For greater nostalgia feels, press play on the Street Fightin’, butt kickin’ music above and enjoy!
Now that Street Fighter V is finally in all of our hands, I thought I’d take a little trip back and check out Street Fighter 2.
Street Fighter II is one of the most popular fighting games of all time.
Originally released in 1991, people were wowed by the outlandish characters, their special abilities, and the locations in which they were throwing down. And the music, the music was, and still is especially fantastic.
It was also the start of a trend that Capcom continues to this day as Street Fighter II had several different versions release, adding new game-speed options, the ability to earn extra points by performing combos, difficulty balance changes and even adding new fighters.
This was clearly an approach that worked for Capcom as it is has been their way of doing things ever since, with Street Fighter III receiving a total of 3 releases in Street Fighter III: New Generation, 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike. And Street Fighter IV also receiving Super Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and finally Ultra Street Fighter IV.
Capcom claim that this is not going to happen with the 5th instalment in the franchise, but lets withhold our judgment until Street Fighter 6 releases.
The version of Street Fighter II I’m looking at today is The New Challengers, the 4th game in the Street Fighter II sub-series. Originally released on consoles in 1994, The New Challengers lived up to its name by not only providing balance changes and more refined graphics and music thanks to a new engine, CP System 2. But 4 entirely new characters were introduced in addition to the 12 available in the previous versions.
Even though the fighter count rose to 16, the number of matches in the single-player mode remained unchanged, in previous versions you would fight 8 matches, followed by the 4 boss characters, the grand masters consisting of Balrog the boxer, Vega the claw-wielding spanish ninja, Sagat, Master of Muay Thai and finally M. or Master Bison, the psycho-powered leader of the evil shadaloo.
More on those guys later though.
From The New Fighters and onwards however, the game would choose 8 random fighters from the pool and then you would fight the 4 bosses in order, so if you happened to be playing in the arcade and only had a single credit and still managed to beat the game, there could have been up to 4 characters that you still hadn’t even seen! I understand why it was designed this way of course as arcades were invented and designed to drain either your pocket money or your parents stop bothering me for 5 minutes emergency cash, but when it happened to an 8 year old me I couldnt help but feel slightly cheated. But the bonus stages where you can beat up cars with your bare hands are still in there, so I guess all would have been forgiven pretty quickly for me back then.
Now back to those boss characters, with the exception of Sagat, the original Japanese version of Street Fighter II, and every version and new game since have all had the names changed around for the other 3 masters in the international versions of the games. Balrog the boxer was named M.Bison in the Japanese market and was designed to look like real-life former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
You couldn’t really tell mid-fight, but his portrait on the character select screen made it clear that M.Bison and M.Tyson was unlikely to be a coincidence. His name was swapped to Balrog during localisation for fear that the likeness might have caused an infringement lawsuit (I doubt Tyson’s lawyers would have liked pictures of how he looked after I was done with him ending up in the papers). So Bison became Balrog, the original Balrog became Vega, and the original Vega would become who we know as M, or Master Bison.
|Still hate Sagat though,
Look at him, laughing,
I’ll show you…
Thats it for this visit to the Videogame Shoebox but be sure to tune in next time for another step down memory lane as I dust off some more cartridges.
Be sure to let me know on twitter @MikeNotridge any games from your childhood you’d like to see on here.
I will see you, next time.
Whats in your Videogame Shoebox?