Genre: Fighting Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Players: 1-2 Released: 1993
Ah, yes, Street Fighter II. The game that got people back to the arcades. For so long Genesis players watched with envy as Super NES owners got to enjoy an exclusive home version on their systems, and they were left out. But in 1993, Sega fans rejoiced when Capcom announced plans to not only bring Street Fighter II to the Genesis, but as an exclusive Champion Edition as well, meaning Sega owners would get mirror matches, more moves, faster speed, and the ability to play as the bosses. However, things would change in the following months, and to make a long story short Genesis players would wind up with a Special Champion Edition, basically a port of the SNES’ Street Fighter II Turbo with some Genesis-exclusive features. While it wasn’t the killing Genesis players envisioned, it still does an excellent job bringing street fighting action to the ol’ black box.
When you boot up the game, you get the arcade intro that’s missing from the SNES versions. Once you reach the title screen you have a choice to play either the Champion Edition or the Turbo Hyper Fighting mode, which has a selectable speed setting of 1 to 10 stars. In either case, the 12 classic Street Fighters are present and accounted for: Ken, Ryu, Blanka, Chun Li, Guile, Dhalsim, Honda, Zangeif, and the four bosses: Vega, Balrog, Sagat, and M. Bison. Once you select your fighters, it’s time for battle. Matches feature the standard best-of-3 rounds format where you beat on your opponent until his energy runs out. Each character has their famous set of special attacks that you can pull off during the fight with some quick controller and button movements. From Sonic Booms to Shoryukens, you’ll find them here.
While the Genesis version doesn’t totally match up to the coin-op original audio-visually or even to its SNES cousin, it does try its hardest. The graphics are actually pretty good. The sprites and background are close to the original but are a couple of steps back. and there’s some decent animation with little slowdown. The sounds aren’t as fortunate, though. While the music is faithful, the sound effects and voice clips are terrible. They’re pretty garbled and barely coherent.
Street Fighter II‘s controls are both good and bad. For starters, don’t even THINK about playing this game with the standard 3-button control pad, because that would be an exercise in frustration. While it is playable, you have to press START to switch between punches and kicks. This makes it impossible to put together some excellent combos and it’s just a pain, period. It’s better just to find a 6-button Genesis controller. Once you have one, the game plays quite well. For the most part pulling off moves is no problem, though it can be tricky at times.
As far as the gameplay modes go, the one-player mode is just like the arcade original. You just take on the other fighters one at a time until you beat M. Bison to win the game. If you lose, you can continue with either the same fighter or switch to someone else. Each fighter has their own ending, so you can constantly try to beat the game with different characters to see all of them. However, if you finish the game on the higher difficulty settings, you get some extra-special endings, adding in a bit more replayability. The cart also features a Versus mode where two human players can go at it. This is the main draw of the Street Fighter series. Set your skill levels to balance out the fights and choose any stage you want. Another feature is the Group Battle mode, which is basically a tournament mode where you can take on a group of fighters in either Match Play or Elimination modes.
So, should you invest the time and money into this version of Street Fighter II when more advanced fighting games have appeared since? Most likely, yes. Capcom did a great job bringing Street Fighter II to the Genesis, and Sega players were not disappointed. Despite the terrible sound, the gameplay is pure Street Fighter, with some nice extras thrown in. While the game may seem old, it still has the addictive gameplay that made it a hit in the first place. If you’re a Genesis fan who still craves some old-school Street Fighter fun, then this is the cart to get it from. Hadoken!
SCORE: 8 out of 10