If you, like me, played Street Fighter 2 back in the nineties, you probably had a sneaky suspicion the computer cheated.
I'm not just talking about M. Bison here, the final boss to end all frustrating final bosses. I'm talking about the computer cheating all the bloody time.
Was I imagining it? Or had I created a narrative in my mind to justify my poor play against the CPU?
It turns out I wasn't just imagining it. Street Fighter 2 really was a big cheater.
Street Fighter combo extraordinaire Desk released a new video this week that goes into exactly how the computer cheated in Street Fighter 2. Going through gameplay frame by frame, Desk shows how the CPU can "beat" your attacks unfairly by turning invincible. The A.I., it seems can enter into God Mode status whenever it fancies it.
Meanwhile, the CPU can break out of the "dizzy" state almost instantaneously, whereas the human player has to mash buttons for a second or two.
The computer also ignores the charge rule players must adhere to. Take Guile's flash kick, for example. Mere mortals must hold down for two seconds then press up and a kick button. The computer can do a flash kick without charging. Now that's just rude.
And here's one of the most annoying ones: when the computer gets you in a hold, it just won't let go, no matter how hard you mash those buttons to escape. Cheating like this means E. Honda's squeeze grab, for example, can nearly kill you on its own. Ouch.
And finally, the CPU has access to unblockable attacks. Sure. Why not.
Desk's video is well worth a watch for any Street Fighter fan. Not only does it serve as a fun trip down memory lane (or dredge up childhood trauma, depending on how Street Fighter went for you), but it's pretty revelatory.
Don't worry, Street Fighter 2. I still love you. Even though you're a big old cheater.