Tuesday 22 April 2014

S is for Street Fighter

Developer: Capcom
Notable Releases: Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Street Fighter IV

The many years I have spent gaming are ripe with memories, but none as sweet as the day I had my first brush with Street Fighter II. It was at my cousin's friend's place, and a bunch of his friends were gathered there, taking turns. I can still feel the surge of anticipation in my fingers when one of the controllers was passed to me.

The match began and I found myself waving the pad this way and that (much to my cousin's embarrassment), even though motion controls were a good 14 years away. Needless to say, I had lost that first match like a little girl. But that was the defining moment where I discovered the joy of fighting games, a genre that has been all but dominated by the Street Fighter series.

The first game in the series was released for arcades in 1987. It introduced Ryu, a martial artist who players controlled as he fought his way through a worldwide martial arts tournament. A second player could drop in at anytime and challenge Ryu by controlling Ken, his rival. Both characters featured similar special moves made up of fireballs, dragon punches and hurricane kicks.

Street Fighter II was released in 1991, and for the first time in a fighting game, players could choose from a roaster of different fighters. It was followed by several iterations, some of which were released specifically for home consoles. The game was a resounding success, and the SNES version remains Capcom's best-selling game.

Several Street Fighter games were released following the success of Street Fighter II. These include Street Fighter Alpha (or Zero as it is known in Japan), which served as a prequel to the previous games and featured a new art style. The series also made its first foray into 3D with Street Fighter EX. Street Fighter III was released in 1997, and it received two additional updates, 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike.

The current iteration of the series, Street Fighter IV, was released in 2008. It features 3D stages and cel-shaded characters, although actual gameplay takes place on a 2D plane.