My personal story with Street Fighter II
How the game captured my attention and which version I think is the best.
My personal story with Street Fighter II starts back in 1991. At the time Street Fighter II:World Warrior had just come out for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). My friends were all into it and I was excited but couldn't afford to play with them at the arcades. I didn't particularly see the appeal to the game but I was young and impressionable.
I didn't know much about games at the time but I knew the games that my friends were playing. A year or two later Street Fighter II: Turbo came out for the SNES. I was starting to get into games. Magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other gaming magazines were filling my head with gaming facts. It was mentioned that this new Street Fighter was better than the World Warrior because it had more moves, you can now play as one of the 4 bosses and the speed was ramped up for faster gameplay.
In around 1992 was all in and ate it all up. It took me a while but I saved up $100 to buy this game from the store. That's incredibly expensive especially if you look at today's game price standards. Again I was a dumb kid and didn't know better. The only thing that was important to me was to finally be able to play my friends at this game.
The game was played a little but this was when Mortal Kombat was starting to really take center stage in arcades. Unfortunately I was all about the hype and fell into hyping up Mortal Kombat. I wasn't ever good at the Mortal Kombat series. I admittedly really liked Mortal Kombat 3 though.
Years pass by and it's already 1996. I was ready to get a new game system. This was probably one of the most interesting times in gaming. Sony had just released their PlayStation and Sega had released the Saturn. Still on the market however was the Panasonic 3DO. I couldn't decide which system to choose.
Eventually I ended up with a Goldstar 3DO. The system price had dropped considerably and they already had a pretty large library of games that were at discount prices. I thought I'd pick up the PlayStation or the Saturn later on when I get the money.
I have to admit that my mind was blown when I played the few games that I had on the 3DO. It was a giant leap from the 16 bit cartridge based system to this 32 bit CD behemoth.
On one of my annual trips to see my grandparents in Toronto my grandfather went shopping with me and my brother. He said he wanted to get me something. I looked through the store and I was hypnotized to one single game.
I couldn't get over the artwork on the cover. It was Super Street Fighter II Turbo (SSF2T). It's been a while and I was keeping track of gaming information but for some reason this game flew under my radar. My grandfather bought me the game and I couldn't be more grateful.
When I popped this game into my 3DO I couldn't get over how great it sounded. From the first sound effects of the QSound introduction all the way to the opening of the game. There were 4 new fighters, all new moves, a super meter that allowed you to do super moves and best of all the remixed music of all of the game stages. I can't explain how big the soundtrack for that game was.
It really changed my perception of Street Fighter II. I was hooked and played this game for months on end. It wasn't even a perfect version of this game. The P button was located where you have the start select on the 3DO controller. Essentially I was playing the game with one missing button the whole time. Still I can't get over how much fun I had with this game.
I eventually got a Sony PlayStation when I realized Sega Saturn was going down the tubes. One of the games I bought was Street Fighter Collection. Not for Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold but for the SSF2T included with the package. Although the game-play technically was better I still preferred the 3DO version because of the music. The PlayStation version contained the original arcade mix.
I continued to play my 3DO version to the ground and was trying to find alternatives from the 3DO controller. There was an adapter to allow SNES controllers work on the 3DO. I was tempted to get it but I was scared of ordering online. This was the early days when the Internet was first being introduced.
Years pass and I then get a PlayStation 2 and an Xbox. I played other games and kind of forgot about my obsession with SSF2T. I did however buy Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo Revival on the Game Boy Advance around 2002. I remember being shocked that they were able to put the whole game into a little cartridge for portable gaming. It was far from perfect. They modified the stages and some of the art. It was nice but it was missing 2 buttons. You had to play a little differently so that you can get medium punch and kick. It was a portable game so I wasn't complaining.
More years pass and I got a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360. I think it was around 2004 when I picked up the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary box. It was this gigantic Street Fighter collection box that contained: Street Fighter soundtracks (11 CD's in total that span the Street Fighter collection plus fan music), Blu Ray's (of Street Fighter movies, documentaries and behind the scene footage), Ryu's belt replica, a light up Ryu figurine, a Street Fighter art tribute book, Street Fighter III: Third Strike, SSF2T Remix, Street Fighter X Tekken, Super Street fighter 4: Arcade Edition, Street Fighter Alpha (1, 2, 3 were original PlayStation versions, it also included Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max on the PlayStation Portable), all of the Street Fighter avatars for your PlayStation profile and all in a beautiful velvet box.
The big things I was looking forward to was SSF2T Remix and the soundtracks. Unfortunately the soundtracks didn't include the 3DO soundtrack. SSF2T Remix was SSF2T totally redrawn with different music. I didn't really like it. Playing again today I can appreciate the effort in the game and it is a fun game but not really for me. There is a way you can get the original game sprites to play in this version but it looks odd with the new redrawn backgrounds as the resolutions do not really match.
I almost lost hope until I found out that PlayStation 2 and Xbox original had a Street Fighter Collection released a while back that I didn't know of. This collection included Street Fighter III: Third Impact as well as Hyper Street Fighter II: Anniversary Edition. This new version of Street Fighter allowed the user to choose which version of the character in Street Fighter II did they want to play. You could play from World Warrior version up to SSF2T version.
I bought a copy of each because the games were cheap at the time. When I popped them into the system I crossed my fingers hoping they would have the 3DO soundtrack. I was elated that they had the 3DO soundtrack as well as the original arcade soundtracks. It really was to me the best versions of the game. Still I think the 3DO still has an edge over this version music wise because the separation of left and right audio was a lot stronger on the 3DO.
Now I have the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox 1 and what did I do when I found out that Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection came out? Obviously I bought it. This collection includes the "arcade perfect" versions of every single Street Fighter that had ever come out. Quite honestly I was really disappointed with this "arcade perfect" version of SSF2T that the compilation includes. It's missing the music that I love from the 3DO and the difficulty of this game was crazy even when I dropped it to easy.
Today I still go back to the 3DO version for nostalgia but my preferred version is the Hyper Street Fighter II: Anniversary Edition only because it works with the Xbox 360.
Today I've discovered that I can make original Xbox games look best with the Xbox 360. The XBox 360 allows me to play the game on a computer monitor making it easier on the eyes. The music from the 3DO are there in all its glory albeit without as much left and right separation but it's better than nothing. I am also able to play this game with a fighting joystick with all the buttons and bells and whistles.
It's been a long journey and I'm glad I finally found the best Street Fighter II that fits my preferences. It's been 29 years since I've been introduced to the game and my search for my preferred Street Fighter II came to an end after 23 long years. I will forever cherish all the beautiful hours of game-play that I've spent playing so many versions of this game.