Thursday, 31 July 2014

Street Fighter II - Super Nintendo

I suppose you motion seekers were hoping for a deeper than deep analysis on Ultra Street Fighter IV?

Focus that!

Pardon my joystick, but that's not essential breathing apparatus.

Even though the original was shambolic, their sequel was indeed the shit.

Capcom's masterstroke became a global pandemic and a cultural obsession was born.

It broke more records than a steroid happy sprinter and was the video game equivalent of Beatlemania.

Backgrounds were beautiful, it sounded great, chars were born celebrities and above all, was smoother than silk to play.

Okay, much was ‘borrowed’ from Final Fight but don’t forget, the scum of Metro City was originally going to be called Street Fighter ’89 but thanks to Double Dragon, they thought better of it.

With every update, genuine excitement built.

Crowds queued behind cabinets like screwdrivers starved of a twist and everybody wanted a screw.

All manner of barefaced clones quickly appeared who ultimately failed to cash in on its unparalleled success.

Apart from our friends in Japan, does anybody select Balrog to play a narcissistic clawed fiend?

Negative.

It may interest that the original 1991 arcade counted 55 megs and coincidentally, so did Fatal Fury.

Weird.

Such an important series deserves the utmost respect so enter not the dragon - but me.

Meticulously studied, immaculately researched and explosively descriptive, prepare for the ultimate dissection on how each conversion measured up to arcade.

I did think about doing this via screens, but as stages selfishly scroll, that would be practically impossible.

Should this score a perfect?  Probably.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1992)

Screw the massive PAL borders, when the world knew Ryu and co were coming home, people fainted in mass hysteria.

This was a landmark in itself as it was the console’s first 16 meg game and kicked off the addiction to import.

The SNES pad was made for Street Fighter as six standard buttons meant there was no real necessity to buy an alternative pad and/or stick to accommodate an enjoyable playing experience.

Even so, a plethora of controllers flew off the production line and trying any motion with a third-party pad was usually impossible as most were unresponsive lumps of shit.

The ‘motions’ needed for dramatic specials proved quite a struggle for some to input the necessary combination in order to pull off whatever attack.

Performing the fabled spinning pile driver was considered something of an achievement and although essentially a glorified Haggar throw, it could grab a hapless opponent from some distance away.

Hitting Blanka with a dragon punch during a cannonball scored massive damage and 'charging' a move before a fight commenced could surprise your rival.

As a ‘cheat’, you could rubber finger the shit out of Ryu or Ken’s crouching light kick for an easy daze.

Something similar could be achieved with Guile’s crouching light punch but wasn't as effective.

Brocken’s light kick in the original World Heroes was a far more unfair animal...

Those without a fast rubber finger needed to configure buttons so the ‘strongest’ form of Hundred Hand Slap or Lightning Kick could be pulled off with ease.

Each to their own but I always had L and R assigned as hard punch and kick respectively.

This may have been the default setting?

Ryu’s occasional golden fireball was a famous glitch in the system…

Fighting against the CPU was generally satisfying but 2P marathons dominated.

Finishing the game with any char on Level 7 (top difficulty) without losing a round displayed a special victory pose ending.

If you inputted Down, R, Up, L, Y, B during the Capcom logo, a charm would signal both players could now choose the same char and so not to confuse, the alternative colour would be seen in Champion Edition.

At the time, everybody raved about it because console took advantage of something a coin muncher couldn't.

Enough of memories, here we bastard go.

Chars, bosses, backgrounds and specials are all here in spirit, but the amount of edits were stunningly obscene.

The iconic intro of ‘Cody’ enjoying a KO against another unknown as the famous logo scrolls up on a tower block is missing and instead, char biographies can be seen for those less eager to push start.

What immediately smacks you on the kisser is that colours are far less vivid and parallax scrolling wasn't as smooth.

There is no blood splatter behind VS and no 'stitch' on said screen.

Background chars are redrawn for a simpler design and aside from less detail, player sprites have shrunk.

When you’re hit in the air, sprites react differently.

Guile, Dhalsim and Honda are condemned with depressing looking jumps.

No ‘backing off’ animation and less fighting moves for all.

Sagat doesn't adopt his Muay Thai stance for standard attacks and kick-boxing fans will know exactly what I'm talking about.

A new brick wall bonus stage replaces flaming oil barrels, barrels dropped from conveyor belt disappears, but we still get to wreck the car.

Music suffers greatly, ‘danger themes’ are missing and tunes just speed up.

Sound lacks universal crunch and speech is largely slashed.

Allow me to elaborate…

No voice during 'continue countdown', 'whatever country', ‘you win’, ‘you lose’ or ‘perfect’.

Speech for special moves can cancel out others already in progress and death screams echo.

Depending on speed of projectile, pitch is adjusted to be deeper or higher.

Fucked up, right?

Most voice samples are legible but Ryu or Ken’s Dragon Punch sounds like ‘Highyouchen', and Chun Li’s spinning bird kick could be described as ‘chick r chick’.

The actual arcade speech was ‘spin bird kick’.

Amusingly, the samples in the 3DO version of Samurai Shodown were even worse as Galford’s plasma blade was ‘rub m’ brains’.

Some beaten portraits are different from the arcade and Vega’s gauntlet prongs aren't curled for his winning stance.

Dazed animation and victory poses, or whatever the fuck you wanna call them; are compromised.

Endings were altered for a more basic approach.

For example,

Honda slaps a wooden post;
Ryu dragon punches a waterfall and;
Ken carries Eliza towards the church as if they’re already married.  Yeah, that happens everyday…

Not that it bothers, but the customary staff roll is different.

Don't worry, I haven't even started.

Backgrounds

Ryu

No crescent moon, clouds are static and dickie birds had better things to do then fly about.

Ken

Nothing really of note as the boat still defies the laws of science by bobbing up and down in concrete water.

Chun-Li

Less types of chars passing on bikes and a max of two (instead of up to three).  Clouds don’t congregate, water from tap to girl’s washbowl and hat guy down the back street refuse to move.  Barber pole is incorrectly orange, white and blue and not red, white and blue.

Blanka

Peeps don’t move in large hut and its roof loses detail.  There are less background chars, clouds loop jerkily and lose polish.

Dhalsim

Four elephants instead of six is written in console folklore.  Only two move instead of four and neglect to audibly trumpet, but all four begrudgingly animate after a round is won.

In the arcade, the two foremost never moved but all six did after round ends.

E. Honda

The bath doesn't overflow and water droplets fall instantly from the ceiling instead of ‘waiting' to descend onto bath and floor.

Hey, it matters. Ha ha.

The mosaic’s hand gripping a card after round's end is also cruder.

Zangief

No posters are slapped on metal fencing in the immediate foreground.

The chain attached to the lever lies coiled on the floor and in the background; a chain dangles from the ceiling leading to a smaller coil.

Its parent begs to differ.

The chain is looped from the ceiling and is joined to the said lever.  The same principle exists for the other but is beefier in coil.

Guile

Guy on crate doesn't tap knee, guy and woman on trolley are missing.  The fighter jet forgot its bombs, small vehicles, red/white poles behind air freight, junk on floor and boarding stairs are all missing.

Finally, the jet is compressed so it's behind the fence.

Balrog

The setting of Vegas is duller, less signs in the sky, the Capcom sign is far less hidden and both cars are now blue, as the one on right used to be black.

Different colours don’t cycle through the Casino sign and show girls not only look different, they're poorly animated, dressed in tankinis and stride separately on either side of screen, instead of marching together on the right hand side.

They originally wore bikini knickers and bra.

After round is won:

Not content with forgetting reefs, the girls' hats release infinite doves instead of a select few.

I wish my wallet was as deep.

The guy who threw confetti is replaced by another and doesn't throw any stuff, while the man in middle wearing mac and hat doesn't get upset.  

Vega

Row of lights underneath the bull don’t twinkle, guitar players either side of bull are absent, audience has been reduced and flamenco dancers refuse to celebrate after a round is won and just repeat purgatory.

Sagat

No obstructive palm tree (which was removed for Champion Edition and onwards).  I wonder why?

M. Bison

Less observers aside, this was always a terrible stage and I mean that with bells on.

Street Fighter II Turbo (1993)

20 megs and a massive improvement.

It’s amazing what they did with effectively half a megabyte.

I remember some stockists wanted £120 on Japanese import.

Greedy bastards.  Screw that for a game of yoga flames.

Who was guilty of trading in the original for peanuts and paying £50 on PAL?  Oops.

The SNES skipped a standalone Champion Edition but is included as ‘Normal’ mode.

In brief, Hyper Fighting made gameplay faster, added extra specials, together with new suit and skin colours.

Certain specials could be achieved legitimately in mid air like Ryu/Ken’s fireball/hurricane kick and Chunner’s spinning bird kick (very hard).

Also, you could move while performing Zangief's clothesline and Honda’s hundred hand slap.

Ken’s Dragon Punch was given extra range and his Hurricane Kick made faster, but attack strength suffered.

Depending on your age, you may remember the illegal hack (known as 'Blackbelt Edition') surfacing in amusement halls that allowed every char to do everything that he/she couldn't, including bouncing and numerous fireballs on screen at once...

In those days, nobody cared and didn't damage Capcom one little bit.

Of those 'new' specials...

Chun Li – fireball (Dhalsim’s Yoga fire but in blue)
Dhalsim – teleport
Blanka – vertical cannonball
Honda – a vertical body splash and brought back down to earth with a bottom crunch.

Recycling from others and/or combining standard moves does not constitute an actual ‘special'.

Oh well.

The ability to play bosses was the main carrot to upgrade from the SNES original and mirror matches were of course made available without the need for a code.

However, the same code now unlocked ten stars for super speed in Turbo mode.

Enhanced beyond all reasonable doubt

Altered for the arcade, the VS sign is now identical to Champion/Hyper, (including the red blood splat).

New colours for skin or suit in Turbo, retains Champion Edition and original colours.

Portraits are noticeably more grizzled (as seen in Champion/Hyper arcade).

Some beaten mug shots are different to the arcade.

Music is unchanged but in-fight speech overlaps instead of cancelling each other out.

Counting down when continuing, 'you win', 'you lose', 'perfect' and whatever country are all spoken.

Throwing sounds for Ryu, Ken, Zangief etc are tougher and Blanka growls during a cannonball.

Honda and Guile jump more gracefully but Dhalsim and Blanka weren't so lucky.

In Champion/Hyper arcade, the char models for Ryu and Ken were radically improved during victory poses as they were given an actual face.  This filters back through here and Blanka has a ‘better’ mug.

After each round won on Ken, Vega and Zangief’s turf, the crowd cheers which wasn't heard in either arcade.

Along with brick wall and car break bonus, the barrel conveyor belt thing is included.

Endings have been completely redone to be practically on par with insert coin.

This time, the reward for no loss of round on top difficulty was displaying the original Japanese box art for Turbo or Champion Edition arcade poster displaying Ryu and Bison for ‘normal’ mode.

If the cardboard looking North American/PAL shit was given, I’d put my foot straight through the fucking telly.

Backgrounds have new splashes of paint and different audience members to ensure matters are more consistent to insert coin.

Like before, much still doesn't happen but having said that, extra details can be seen and heard.

Backgrounds

Ryu

Dickie birds fly about occasionally.

Guile

Guy on crate taps knee and foot.

Dhalsim

Elephants meekly trumpet after round and not throughout like the arcade.  Only two move and not four during whatever round, with all four only moving after a round is won.

Chun-Li

A new male cyclist pedals by.

Blanka

A new animated background char stands directly below hut's window nearest the tree.

Balrog

Vegas dancers retain their arcade look, dress appropriately, march together and celebrate correctly with reefs, doves and blinks.  We still have he who replaced the original confetti thrower but now throws his stuff.  The guy in mac also rubs his eyes. 

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (1994)

Although it’s practically mandatory for racing games, it wasn't too common for coin gobblers to be connected in a fighting situation.  However, if four cabinets were hooked up together and each configured to Tournament Battle, Super SF2 begged to differ.

Eight players, one tournament – glory awaits.

Those victorious had to swap cabinets which gave unexpected exercise.

This was probably rarer than chicken’s teeth so in most cases, the under-privileged had to settle for the usual.

The intro sees a stone faced Ryu bobbing pre-match in darkness before becoming lit to unleash a hadoken.

Four new chars (hence subtitle), gave many a great excuse to distant themselves from regular brawlers.

Cammy (England), T. Hawk (Mexico), Fei Long (Hong Kong) and Dee Jay (Jamaica) were a mixed bag to play.

In 1998, SNK’s Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 was subbed The Newcomers which sounds suspiciously similar…

Anyway, the old guard learned several new techniques…

Ken ignited his dragon punch and Ryu not only had a new look fireball, but could also burn peeps with a red hot variation.  This was probably a response to the long-running joke of the glitch from the SNES original.

Guile's sonic boom was re-coloured, Chunners fireball was given a makeover and performed via a new posture.  Also, she was forced to charge and not motion her ass.

Blanka got a new sliding ground attack useful for hitting those throwing fireballs and could also hop backwards and forwards.  Backflipping out of his vertical roll made his descent to ground slightly off-putting to an opponent.

The Red Cyclone's burning fist lurched forward and ate fireballs and also smashed peeps with new throws.

Ken invested in a luxury yacht with all backgrounds enjoying distinctly more attractive colours.

Combos are recorded on-screen with extra rewards like ‘First Attack’ and ‘Recovery’ (not getting hit when dazed), while Guile and Vega have new winning stances.

Due to the char roster upgrading from 12 to 16, you’d think we'd have to plough through the lot but sensibly, the formula of 8 random and 4 mandatory bosses remained.

What made your ears tingle was the introduction of Q Sound as most themes are the ‘same’, but vastly improved.

Personally, I still prefer what went before…

It’s been a long time coming but Ken and Ryu actually sound different, as do Blanka, Honda, Zangief and Sagat.

Guile sounds awful, Balrog roars, Vega is a high-pitched bitch and all take defeat differently.

When sprites are on fire, extra effort is now employed so the effect is now translated to standing and crouching, which also extends to brick shithouses Zangief, Hawk, Honda and, er Chun-Li?.

After all, she is the strongest woman in the world and with those thighs; she’d crush any man who were unlucky enough to pound her.

We got a new map and portraits are completely redrawn for the better.

The gruff sounding announcer is replaced by a guy sounding like his balls need to drop and various types of ‘stuns’ appear around our heads.

Stuff to like, much to hate

Despite a huge meg count of 32, the Mode 7 machine took on too much.

New modes Group Battle, Time Challenge and Tournament Battle do spice up variety, but I'm sure remained largely unused.

Yes, that’s the same Tournament thing I’ve already mentioned, without the need of hooking up four consoles to four TVs and requiring eight joypads.

Not that a lead existed but hey ho.

Q Sound technology is unsurprisingly absent but themes are better.

Remember that red blood splat behind VS. in Turbo?  Well now, it's violet.  Er, yeah.

So it's no longer bastard blood then is it?  As they're treating like pussies, they may as well have painted it pink.

Backgrounds still have parallax and do their best to represent their colourful counterparts, but those for the new guard are pretty drab.

The sea for Ken and ubiquitous car smash has turned toxic, hence why we see puke green.

God help the wildlife…

Vega and Guile’s new winning stances made it and crowd cheering seems uninspired for the likes of Blanka, Ken and Dee Jay.

In comparison, the pitch has deepened for audience forming part of Zangief, T. Hawk and Balrog.

This is effort I don't applaud.

The sound effects have taken a considerable dip in the ocean of inferiority.

Fighting sounds are feeble, speech is tinny but for the first time, ‘Round whatever’ and ‘Fight’ are permanently muted.

I’m no programmer but why?

The endings are mainly like Turbo but extra screens involving:

Ryu’s scrolling face;
Blanka and/or Jimmy showing surprise at his mother’s anklet;
Gorbachev up close; and
Dhalsim riding an elephant…

...are all now fucking missing.

Also, Chunner’s dialogue is no longer displayed at her father’s grave.

Wait up, that’s not all.

Both ‘difficult’ choices are included but observe actual text…

Arcade:

  • Get back to the exciting life of a young, single girl
  • Continue being a detective
SNES:

  • Return to a normal life
  • Continue being a detective
The slight change can be only down to Nintendo and censorship.

I suppose the vague inference of now Chunners is done with Shadaloo and spinning bird kicks, partying is obviously offensive.

Come on, tell me I’m wrong?

It’s frankly pathetic.

What’s even stupider is that in Turbo, an excerpt of her ending text states ‘and I can get back to being a young single girl’, identical to Champion/Hyper arcade.

Bosses are given individual endings for the first time and not generic shit from Turbo.

Dee Jay, Vega and Balrog are missing screens, with the boxer’s final still same in principle but has been completely redrawn not to omit millions of dollars, but his fully clothed bitches.

Get over it Nintendo.  Women wear short dresses.

This was obviously done on purpose and (sigh) - I give up.

Backgrounds

There are some unexpected surprises...

Dee Jay

Less background chars, not all who are present move and water doesn't twinkle.

Chun-Li

This is complicated...

We get a new cyclist (old guy with beard) and a modified girl type but who we saw before have punctures and only one bike bike pedals by...

The hat down the alley, water from tap and woman's bowl finally moves but... the tap is fatter, shorter and at a different angle so liquid flows directly on the floor and not the bowl.

As for hat, he constantly shakes his leg and occasionally wiggles his arm so apart from poorer animation, is out of sync with the intermittent movement from the arcade.

'Cock a doodle doo' and bicycle 'bell ring' can be heard throughout a round but the bell ring is not twanged after round.

As for the arcade, the cock a doodle doo is only heard after each round ends.

What a pain in the ass that was to explain...

T. Hawk

The majority of onlookers are forced to watch in suspended animation. 

Dhalsim

Elephants now make a racket throughout and after round so exactly per arcade, but still missing those two Dumbos.

Guile

Man and woman on trolley return from long-term sick and even move but still no red/white poles and missing junk on floor.  Steps leading to the plane were removed for arcade so are missing here.

The fun bit is that the guy with his arm around the woman in shades have magically moved a few feet left and the jet's bombs are included.  Consequently, the other peeps have also shifted left.

Zangief

Planning permission for poster advertising on metal fence in foreground has been approved.

Blanka

That background char I mentioned must stink as he's moved to the right and all peeps in hut celebrate the fact by moving.

Ryu

Birds fly, we have a crescent moon and wait for it - clouds finally slide to the left (albeit not as smoothly).

SHORYUKEN!

Cammy

Crows intermittently caw during action and audibly flap after a round ends.  The water's movement is on strike and the flames of passion dance indifferently.

Balrog

The lights of Las Vegas illuminate but the floor lights don't.  The new circus like confetti thrower doesn't disappoint with his muck after a round is won and the guy in middle still rubs his eyes.

In the arcade, cars from left to right are blue and green respectively.  Here, they're both green.

Never mind that.  Read on for something very weird.

Goldwin flashes up to form part of the famous Golden Nugget sign and not Nin Nin Hall.

WHAT?

Just so we're clear, the arcade didn't agree.

If you'll fucking excuse me.  WHY?

The said 'Hall' refers to former Capcom designer Akira Nishitani (under the pseudonym Nin Nin), who was more than responsible for essential works such as Final Fight, Magic Sword, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs and Forgotten Worlds.

According to rumour, Noritaka Funamizu who was a right load of Poo.

Vega

Impressively, the brand new detail of fence slamming down before a fight commencing is retained.

Some more good news is that green lights glow and lanterns pulse but background chars, guitarists either side of bull are cut and row of lights below bull are still on the blink.

E. Honda

Just like arcade, the giant lantern from the far left was removed.

Ken

Animation aside, Mr. Masters and his boat kicks ass.

Seagulls don't fuss during a match but aren't so shy afterwards...

(Puffs out cheeks).

While that's it for Street Fighter II, one more sonic boom would be pulled from their SNES fighting sleeves.

Capcom moved onto the Alpha series in 1995.

Acting as a fairly obvious interquel (set after Street Fighter but before Street Fighter II), fans simply lapped this up.

Even though the first had a char roster that counted a modest ten, it adopted cartoonish like animation (as seen in Darkstalkers), offered a more streamlined experience, brought air blocking and expanded super combos by adding multiple types.

They also decided to taunt SNK by adapting the ability to actually cause damage (if one got close enough).

Together with the introduction of new chars Guy, Rose, Charlie and Sodom, being reacquainted with forgotten men Birdie and Adon added relish to a tasty burger.

Most remember the Saturn and PS1 versions but Crawfish Interactive surprised with a belated but admirable effort in 1999 for the Game Boy Colour.

It had fuzzy sound, no speech, beep music and offered no 2P link cable capability, but compensated by having all chars, authentic looking backgrounds and most importantly, didn't play like a tank.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996)

Capcom canned the first and went straight for the jugular with a hugely ambitious port of the far superior sequel.

32 megs of raw power and all 18 chars.

Unlike every SF II update, (apart from Super), this was released in the same year as insert coin.

Deficiencies will only be briefly touched upon, as I'm judging this bitch on its own merits.

The arcade's intro is brilliantly preserved but Ryu and Ken DO NOT physically unleash hadokens at the end.

Ironically, the effect is identical to Ryu's illumination from the intro in Super/Super Turbo.

The grassy field featured is based on the 1994 animated SFII Movie.

Oh, the game's title is spoken after the intro.

After meeting specific conditions, your reward will be a match against Shin Akuma but it's impossible to play as him.  Via a code, Chunners will wear her classic get-up...

To be consistent with the craziness of Final Fight in PAL/North America, Sodom becomes Katana.

We get 'Round whatever', 'Fight', 'KO' and 'Perfect' but 'You Win' and 'You Lose' are silent.

Speech is keen to impress, sound effects are fairly meek and but themes depress.

Not as much moves in whatever background (especially audience), colours are deflated and while chars look good, animation is crippled.

Chars feel floaty, gameplay is slower and can become jerky if action dictates...

Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius and Super Mario RPG used the SA1 chip for more horsepower.  Along with Star Ocean, Ryu and chums housed the S-DD1 chip for graphic compression and more sprite data but unnatural pauses inconveniently interrupt certain aspects of gameplay, particularly after a CPU opponent is chosen in 1P and the word 'Fight' is announced.

Call me impatient but seconds take the piss.

Overall, it was an amazing feat for the SNES to pull off but for overall quality, Turbo was the best...

Next time, we'll do it all over again as ports are itching to unleash their might, or in most cases – lack of it.

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