Capcom’s supremely seminal fighter is quite possibly one of the most influential video games ever made. Since its birth in 1991, it has been updated, dicked around with and generally pimped out to an obscene degree (such was the pimping, I’m assured you can catch unsightly nutsack-warts or herpes or something if you so much as wave your balls in its direction. Not that you would, any neighbours happening to see you flailing your meat at an old game cartridge through a chink in the curtains would be sure to judge you. Whenever you passed them in the street thereafter, there would be a thick haze of discomfort and shame enveloping you both. "Why don’t you come by for dinner any more, Mrs. Collins? Perhaps more pertinently, why were you leering in through my window with your telescope, thus enabling you to see my own telescope? That’s a fantastic euphemism, you see. In that second instance of the word telescope, I actually meant penis! Do you see what I did there? All in all, who’s really in the wrong here, you old bitch? Who?" This situation, I hasten to add, is (almost) entirely hypothetical. Well, her name isn’t really Collins, at least). We’ve seen Super Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Super Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter II: A Big Bastard From Capcom Will Stride Over to Your Home, Smash Through the Door and Eviscerate Your Scrotum if You Don’t Buy This Umpteenth Version and Give Us Even More Money For That Solid Gold Hovercraft/Expensive Prostitute We Fancy Buying Edition, and possibly a couple of others besides.
And we all know how expensive solid gold prostitutes can be.
It’s the cast of characters, in part, that secure the game’s legendary status. There’s the ubiquitous Karate Kid ballache Ryu. There’s his alleged-rival-but-surreptitious-life-partner Ken (don’t pretend you don’t have vivid images of these two magnificently muscular dudes striding arm-in-arm across a beach at sunset, chuckling with joyful abandon. Ken has laid out a towel for Ryu on the sand, festooned with violets. Violets are his favourite, as he told Ken years ago. Ken remembered, to the delight of his companion. They later romp with a fevered passion under a resplendent blanket of stars. While some dirty old man films them, later to whack the footage onto some depraved corner of the internet. Although perhaps it wasn’t as romantic as all that. A simple “I must say, Ryu, I’d rather like to fondle your nutsack some time. Can I?”, followed by “SHOR-YOU-CAN!” exchange is more plausible, frankly).
Bison in his eternal fascist regalia, Chun-Li, feral lightning beast Blanka et al have surfaced in every iteration since, and each are true gaming icons in their own right.
Street Fighter II, moreover, was the title that pioneered the concept of fighting styles and differing arsenals of special moves. Each combatant is a real disparate element, bolstering replay value exponentially. In the image above, for example, we see the famed hadouken (Well, imminently. “Wait, I can do it,” Ryu strains. “Seriously guys, watch. A goddamn actual fireball shot from my hands once. Check it out, you’ll shit.” After a few moments of making sounds akin to a constipated Tyrannosaurus Rex, he follows through. He then shuffles home in his soiled karate pants, sans hadouken and forever banished from the dojo. “It’s going to take me an age to get those shit stains off the floor,” Mr. Myagi whines). It’s a veritable smorgasbord of spinning bird kicks, sonic booms, izuna drops and yoga flames, and it remains so today.
Sure, the innumerable variations and re-releases of the game are marvelously mockable, but the impact of Street Fighter II can’t be overstated. Truly the foundation of the genre, it’s an extraordinary creation. Practically every fighting game since owes much to this first effort. Indeed, it took the franchise’s return with Street Fighter IV to revitalise interest in two people in a small arena pummelling each other’s groins to a foul conglomeration of mince-like viscera. From the big-name likes of Tekken to recent download releases like the fabulous Skullgirls, where would fighters be without Street Fighter II?
Finally, a brief retro memory showcase for your delectation:
Article by Chris Littlechild
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