Street Fighter: M.Bison // artwork by Luc De Haan (2012)
Evil Ryu: Dark Hadou // artwork by Leon Jo (2012)
Street Fighter: 25 Years! // artwork by Eric Veeder (2012)
Street Fighter: 25th Anniversary! // artwork by Gonzalo Ordoñez Arias (2012)
Cover art for “Street Fighter II #0” published by UDON Studios.
Street Fighter: Mecha Bosses // artwork by Reza Ilyasa (2012)
Featuring: Seth, Sagat, Vega, M.Bison and Balrog!
Street Fighter: The New Challengers // desings by Noritaka Funamizu (1993)
Street Fighter II proved to be a best selling franchise for Capcom in the early 90’s. So far the game had three revisions out and it had a strong presence worldwide in arcade games and home systems of the time (The Super NES and the SEGA Genesis, both 16-bit powered machines) The company was not ready to let go of the phenomenon and the game had another revision, this time called “Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers”. This time the makeover on the game was absolute, classic characters got new attacks and animations, each character had a revised power set, almost every character had a different voice, a new counter system for combos was added and most important of all: Four new characters were introduced. Now we had a line up of 16 characters to choose from, but we still had to fight just 12 of them. The new names were Cammy from the U.K, originally though to be Guile’s daughter, later reshaped as somebody with close ties to M.Bison, Dee Jay a flamboyant Jamaican fighter, Fei-Long an aspiring actor from Honk Kong following on the steps of Bruce Lee and T.Hawk a Mexican indian with a grudge against Shadaloo. While a great game, SSFII had a lot of the problems the old champion edition used to have: The game was too slow, thus forcing Capcom to make one last revision called “Super Street Fighter II: Turbo”. The last revision proved to be immensely popular because of the new rendering in the look of each characters, the inclusion of “Super Attacks” that could be activated once a second bar gauge got filled at the bottom of the screen, the fours speed sets to play and the final addition to a roster of already classic characters: Akuma a character that was so shrouded on mystery as Marvel’s Wolverine once were (years later it was revealed that Akuma is Gouken’s brother consumed by the Dark Hadou power. Gouken is the man who trained both Ryu and Ken)
Street Fighter: The Grand Masters // designs by Akira Nishitani (1991)
When Street Fighter II hit the streets it was an instant hit, but fans had a wide list of complaints, the main one: The inability to control the four bosses of the game. Capcom baptized these guys as “The Grand Masters” and although all of them were known only by name it was in 1992 when the situation was fixed by releasing a second version of the game called “Street Fighter II: Champion Edition”. The game improved a lot the power balance of each character, introduced mirror matches (making popular the vast pallet for each characters in games to come), and most important, it allowed players to fight as Balrog the boxer, Vega the spanish matador, Sagat the long-time rival of Ryu and M.Bison the leader of a shady organization known as Shadaloo. (A little anecdote regarding the name of these characters: In Japan Balrog is known as M.Bison short for “Mike Bison” to avoid a lawsuit from then popular boxer Mike Tyson, Capcom America switched the characters names, Balrog was originally Vega’s name and M.Bison was originally called Vega.) The game delivered on every level but players still complained about the slow gameplay and thus a mere six months later a new version of the game called “Street Fighter II: Turbo Hyper Fighting” was released giving all 12 characters a new look color-wise and 4 speed sets to play.
Street Fighter: The World Warriors // artwork by Daigo Ikeno (2008)
Street Fighter turns 25 this year, the first game released in August 30, in 1987. The franchise hit it big in 1991 with the release of the immortal Street Fighter II. The premise was very simple: choose one of the eight main characters (Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Blanka, Guile, Zanguief, E.Honda or Dhalsim) and beat the hell out of each other until one is defeated, when you challenged the first eight character you had to fight four bosses to end the game. As simple as it was this was groundbreaking in the time it came out. Some purist might state the relevance of some forgotten game predating Street Fighter II, but the final truth is that this was the one who opened the door the an endless array of 2D fighters, A format that is still present to this day on every fighting game worth his dough. No matter how many Mortal Kombats or King Of The Fighters comes, Street Fighter will always be the top dog of all the fighter games out there. Each of these characters has become so popular that they are easily identifiable as any Marvel or DC character. Capcom, the father of these guys knows this and they boost the sales of every crossover fighter going with their big guns, The World Warriors.