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Street Fighter II' Champion Edition (Arcade) artwork

Street Fighter II' Champion Edition (Arcade) review

"Street Fighter 2: Championship edition was the first revamp of the original World Warrior. Capcom hit solid gold with this version but as they continued the series it lost a lot of its charm and as usual Capcom continually upgraded the game creating many sub series like Street Fighter Alpha, and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo and so on and so forth. When push comes to shove SF2CE is the most enjoyable out of the lot. With classic 2-D fighting action and some of the most memorable theme songs you..."

Street Fighter 2: Championship edition was the first revamp of the original World Warrior. Capcom hit solid gold with this version but as they continued the series it lost a lot of its charm and as usual Capcom continually upgraded the game creating many sub series like Street Fighter Alpha, and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo and so on and so forth. When push comes to shove SF2CE is the most enjoyable out of the lot. With classic 2-D fighting action and some of the most memorable theme songs you’ve heard it still stands today as one of the greatest beat-em ups of all time.

Unlike its cranky predecessor, where you were limited to the control of Ryu, or Ken if you had a friend to play with Street Fighter 2 allows you to choose from eight world warriors, coming from all corners of the globe. We still have our afore-mentioned Shotokan masters from before who have the same set of moves that helped make Street Fighter the legend it is today. Apart from Ryu and Ken we have a diverse selection of warriors from all over the globe. We have E. Honda, a sumo wrestler with rapid hand movement, Dhalism, our Indian mystic who can stretch his limbs and breathe fire at will. Other characters include Russian powerhouse Zangief, a Brazilian beast Blanka, who can charge himself with electricity. Finally we have the American air pilot Guile and the female representative of the group Chun Li.

In addition, Champion edition also allows you to play as four “boss” characters, which were unplayable in the “World Warrior” version. We have Balrog the boxer from Vegas, whose array of punches will knock you senseless in seconds, although Capcom had to change his original name of M. Bison to avoid the obvious Mike Tyson references. Vega is the clawed Spaniard, who uses his acrobatic abilities, along with a nice long claw to bring you down. The final two bad guys are the big bad guys; Sagat the Thai kick boxer is back and more evil than ever. With his trademark eye patch and a big scar splashed across his chest, a little souvenir from the previous fight he had with Ryu in the original Street Fighter and last, but definitely not least the evil crime lord M. Bison, leader of the Shadaloo corporation and the ultimate nemesis to any other fighter, except the afore mention three who seem to be in his back pocket.

Starting on a single game will see your character travelling all corners of the globe to do battle with these opponents before taking on the reign on M. Bison. Each fight will consist of a best two out of three contest and victory will see you on the plane to the next match up. You’ll find that different characters will use different strategies to beat you and also you will have to figure out what your characters is. For example Ryu will use an array of Ha-do-kens on you when your far away and when you approach him he’ll clock you with a dragon punch and then use his Hurricane kick for close range attacks.

With your character you’ll have to learn your strategies to get anywhere in the game. A reasonably challenging concept is selecting your fighter and learning his attacks. Personally, I work well with Zangief and Ken; mainly because of they’re powerful with throws and Zangief has a lot of power moves which you can use if your close up and you can destroy an opponent in seconds with a few bone crushing piledrivers and back breakers. Other characters tend to be very cheap, which is one of the games main flaws. Projectile users like Ryu and Ken will pound you with the same move for the entire match, I’m sure all players have fell victim to E. Honda with his hundred hand slap attack and Guile will also knock you down with a flash kick and tonnes of Sonic Boom attacks. This is one of the flaws of Street Fighter, although if the experienced player will be able to overcome this it may be a little harsh on beginners.

Street Fighter 2 comes into its prime when you and your friends come together to virtually beat the living daylight out of each other. If you are an experienced player then it’s the ultimate high to go up against someone who is just as experienced. Just watching two titans go at each other is seemingly euphoric but when you lock horns with a friend it’s the ultimate fighting experience. Even beginners will find the two-player mode brilliant, it’s a raw training ground for neophytes. The best way to become a master at the game is to play with your friends, honing your skills and developing them in ways that you couldn’t in the one player mode. Also, with the extra feature to have mirror matches, that the other version couldn’t do, allow two players who are experienced with the same character to go head to head, creating interesting results.

Visually the game is smooth and in comparison with the original Street Fighter the graphics look amazing. No more choppy animation as everyone flows with movement, whether it’s in a fighting stance or delivering a move the character animation is outstanding. Each sprite has a few animations that help portray not just the characters style but also his/her personality. Blanka is hunched like a gorilla and roars in triumph after a victory, towering Sagat folds his arms and laughs at his worthless opponent, Ryu and Ken express victory in either a solemn way, Ryu folds his arms and the wind blows his Gi and bandana while Ken does the victory symbol, showing the different character between the two.

The backgrounds are filled with characters and various paraphernalia that has a lot of cultural emphasis setting the scene for the country you are currently visiting. Guile battles in his Air Force base with a jet in the background and his air force buddies cheering him on. Other backgrounds are also superbly detailed with lots of reasonably good animation, the Vega casino is bursting with colour and life, as is the caged arena in Spain. More serious fighters have remotely solitary areas to fight in, Sagat stays close to the Muay Thai statue while Ryu stays isolated in his domain. The backgrounds are extremely well done and this version the animation and colour is brilliant.

The music in Street Fighter 2 is also unforgettable. The theme music is so classic that I’m sure everyone has heard before, or will recognise it. The quality is outstanding for its age and when you listen to it for years on end it still doesn’t wear out. Every character has his/her own theme song, some of them are more memorable than others. After listening to Guiles theme you’ll be blown away and Sagat booming and seemingly threatening yet loud tune is amazing. These are the cream of the crop but the others are good and tend to work flowingly with background they accompany. The speech in this game is also stupendous with the immortal Ha-do-Ken cries by Ryu and Ken, along with the clear cut “Sonic Boom” with Guile amongst others. The qualities of the sound are immense and create the right atmosphere for the particular character. Saying the tunes are unforgettable is an understatement. They will never be forgotten.

This game has stood up to the test of time nobly and even today it remains one of the best 2-D fighting games that you’ll ever play. Being alone it’s fun, experimenting with characters, “training” yourself and trying to achieve better than your best but with your friends it becomes a haven for newcomers and elders alike. Although the chances of fighting an arcade version of this game are slim at best a quick pick up of SF2CE on the Genesis will give you a seemingly watered down version of the game preserving the basics well enough and the SNES will give you the World Warrior version which is fun but nothing next to CE. If you do find this game in an arcade then drop whatever you’re doing and stick your coins in for the ultimate fighting experience that can never be knocked from its throne.

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Community review by goldenvortex (July 21, 2004)

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