I see you sitting in the corner there. I know what you’re planning to do. You’re planning to do a flash kick, aren’t you? It’s pretty obvious. I mean, you only have two moves. You might as well come over here and try that cheap-ass double sweep kick, because I’m not stupid enough to walk right into a flash kick. That shit hurts. Hell, look at me; I’m sitting here writing you a letter. I’ve got time. I don’t have a fireball or anything, so I can’t hit you from afar. All I can do is sit here and wait. I’ve got to wait. Dammit I can’t wait anymore. I’m going over there. And I -
Goddamn you Guile. Goddamn you and your fucking flash kick.
“Dear Dead or Alive characters:
Your fighting game fucking sucks. It’s not even fighting. It’s fucking defending and then reversing attacks. Please make more beach volleyball games. We likey cleavage.
The Street Fighter Gang”
Why aren’t you getting in on this? It’s legal ass-busting. Seriously! I beat the crap out of some Chinese chick and they didn’t even call the police! And that’s a good thing, because I’m still dressed in a striped convict outfit with shackles on my hands and feet. Come down here and kick some ass with me!
“Vega, buddy. Seriously. At first when we started teasing you and saying you were gay, it was a joke. But we took note of how offended you were and stopped. You said you weren’t, and that was good enough for us. But then more and more evidence kept coming up. Now we found this picture of you on a men’s dating board:
I know you’re probably going through a lot of things. It’s really stressful to hide stuff like that. But you can talk to us. This is a safe place, and you’re with friends. We won’t judge you. We didn’t judge Blanka. Just be honest with yourself, and you can be honest with us.
Love (the hetero kind, not, you know, gay)
Your friends at Shadaloo
P.S.: Zangief thinks you’re cute.”
We here at Sears understand your participation in the World Warrior tournament is a point of great pride for you. It is for us too; that’s why we decided to sponsor you. However, we feel that the requirement that you wear more than your fighting uniform to meet and greets and other Sears-sponsored events was implicit in your endorsement agreement. We feel that the remarkably skimpy outfit you wore to our Sears KidsNOW! event goes beyond the limits of good taste into the territory of potential legal action by the parents of the children who attended. We would appreciate it if you used more common sense in the future.
Sears PR Manager”
“To All My Fellow Street Fighters:
- Love, Ken”
Capcom is soliciting ideas for a new VS. series game on the almost supernaturally great Capcom Unity blog (the best official blog there is, period). Here are my personal suggestions, along with why they could be great:
The Bible vs. Capcom:
- Extensive roster of characters
- Huge potential for good surprise secret characters, especially “begatted” characters that have no purpose in the Bible, such as Mahalalel and Enosh
- Characters have great superpowers; Ezekiel’s burning wheel would make great Super Combo
Jordan vs. Bird vs. Capcom
- First 3-way matchup in Capcom history
- May draw in new audience of 40-year old sports fans, often neglected by fighting games
- Minigames could include slam dunk contest, 3-point competition, deathmatch
Kramer vs. Capcom
- Could add new dimension of family drama to series
- Opportunity for guest voice by Dustin Hoffman
- Final boss could be screen-filling Meryl Streep with 3 different forms
Charles Dickins vs. Capcom
- Great opportunity for crossover with Jon Talbain of Darkstalkers
- Lots of room to experiment with characters; Artful Dodger could be given super speed, or Pip could use inheritance to build massive robot walker suit
- Plenty of environments, including filthy, freezing streets of Victorian London and… well, that’s about it
Capcom vs. Capcom
- Several established characters from fighting game world and beyond
- Already has great credibility with gamers
- Characters would not need to be redesigned or adapted very much
Earth vs. Capcom
- 195 countries offer huge roster
- Secret characters could include non-sovereign states such as South Ossetia and Transnistria, and former states such as the Ottoman Empire or the Kingdom of Chimor
- Let’s face it, Capcom conquering Earth is inevitable
Of course, the best possible option would probably be Squaresoft vs. Capcom. But that’s probably never going to happen. All of these options seem much more likely. Any other ideas?
I never updated about it, but believe me, I’ve known about it for a while: May 30th was Capcom’s 30th anniversary, and I’m celebrating my favorite non-Nintendo developer with a huge series of reviews of their games, hopefully for the rest of this year if I can keep my attention focused on it. With any luck, I’ll make it through all of them.
So, here’s my format: I’ll start off with all the big series, so I can get them all out of the way at the same time. After that, I’ll be following this list of Capcom games on Wikipedia, writing a review of each one in the same format as all my other reviews, only doing one for each multiplatform game. If I actually finish it, I’m gonna have a fucking parade in my honor.
We’ll start off with Street Fighter. Unfortunately, that means starting out with…
Street Fighter (Arcade, 1987)
The Street Fighter series started out with an… underwhelming performance. The basic ideas behind the series are there (1-on-1 2-round timed matches between 2 colorful characters from around the world, one of whom is always Ryu), but it’s just not the same. This just illustrates what sets Street Fighter II and it’s progeny (and, though this isn’t really on the topic, SNK’s perennially underrated fighting games) apart from all the other shitty cash-in games: gameplay as smooth and flowing as John Romero’s hair (oh wait, he cut it. Yet again I forgot it wasn’t 10 years ago.). Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of factors that make Street Fighter II better than other fighting games (and other games in general, and for that matter, most art, literature and theatre). but the speed and smoothness of the gameplay are absolutely the biggest factor. Without that smoothness, the game feels just as awkward and hard to control as, say, Deadly Moves. And that’s not something I say lightly.
Speaking of controls, something I think is interesting is that this game had some unique (read: bizarre) buttons. Two mechatronic pads, one for punches and one for kicks, are used, and depending on how hard you hit the button, you perform either a light, medium, or heavy attack. And, logically, after people broke every single one of these machines, the pads were replaced with the familiar 6-button setup seen even nowadays on SFIV machines. I hate to say it, but that was a terrible, terrible idea. I’ve destroyed controllers just because fucking Sonic wouldn’t listen to me when I told him to fucking goddammed jump, you fucking hedgehog son of a bitch; I fear to think what would happen if the game revolved around me hitting buttons as hard as I could on a controller that cost $10,000. I’d probably be a fucking construction worker. Or maybe a senator or something. I don’t know what caused my ADD, maybe it was games.
The Street Fighter II Series (Multiplatform, SFII: 1991, SFII Hyper Fighting: 1992, SFII Tournament Edition: 1992, SSFII: 1993, SSFII Turbo: 1994)
There’s really not a whole lot that can even be said about Street Fighter II. Even that sentence I just typed has already been said over and over. I think this one and the last one are new though. Anyway, it’s perfect. There’s really not much else to say, but I’ll try.
There have been soooo many versions of Street Fighter II, and for this reason, the series (and Capcom) is often mocked. On one hand, I do agree that 6 versions of a single game is a bit much, but at the same time, few of the versions came out with just minor changes. Playing Super Street Fighter II Turbo and then going back to play plain ol’ Street Fighter II is a pretty big juxtaposition. The graphics were better, the music was remixed, the fighting became faster, smoother, more aerial, and, most noticably, there are 9 more fucking characters to play as in SSFIIT. There are also many, many technical changes, ranging from what moves can be cancelled into other moves, to entirely new moves, to new scoring methods. And yet, no version of SFII is completely superior to another. Even in different ports of the same version, there are usually little tics and differences that make each version special, if not necessary. I personally own 4 different version of SFII, not counting emulation, demos, and other such things, and I don’t regret the purchase of any of them. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (I would make fun of the title, but it’s kind of like making fun of a clown; what is there to make fun of that hasn’t already parodied itself?) feels completely different than the SNES version of Street Fighter II, and I enjoy both equally, because my play style is completely different; I’m an aggressive Balrog user in SSFIITHDR, and a more defensive Zangief user in SFII. Also, SSFIITHDRMALSODFMEWASDFEVZX is really really really pretty, but SFII has the classic, hilarious character portraits and such, and because I am an engine that runs solely off nostalgia, I can’t help but love that.
Street Fighter II is a such a landmark game that there’s not really anything to talk about in a standard review. It’s like Casablanca or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; everybody’s familiar with it, there’s nothing new to say about it, and it’s such a huge topic that you can’t really cover it in 2 or 3 paragraphs.
But because I need to pad this out, I’m creating my own Street Fighter II drinking game. Here we go:
- Take 1 drink every time someone picks Ken or Ryu. (Make sure to buy plenty of your party liquor of choice; this rule alone will cause you to run dry quick.)
- Take 2 drinks every time someone plays as Guile or Chun-Li.
- Take 3 drinks every time someone plays as Dhalsim or Blanka.
- Take 4 drinks every time someone plays as E. Honda, Sagat, Balrog, or M. Bison.
- Take 5 drinks every time someone plays as Zangief. You need something to handicap you, because it’s a given they have no idea how to use Zangief.
- Finish a drink and huck the container at anyone who picks Vega. Vega is an asshole and you are an asshole by association for playing as him.
- Take 1 drink every time a character throws a fireball, but stop after 20; I don’t want you guys passing out mid-match.
- Take 1 drink every time you, personally, use the shoryuken as Ken. I want Ken users to associate Shoryuken abuse with projectile vomiting and day-long hangovers.
- Every time Dhalsim uses a Yoga Noogie, everybody drinks for the duration of the noogie, then screams “YOGA!” Dhalsim rules.
- Every time you jump forward and do a heavy kick, take a drink. Stop when the alcohol makes your eyes cross.
- When Guile uses that sweep kick where he kicks with one foot and then the other, take a drink every time you get hit by the second kick because you forgot he does it.
- Take 1 drink every time M. Bison uses a move OTHER than the Psycho Crusher.
- Switch liquors every time someone gets punched for throwing hadokens until you have no choice but to jump into a shoryuken. Then punch the person who did it.
- Drink every time someone gets dizzy until your drink is empty. Then imitate the dizzy dance the character just did. Try not to fall down.
- Use a move you learned from the game to hit anyone who suggests you stop playing SFII to play Halo or Madden or something. Then drink, I guess. Just make sure you hit them.
- True Devil Ultra Hard Mode: Get to Akuma in SSFIIT, then take turns trying to beat him. Drink every time someone loses a round. You will get drunk FAST.
There you have it. Be careful. Depending on who you play with, this game may cause alcohol poisoning.
Score: 10/10 (For the whole series.)
The Street Fighter Alpha Series (Multiplatform, SFA: 1995, SFA2: 1996, SFA3: 1998)
Street Fighter Alpha always gets overlooked in the scheme of things, though it’s debatable if that’s deserving or not. I mean hell, look at me. I’m lumping the whole series into 1 review. The SFA series is great, don’t get me wrong; it just doesn’t stand out in any way, unlike its dependable, always-there-for-you brother Street Fighter II, or its sexy, hard-partying cousin, the VS. series. However, despite two completely great sequels to SFII, SFA and its sequels feel the most like the logical progression of the series.
The Alpha series actually began essentially as a direct sequel to SFII, albeit chronologically before it storyline-wise. It employed a more refined version of the gameplay featured in the games before it, with a revamped super combo system and a few new moves. It also featured a few characters that hadn’t been seen since the original Street Fighter, and a couple new ones who were totally awesome (Charlie and Dan) and one who actually kinda sucked (Rose).
While we’re on the topic, I’d like to take a moment to talk about Dan Hibiki.
Dan Hibiki is Capcom’s big giant “fuck you” to SNK. He’s based on Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia from Art of Fighting. As much as I love Dan, he always makes me shed a single tear for SNK. Why did Capcom feel the need to insult them? It’s like if Brad Pitt came to your house and made fun of you for not being able to pick up girls like he does. Get this: the president of Capcom literally lives in a 3-square-mile castle built entirely of quarters earned from Street Fighter II. SNK wasted all the quarters they got from Art of Fighting in the company vending machine over the period of a month. It’s over, Capcom. You already won! You don’t need to keep kicking.
The real reason I’m not reviewing each game separately is because there really aren’t a whole lot of differences between games. The series has always been more about advancing the storyline rather than bringing in new gameplay concepts. There are some technical differences, but they really aren’t significant enough to warrant an entirely separate review. If I tried to do one for each game you’d end up with “Gameplay’s a little bit faster. New air combos. You can now cancel a dash punch into a Shoryuken.” The last thing I want to do is drown what readers I do have in technical information that interests only me and like 20 other obsessed hobbyists. What I do is already way too close to that anyway.
Street Fighter Alpha: 7/10
Street Fighter Alpha 2: 8/10
Street Fighter Alpha 3: 8/10
The Street Fighter EX Series (Multiplatform, SFEX: 1996, SFEX2: 1998, SFEX3: 2000)
“We here at the Arika company take good, old-fashioned, Capcom-style Street Fighter action, smother it in molasses, deep-fry it until it’s jagged and blocky, then serve it to you, hot and ready to be quickly forgotten.”
The Street Fighter III Series (Multiplatform, SFIII: 1997, SFIII 2nd Impact: 1997, SFIII: 3rd Strike: 1999)
Before I say anything else, I wanna go ahead and get it out of the way: SFIII took out most of the SFII roster, and it was a terrible, terrible mistake. Most of the characters were essentially the same, but they weren’t exactly the same, and that makes a big difference. Sure, Dudley’s pretty much Balrog, but he isn’t Balrog, and that makes a big difference. Ryu and Ken are there, and later they added Chun-Li and Akuma, but I want to play as Blanka, goddammit. It’s great having new characters, but removing almost all of the original characters that people have grown to love, and more importantly, to dominate with, is kind of a betrayal to everybody who had been waiting for 6 years to see E. Honda fly using ancient sumo magic in totally new environments.
That said, the game is fucking great. It’s one of my favorite games in the SF series as a whole, and while it isn’t as good for casual fighting fans or for parties, for hardcore Street Fighter fans it provides a great unique experience, and I believe if this had been the game released in 1991 instead of SFII, it would have been just as successful. The gameplay is smooth and intense, and, depending on how you want to play it, it can either be extremely, painstakingly technical or just as simple and fun as the first time you played SFII. I played the original SFIII very soon after it came out at the grocery store near my house (also where I first experienced SFII, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, X-Men: Children of the Atom, and several other games. I still shop there to this day, and I’ll never understand why grocery stores don’t have arcade machines anymore. It wouldn’t hurt to pick up an old SFII machine or something), and it happened to be just around the same time I was really learning how to really play fighting games. I managed to learn Dudley pretty quickly (I’m a Makoto player now, for what that matters), and managed to start dominating the various people I played against (admittedly, they weren’t very good, so it’s not like I was a prodigy or anything). As much as I loved SFII before, learning how to actually play a fighting game through SFIII was a major part of the path that eventually led to me competing in a tournament 11 years later. If I hadn’t learned to play from SFIII, I’m sure it would have happened with another game eventually, but I did learn it from SFIII, and that means I’ll love it forever.
SFIII 2I: 8/10
SFIII 3S: 9/10
Street Fighter IV (Multiplatform, 2008)
This is easily the best game in the series since there were 10 letters in the abbreviation. Having learned from the mistakes made in the years since SFII, Capcom took everything that was great about the series, distilled it, and created the greatest fighting game of the last 14 years. SFIV is not only every bit as satisfying and addictive as SFII, it’s even as fun to bust out at parties, which is more than can be said about SFA or any of the other subsequent games, although that may just be because both games feature most of the same characters.
If you’re ever bored at a party and have access to to SFII or SFIV, try this: write down every character’s name, shuffle them, and draw them out of a hat. Play as whoever you draw. It’s extremely simple, but, for me at least, it’s never failed to entertain everybody at the party. Pulling people out of their element and making them play as, say, Zangief or C. Viper, is incredibly entertaining.
There’s really not a whole lot else to say, because there isn’t much about this game that can be summed up with “perfection”. I will say this, though; I think this is going to be the first game in the series that won’t have ten update releases. No one seems to have noted this, as odd as that seems, considering they’re all so eager to make totally original and never-before-heard jokes about how each Street Fighter game has so many small updates every time they talk about the series. Now that we’ve got DLC and patches, I doubt there will be any justification for releasing a “Street Fighter IV: Hyper Deluxe” or the like. It seems strange to think that technology has moved ahead that much in 18 years… but not as strange as it does to think that it’s been 18 years since stopping a Beast Roll with a Hadoken became a reflex.
9: Tie – Vega and Balrog (Street Fighter)
Street Fighter was always full of assholes. You had Sagat, who would not just laugh, but cackle at you if he won, like you had just slipped on a goddamn banana peel. There was M. Bison, who had godlike Psycho Power and basically just used it to tackle people from a few feet away. There was Chun-Li, who was a woman. But none of them came close to Vega and Balrog, the Laurel and Hardy of douchery.
These two dick whistles were basically M. Bison’s elite guard, there to stop you from getting to Sagat, who was ostenably there to protect Bison, but was really there to antagonize Ryu. So, perhaps to compensate for having such a useless job, Balrog and Vega became obnoxious cocks.
Balrog, the first of the Dickwad Duo, is a boxer who absolutely does not look like anyone currently boxing professionally.
No resemblance to anyone, as you can see.
His punches do a ludicrous amount of damage, he’s fast, and I’m not good with distances, but I estimate his arms to be at least 8 feet long. What makes him such an asshole is that he’s the only character in any Street Fighter game, and possibly the earliest AI-controlled character ever, to literally showboat before he kills you. In the original arcade version of Street Fighter II, once you get down to a low amount of health, and especially if you’re dizzy, Balrog will use his dreaded Turn Punch to finish you rather than a regular attack. The Turn Punch is one of the most damaging moves in the game, doing up to 50% damage if charged enough. Also, it’s a totally asshole looking thing to do, as he turns around and stands there holding his arm back before he actually hits you.
Vega, on the other hand, is a lithe, effeminate prettyboy whose entire play style is based around poking you in the chest with his claw. Sometimes he’ll jump and poke you, other times he’ll duck and poke you. One way or another, he’s going to poke you, and yes, I do know that sounds totally gay. That’s because Vega is totally gay. To illustrate this, here’s a list of quotes from Vega that I would say were taken out of context if there was a context to begin with. Try to read them as a narrative:
“I contribute to society. I remove all its filth. Got a gripe with that?”
“So, answer me. Just who is the fairest of them all?”
“Praise me! Extol me! My beauty is unparalleled!”
“This room is bland…I know. I’ll use you to paint it red!!!”
“Vega says scream!”
“Mmmh…Tasty…Just like red wine…”
“Your cries of agony… They are music to my ears.”
“Handsome fighters never lose battles.”
“And just how long did you think I would be satisfied serving the likes of you?!”
“Your moment spent with beauty is now over….Adios!”
Vega, pictured trapped in a whirlwind of homosexuality.
So, as you can see, that’s concrete evidence he’s gay. In addition to having sex with men, Vega also enjoys climbing the walls, jumping around, and generally flipping out. There may be harder opponents in Street Fighter, but none infuriate you quite as much as Vega.
Except maybe Cammy.
Biggest Display of Dicketry:
For Balrog, probably the biggest dick thing he does is denigrate Mike Tyson. He seems to hint at rape, he’s violent, he’s crazy, he has a gap in his teeth, he even threatens to bite his opponent’s ear. Come on, Balrog. The guy’s been through enough.
With Vega, it’s almost hard to decide. He has a lot of dick personality traits, an entire bag of douche, one might say. Blood fetishism, narcissism, arrogance, murder, insanity… still though, I would have to say the most asshole thing about Vega is that stupid climbing attack he does. I hate that fucking move.