Created by the widely popular company Capcom, Street Fighter first hit the arcades in 1987. The franchise has become one of the company's biggest successes. According to records, Street Fighter II sold a whopping 14 million copies for the SNES and Sega Genesis alone. The games have been ported to multiple consoles ranging from PC to Xbox. Each game in the series stars the iconic martial artist, Ryu, in his goal to become a worldwide martial arts champion. Gamers owe much of what they love about fighting games to the franchise. Street Fighter II truly set the bar high for all fighting games to follow. It was the first ever game of its kind to offer up a wide range of characters for players to choose from, each with their own unique set of moves. The game's popularity sparked a recent revamp of the series with the release of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers for the Nintendo Switch. The game brought new energy to the franchise with the addition of two new characters, Evil Ryu and Violent Ken, for the first time in almost 20 years. The way players fight has become universal among the genre. Unleashing combos unique to fans favorite characters is a wonderful feeling all fight fans can relate to.
Not everyone would agree that the franchise is the best of all time. The games have some embarrassing features that Capcom surely wishes it could take back, ranging from Mike Tyson look-a-likes, to wrongly assigned character names. Some might even say the mark Street Fighter left on the genre was not a positive one at all.
15 Ruined: So. Many. Ports.
If there's one thing gamers hate, it's having to buy the same game over and over again, for every system under the sun. Street Fighter was so popular that it was included in the Capcom Classics Collection: Volume 2 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles 18 years after the game's original release date. Street Fighter II has been ported to over ten different consoles including: SNES, Microsoft Windows, Atari ST, and Game Boy.
The craze doesn't stop there. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers made its debut for the Nintendo Switch on May 26th of this year. The game, successful as it may be, is overpriced at $40.00 new. The only real plus is the game does come with the first new characters added to the series in almost 20 years, Evil Ryu and Violent Ken, evil counterparts of the franchise's main characters.
14 Defined: Mechanics
The fighting mechanics established by the Street Fighter series have become universal. Moves always range from a combination of punches and kicks, to long-range projectiles, each exhibiting a certain level of strength and speed. Players have access to three separate punch, and kick attacks. Physical attacks, when combined in succession, allow players to perform signature moves like "Shoryuken" and "Tatsumaki Senpukyaku." The projectile attack, "Hadouken," is so iconic that it inspired the creation of a band sharing its name, and even appeared as a special move in Mega Man X.
Fighting games released after Street Fighter typically follow suit with the same famous projectile attack, notably Dragon Ball Z and Goku's iconic Kamehameha Wave. Fighting games wouldn't be complete without the main characters having cool, memorable attacks.
13 Ruined: Bad Spin-Offs
The Street Fighter franchise is known for spawning a variety of terrible spin-off games. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo borrows characters and music from Street Fighter II Turbo, but the gameplay is comparable to puzzle games like Puyo Puyo 2 and Tetris. Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight was released in 1990 for the NES. It's a run-and-gun, side-scrolling platform style game in which players control futuristic, cyber Ken on his quest to track down his fellow scientist's killer. The Japanese version is slightly different. The main character in this version is not Ken from the original Street Fighter. Instead, players control Kevin Striker, a cybernetic police officer, hunting down criminals dubbed "Parasites." While the main franchise is undoubtedly a world hit, the Street Fighter spin-offs are a huge let down for fans of all ages.
12 Defined: Frame Counting
The Street Fighter franchise fathered a fighting-game technique commonly referred to as "Frame Counting". Players break down character's moves frame by frame in order to predict, and counter the opponent's techniques. Moves and their frames can be separated into three parts: Startup, Action, and Recovery Frames. A technique's startup can range anywhere from two to eight frames. The action of a move usually is quicker, taking up two to four frames. After the attack has been executed, it must be re-chambered, and the player is left vulnerable while he or she is waiting to recover.
Counting frames has become a valued technique among pro gamers and is used in a number of fighting games, notably: Super Smash Bros, Mortal Kombat, Dragon Ball Z, and Tekken. The gaming world is rapidly becoming more competitive due to the ability to make a lucrative living off the art. Players must constantly come up with new and improved ways to gain the competitive edge over the competition.
11 Ruined: Lack Of Stage Variety
The original Street Fighter games follow a theme where characters have their own respective stages, each paying tribute to their home country. Some stages are roughly based on real-world monuments, and particular environments, such as Ryu's stage in Street Fighter II. The Midnight Castle is believed to be directly based off Japan's Matsue Castle. Street Fighter IV breaks the trend with more randomized stages that have much less to do with the characters themselves.
The stages are dull, and have no real effect on gameplay. It feels like Capcom put little effort into the stages themselves, and spent more time focusing on the gameplay. As the years went on small animations and effects were added to the stages, such as fans cheering players on as the fight reaches its climax, but ultimately the efforts made to make memorable stages for the Street Fighter franchise was a big failure.
10 Defined: Competitive Scene
The gaming industry is booming. It wasn't long after the start of the Street Fighter phenomenon that tournaments and competitions started sprouting up everywhere. Fighting games, in particular, make great catalysts for getting gamers together to show off their skills. Street Fighter IV is currently one of the games included in the CapCom Pro Tour.
The Street Fighter franchise is far from alone in this. Tournaments pop up regularly for popular fighting games like: Super Smash Bros Melee, Tekken 7, Injustice 2, and Mortal Kombat. Games like Super Smash Bros Melee can reward up to millions of dollars in prize money. With competition being so intense, players are forced to come up with strategies like frame counting just to maintain their competitive edge. The gaming scene is becoming more and more lucrative. Who said gamers couldn't make the big time?
9 Ruined: Lame Characters
The Street Fighter cast is composed of some very interesting characters. The most iconic members of the team are Ryu, Japanese karate warrior, and Ken, his American rival and counterpart. The original street fighter gave players access to only Ryu and Ken, while Street Fighter II brought six more characters to the playable roster, making up what would be known as the original cast. Other characters and past bosses like Akuma eventually were added on as the franchise progressed.
Street Fighter's cast comes off as very stereotypical, and slightly racist, for example, Fei Long is a direct rip on Bruce Lee. In fact, Balrog and M. Bison underwent a last minute name change for the game's American release. The choice to star an African-American boxer named M. Bison was too much of a direct take on Mike Tyson to get away with. The company was cutting the legal line very close. Come on Capcom, where was the originality?
8 Defined: Games To Movies
Street Fighter made its way from the arcade to the big screen back in 1994. The movie actually stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile, the American commando, as he leads an army in pursuit of M. Bison, a vicious dictator, and drug lord. Bison has taken allied fighters captive and it's up to Guile to pay the ransom, or face the consequences.
The film was ultimately a success, raking in triple the cost of production. The audience's reception of the film however, did not go over well. The movie got a mere 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 3.8/10 on IMDb. Ouch. The production company spent nearly 1/3 of their budget just to get Van Damme to star in the film, but even that wasn't enough to save the ratings. Despite being a horrible motion picture, the movie did open the door for a new "game to film" trend to take the spotlight for many years to come.
7 Ruined: Portrayal Of Women
It wouldn't be a proper fighting game without having a cast of sexy female characters for players to enjoy, and Street Fighter started the trend. Cammy set the bar high with her rocking body, and revealing outfit. Chun-Li, while slightly more modest in appearance, is still very attractive by video game standards. Fighting games released after Street Fighter II all followed suit with their female character's costumes and assets.
This didn't always work out for the fan's benefit. Street Fighter is taking the blame for inspiring horrible spin-offs, like Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, which broke away from the one-on-one fighting style of past games and relied entirely on the appeal of hot, female characters participating in mini-games to hold the attention of lonely, male gamers. While Xtreme Beach Volleyball is a real step down for the fighting game scene, it was ultimately well received for having great graphics and remarkable "jiggling" effects.
6 Defined: In Game Soundtracks
Soundtracks are a crucial part of a game's over-all success rate and truly can make, or break a game. Yoko Shimomura is the mastermind behind Street Fighter II: The World Warrior's soundtrack, and later went to work with Square Co. on the Kingdom Hearts series, both of which are two of the most iconic franchises in history. Yoko also worked her magic on Capcom's other beat-em-up classic, Final Fight, and even did some freelance work on the soundtrack for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Companies take a lot of time and consideration when choosing their composers. After all, the most successful video game soundtracks are still stuck in gamer's heads today, bringing nostalgia tto the ears of kid and adult fans alike.
5 Ruined: Lags And Glitches
Street Fighter has been ported a million times, and even its newest versions suffer from serious lags, and glitches. This is a real problem, considering every second counts in a fighting game like Street Fighter. Skilled players are discovering how to use the "frame-counting" technique to count the lagging frames in an attempt to gain an advantage over the opposing player.
The fact that this is even a thing is sad. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers was just released for the Nintendo Switch and, much like Street Fighter V, comes with its fair share of problems that should have been addressed many ports ago. Online play lags often, and moves tend to "glitch" up. Capcom really should have spent more effort correcting issues, and less time re-hashing old games.
4 Defined: Button Combos
Street Fighter truly defined the controls and combination style attacking for all fighting games to follow. Characters are given a repertoire of combos, and "super combos" that can be accessed by pressing a set pattern of buttons. This style of gameplay reigns true for a multitude of hit titles like: Super Smash Bros, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Dragon Ball Z, and Marvel vs. CapCom.
Famous moves, like Street Fighter's "Hadoken," typically have the same set combination of buttons throughout each game in the franchis, making it easier for players to maintain their skills with each new game's release. Each individual character will typically have their own set of moves, complete with their own unique button combinations. This feature adds a new element to fight-games, giving players a chance to master their favorite characters individually, and makes it more of a challenge for gamers to become proficient with every character.
3 Ruined: Bad Sequels
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior spawned a vast number of sequels turning Street Fighter from a hit game, into a franchise. The sequels were mostly rehashed versions of The World Warrior, coming with only a few small updates per game. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers is the fourth installment in what was a quickly growing franchise, and finally brought fans new updates of substantial value. It was the first game that used Capcom's newest hardware at the time, CP System II, creating a large gap in the quality of graphics and audio of games past. The system was revolutionary for its time, and gave fans a well-deserved revamp to what was quickly becoming a repetitive series, but fighting-game sequels can only have so much to offer. They follow a predictable cycle of gradually releasing new characters, stages, and small updates, but ultimately that's the trend they are stuck in.
2 Defined: 2D Fighting
Street Fighter built the world of 2D fighting-games, and its sequel is credited for turning the whole industry into a worldwide phenomenon. Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom, Super Smash Bros, Soul Calibur, Tekken, and Injustice are just a few of the hit games that spawned from the new found popularity Street Fighter gave to a now ever-growing industry. The 2D style of gaming has become a fan favorite for its perfect balance of simplicity, and complexity surrounding its graphics and gameplay. Most games in this category have the added feature where, regardless of the 2D plane, a wide range of players can battle it out with each other, or work together to take down the game's bosses.
1 Ruined: Short Story Mode
Street Fighter truly set the standard for fighting games to have very weak, and short story modes. The story or arcade mode for an individual character can typically be completed in one short sitting. For some, story modes for all characters can be completed in a day's work. It's a real let down for fans who spend their well-earned money on a new game, just to see "THE END" flash across their television screens a few hours later.
Fighting games aren't typically judged for their innovative story-modes, but that's no reason for companies to slack off in the category all-together. Street Fighter set a standard that suggests fighting games don't need a story more, and that is completely unacceptable.