Now I know what you’re thinking, “Street Fighter the movie was clearly based on Street Fighter II!”, well I’ll say… it’s barely that, but yes reviewing SFII here would make more sense, but I already reviewed it! So why not review the game simply called “Street Fighter” alongside the film of the same name? Oh wait, I see why now… the first Street Fighter is crap. Oh well, so was the movie! Hooray!?
Less “Shoryuken”, more “Very Slow Ryuken”
Street Fighter was released in arcades 1987 (August in Japan, November elsewhere) with two different cabinets: one with the now-standard six buttons and joystick, and one with two pressure sensitive pads that would choose between the light, medium and heavy attacks based on how hard you hit the button, which is… novel, if nothing else. It was later ported to the PC Engine/Turbo Grafx CD, MS-DOS, a bunch of classic British computers (Amiga, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum etc) and eventually as part of various classic collection bundle releases across multiple more modern consoles.
Although Street Fighter II would be the game to put vs. fighting games on the map, it is at least this original game that can claim to be the first to use the six button set up, as well as invent the idea of directional motions followed by a button press to do special attacks.
The roster of fighters is Ryu and Ken as the only playable ones, future classics Gen, Birdie, and Adon, with Sagat acting as the final boss, and finally Retsu (generic Japanese martial artist), Geki (claw wielding ninja!), Joe (generic American fighter), Mike (generic Mike Tyson rip off before Balrog took that honour, though he looks white in game…), Lee (generic Chinese martial artist) and Eagle, who I at least know thanks to his appearance in Capcom vs. SNK 2!
Less “Hadoken”, more… wait, no, that doesn’t work here.
Two characters fight (with you controlling Ryu only!), the loser is the one whose health is depleted first, you do this by punching or kicking, flying kicking, crouching, blocking and pulling off one of three special moves. If the quite stingy time limit ends, then the person with the most health wins, if it’s a tie… the CPU wins automatically.
That’s the jist of the original Street Fighter! Your only options are a classic arcade route as Ryu, or a 2-player game where player 2 plays as Ken (and if player 2 wins and then continues the arcade route, you can complete the game as Ken instead, though in SF he is literally a sprite swap of Ryu in every way…) There are two mini-games during arcade mode to break the boredom… briefly.
That all being said, it doesn’t play well. It’s excruciatingly slow, the moves are hard to pull off due to the stiffness of the controls, and the animations pale in comparison to later efforts, either by the same creators (who went across to SNK and made Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting etc) or future games in the franchise. While the latter can’t be helped given the year it was released, that doesn’t take away from the fact this is not very fun to play in 2019…
Graphics and Sound:
I forgot to mention Birdie was white in his original appearance here. It’s like black Smithers from early Simpsons episodes, only reversed!
As already mentioned, the graphics don’t look great. The sprites are alright for the time, but they’re not very pretty to look at now, though I will at least compliment the stages for looking quite good and detailed. Again, the age of the game means this isn’t me criticising it for not being up to modern standards, but it’s still not very nice to look at.
Sound isn’t much better either, even compared to other Capcom titles released at the same time. The background music is very muddled and often unpleasant to the ears, and the voice samples… well, they leave a lot to be desired. It’s safe to say that the series got off to a slow start in all areas, innovative controls aside.
This mini-game makes a lot more sense than beating up somebody’s car, anyway…
Young martial artist Ryu is travelling the world while taking part in a street fighting tournament. You play as him, which means he eventually wins by defeating Muay Thai legend Sagat in the final, an event confirmed in later games in the series.
It’s Eagle, including his two sticks! … Capcom vs. SNK 2 did him justice, I guess!
This is sort of cheating, because “then” in this case means the early-2000s, but that was still long enough ago for my opinions to have potentially changed… not that they have really. Me at this point played the game on MAME and quickly gave up because it was “slow and crap”. While I gave the game a better go this time, it’s hard to argue with that assessment…
I got to Sagat for the sake of a screenshot, but I couldn’t be arsed to beat him…
Street Fighter should be credited for innovating fighting game control methods, and therefore deserves its place in history, but compared to all Street Fighter II did for the genre, and how that game is still more than playable, it also has be said that the original is best left unplayed. I got used to it enough to get far this time, but I still didn’t enjoy the experience…