Hall of Fame: Street Fighter II
In this edition of Hall of Fame, the team are waxing lyrical about Street Fighter II, and why they love it so much. So sit back, get comfortable and enjoy as another game is inducted into the GodisaGeek Hall of Fame.
Tony Windebank: Round one…FIGHT!
I remember back in my youth one Christmas, when my parents got me a Super Nintendo. I was so stoked and couldn’t believe my luck. I was even more excited that one of the games that was given to me was Street Fighter II. I had seen it in the arcade when we visited the seaside but never had the cash to play on it and I wished I could’ve played it. Then all of my friends at school said they had played it and said that it was amazing, which made me jealous and extremely anxious to play it so when I finally had a copy, I was so ecstatic that you had to peel me off the ceiling. It was my first ever fighting game and I loved it!
All the characters were well created and had an interesting back story and I absolutely adored how the whole thing was presented. The art, the sound and the gameplay for me was the best thing I’d ever had the opportunity to behold at the time and I played nothing but that game for a good two months! Staying up way past my bedtime and determined to complete the game on the hardest difficulty, which goes to show why my control pads took a battering by bouncing off the floor/drawers/TV screen. Although it was the first game that gave me the dreaded gamers rage, it was the most satisfying when it all came together and I finished the game on its hardest setting.
The other games that I got that Christmas were the likes of Doom and Super Mario World, which were obviously big hitters but they never got a look in at first because for me, Street Fighter II was the game adored the most. It is also the game that makes me play with a control pad instead of a stick. When I finally got the play the arcade version I just couldn’t get to grips with it. I knew from then on that a pad was my best way of fighting and I owe that to this game. In essence, Street Fighter II (the original not the other versions that followed) will always have special place in my heart. Although the other editions were better versions of the same game, they never had the same charm as the original had for me. I loved all of the characters and the way it played, and I now feel like I did that Christmas when I got the game, because it has been accepted into the Hall Of Fame.
Robin Parker: Ask anyone to name a fighting game and invariably, the vast majority of gamers and non-gamers alike will name Street Fighter II, or the Street Fighter series in general. Like Super Mario Brothers defined platform games for generations, so this title from Capcom has done the same for the beat-em-up genre. No other title is as synonymous with one-on-one brawling as this one.
The characters are so strong that the basic eight from the initial release of Street Fighter II are etched into the memory of all gamers. If any other fighting game features a fighter in a White Gi, we will think of Ryu. All sumo wrestlers are forever known as E. Honda. These character designs are iconic and even when Capcom try to introduce new fighters and phase out these eight classics, the fans demand them back and they endure throughout the series. It comes as no surprise that Street Fighter IV – the first title in years that featured all of the original barriers – reinvigorated the series and proved it was still a retail powerhouse.
Play any other fighting game and you will find yourself performing the “fireball” joypad input. Tell someone to perform a move in Mortal Kombat, they need to pull off the combo for a dragon punch, and people will understand. The game is so ingrained into our collective psyche that these button press combinations even appear on t-shirts now.
The fighting system is deep, yet easy to pick up. Newbies can jump in and pull off impressive looking basic moves, but veterans will know the really powerful combos and breakers. It is a game anyone can dip in and out of and most people have some shared memories of. Not a lot of titles have survived so long and remain so well loved.
Charles Le Sueur: I haven’t played a Street Fighter title properly in a long time, but owning Street Fighter II was phenomenal! This game reminds me of being around the 6/7 year old mark. I can’t think of any better feeling than throwing your first ever Hadoken. It was so unbelievably cool I still wish I could lob one at people that annoy me!
Street Fighter II taught me a lot about gaming; some people use cheap moves over and over again, some people mash every button with nothing other than panic to pull of the most amazing combo you have ever seen. It also taught me that learning moves and the difference between a Hi punch and a Low punch could be the difference between life and KO. I found myself in a category of player that wanted to know everything about every character. I used to sit for hours on end playing through the game just to know every character’s story. I feel a closeness to Blanka that only other folk raised in the jungles of Brazil after a plane crash will know of (I benefit from a lack of some crazy missing mother complex though, Me 1 Blanka 0).
Even though years have passed and the world of Street Fighter has grown, and I am no longer awesome at the game, my appreciation for Street Fighter II has meant that I really enjoy watching 2 players take each other on. I still get an adrenaline rush when I play couple of rounds and successfully land a Hadoken, especially if the other player is better than me!
EXCITED BIRD KICK! (Hey, I was 6, I thought that’s what the spinning kick was called!)
Aaron Sullivan: Picture the scene. It’s 1992 and a young lad enters his local chip shop with a group of friends. While they wait for their order they notice other customers crowded around an arcade cabinet in the corner. They stroll over to see what all the fuss is about – it looks interesting so the young lad gives it a try. His opponent throws out crazy special moves he has never seen before while he mashes on a few buttons trying to get his randomly selected character to respond. Inevitably he loses, but it’s too late, the competitive seed has already been sewn.
From the outside, Street Fighter II might look like two guys on screen throwing a wall of fireballs at each other, but underneath there was a tremendous amount of depth that took years to fully understand and to this day only a few have mastered. At the time there were few games that required you to make so many decisions over the course of 99 seconds – turning every round you played into a mini game of chess, trying to predict, react and then adapt to each move your opponent made. At its heart this is what Street Fighter II (and it’s million and one re-releases) was all about; competition! Just you and your opponent in a battle of reflexes and wits. That feeling of achievement it granted when you landed that final hit was like no other and most of the time you knew you had earned it.
On the flip side you found a game that was simplistic enough that almost anyone could pick it up and play with friends as you tried to best one another. Using every little morsel of information to your advantage, like not telling your friends the input to Zangief’s spinning pile driver ( you know you did it too). The feeling of superiority you felt as you landed that fire cracker (raging demon) on your friend in Super Turbo. The swell of pride you gained when you realised you had survived the current session unbeaten at your local chippy and had to go home. Street Fighter II provided it all!
To this day the series maintains that finely balanced formula of simple complexity that sparked the fighting game boom of the 90’s and the competitive scene that is gaining more followers every day!
Martin Baker: There aren’t many things that take me back to my childhood as quickly as hearing the opening music of Street Fighter II. I still remember the dimly lit arcades of my youth, the carpet that looked (and probably was) something from the 60s, the rows of people that were shovelling their money into the lines of slot machines, electronic bingo cards and 2p pushers. I also remember the line of monitors emitting a glow from the back of the arcade, a selection of machines ranging from Captain America and the Avengers to Space Harrier, in the middle of it all, in pride of place, the arcade cabinet for Street Fighter II.
At that time (and now I’m probably ageing myself) a single play on Street Fighter II was 10p and I would quickly go through £1, then £2 and even £5 by the end of the day; that’s 50 plays of a game that nobody seemed to be playing, that area of the arcade was always empty. I couldn’t understand it, my small mind would often attempt to understand why such an amazing game wasn’t being played by everyone, why weren’t people queueing up from the door to get their hands on that matt red arcade stick and those six perfect sounding buttons? To this day I still fantasise about buying myself a Street Fighter II arcade cabinet, not because it’s the best game in the world (which it is one of), not because it’s the grandfather of the modern arcade fighting game (which it certainly is), but because it perfectly epitomises, for me, an era that’s been lost: the arcade machines.
The GodisaGeek Hall of Fame will return next month!