Street Fighter 2 is best known as that game that brought fighting games into the mainstream. Without this, games like Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters and Soul Calibur would've been obscure and/or cult classics as opposed to mainstream successes (and failures, in the case of the N64 Mortal Kombat titles and Soul Calibur Legends for the Wii). It's because of the many fun features this game possesses that made gamers wanted more fighting games, and more fighting games came alright...
Street Fighter 2 itself has had many versions - Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Street Fighter 2, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo and so on and so forth. This review will focus only on the original, though if you like the original, go check out the other versions.
Street Fighter 2 takes place all across the globe as you take place in this tournament to...I don't know, get the prize money or something? Yeah...they don't exactly explain much in the game, it's in the damn instruction book, but the purpose for the individual characters entering the tournament is juicier than the tournament itself, seconded only by the gameplay. There are 8 characters you can play as, plus 4 boss characters (who become playable characters in the updates, but not in the original). Although in-game, you don't know their purpose, the instruction booklet tells you of their purpose. For the sake of this review, I won't reveal much because all that matters...is the gameplay!
The game plays as your basic fighting game where you have 6 different forms of attack - a weak punch/kick, a mid punch/kick and a strong punch/kick. Of course, among this, you have special attacks like an aerial spinning kick, a jumping uppercut (which hits their nuts), and even some Dragon Ball-like attacks like sonic boom, fireballs and the ever-famous HADUKEN! But to use these special moves, you have to do some button inputs, and this is where it can get tricky, because you have to experiment in the heat of battle, and you can get your ass handed to you while doing this.
Speaking of getting your ass handed to you, the AI will hand you over defeat if you constantly hammer attack buttons. The AI is smart enough to know when to defend and when to attack. However, it also knows when to cheese you with their special attacks. That's right, the AI can be cheap. They tend to corner you and unleash their hadukens or sonic booms or spinning kicks and the like, and unless you know how to get out of it, you're basically screwed if that happens. Cheap... But aside from that, the AI is at least reliable in giving you a challenge. Newer players may feel a tad discouraged - persevere! I'm sure many people have and ended up getting addicted or at least love this game as much as I do.
The aim of each fight is to defeat your opponent by getting their health bar from full to empty before they do by beating the hell out of each other. Each fight consists of 2 or 3 rounds, and the winner is the one who wins best 2 out of 3. If you win, you advance to the next fight, and if you lose, you can either continue (unlimited continues) and fight that opponent again, or quit like a quitter. Simple enough, and it works quite well!
At the end of each round you win, you get additional points for how much time is left in a fight (time limit - 99 seconds) and how much health your had left, so if you want that high score, you have to win as quickly as possible without getting too badly bruised. Easier said than done? Hell yeah! It takes a LOT of practise to manage that!
After every third match, you get to a bonus stage where you break cars, bricks, barrels and such for additional points. If you really want that high score, you better break everything on that screen! It's a nice break from fighting and that's all it really is...
You enter in your high score and initials either after quitting from being defeated, or after beating M.Bison (the last boss character). It then gets recorded on the high score list on your cartridge and you can (or could - I don't think people care nowadays) brag about your high score to everyone.
Now to discuss one major thing that Street Fighter 2 brings to the table - 2 PLAYER! You and a friend can fight each other (provided he/she brings their SNES controller with them) and have even more fun! I always found it more fun to fight with a friend than the AI because the AI cheeses the hell out of you and you can't stop them (well sometimes they act cheap), whereas with a friend, it's...I guess more fun than tedious when they start getting cheap with special moves, because it's easier to get out (unless they're computer-like). AWESOME!
So all in all, Street Fighter 2 is a balls to the wall fighting game that shows why it was such a hit and why fighting games became so popular. It has aged excellently and is still massive fun to play often. It won't seem as unique as it did when it was released, but who cares? If a game is fun, it's fun! Plus, this did popularize the genre, so maybe that's expected...I don't know, but just get the game already!
This is classic fighting! The hits, the combos, the special moves, the uppercut to the nuts, the lot! Sadly the AI is of the "abuse special attack" variety and will cheese you with them.
These controls are tight as and are nothing short of responsive and easy to learn, though the special moves take a lot of experimenting to learn (unless you go over to GameFAQS).
The main story isn't going to win any awards, though the backstories will. Some fight for power, some for revenge and some for promotion. Basically, they're simple backstories, but also very well done and great for a fighting game.
16-bit sprites, no flicker or anything (well, except the occasional slowdown when there's too much going on), it all looks good really. Not a drop of blood in sight either...
The soundtrack proves to be quite memorable and classic! It's a typical SNES soundtrack but it works well enough. Sound effects are typical 16-bit affair and they work obviously. As for voice clips, though they're not in the greatest quality, at least it sounds audible and...not too shabby.
This game should net you countless hours of excitement, whether it be playing on a higher difficulty or with a friend. Either way, you'll be addicted for quite some time...a LOT of time...Excuse me, I'm going back to play this game.
Aside from some AI frustrations, this game is endless fun. If you didn't find fighting games fun before, you will with this title, because it can be a real converter. How else were fighting games popularised? Mortal Kombat? Nope. Street Fighter 2? Yes. Of course you'd expect endless fun!
Street Fighter 2 is the sort of game that EVERYONE should be playing. There's only a scratch on the surface, but it can be overlookable for an overall enjoyable experience. Seriously, how can you not want to play this game?