Nostalgia Fighter II: The Classic Edition
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition is the second iteration of the game that started the great fighting game revolution – Street Fighter II. Its release paved the way for other fighting game franchises that helped establish the fighting game genre. While some people will not notice any particular changes in the Champion Edition of Street Fighter II, enthusiasts and hard core fans of the series can easily point out gameplay tweaks and balance fixes present in this version of this classic fighter compared to the original. The only noticeable change newcomers will probably see is the addition of four characters in the roster – these were the four boss characters that you fought in the original Street Fighter II. Let us rejoin classic characters such as the nomadic Ryu, the beautiful but deadly Chun Li and the all American hero Guile as they battle each other once more. Come with us as we take a trip down memory lane and relive our experiences with one of the classic fighting games in history.
The Look of the Past
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition’s visuals are the same as those found in the original Street Fighter II release. The game consists of two dimensional sprites that were common during the early years of videogames. While these visuals are considered obsolete now - mainly thanks to the age of polygons and computer generated graphics, they still hold a place in the hearts of players who were lucky enough to have experienced the evolution of gaming. Normally, gamers of this generation will shun games that still use 2D graphics for their games, but for classic gamers like us, we welcome the fact that not everything has to be rendered in 3D and will just enjoy the game.
While we will honestly say that Street Fighter II: Champion Edition’s visuals did not totally survive the test of time, the game’s animations are still good enough to make the game not just playable but enjoyable to watch. Each unique move for all twelve characters in the game was rendered with enough frames to make each movement look real, despite some moves being totally unrealistic. Tons of animations are also seen in the game’s stages and backgrounds, with bystanders walking by and fans cheering their champions on.
The character’s designs are cartoonish or in this case animeish (Japanese cartoon) - since they were designed by Japanese artists. Some characters might have certain designs that will make them look somewhat unrealistic – such as Dhalsim with his elongated limbs and Blanka with his beast-like appearance, but these just give the characters a sense of individuality and uniqueness.
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition provides each character their own stage which really gives the game more value in the graphics department since players will not get bored fighting in the same level with the same background. Each stage represents a character in both theme and appearance. For example, Dhalsim’s stage is an Indian temple complete with Indian elephants while Guile’s stage is an American Air Force base. With each stage being unique, players will definitely love playing through the game again just to see the sight of each character’s unique stage.
Bone Breaking 8-Bit Sounds
Like the graphics, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition’s music and sound effects use old technology that gamers nowadays will not even listen to, but also like the visuals, they are still good enough to provide the game with enough audio appeal to keep old school players like us happy.
Each move has its own sound and each character has an individual voice. From the simplest weak punch to the devastating Pile Driver move, each sound effect sounds distinct. This gives each character that unique feel that they are indeed using different attacks instead of just one move with a different look or animation. Each character is voiced and sounds different from other combatants in the game – while some are of course more noticeable than others thanks to their gender. Having a unique voice for each character gives them more personality and appeal which adds to their overall character in the game.
Different background music is provided in every stage and like the stages them selves are composed to fit the stage’s theme. It is really amazing how the composers of the game’s music were able to capture each character’s personality with each sound track despite the limitations in the technology of the past, something most modern game music cannot even do. This is a testament that advancement in technology does not automatically mean better things, we need talented people to make something great and Street Fighter II: Champion Edition’s sound track is an example of this.
Jump, Punch and Kick
Being one of the pioneers of the fighting game genre; Street Fighter II: Champion Edition’s gameplay is pretty straightforward. Each character has a set of moves that they can use to defeat their opponents in a three round battle. Executing each move is done with a simple press of a button – whether it is a punch or a kick. Street Fighter II: Champion Edition uses the same button layout as Street Fighter II, which has three types of punches and three types of kicks, each one varying in strength and reach. Character movements are normally setup on a joystick, but since this is a PC port, the directional movements are allotted to the keyboard keys instead. We advise players to change the button configuration of the game since the default button layout is really awkward to use, unless you are left handed or ambidextrous. Click on the gear button at the top-right corner of the game screen to access the button configuration option.
Special moves are also present in the game and may require some effort in their execution. The commands needed to do these special attacks comprise of a directional button sequence such as down button then forward button together with a either a punch or a kick button. While these moves are easily be executed using a game controller or a joystick, doing these moves on a keyboard requires a bit of practice for players to get the timing and execution right. Sadly, the game does not give the option of using a PC game controller - which could have solved all these problems regarding game’s controls.
This version of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition is a direct port from the arcade version of the game, which means no additional game modes were added. But what really got us annoyed was that the main aspect of a fighting game is not available in this version of the game, which is fighting against another person. While the people behind the port of the game did hint that a two player option might get added in the future. Only the default arcade mode is available – which is a bit disappointing since adding some other modes of play, even if they are just for a single player, could have boosted the game’s replay value.
At the End of the Final Bout
Overall, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition is a decent PC port of a classic fighter from the past. The game is still very enjoyable despite its outdated visuals and gameplay. While the game is not for everyone, it is a great fighting game for those looking for a way to relive the days when the arcade was still the best place to enjoy the afternoon or for those who just want some gaming nostalgia. New generation gamers can of course check the most recently released game in the Street Fighter series, which is Street Fighter IV. Street Fighter II: Champion Edition gave us a great walk down memory lane and we give it a classic score of 85/100.