Yeah, my parents “raised” me, but Street Fighter II made me the habitual line-stepper that I am today. It built competitive spirit, taught me how to judge people and, most of all, made me take trivial shit WAY too seriously. For that, I thank you, Capcom.
First off, what happened to Street Fighter I?
Is ignoring the fact that this game existed one of the most egregious acts of disrespect ever? Perhaps. But if you owned a Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Atari ST or played this shit on MS-DOS, you’re old as shit or an absolute lunatic that has a body in their basement.
Street Fighter II Character Breakdown
Blanka: What happens when you put the Incredible Hulk, Quasimodo and Pikachu into a blender.
Gameplay: A top-notch cheese character. If you smash at buttons long enough, you’ll eventually turn into a ball of electricity. You made your little cousin pick Blanka.
Chun-Li: The sole female representative in Street Fighter. She probably CAN’T EVEN deal. If she were real, she’d caption fake inspiring quotes on Instagram while posting bikini pics and hashtagging #squatspo.
Gameplay: She could bounce off the invisible boundaries on the walls within the levels and constantly used those watermelon-crushing thighs to kick you in the face hundreds of times. She also had an extremely flacid fireball attack that only worked if you were one centimeter from her hands. Despite girl power, not even your sister picked Chun-Li.
Dhalsim: Top five greatest rappers of all time: Dhalsim, Dhalsim, Dhalsim, Dhalsim, and Dhalsim because he spits hot fire. But seriously, he was just a yoga instructor that lived with an elephant, had some shrunken skulls on his neck (Racist? Perhaps.) and had so much free time that he taught himself how to breathe fire.
Gameplay: Dhalsim sucks. Yeah, it was a shock to the system and borderline terrifying to see your character set on fire briefly, but once you recovered and saw your health bar inexplicably unchanged, you resumed whooping that dude’s ass.The only time you picked Dhalsim was to prove how good you were at Street Fighter. Or you pressed the wrong button.
E. Honda: The Japanese version of Blanka and undoubtedly the brainchild of a character developer that forgot he had a deadline.
Gameplay: (see Blanka above, but instead of electricity, he moved his hands really fast)
Guile: America, fuck yeah! Meathead army bro that undoubtedly had PTSD? I’m sold.
Gameplay: If the Hadouken didn’t exist, the Sonic Boom would be the best attack in the game. Also, he had that leg slice that was perfect for jumping cheesers. An all-time favorite.
Zangief: Saw WAY too much of this guy’s dick. I know it’s petty, but it ruins my opinion of him.
Gameplay: It was like fighting a bear. For some reason, no human could use Zangief as well as the computer did. Executing that jump-off-the-screen 1080 degree spinning piledriver that should have killed your character instantly move is currently the saddest entry on my bucket list.
Ken: Friendships were made or broken based on the “Ken or Ryu” decision. I personally went with Ken because he looked like he cared a little more about hooking up with Playboy models than he did about winning some silly worldwide fighting tournament.
Gameplay: Ken can do the triple dragon punch.
Ryu: He cared a little bit more than Ken about the whole fighting thing. The whole “true warrior” aspiration was a little much for me. Don’t be a try-hard, bro.
Gameplay: Ryu can only do the double dragon punch.
Balrog: The Black Guy! Equipped with braids and everything because stereotyping is awesome. “We swear this isn’t in the likeness of Mike Tyson” – Capcom lawyers.
Dude didn't even consider learning how to kick RT @GuyNamedTawanda: Balrog was that nigga cuz he was just Mike Tyson
— WJ (@WMsDiary) July 21, 2014
Gameplay: Arguably the best cheese character in the game. No tricky combos, projectiles or frills. Dude just punched the shit out of you and kept on punching until you died.
Vega: Huge asshole. Can’t come in there with weapons, bro. I can win Street Fighter tomorrow if I brought an assault rifle to the ring. Dick.
Gameplay: He could climb the fence in the background and had the same “bounce off the boundary” skills that Chun-Li has, so he is a very good defensive character. No matter how you cut it, there isn’t a more satisfying feeling than when you hit Vega so hard that his mask pops off and fades into obscurity.
Sagat: Sagat gave up a promising career in the NBA to fight random street urchins for no real reason. Not saying that he could have been the next Wilt Chamberlain, but if you’re 7’3 and can shoot projectiles out of your hands, I’d imagine you’d be able to grab a couple of rebounds.
Gameplay: Sagat almost made me break my SNES controller roughly 1000 times. I’d consider myself good at Street Fighter and Sagat waxed the floor with me way too many times. If you had a nightmare or two about Tiger Uppercuts, you know what I’m talking about.
M. Bison: Credit where credit is due. M. Bison came into fights looking fresh from head to toe. Plus, he wore a hat that never came off no matter how bad you whooped his ass. Some people use precaution when their hair starts receding, but M. Bison took initiative and stapled his hat to his head.
Gameplay: Bison would have been a lot more manageable if he wasn’t constantly kicking you in the ankles at a 45 degree angle. If you can beat Sagat, you can definitely beat him.
Fun Facts and 2014 Replayability
– Balrog was supposed to be named M. Bison (for Mike Tyson), M. Bison was supposed to be named Vega, and Vega was supposed to be named Balrog, but they didn’t want to get sued in the U.S. markets (they fucked up).
– The two big character additions in the newer Street Fighter game were super bad-ass Akuma and…Dan. Some evil demon from the underworld and a guy named Dan. I found that hilarious.
– I bought Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on my PS3 and 1) I have no idea why the title sounds like an unreleased Avicii song, 2) I’m terrible at it and it makes me more sad than I want to admit.
– What’s up with the “block” function? I never understood it in fighting games. Like, “oh, that fireball would have hurt if I wasn’t moving back and shielding my face with my arm.” Is his arm fine even though a fireball made a direct contact with it? If I get into a fight and keep moving back, will I ever get hurt? Important questions.
– Remember that challenge when you had to beat up a car for no reason? What was that about?
Ah, nostalgia. Pour one out for the OG fighting game when you’re at the bars this weekend. If your friends ask why you spilled beer on their shoes, just tell them “because of Street Fighter II” and they’ll understand.