Street Fighter II
(1991) Street Fighter II - The World Warrior, (1992) Street Fighter II' - Champion Edition, (1992) Street Fighter II' Turbo - Hyper Fighting, (1993) Super Street Fighter II - The New Challengers, (1994) Super Street Fighter II Turbo, (2003) Hyper Street Fighter II - The Anniversary Edition, (2008) Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
- Combo - consecutive hits
- Throw - don't just stand there blocking
- Charge Character - Sonic Boom!
- Dizzy - should you forget to block properly
- Super (Super Turbo) - suped-up specials
- Super Gauge - fill her up
- Air Combo (Super Turbo) - the skies haven't been safe since
A game that surely needs no introduction. Street Fighter II - The World Warrior exploded into arcades in 1991 with the most iconic fighting cast the world has ever seen. Director Yoshiki Okamoto, along with designers Akira Nishitani and Akira Yasuda, took what had been good about the original Street Fighter and improved upon it exponentially. Players were no longer limited to just Ryu and Ken but had access to six other fighting styles from all over the world - including jungle man Blanka and Miss Kickass herself, Chun-Li.
Released at a time when arcade cabinets housed technology significantly more sophisticated than home consoles, Street Fighter II looked stunning and was animated with a degree of fluidity that put every fighter that had come before it to shame - not least the original Street Fighter. Hardly surprising then that Street Fighter II globally made more money than Jurassic Park at the box office.
Combos were a design accident. Noritaka Funamizu, lead producer of Super Street Fighter II and also credited in the original Street Fighter II, discovered certain special moves would cancel the animation of the standard punches and kicks. It was assumed that the timing required was too precise for it to constitute a useable game feature, so it was left in. However, by the time Super Street Fighter II surfaced, Capcom had changed tactic by offering players bonus points for executing longer and more effective combo sequences.
Street Fighter II also introduced the concept of charge characters, including Guile with his Sonic Boom and Flash Kick combo. Other firsts included the ability to dizzy your opponent through relentless attacks, and throws were now possible when close to your opponent. Command Throws, like Zangief's Spinning Pile Driver, were also first introduced here.
The original Street Fighter II was notorious for many glitches - likely only discovered due to the immense popularity of the game. Guile was probably the most abuse-able with his Invisible Throw, Handcuffs and Reset techniques - the latter of which would actually freeze and reset the game.
Starting a company trend, Capcom chose to upgrade its existing game rather than releasing a sequel. What excited most fans about Champion Edition were the previously unplayable bosses - Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M. Bison - now being selectable. Other tweaks included redrawn backgrounds, character balancing, the removal of various glitches and, for the first time, the ability for two players to pick the same character at once - complete with groovy new colour schemes.
After Champion Edition came Street Fighter II' Turbo, and with it, new moves including Dhalsim's evasive Yoga Teleport. Turbo also upped the speed considerably - players had to react quicker to punish a jumping opponent. The fourth revision of Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II, was the first game to be released on Capcom's highly successful CPS-2 board. The extra power allowed Capcom to graphically revamp Street Fighter to a whole new level. Ken would now catch fire with his fierce Shoryuken, and so he didn't feel left out, Ryu got the Shakunetsu Hadoken.
Super Street Fighter II also introduced four new characters in Cammy, Fei Long, Dee Jay and T. Hawk - bringing the grand total to 16. Cammy and Fei Long proved the most popular and are returning once again in Street Fighter IV, whereas Dee Jay and T. Hawk where more tricky to play effectively and generally saw less playtime. Super Street Fighter II also finally treated Sagat and Vega to the air punches they'd previously been denied.
However, many people criticised Super Street Fighter II because the faster gameplay they'd adapted to in Street Fighter II' Turbo had reverted back to the pace of Champion Edition. So when Capcom released Super Street Fighter II Turbo, it made it so that players could choose between three different speed settings. As well as the now classic Super moves, Super Turbo also implemented the ability to combo opponents in the air.
Super Turbo also marked the first appearance of Akuma, who would kill M. Bison before the final fight, replacing him as the boss, if certain conditions were met. Akuma could also be selected by inputting a special code during character selection. Other input codes could be used to play versions of the characters from the previous game - referred to as Super characters.
Due to the hysteria surrounding Street Fighter II during the early-to-mid-nineties, the game and its upgrades received many different ports and conversions. These vary in quality considerably with the SNES conversion of The World Warrior having sold over six million copies. The C64 conversion comparatively was an unsightly mess.
The Street Fighter II scene is still being kept very much alive with the likes of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on the 360 and PS3, and has even been confirmed for this year's Evo Championship Series. Even today I still get knowing looks when my Street Fighter II ringtone sounds off in the pub. You probably have to be a certain age to appreciate the impact Street Fighter II had, but for a game that's going to be celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year, Super Turbo has aged better than virtually anything else out there.