the very best (if not THE best) of the one on one/tournament fighters out there. Street Fighter II changed the gaming world when it was released and is still just as playable now as it was back in 1991…no matter which of the dozens of different versions you play.
The game franchise grew to much more than just games too. Movies (some terrible, some pretty good), board games, toys, clothing, soundtracks, collectable coins, artwork. There is even a Street Fighter Monopoly…
When you have your own Monopoly, you know you are a successful franchise.
Street Fighter II was my teenage years as it was for so many others.
Happy fighting people.