Hello gamers and welcome to the close out of week eleven! Make sure you stretch your fingers properly before booting this game up!
Button Mashing its way into the number 46 position…
I suck at fighting games. I feel like you need to know this. That’s not to say I don’t like them, but holy sweet jumping Jesus do I suck at them. At least I can admit it, right? I’m not going to sit here and tell you any stories about me owning all kinds of face in the local arcade back in the day, or of having my friends over for Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter tournaments and kicking everyone’s ass. The stories that I do have involve a lot more thrown controllers, rampant cursing, and, (if memory serves), a couple of actual fist-fights with my younger brother. Uh, sorry about those, Steve. Street fighter II certainly stands at the center of a bunch of those incidents. It’s one of those rare games where I simultaneously love and hate it, and the only way that I can really think to explain how I feel about this game is to say I really enjoy the idea of it, but I don’t want to actually go play it. I have fond memories of it, but there’s a very real possibility that those memories are a load of total bullshit that my mind is making up just to screw with me. So, yeah.
CARTOONY-FUN FACE PUNCHY THINGS!
Looking back on it, Street Fighter II is kind of ridiculous, but it’s a glorious kind of silliness. Its contemporary, Mortal Kombat, went hard for violence and semi-realistic graphics. Street Fighter went the other way, and gave us what looks like a bunch of Saturday morning cartoon characters that have just finished a reeeeeally intense regimen of mutant super-steroids. Capcom always had a knack for delivering the crazy back in the day, didn’t they? We got a manga chick that could somehow kick everyone’s ass in a skirt so short I thought it was weird even when I was 12, a Brazilian electrified sewer-mutant (because, uh, I guess they have those in Brazil?), a yoga master straight out of your worst nightmares… Good times. Side note: it always kind of bugged me that Ryu and Ken are the exact same character, just with different hair and outfits. Honestly, that’s just fucking lazy, Capcom. I’m guessing the Scarface-sized pile of cocaine that had been fueling the rest of the creative decisions in this game was running low that day. All my huge, hilarious jokes aside, Street Fighter gave us a really memorable set of characters, the iconic and meme worthy “HADOUKEN!” and a superb set of mechanics that made the game easy to learn and extremely difficult to master. That’s what you want out of a 2D fighting game, and Street Fighter delivered. Mortal Kombat may have been the hipper choice, but Street Fighter was, mechanically, the better game.
I’LL HADOUKEN YOU GOOD
What I said in the intro is true; I was never good at Street Fighter. In fairness, I’m probably remembering myself being worse than I actually was, but on a good day I was decent at best. Objectively, I know Street Fighter is a good game, possibly a great one depending on whom you ask. But subjectively, it gets a big “meh.” Mortal Kombat knocked my socks off with sheer audacity and gratuitous gore. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and I’m sure the fact that it was taboo as hell also drove me towards it. Street Fighter didn’t have any of those advantages. It was a rock-solid fighting game, and that was it. And that wasn’t enough to send me over the moon for it in the early 90s the way I swooned for Mortal Kombat. Still, it gave us the Hadouken, and we owe it for that. I don’t want to imagine a world without Hadouken, do you? Hell no you do not! Without Hadouken, what would I yell whenever I run into Gambit’s office hurling a strawberry rhubarb pie with all my might right into his shocked horrified face? I’d have nothing! And why go with strawberry rhubarb, you may be wondering? Because if I’m going to throw pies, I’m going to throw pies made from pure awesome, that’s why. Banana cream is the face-pie of choice, and that’s why I avoid it. It’s just so been done. If you’re going to throw pies at coworkers, you better throw them like a motherfucking boss, and strawberry rhubarb is the pie of the motherfucking boss. See? I’m her to inform as well as to entertain.
JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMN IT
I can’t help but give a quick nod to the laughably terrible Street Fighter movie that we were all stupid enough to go watch in 1994. It breaks my heart that this was basically Raul Julia’s last turn in front of the camera before he died. The man deserved better. And casting JCVD as Guile? How did that decision get made, exactly? Literally the only thing that Guile needed was muscles, an ability to look intimidating and an American accent. Apparently that was too much for the casting team to pull off. Anyway, I don’t think it’s fair to dock points from the game because the movie sucked, but I wanted you to know I gave it serious thought. As a game, Street Fighter II is very, very good. Good. Not great. Therefor it doesn’t earn our top ranking, so we’ll be leaving it with a 4 out of 5.