GameSpite Journal 12: Street Fighter II’

In the console wars of the 16-bit generation, the most contentious battles were fought over Street Fighter II, easily the biggest game of the era. Nintendo won the first skirmish, with their home port of SFII coming a few months after the release of Champion Edition in the arcade. Those of us who wore the black badges of Sega were out in the cold, as the rumored home port of Champion Edition on the Genesis was delayed multiple times. The pictures in the game magazines of the era told a sad story of that port—the graphics were shabby, and the top of the screen with player data cut off the background art in favor of a plain black bar. The heartache was compounded when the Genesis port was compared to the PC Engine port of Champion Edition, which was arcade perfect and had a six-button controller to boot.

Capcom released the next iteration of SFII (Hyper Fighting/Turbo) in December of 1992, and the Super Nintendo port followed soon after. It seemed that the battle had been won, handily, in favor of the greys over the blacks. Yet that port was not perfect. The character portraits weren’t the sharp images of the arcade, and the defeated portraits were static and bland. The stages were animated, but not as crisp. The Genesis wasn’t down and out, and still had a chance to fight back. In October, Capcom released the oddly named Special Champion Edition, a hybrid of both Champion and Hyper Fighting styles. The game used the better color palette from Champion Edition, and had the turbo speed unlocked from the start (as opposed to the SNES requiring a secret code). Really, the only flaw in the Genesis version was the sound effects, which had the quality of being broadcast through empty soup cans.

Oh, and the controller. The Genesis, you may remember, had a three-button pad as its default, and that made for awkward play in a game noted for using all six buttons. Yes, you could hit the start button to switch between punches and kicks, but in practice, you were never going to be able to do a ducking forward kick into a hadouken and manage to hit Start in between the two button presses. Sega fans were saved from having to play the old jumping roundhouse, ducking roundhouse game by the release of the six-button Genesis gamepad, which was designed specifically with SFII in mind. The button layout was far more conducive to playing fighting games than the SNES—no awkward shoulder buttons to banish fierce and roundhouse to.

Street Fighter II’ Special Champion Edition was exactly what Sega fans were hoping for: A game as good as any other version, and even better in some regards. And once Mortal Kombat came out, Sega made its mark as the best system for fighting games, a reputation that lasted all the way through the Dreamcast.

Article by Shivam Bhatt

GameSpite Journal 12: Street Fighter II’

9 thoughts on “GameSpite Journal 12: Street Fighter II’

  1. Ah yes, the Genesis version of Street Fighter II CE really doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It plays beautifully with a six button controller, not only because of the six face buttons but because the circular D-pad rolls more freely, making it a cinch to perform fireball motions and even the dreaded 360 degree spin necessary for spinning piledrivers.

    Capcom gets a lot of credit for reprogramming the game to make it nearly perfect, when they could have just phoned it in like Konami did with so many of their Genesis games.

  2. Did you know they made some Plug & Play systems featuring Genesis games? Because they did.

    About six or seven years ago, I had one with Street Fighter II’ Special Champion Edition and Ghouls’n’Ghosts. The other Genesis Plug & Plays were usually pretty lame about only featuring one built-in three button controller with no support for additional ones, but this baby had two six button controllers. Easily one of the best fighting game controls I’ve used that wasn’t a giant slab.

    It’s a shame those controllers weren’t supported in more Genesis games. I know the old ABC was the standard, but the XYZ could’ve been used for more than punching things.

  3. Speaking of research, there were no Genesis versions of Fatal Fury Special or World Heroes 2. So I guess the Super NES versions of those games would have to be better than Genesis ports that never existed.

  4. I dont’ get that “best fighting game system” remark. I don’t recall anybody saying that back then. The SNES-“Street Fighter”-versions were easily as good as the Genesis counterparts, plus it had “Alpha 2”. Speaking of exclusives: “Eternal Champions” does not even come close to the quality-level of “Killer Instinct”. As for “MK”, yeah those were better on SNES too, except the lack of blood in MK1 (though MK-games generally were lacking gameplay-wise).
    There are some other noteworthy titles to count (“YuYu Hakusho”, “Virtua Fighter 2 Animation”) but many of those are rather obscure (and SNES has at least as many of those, as the Genesis).
    So what exactly is your point?

    But you are right about the Dreamcast – it made me a “SF3-Third Strike” devotee after all!

  5. @Jama

    You can’t seriously be using the SNES SFAlpha 2 as a pro-argument for SNES. It’s a novelty, no more no less.

    SNES got more fighting games released in the US, but I can’t imagine anyone worth their salt seriously went out and bought “Brutal: Paws of Fury” (an exclusive I’m pretty sure). Both games got many of the same good fighting games of the time, i.e. the Fatal Furies and Samurai Shodowns (though I think only Gen got Art of Fighting?). In that sense, Genesis will win because of the six button controller.

    But it’s important to note that the other systems shat the bed (yay!) until PS2 came along in regards to fighting games. The Saturn was the only system that could handle the best 2D fighting games. I’m still not sure why that is, but it lived a hearty life running XMen Vs. Street Fighter and its kin while other systems could only run bastardized versions of them.

  6. “SF Alpha 2” on SNES is far from arcade-perfect, but still playable and fun.
    And I was talking about good games, definately not “Brutal Paws Of Fury”, which has been released for quite a few consoles, including Genesis btw. And there is an “AOF” for SNES too, even a port of “AOF2” (though this one should be left forgotten).
    You are right about the button layout. But the 6-Button-Genesis-Pad was an extra investment, whereas the SNES-controller was standard. The latter also had the more reliable D-Pad, if I remember correctly – an important factor, when you have to do quarter-circle movements all the time.
    I really don’t want to restart the 16 Bit-console war, I just think that the Genesis did not overshadow the SNES fighting-game wise. Unlike the 16 Bit Neo Geo, of course, which would totally win THAT battle ;)

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