I’d always known that this was a game with a really high regard, but I’d never really given it a chance. I’d only played it briefly once or twice and I thought to myself “sure, this is alright.” and that was the full extent of my interactions with it. Later I played the first game in the series – and it was absolutely terrible. Thankfully, I was not deterred and eventually got around to giving this game a proper play through.
If you don’t know anything about it, I’m sure that you can guess that it’s a typical fighting game. A 2D fighting game with a range of unusual characters from around the world fighting each other. Most significantly, you have Ryu – who has become something of a gaming icon. The characters do represent different countries, and in slightly stereotypical ways, but never quite the the extent of the characters in Punch-Out!!, for example, who boarder on the offensive.
Ryu actually may be my favourite character in that I feel he has the most enjoyable fighting style – particularly his hadouken move, which has him shooting a ball of energy out of his hands. Ken is pretty great too (although I think he controls exactly the same), I also enjoyed Blanka (a strange beast with electrical powers), E. Honda (a sumo wrestler) and Chun-Li (the game’s only female fighter).
You play through as each character, who travels the world fighting the others. After that there are a few boss characters and then a little ending sequence for each one. One of the boss characters, Vega, was really tough (I thought) but generally the game always seemed to have a fair level of difficulty (which you could adjust at any time.) There’s a multiplayer mode which can be pretty fun too.
What I enjoyed most about the game was the fact that it was simple and easy to pick up, all while having some fantastic presentation. The bright, vibrant 16-bit graphics are amazing – the wooden cabins of the Brazil stage, the flashy Las Vegas stage, the Japanese bath house… I love them all. There are so many small details and animations which bring them all to life. And the soundtrack is pretty great too. The game is a slice of gaming history and I encourage all gamers to give it a try.