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Game Review

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

The original, but sadly not the best

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was nothing short of a phenomenon. If you're old enough to remember when the game hit the Super Nintendo two decades ago then you may recall it as all you ever thought of or spoke about for weeks on end. The gaming world seemed to gravitate around Capcom's seminal one-on-one brawler, which had conquered the arcades and was a massive exclusive for Nintendo's 16-bit home system. Imported Japanese versions of the game changed hands for insane amounts of money and all manner of merchandise appeared — including a laughable Hollywood adaptation starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Aussie pop star Kylie Minogue. Street Fighter II was one of those games which captured the imagination of players all over the world, and the fact that Capcom is still profiting from its popularity all these years later is testament to how massive it was at launch.

Of course, Capcom is also famous for wringing every last drop of profit out of successful concepts, and in the years that followed the release of Street Fighter II we were graced with several incremental sequels which added in new elements piece by piece. As a result, the SNES original was already outdated a year or so after it hit store shelves, and twenty years on it feels even more dated. To hammer this point home, Capcom and Nintendo have launched Street Fighter II on the Wii U Virtual Console alongside sequels Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting and Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. It doesn't take a genius to realise that the oldest of the trio is going to be the weakest, and while Street Fighter II still manages to entertain, captivate and enthral, it's impossible to ignore the fact that better options are on the table.

Eight combatants are included in the game — which seems like a laughably small selection by modern standards — as well as four boss characters which cannot be used by the player (Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting would remedy that situation). Despite the small roster, each character represents a totally different fighting style which lends the game incredible depth. Only Ryu and Ken are similar, and we rather suspect this was done because Capcom hadn't considered the possibility of allowing players to select the same fighter in multiplayer (another addition which would appear in the sequel).

Mastering each world warrior is a meaty task, as is getting to grips with the basic control scheme. Six buttons are used in battle - three for punch and three for kick, with each one mapped to a different strength. It's this depth which made the game such a hit back in the early '90s — previous fighting games didn't allow you to select the power of your blows. Weaker attacks are fast and less likely to leave you exposed to counter-attacks, while stronger hits will knock more off your opponent's stamina gauge but take longer to execute, leaving you open. It's possible to block incoming attacks by pushing away from your foe, a feature which leads to incredibly tactical battles when you've got two skilled players involved.

Street Fighter II's other notable revelation was the inclusion of "special" moves, activated by button and pad movement combinations. Ryu and Ken's iconic fireball motion — quarter-circle and punch — has become part of video gaming lexicon, while other moves require charging sequences, such as Guile's Flash Kick and Blanka's rolling charge. For even more variety, characters such as Chun Li and E. Honda can deliver multiple blows in quick succession by tapping the appropriate attack button rapidly, and Zangief's unblockable Spinning Piledriver requires a full 360-degree motion on the D-pad but is the most powerful move in the entire game.

Memorising all of those moves is no mean achievement, but seasoned Street Fighter II players will no doubt have them etched into their brains by now. However, despite the depth of gameplay on offer, there's no escaping the fact that this title feels decidedly lacking when compared to what came afterwards. While the lack of pace is just about tolerable — in fact, the slower nature of the game allows you to be more methodical in your approach — the lack of fighting game creature comforts such as devastating super combos, evasive rolls, guard gauges and mid-air blocking makes the whole experience feel overly simplistic at times.

The longer you spend with Street Fighter II the easier it is to accept what's missing and enjoy the game in its purist form. When the improvements added by Capcom since the launch of the game are stripped away, what you're left with is a surprisingly tight and focused offering. What's most surprising is how challenging the game is even after all these years; on its default difficulty setting Street Fighter II is a tough cookie, even for seasoned players who have honed their tactics over the past two decades. It goes without saying that the two-player mode is where you'll want to spend the majority of your time, however — it's just as addictive and compelling now as it was at the time of release, and after a few rounds you'll be talking trash to your rival just like the good old days.

Conclusion

Street Fighter II was a landmark moment in the history of video gaming. Capcom essentially created a genre with this game; while one-on-one fighters existed prior to its release (the original Street Fighter being one example), the game pioneered many concepts which are now commonplace. However, playing Street Fighter II today is a tricky proposition, purely because the core idea has been expanded and improved upon relentlessly by the likes of Capcom, SNK, Arc System Works and countless other companies which jumped on the bandwagon following the game's success.

Street Fighter II remains a solid game, and if you vividly recall its impact on your life back in 1992 then chances are this Wii U Virtual Console release will bring back some very happy memories. Pure nostalgia might not be enough for some players though, and when you consider that the two direct SNES sequels are also available — and at the same price, too — then recommending the original becomes incredibly hard. If you're one of the few people who preferred the pure nature of the game before Capcom started tweaking and adding new fighters then by all means invest in this version — but for everyone else, you really should consider Street Fighter II Turbo and Super Street Fighter II before downloading.

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User Comments (48)

Shiryu

#1

Shiryu said:

Yaahy, you used my video! This is still my favourite despite all the awesomeness of "Turbo", "Super" and "Alpha 2" because this was the one I played in the arcades, this was the one I brought home and it was on this one I mastered all the 8 main characters of the series. Plus it's the one I made the best memories playing against friends! There is also the all important history baggage, like being the very first 16 mbit cart on SNES and being a SNES exclusive (and quite the system seller!), which bothered quite a lot of my Megadrive owning mates.

Kirk

#2

Kirk said:

This review is misguided and wrong. Plain and simple.

Unless the reason for dropping it a whole three points is simply because the sequels are available on the eShop too and you're trying to somehow artificially lower the score to indicate to people that they would be better off buying one of the sequels BUT that doesn't make the original a 7 by any stretch of the imagination whatsoever.

The other games being even better than the original does not automatically make the original game worse than it actually is. It simply means they are basically all masterpieces that should ALL be scored in the 9-10 range.

If your scoring system only has 10 points to choose from then each of these three Street Fighter games should score 9-10 and that really shouldn't even be in question.

It's utterly ridiculous that a near perfect fighting game gets a 7 simply because it's expanded sequels are also near perfect too and released on the eShop at the same time.

Street Fighter II is without any debate far better than a 7 by any standards.

Nintenjoe64

#3

Nintenjoe64 said:

@Shiryu Do you remember when Sega got the Championship Edition and a 6-button joypad? Tough times for a SNES owner but getting 'Turbo' and then 'Super' pretty much killed that argument.

Nintenjoe64

#4

Nintenjoe64 said:

@kirk This version is painfully slow when compared to any of the other SNES versions, it's probably worth a 10/10 to most people who grew up with it but it will have to be compared to the 2 superior games that have just been released alongside it.

Kirk

#5

Kirk said:

@Nintenjoe64

It's not "painfully slow" in the slightest.

It's slower, for sure, but not in any way that's actually a fault.

This is not a design or gameplay issue or flaw.

It's simply a different experience.

fullyilly

#7

fullyilly said:

NOTHING evokes as much excitement in the gaming world as Street Fighter 2 World Warrior. When that bad boy hit the Super Famicom in Japan and was selling for £100 per copy via the UK importers, the buzz was beyond belief. I personally believe that no other game before or after it has ever created that degree of hysteria. What a true and total classic.

My review score, 10/10. What it lacked against its sequels, it gained thrice with its effect on the gaming world.

Ryno

#8

Ryno said:

Great memories after my friend brought this one home and then I got Turbo when it was released. I probably have spent more hours on Street Fighter II than any other game. I will skip this one on the VC though as I picked up Turbo and Super for the buy one get the other(s) 50% sale.

tchaten

#9

tchaten said:

I must be terrible at fighting games because I bought all three and can't get past the first fight in story mode :(

Kirk

#10

Kirk said:

@Nintenjoe64

Compare it to the other games, fine, but they should ALL be scoring in the 9-10 range and if this is the lowest scoring of the three it should STILL be a 9 at worst, with the others edging even closer to the 10.

You can't artificially score a near perfect game lower simply because there's similar near perfect games that just happen to be sequels and have even more content and features.

That's not how it frikin works!

Street Fighter II is a near perfect fighting game and it should be scored accordingly.

Shiryu

#11

Shiryu said:

I would also like to point out that this game has something better than any of the other two future entries: The sound effects quality! Sample rate was sacrificed on the other entries of this game in order to maximize the amount of graphics Capcom was able to put on the cart ROM.

Shiryu

#12

Shiryu said:

@tchaten You sound like me 21 years ago, putting coins in the local Arcade. Let me tell you something: It gets better! Also, find some friends and see how they play. Fighting the computer is all about starting to learn the AI for each character and countering it, it's much easier to do than playing a human opponent.

tchaten

#13

tchaten said:

@Shiryu haha - I'd wager a human opponent would be less skilled - although would have less patterns. I get pretty angry at Street Fighter - so bloody difficult - for sure started as an arcade title

Injustice Gods Among Us is so easy in comparison.

Shiryu

#14

Shiryu said:

@tchaten Ah, "Injustice" is very much "Mortal Kombat" at heart, so it is indeed way easier. Well, try knowing the SNES games difficulty to e or maybe 2 stars and you should be able to get going. This was how I got good at the game, because Capcom keeps rewarding you on the characters end with more stuff the higher the difficulty. You will feel one heel of an accomplishment when you finish this version of the game the first time on max level without loosing a single round. You wont even need a gamer score or achievement to show off, the prize is reward enough I assure.

Nintenjoe64

#15

Nintenjoe64 said:

@Kirk Fair enough, it is a near perfect game even when played slower than the arcade and later entries. It was the game that I got a SNES for and it is still better than 90% of modern beat em ups. I remember being the happiest kid in the world when I got this and a SNES for my birthday.

I am not a fan of modern companies taking liberties with DLC and annualised games but I bought 3 SNES versions of SF2. Still have my Japanese carts in my bedroom :)

Kirk

#16

Kirk said:

@Nintenjoe64

Well it's impressive to see someone who can accept logical reasoning without having to debate everything just for the sake of it.

This game was a genuine masterpiece when it first launched in the arcades and again when it came to the SNES.

I certainly loved it as a teenager, just like pretty much everyone else did too and for good reason.

It also still holds up 100% today, in every way, and plays just as flawlessly as it ever did.

Fighting games have certainly added to formula in the years since Street Fighter first came out, in my opinion not necessarily always for the better, but this game is definitely one of those rare games that actually stands the test of time pretty much perfectly intact.

Street Fighter II is a true timeless classic for all the right reasons and that shouldn't be so easily devalued as I think it genuinely has been in this review for all the wrong reasons.

I just saw that 7 and it basically completely undermined everything that Street Fighter II is and was in an instant, apparently for the sole sake of indicating to people they'd be better off getting one of the other two recently released eShop versions released at the same time.

That's just bad reviewing and scoring, plain and simple.

Balaclavab

#17

Balaclavab said:

Why don't they bring out SSF2 Turbo HD Remix instead? I recently downloaded it on Xbox 360, it's the only Street Fighter game I've ever played, and I love it, it's all I've played for nearly 2 months.

Pichuka97

#18

Pichuka97 said:

I grew up playing this version of the game on my SNES. Idk why but it feels better than the turbo version. My uncle had to go to the US and blow $500 just for this when it came out.

Rawk_Hawk

#19

Rawk_Hawk said:

I take a different approach to reviews like this. I would never say skip this version because the others are better. I think its fun to own all of the versions to the progression of the series. This one holds up well although the Genesis Special Champion Edition is still my personal favorite. So in short buy them all

retro_player_22

#25

retro_player_22 said:

It's hard to go back to this version especially when there are already better versions available but its a nostalgic trip for those who once grew up with it. Definitely a 9/10 to me. This game is also the reason why Sega made a six button controller so they could get a better faster version for the Genesis which the SNES later got as well.

Jahir

#26

Jahir said:

@Kirk I've always wondered what he says when he does that. Does he really say tatsumaki senpuu kyaku?

Kirk

#27

Kirk said:

@Jahir

So the official line goes but it really doesn't sound anything like that when you actually hear it.

Cohort

#28

Cohort said:

@Shiryu I remember buying the japanese version at the time, plus a HoneyBee converter. Then I got home, read the Mean Machines review and come across the cheat code that allowed you to use the same character in two player mode.. good times :)

Kirk

#31

Kirk said:

@Cohort

I did the same thing a few years back, along with all my Edge, C&VG, Super Play, Maximum and a few others.

I sold them all for around £50, hundreds of issues, and then found out I could have sold my Edge Issue 1 alone for around £60.

Totally miss them.

Cohort

#32

Cohort said:

@Kirk Mean Machines was in a different league, I basically stopped reading games magazines when Mean Machines SEGA came to a halt.

I still have the SFII SCE, pull out special somewhere..

OGGamer

#34

OGGamer said:

The very first game I bought along with my snes . I remember the countless hours spent on it trying (and succeeding ) to beat it on max difficulty without losing . AlI that torture just to get "the special ending" . Those were really good times .

PinkSpider

#35

PinkSpider said:

7! This game redefined the genre and deserves a 9 for that alone, the game still plays better than 85% of beat em ups that get released today

archlord

#37

archlord said:

I played this game for hours on end when I was 5. It was "all I thought about for weeks on end". I got in trouble for drawing "violent" pictures in the 1st grade of Ken and Zhangief fighting. I wasn't a violent kid, but I really loved Street Fighter!

sleepinglion

#38

sleepinglion said:

I still remember picking up the original on SNES cart when it was released... I wanna say it was 65 to 75 dollars here in the States at first because at the time it was a massive game.
It was just huge. My education in fighting genre began with this title and my favorite in the series was actually 'Turbo'. It might sound silly but it's mainly because I love the music during the end credits on this one. Capcom had a pretty sweet deal going last week, buy one get another half off. I have the PS2 compilation but it's nice to have it on a Nintendo console again.
Anyone ever try the original 'Street Fighter' arcade game? The difference between it and its sequel is mind-blowing as the original is pretty dull in comparison.

RR529

#39

RR529 said:

Loved playing this as a kid! Even with the enhanced versions releasing alongside it, I'd still say it at least deserves an 8/10.

As others have said, a great game is still great, even if subsequent versions made it even better.

Reverandjames

#40

Reverandjames said:

Had this on Amiga, pretty sure there was a cheat to play as the four bosses.

Agree with @kirk here. Street fighter did get better, but that doesn't mean the original is not a masterpiece. Championship edition for Mega Drive/Genesis was my favourite though...

gsmaciel

#42

gsmaciel said:

"The lack of fighting game creature comforts such as devastating super combos, evasive rolls, guard gauges and mid-air blocking makes the whole experience feel overly simplistic at times."

This is actually what makes the game playable for me.

Blizzaga

#43

Blizzaga said:

The review failed to mention that this bare bones version is perfect for beginners.

But yeah, the review hit on it way too hard.

Shiryu

#44

Shiryu said:

@Cohort I was very, very patient and had to wait for the PAL release (the US importa costed no less thatn 100+ Euros over here, without the converter). However, when that cheat code came up on either "Super Play" or "Computer & Video Games" it was quite a big deal among me and my friends. Guilve vs Guile, Zangief vs Zangief, ah the possiblitiies...

DeathlyDarkness

#45

DeathlyDarkness said:

Dang, people feel pretty strong about this.

Just a reminder a 7 is above average. If you wanted you could realize that every time you post in a review or article or forum via the "Community Rules" link to the right of the text box.

Any game can be boring and seemingly simplistic over time. Simply because it's humam nature to become bored with the same thing over time. Although in my opinion brawlers/fighting games are especially prone to it.

Small roster( Cough 8 Characters Cough ), small move set, uninteresting maps, etc. can all contribute to this.

In regard to the ridiculous argument this game shouldn't be judged with its brothers, how come people always say "So much better than the original!"? Yup, you reluctantly guessed it: Because not only is it 'Allowed' but it's smart. And logical. And downright the thing you should do.

In conclusion, the argument was made off sentimental value and therefore is void.

Aaand, THAT being said, nice review, @Damo.

unrandomsam

#46

unrandomsam said:

@Kirk This version of Streetfighter 2 is garbage. The TG16 version is the one to get it plays like the arcade game. The SNES ones don't. (Turbo is ok)

CorbsAdmin

#47

Corbs said:

I still remember the day I bought the SNES version. Was totally blown away by this game.

Bass_X0

#48

Bass_X0 said:

This game redefined the genre and deserves a 9 for that alone,

I disagree. Sure it deserves a 9 or 10 back in its day because there was nothing else around like it. At the time of its original release, it was the best around. But now its not. Capcom updated the game and added to it over time. Taken alone, it is still a good game. It still stands among the best of the 16-bit fighters. But the later games being available for the same cost can't be ignored. So a 7/10 is a good score for it.

Its not like Super Mario Bros. which still offers its own unique experience despite several sequels being released after it.

This version of Streetfighter 2 is garbage.
Now thats a bit strong. Even if its not the best console version, even as it is, its still better than most other fighting games on the SNES.

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