Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fight the Power!

Name: Street Fighter II
Type: Fighting game
Mode: Mutiple-player
Developer: Yoshiki Okamoto
Designer: Akiman
Composer: Yoko Shimorura
Company: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Original Release: 1991 for Arcade
Legacy: Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter EX, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Hyper Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter IV, etc.
Claim to fame: A campy action flick starring JCVD and Kylie Minogue.

[This article has been modified and was originally posted here at GameJudgmentWNFUD8XP8M49

Before there was Fight Club, there was Street Fighter II. Before Dana White introduced the world to UFC, there was Street Fighter II. Before there was Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Soulcalibur or Virtual Fighter, I was eating Hadokens every other weekend on my best buddy's SNES.

While SF2 wasn't the first one-on-one fighting video game, it took the genre introduced years earlier by Heavyweight Champ into a choke hold and electrified it Blanka-style, with better graphics, improved resolution, kick ass voices and sound, memorable music, detailed background and unforgettable characters.

Guile and his unforgettable hairstyle.

You get to pick one of eight characters, namely Ken, Ryu, Guile, Chung Li, Blanka, E. Honda, Dhalsim and Zangief, then challenge the CPU or a friend to a best out of three bouts and progress by defeating each character to have a chance at defeating the bosses Barlog, Vega, Sagat and ultimately, the boss of the Shadaloo organization, boss of all bosses ( sorry Rick Ross ), the one and only M.Bison. Add the break-as-many-thing-as-possible-within-a-given-time bonus games, and we got one solid Video Game Canon contender:

1. Combos
Awarded by the Guinness World Records for being the "First fighting game to use combos", SF2 owes a great part of its success to a technical overlook. Yes, the sequences of simple and special attacks, better known as combos, were never meant to be. Not quite a bug but boy did it make a difference, raising the kumite ( sparring between two karateka ) fighting style above the at the time more popular beat 'em up fighting games like Double Dragon and Street of Rage.

Dragon-Punch-Land-On-The-Barrel Combo

2. Multiple Narrative
Also awarded for being the "Most Cloned Fighting Game", another major improvement is the ability to control a large selection of characters, each with their own fighting style, location, special moves, combos, rivalries and story, adding an unprecedented layer of storytelling intertwined within the gameplay: Vega wears a mask to protect his 'beautiful' face from injuries and removes it after a victory while Sagat, the boss of the precedent Street Fighter, has a scar from his defeat to Ryu in the previous tournament of the original Street Fighter.

3. Convergence
Not quite an award but Blanka has recently been recognized in europe as the third most famous brazilian personality behind Pele and Gisele Bundchen. SF2 is one of the first video game to introduce characters with convergence power, appearing in other video games and crossing over from the video game world to comic books, manga, anime, movies and pop culture. Clint Hocking, Creative Director at LucasArt said it best, convergence is "weaving together the shared experiences of differing peoples to form the very fabric of our culture."

Should be Street Fighter II be added to the Canon?

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