Street Fighter II

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"Round 1, Fight!"

These games (or, at least, series of games) are the most well-known games of the Street Fighter franchise; when most people talk about Street Fighter, chances are that they really mean Street Fighter II. Street Fighter II is one of the most innovative and popular video games of all time; it also brought the "tournament fighter" genre to the masses, and its influence has not waned in the twenty years since its debut.

After the release of the first Street Fighter, the series practically exploded overnight with its 1991 sequel, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. The list of available player characters was increased to eight: alongside the returning Ryu and Ken, six new characters—Chinese female crime-fighter Chun-Li, American soldier Guile, Russian wrestler and hero[1] Zangief, Brazilian mutant Blanka, Indian yoga practitioner Dhalsim and Japanese sumo wrestler E. Honda—with entirely different normal and special attacks were tossed into the mix. The game also had four tough bosses encountered after the other characters were put down for the count: Not-Really-Mike-Tyson boxer Balrog; Spanish ninja/cage fighter Vega; a returning (and now-scarred) Sagat; and the game's final boss, evil druglord M. Bison.

The game also (accidentally) invented the fighting game definition of Combos, which quickly became a staple of the genre. Fighting game style combos later crossed over into other genres of games.

While not the first Fighting Game by any stretch, Street Fighter II was basically the breakthrough game which defined the genre, with many games borrowing concepts introduced by the game. At the time of its release (and the releases of the subsequent Updated Rereleases), it was heralded as renovating the arcade scene (particularly in the U.S.) as people began lining up at Street Fighter II machines to compete against each other. A Fight Club mentality (not in the "blowing up buildings" sense, mind you) is alleged to have evolved at the time; machines that cost just over $1300 were making that amount back in less than an month.

1992's Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition (or Street Fighter II Dash in Japan) was the first in a long line of Updated Rereleases of Street Fighter II, though at the time was intended to be the last release. This installment allowed players to play as the four bosses and offered an alternate color scheme for each character, allowing players to fight against each other using the same character (neither Street Fighter or the original Street Fighter II had this feature).

The second update -- Street Fighter II′: Hyper Fighting (Street Fighter II Dash Turbo in Japan) -- was released a few months after Champion Edition as a countermeasure to bootleg hacks that were created. The hacks which were incredibly unbalanced but featured high speed gameplay and vastly modified the behavior of many moves to the point of eccentricity. Hyper Fighting introduced brand-new special moves, differentiating the movesets of Ryu and Ken, adjusted character balance, and increased the game speed for more intense fighting.

Street Fighter II was ported over to the Super NES, where it quickly became one of the system's bestsellers. Versions of Champion Edition and Hyper Fighting were also ported to the Sega Genesis and Super NES. While the Super NES version was dubbed Street Fighter II Turbo and the Genesis version was dubbed Street Fighter II′: Special Champion Edition, both ports included both the Champion Edition and Hyper Fighting versions of the game; the differing names were used only to satisfy contractual terms with Nintendo (who demanded exclusivity).

The biggest expansion yet came with 1993's Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, which added four entirely new characters -- Bruce Lee Clone Fei Long, British soldier Cammy, Mexican chief Thunder Hawk and Jamaican Dance Battler and music star Dee Jay—as well as more new attacks for the existing characters, upgraded sound quality, and even some new animations for existing characters (thanks to the switch to the newer and better CP System II hardware). The game speed was reduced to the same level as in the original game and Champion Edition. Even though the speed increase was well received in many parts of the world, countries flooded with bootleg hacks assumed Hyper Fighting was another hack. Thus the speed was dropped for Super, which caused backlash from fans of Hyper Fighting, and didn't really acquire its intended audience either.

The next upgrade in this series was Super Street Fighter II Turbo: The Ultimate Championship (also known as Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge in Japan). This game introduced Super Combos, heralded the debut of the ferocious Akuma as the True Final Boss, and returned the faster game speed of Hyper Fighting (this time with adjustable settings). Super Turbo is a bonafide classic that is considered to be one of the strongest fighting games of all time; it's still a common sight at tournaments even today, especially in Japan.

All five previous versions of Street Fighter II were later re-compiled into Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition; this version of the game enabled players to fight as any version of any character of their choice (for example: if a player had ever dreamed of fighting a Super Turbo Ken with a Champion Edition Guile, they were now free to do so).

In 2008, Capcom released a remake of Super Turbo on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. This remake currently holds the longest title name in the series, which is Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Developed by Backbone Entertainment, with David Sirlin as the lead designer, this remake features rebalanced/tweaked characters, high definition sprites, all new character and stage artwork (courtesy of UDON Comics), online play, widescreen support, and a brand-new soundtrack created by OverClocked Remix.

In 2017, Capcom announced a port of the 2008 remake for the Nintendo Switch, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, with two new but familiar playable characters, Evil Ryu and Violent Ken, and interchangeable graphics between HD and retro sprites.

Tropes used in Street Fighter II include:
  • Ascended Glitch: Combos and the red fireball were integrated into updates, and the combo system became a staple of the entire fighting game genre.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted in that the sprites never show any harm (of course the ROM size would have been a lot larger), but then we see the "defeated" faces.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: The most purest example, if not the Trope Namer.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Starting with Champion Edition and onward, two players could use the same character, with one player having an alternate color scheme assigned for their character.
    • In Champion Edition, the player using a character's standard palette has his name tag displayed in yellow fonts and the one using the alternate palette is displayed in blue. The same thing applies in Hyper Fighting, except all the characters have a new default palette and the original ones are now used as the alternate palette (except for M. Bison, who keeps his original as a default, but still gets a new alternate palette).
    • In New Challengers, each character has eight palette choices (the three palettes from the previous games and five new ones). This was due to Tournament Battle variants of the game which allowed up to eight players to compete by linking four cabinets together.
    • In Super Turbo all of the returning characters received a new default palette. The original palettes were now used by alternate versions who retained their moveset from New Challengers and these alternate versions also had a new alternate palette each.
  • Combos: Created them, by accident.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In World Warrior, the computer doesn't need to "charge" moves like players do. For example, the computer loves to have Guile walk up to the opponent and deliver a Flash Kick after only ducking for a split second.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Most of the endings in the Street Fighter II series were translated almost accurately with a few exceptions. The characters' backstories were also embellished for the instruction manuals of the SNES and Genesis versions.
  • Easy Mode Mockery: When you finish the console ports at the easiest difficulties, your character's ending is not shown, there is instead a screen encouraging you to try a harder difficulty.
  • Idle Animation
  • Mirror Match: A code in the SNES version of Street Fighter II enabled this when the original arcade version didn't. From Champion Edition and onward, all future games allowed players to match characters up with themselves.
  • Perma-Stubble: Ryu gets one from Street Fighter II Dash and onward.
  • Personality Blood Types: The character biographies list blood types.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Super Street Fighter II replaced the original opening sequence with a new one where Ryu launches a Hadōken towards the screen.
  • The Smurfette Principle: In the original, Chun-Li was the only woman in the game's roster of twelve fighters. The male to female ratio increased to 14:2 (or 7:1, mathematically speaking) with the addition of Cammy among the four new fighters in Super and then 15:2 in Super Turbo.
  • Versus Character Splash: the fight openers.
  • Wasted Song: With the exception of Super Turbo, all music in Street Fighter II started over with the new rounds, and while it didn't hurt the game as most themes were less than 99 seconds long, it was very noticeable with Ken's theme, where it was cut off before the last part of the theme was played out. Starting from the SNES port of the original release, the second loop of Sagat's theme has a different ending.