Street Fighter: If you say those two words to anyone they mean something, gamer or not, everyone has heard of this iconic series. Street Fighter is often heralded as one of the best, if not the best fighting game of all time. It’s left a grand legacy, and with the recent release of Street Fighter IV, take our hand as we guide you through it.
Street Fighter - 1987
Street Fighter’s debut in gaming was way back in 1987, where men were men, women were women, and gamers were poor. Gamers were poor because of arcades, which back then made a killing with games like Street Fighter. In Street Fighter you play as Ryu, who is competing in an international martial arts tournament, you can also play as Ryu’s rival, Ken. You fight through each stage in one on one battles that 30 seconds long, and must defeat your opponent to progress. It was that simple. Funnily enough, the first Street Fighter Game was one of the least successful of the series. Street Fighter also introduced the 3 most famous moves in Street Fighter History: the Ball of Fire (Hadouken), Dragon Punch (Shoryuken), and Hurricane Kick (Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku).
Street Fighter II Series - 1991-2003
Street Fighter II
1991 is a holy year for gaming: it was the year Street Fighter II was released, there are many incarnations of this game, but without a doubt the original was the greatest. Street Fighter II wasn’t the first head to head fighting game, but it is credited for starting the fighting game boom during the 1990s. It took many aspects of its predecessor, and improved them vastly, creating a timeless classic that people still play today.
Street Fighter II introduced us to eight characters, with each one having approximately 30 moves, you could progress through arcade mode or battle head to head with the computer or a friend in Versus mode. There were also 4 unplayable bosses in the game.
Street Fighter II has taken many forms throughout the years, as the most popular game in the series it had a lot of remakes over the years, each one improving on the last:
* Street Fighter II - The World Warrior - 1991
* Street Fighter II - Champion Edition - 1992
* Street Fighter II - Hyper Fighting - 1992
* Super Street Fighter II - 1993
* Super Street Fighter II Turbo - 1994
* Hyper Street Fighter II - 2003
Each of these reboots introduced new aspects into the game, new characters, new moves and new gameplay. Street Fighter II Champion Edition gave us alternate colour costumes for the combatants, and it added the 4 unplayable bosses in Street Fighter II The World Warrior. The New Challengers introduced 4 new characters, totalling the roster at 16. And Super Street Fighter II Turbo giving us Akuma and the Super Combo. This is leaving out the fact that the game speed was increased to most of these iterations, adding to the challenge.
A recent revamp of Street Fighter II was released for XBL and PSN. It was titled Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, it contained the original game and a “remixed” version using high definition graphics and rebalanced gameplay. It also featured online play.
Street Fighter Alpha Series - 1995-1998
Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams
For years fans stuck with Street Fighter II, waiting, quietly for the next instalment in the series, then in 1995 Capcom answered our prayers, the Street Fighter Alpha Series was born. Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors Dreams was unleashed upon the world, it sported great graphics and completely enhanced the Super Combo system, expanding the Combo meter into three levels, allowing for more powerful Super Combo’s. The character roster consisted of younger versions of many of Street Fighter II’s line up as well as characters from Final Fight, and a few new additions to the franchise, it was pretty great.
1996 saw the birth of both Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3. In Alpha 2 the roster was again expanded to a whopping 18, the five new characters were taken from Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, and Final Fight, along with Sakura making her first appearance. It also added the Custom Combo into gameplay.
Street Fighter Alpha 2
The final game in the Alpha Series saw a complete overhaul of the gameplay system. Players were now allowed to select one of three fighting styles, each one based off a previous Street Fighter command style [A-ism, X-ism and V-ism]. The roster increased to 27 and each returning character got brand new theme music. Alpha 3 also introduced the “Guard Power Gauge” which depletes each time the player blocks, if the gauge empties then you are stunned and vulnerable to an attack.
Street Fighter III Series - 1997-1999
Street Fighter III - The New Generation
In February of 1997, we got what we were waiting for, a direct sequel to Street Fighter II. Street Fighter III discarded the character roster from previous games (only Ryu and Ken returned), and introduced us to a pile of new characters. Street Fighter III also introduced the Super Arts selection system, not to mention the greatest feature in any Street Fighter game ever, parrying. The ability to parry an opponents attack blew the game wide open for pro players, to be able to beat someone without them landing a successful hit on you is no easy feat.
Several months after The New Generation we got the next one, 2nd Impact: Giant Attack. 2nd Attack adjusted the gameplay, and gave us another two characters, as well as throwing Akuma back into the mix. It also fine tuned the parrying system making it more responsive and removing the “recoil” from the parry. There were also a few new arenas and some new music.
Street Fighter III - Third Strike
3rd Strike: Fight for the Future, was released released in 1999, and is possibly the finest looking Street Fighter game to date. 3rd Strike was the last iteration of Street Fighter III, it brought back Chun-Li and added four new characters. The parrying system was again improved, the game sported new voice actors, moves and animations for the characters. 3rd Strike is often hailed as one of the best Street Fighter games, its certainly one of the best looking and the gameplay is top notch, not to mention its my own personal favorite.
The first two Street Fighter III games were ported to the SEGA Dreamcast as a compilation titled Double Impact. Ports of 3rd Strike were released for the Dreamcast as a stand-alone game and then included in the compilation Street Fighter Anniversary Collection for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, these are still floating around so try and nab a copy!
Street Fighter EX Series - 1996-2000
For those that thought Street Fighter IV was the first 3D experience for Street Fighter, you’re wrong. Back in 1996 Street Fighter EX was released. Although EX still played like a 2D fighter it was never really the same as the 2D games. EX was still using special moves and super combos familiar or similar to the previous games in the series, and the Super Combo gauge was divided into three levels again. EX also allowed Guard Breaks. An enhanced version of Street Fighter EX called Street Fighter EX Plus was released 1997.
Street Fighter EX2
In 1998 a second installment, EX2 was released for arcades, shortly after EX2 plus was released. Street Fighter EX3 was released exclusively for the PlayStation 2. Although there are differing opinions on the EX series, some regard it as the weakest in the Street Fighter series. Tt differed in the way it used polygons and liberal combos instead of a strong art style and tight gameplay. Whether it was because of this or people just rejecting something new we’ll never know. But one thing is for sure, the EX series isn’t bad, its just different.
Street Fighter Vs. Series - 1996-2008
Marvel Vs. Capcom
Capcom created several cross-over titles for the Street Fighter universe. These received a lot of success; but none more than the Marvel Vs. Capcom games. There were several games in the Vs. series, but I’m not going to get into them as they’re not true Street Fighter games.
* X-Men vs. Street Fighter
* Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter
* Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes
* Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
* SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium
* SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash
* SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters 2 Expand Edition
* SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos
* SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS
* Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes
Street Fighter IV - 2008
On October 17, 2007, more than eight years since the release of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike for the arcades, Capcom unveiled Street Fighter IV at a Capcom Gamers Day event in London. We finally got a sequel to Street Fighter III. Street Fighter IV was released in 2008, and sold 86,000+ copies on its first day in Japan. Is this the Street Fighter game we’ve been waiting for all these years?
Just like the EX series, Street Fighter IV dives into the 3D realm: but this time, Capcom did it right. All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, just like EX, however there are some big differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, one of the most beautiful looking Street Fighter games, added a stylized effect to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.
Street Fighter IV introduced brand new gameplay elements, it removed the Parry System and replaced it with the Focus system. Focus attacks allow you to absorb an opponents attack and immediately launch a corresponding counterattack, and it is performed by pressing the medium punch and kick buttons simultaneously. The focus attack absorbs a single attack, so it can’t absorb combos, you can charge it up for more powerful attacks and a fully charged one will stun your opponent for a moment. Not only does Street Fighter IV hail the return of the Super Combo, but it brings something new, the officially dubbed “Ultra Combo”. Ultra Combos are long and cinematic moves featuring a lengthy combination of punches, kicks and other fighting techniques. Just as you have a Super Combo bar you now have a “Revenge” or Ultra Combo bar, this fills up when you take damage. Along with the Super Combos, Ultra Combos are one of the only times the camera breaks from its normal position to show a more dynamic, cinematic view of the gameplay.
Street Fighter IV has 25 playable characters, including six brand new ones. Street Fighter IV also showcases the return of the original twelve world warriors. It’s a fantastic game and i recommend it to everyone. Street Fighter IV is on PlayStation 3 and XBox 360, and will be released on PC sometime this year.
Well that’s the world of Street Fighter. I hope you had fun, I sure as hell did. I sincerely hope this has enticed some of you out there to try a Street Fighter game, or maybe even buy one. Thanks for reading, its been a pleasure.
Check out my original article here: http://gamerlimit.com/2009/03/gamer-limit-retrospective-street-fighter/ read