Street Fighter II is arguably one of the greatest and most influential arcade games ever made. The sequel to Street Fighter is credited as to starting the ‘fighting game boom’ of the 1990s as well as raising the popularity of arcades in society. By 1994, this incredible game had been played by over 25 million people in North America alone (in the arcade and at home).
The game introduced many aspects to the fighting game genre as well as gaming in general. Through having a wider selection of playable characters to the eight-way joystick working in line with a six-button configuration as well as introducing a combo system – the game can be seen as no less than a classic.
Street Fighter II was such a popular and well-known game it even had its own TV and film spin-offs! The two film adaptions of the classic title includes an anime and a live action film called ‘Street Fighter’. Street Fighter had a star-studded cast list including the likes of Jean Claude-Van Damme (Guile), Kylie Minogue (Cammy) and Raul Julia (M. Bison).
Playing alike its predecessor, SFII differed from the original through additional content. It still carried over the ‘best two out of three’ ruling for winning a game though expanded on it through allowing a ‘double KO’ and ‘draw’ game endings. If both characters knocked each other out at the same time or time ran out and both players had the same amount of vitality remaining, it will go to one of these screens. In the original SFII, up to 10 extra rounds could be played to determine the winner; and if this couldn’t be done than either the CPU would win by default (single player game) or both players would lose (in a 2-player game).
Following the tradition of the first game in the series, after every 3rd match the player would participate in a bonus stage that included breaking a car, breaking barrels and breaking drums. Another feature they built upon in the game play was that a player could now perform grabbing and throwing attacks on their opponents as well as their special moves (such as Hadoken…).
There were 8 playable characters in SFII as well as 4 CPU exclusive characters.
Japanese karateku seeking to hone his skills
|Ryu’s former training partner and rival|
Japanese Sumo Wrestler
Beast typed mutant who was raised in the Brazilian jungle
Former USAF Special Forces Operative who is seeking out the man who killed his best friend
Chinese martial artist who works in Interpol. She seeks to avenge her deceased father
Pro-Wrestler from the USSR
Fire-breathing yoga master from India
CPU Exclusive Characters
|African American boxer|
Spanish torero with a claw
Muay Thai kick-boxer who was the previous world champion from Street Fighter
Leader of criminal organisation and uses ‘Psycho Power’. Is the final opponent
There are various regional differences within the game, such as the renaming of all of the CPU exclusive characters (excluding Sagat) for Japanese and worldwide release. Moreover, if the player loses against the CPU in Japanese versions of the hit arcade classic, a tip will appear.
The two year development of Street Fighter II was said to be because of Capcom deciding to focus primarily of rebooting the game into a series after the success of Final Fight.
Many updated versions of Street Fighter II have been released, here are the arcade releases:
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition
Champion edition differed from the original game as it allowed the previously CPU exclusive characters to be playable as well as same player matches against each other.
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
This adaption of the game gave the characters more special moves and increased fighting speed.
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
Alongside updated graphics and audio quality, this game introduced four new characters to the series.
Super Street Fighter II: Turbo
Introducing ‘Super Combos’ (which powered up special moves) and incorporated a hidden new character.
Reception to SFII was phenomenal worldwide. In Japan, the magazine ‘Gamest’ held its annual awards for 1991, and with little surprise did Street Fighter II win a bundle of them! The game won Best Game of the Year, Best Action Game, Best VGM, Best Direction as well as Best Album. Also coming second place for Best Graphics. All of the characters (par M. Bison – who is Balrog internationally) featured in the Best Characters of 1991!
Commercially the game sold more than 60,000 arcade cabinets of the original game. Further selling 140,000 ‘Champion Edition’ cabinets in Japan alone! The arcade hit took up 60% of the UK market and individual cabinets were taking up to £1,000 per week!
Highly regarded as one of the best and most influential video games of all time, Street Fighter II has certainly made a distinctive impact on the fighting genre and was vital for re-popularising the arcade to the status they held back in 1978 upon the release of Space Invaders.
Additionally, Nintendo are soon to release the all new Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers for the Switch. You will have the chance to play in original graphics with original voice acting, customise the colour palettes for individual characters and even play an all new 1st-person round. We can’t wait to see what additions have been made to this all time classic!