Friday, July 10, 2009

Street Fighter II - Part 2

*Make sure to check out Part 1 of this article.

The Bosses

Even though they are playable in every version afterward, in the original Street Fighter 2 players could not select them. M.Bison, Vega, Balrog, and Sagat made up the final four fights. The were all powerful and had an extra special character trait that made them stand out against the regular cast of fighters.

Balrog was a boxer who could only punch and not kick. He was very strong letting the player know that the difficulty was ramping up. In the Japanese version he was named M.Bison (a play on Mike Tyson's name) and had to be changed in America in order to avoid a lawsuit. Balrog clearly looks a lot like Tyson and takes almost all of his character design from him.

Vega was an extremely fast opponent. He could climb on the walls of his level and was the only fighter who had a weapon. He is the complete opposite of the Balrog fight beforehand trading in slow powerful punches for lightning fast arial manuevers. Since Vega was so different from any other fighter the difficulty ramped up again creating a great build to the climax of the game.

Sagat is the third fighter returning from Street Fighter 1. He was the boss of the original game and now stands as the penultimate boss. He has fireballs like Ryu and Ken but was stronger and because of his tall stature had a very long reach. He may have been a more tradition fighter but his attacks and special techniques made him a perfect boss.

M.Bison was the final boss of the game. He was incredibly strong and fast. He was given a military look making him seem more menacing and powerful. Since he was the last boss he was by far the hardest battle in the game, and beating him was a reward in itself. His main colour scheme is red so it is more than a coincidence that this colour was chosen for the final battle.

Not only was each character unique but everyone had their own level. The backgrounds gave the game a little more personality. These backgrounds had minimal animations, which gave it enough feel to look alive while not becoming a distraction.

Music

Street Fighter II had a great soundtrack. Music is extremely important in a fighting game since the score should get the player in the mood. Street Fighter II needs fast thinking and requires a lot of action, so the music should match the pace, or it would seem out of sync. Luckily, Street Fighter II has a wide variety of music (each stage has its own tune). Not only does the music successfully match the gameplay but adds personality to the levels.



Guile's music is by far my favourite. It sounds like something straight out of an American military movie. It's fast paced and really captures the mood of the stage and the fighter.



Blanka, being one of the bizzare characters, has equally unique music. It has a tropical feel to it that matches the Brazilian location. It is on the edge of not feeling like fighting music but never crosses that line. It is a strange blend of the bizzare, tropical, and action. Thankfully it works.



Dhalsim has some really great music. The designers took cues from Indian music but changed it to fit a fighting game. Indian music traditionally doesn't follow the same rules as western music so some changes need to be made in order for it to fit the game.



M.Bison is the last battle and thus has some of the fastest music. It is hard hitting and suits the climax of the game. A final boss needs a strong score to add tension to the fight.

Street Fighter II was a huge success, both in arcades and on the SNES. However, the designers never stopped trying to perfect the formula and went on to create many revisions to the game. Street Fighter II: Championship Edition let players select the bosses as well as play as the same character. This added a whole new set of strategy for the player to learn. Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighter (or Turbo on the SNES) sped up the game giving it an even faster feel. After playing Hyper Fighting the old game seems a bit sluggish. Hyper Fighting was the best change to the series by far. Later editions added new characters and balancing of gameplay. But no matter how often the game was re-polished Street Fighter II still remained the blueprint.

The progression of Street Fighter 2.

Even the current game, Street Fighter IV, takes a majority of its inspiration from Street Fighter II. Outside of its own series Street Fighter has been the inspiration for almost every fighting game (especially 2D fighters) making it one of the most important games of all time and a piece of art.

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