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THE Fighting Game

After the obscure release of Street Fighter, the series exploded overnight with its 1991 sequel, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. This one had a bit more story to it, with a number of characters setting out to challenge the tournament organizer and settle a personal grudge with him; the rest are just in it for the prestige.

Capcom increased the number of available player characters from two to eight. Alongside the returning Ryu and Ken, six now-iconic characters were tossed into the mix—each with their definitive fighting styles and theme music by the great Yoko Shimomura (the catchiness of "Guile's Theme" later became a widespread internet meme in the 2010s):

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Defeat the other seven characters, and you're flown out to battle four bosses:

While not the first Fighting Game by any stretch, Street Fighter II was the one which codified the genre and its related tropes, more notably the Shotoclone. It 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.

Its success spawned countless copycats, from Art of Fighting (developed by Capcom's rival SNK and featuring the Ken lookalike Ryo), to the mostly-forgotten Fighter's History (Capcom tried and failed to sue Data East for infringement) and World Heroes, to bald-faced ripoffs like the creatively-named Super Fighter (not to be confused with the Newgrounds game).

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Super Street Fighter II Turbo (see below) was followed by series of interquel games, Street Fighter Alpha, that were released semi-annually from 1995-98. A true sequel, Street Fighter III, wasn't released until '97.

See also Street Fighter 2010 and Human Killing Machine, the unofficial sequels to the first Street Fighter.


Revisions:

II was a frequent subject of double-dipping by Capcom; some of those releases (much like Ultimate Mortal Kombat III) made it into arcades before they were ported to home consoles. There were also a large number of home computer versions, more than any later edition.

  • Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (1992, a.k.a. Street Fighter II Dash in Japan) — In addition to the requisite Balance Buffs, including differentiating the fighting styles of Ryu and Ken, Champion Edition offered downgraded versions of the four end-bosses as playable characters, and also switched around the scenery and/or the time of day in a few levels. Players can also fight in Mirror Matches with the aid of Palette Swaps. (World Warrior did not have this feature). It was ported to the PC Engine, albeit only in Japan.
  • Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting (1992, a.k.a. Street Fighter II Dash Turbo in Japan) — This version was released a few months after CE as a countermeasure to bootleg hacks that were incredibly unbalanced, featured faster playing speed, and vastly modified the behavior of many moves to the point of eccentricity. Hyper Fighting introduced brand new special moves for half of the returning characters, further adjusted character balance, increased the play speed for more intense fighting. It got two console ports: the SNES version, titled Street Fighter II Turbo, was released first. Sega, not to be outdone, commissioned their own version for the Genesis/Mega Drive titled Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition (a.k.a. Street Fighter II Dash Plus in Japan). The difference in title was due to an exclusivity contract between Capcom and Nintendo over the rights to the Turbo branding. Both games featured a mode based on Champion Edition, as well.
  • Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (1993) - This is the biggest expansion in the series, developed on new hardware with better graphics. It added four entirely new stages and characters: Bruce Lee Clone Fei Long, amnesiac commando Cammy (an ass...er, glass cannon with one of the best theme tunes and an interesting backstory which ties into the prequels), Jamaican Dance Battler and music star Dee Jay, and the legendarily-bad T. Hawk: known for his goofy fighting stance, being mistaken for Native-American (he's Mexican), and consistently ranking in the bottom-tier. It added more new attacks for the existing characters, such as Ken's flaming Shinryuken which sets his target aflame, and it even tossed in some new animations for existing characters thanks to the newer and better CP System II hardware, which also upgraded the sound quality. Even though the speed increase from Hyper Fighting was well-received in many parts of the world, countries flooded with bootleg hacks assumed Hyper Fighting was another hack (and a lot of players just could not keep up with the increased pace), so the speed increase was dropped for Super. This caused backlash from fans of Hyper Fighting, which is one of the reasons this game failed to acquire the intended playerbase. Ported simultaneously to the SNES and Genesis, and was later brought to the Amiga and DOS.
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo: The Ultimate Championship (1994, a.k.a. Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge in Japan) - The fifth and last of the original arcade releases. This one introduced the now-standard Super Combo Gauge: filled by performing special attacks, landing hits, and taking damage, the bar flashes the word "SUPER" when completely full. At this point, the player can input a command to perform a Super Combo, basically a special move which is more powerful than anything else in your arsenal, and the gauge empties. Of all the versions, Super Street Fighter II Turbo stands as the canonical game: Akuma interrupts the final boss fight by killing M. Bison with the "Raging Demon", thus assuming his place as the True Final Boss. You unlock this fight by reaching M. Bison without continues and getting at least 3 flawless wins along the way. (Akuma is playable via a cheat code, but even in this diminished state, he's still banned from Tournament Play due to being overpowered.) This one also brought back the faster game speed of Hyper Fighting, this time with adjustable settings. It is a common sight at tournaments even today, but moreso in Japan than in the U.S. It received standalone ports for the 3DO and Amiga CD32, in what was the first 32-bit console port in the series.
  • Street Fighter Collection (1997) - A Compilation Re-release for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It contains Super and Super Turbo in one disc, along with Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold on the other.
  • Street Fighter Collection 2 (1998, a.k.a. Capcom Generation 5) - Another Compilation Re-release for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. This one contains World Warrior, Champion Edition, and Hyper Fighting. These ports would serve as the basis for future re-releases of these games. It also included a special game mode allowing character versions from the three games to be pitted against one another.
  • Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service (2000) - A Sega Dreamcast port of Super Turbo that features slew of unlockable extra options. It also featured online play. However, it was available only in Japan as a Sega Direct, making it a sought-after collector's item.
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival (2001) - This is a Game Boy Advance adaptation of Super Turbo. It is notable for making Akuma and Shin Akuma unlockable characters, including new endings that better align to the series canon post-Alpha, and having redesigns of various stages.
  • Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition (2004) - invoked This is a re-release of Super Turbo that includes the ability to change characters to variations from previous Street Fighter II installments (e.g., Champion Edition Ken vs. Super Turbo Blanka). Originally released as a stand-alone game on the PlayStation 2 in Japan and Europe, it was bundled with Street Fighter III 3rd Strike in North America as a compilation titled Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, which also saw a release on the original Xbox in every region. It also received an arcade release in Japan and Asia.
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (2008) - invoked This is a remaster of Super Turbo released as a downloadable game for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It holds the longest title in the series. Developed by Backbone Entertainment, this remaster features rebalanced/tweaked characters, high definition sprites, new character and stage artwork courtesy of UDON Comics, online play, widescreen support, and a brand-new soundtrack created by OverClocked ReMix. It was never officially released in Japan, as it was made and developed specifically for Western countries.
  • Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (2017) - invoked This is a port of Super Turbo made for the Nintendo Switch to kick off the series' 30th anniversary. It adds Evil Ryu and Violent Ken (the former is originally from Alpha 2 and the latter from SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos) to the playable roster, and it tosses in Shin Akuma as a hidden character (but limits him to certain game modes). Ultra includes the updated graphics from HD Remix (with the ability to use the original visuals as in that game as well), but Capcom opted not to use the OverClocked ReMix soundtrack and the UDON Comics-designed character portraits from that game.note  Ultra also includes the voice acting from Street Fighter IV in the HD Remix Mode, and it features several new game modes, including the return of the Dramatic Battle Mode last seen in the Alpha series.


This game and its revisions provide examples of:

  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: Ryu and Ken's "Had-oh-ken" is often heard as "Hadu-ken." The pronunciation is clearer in later games in the series, but the samples from Street Fighter II were so iconic that it's understandable that people can still get it wrong. The "Are you Ken?!" comic, for example, only works with the old sample in mind.
  • Art Evolution: The graphics were revised with each subsequent installment; this is especially notable with the character portraits, which were modified in Champion Edition and completely replaced in Super Street Fighter II.
  • Ascended Glitch: Playtesters would input special moves too fast and end up with normals, so a leniency system was designed to allow faster execution. During further testing, it was discovered that this allowed special moves to start during the recovery frames of a normal move, and was kept in the game. Various types of cancels are now a core part of combos in fighting games.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted. The sprites never show any harm, but the defeated faces are bloody and bruised. This is also downplayed when, compared to the male fighters, Chun-Li and Cammy get away with only light bruising (even when the faces are updated for the revisions).
  • Best Served Cold: Chun-Li's father, an Interpol officer, went missing while investigating Bison's crime syndicate Shadaloo and was presumed dead; his daughter followed in his footsteps by becoming an undercover cop, a detail which was famously carried into the live-action movie. T. Hawk is also out to avenge his father, who died when Bison robbed their ancestral land 30 years ago. Guile's non-canon ending has him preparing to kill Bison in the name of his bash brother Charlie Nash, another Air Force pilot who died while trying to apprehend Bison: Guile's wife and daughter appear out of nowhere and urge him to not sink to Bison's level and instead return home with them, which he does.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • In the original arcade version, one of M. Bison's winning quotes has him telling the loser to "GET LOSE". It was corrected in Champion Edition and onward.
    • Similarly, the original arcade version had one of Balrog's winning quotes saying he has his opponent's blood "of" his fist. Unlike "get lose", this was not corrected to "on" until Super Street Fighter II.
  • Blood Knight: Further deconstructed in individual character pages, but common enough that it applies to the series as a whole. While each character has their own reasons for fighting in the tournament, and some are more violent than others, virtually every character in the series actually enjoys brutal hand-to-hand combat, and even the decidedly "good" or peace-loving characters still clearly love a good knock-down, drag-out fight.
  • Bonus Stage: II introduced both the familiar barrel-breaking bonus levels, and the less-frequent car-trashing level carried over from its sister series Final Fight. A third bonus stage involving flaming oil drums is confined to this game. The 16-bit ports added a wall of bricks to demolish.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The SNES port of The World Warrior removed the "Funny Background Events" from Guile and Chun-Li's stages. (See below.)
    • The 3DO version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo censored the cuts and bruises that the characters receive in post-battle scenes.
    • In Ultra, the USAF logo in Guile's stage in both classic and HD modes was replaced by the same one used in Street Fighter V, probably for legal reasons.
  • Breakout Character:
  • Briefs Boasting: Zangief. He wears extremely small underwear and loves to brag.
  • Calling Your Attacks: About every other special move has this to accompany it:
    • Ryu and Ken's Hadoken, Shoryuken, and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku.
    • Chun-Li's Spinning Bird Kick and her Kikoken in the Super editions.
    • Dhalsim's Yoga Fire, Yoga Flame, and just saying "Yoga" repeatedly in a grab move where he punches his opponent a lot.
    • Guile's Sonic Boom.
    • Sagat's Tiger Shot and Tiger Uppercut. His Tiger Knee gets this in the Super editions.
    • Cammy's Cannon Drill, Cannon Spike, Spiral Arrow and Thrust Kick.
  • Canon Immigrant: For a certain value of "canon"; Ultra not only 'brings back' Evil Ryu from the Alpha series, but also Violent Ken from SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, who was based on the brainwashed Ken seen in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. However, it is likely that these dark variants are meant to be What If? characters included for fun.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation:
    • This game is the purest example of this. Capcom milked out a total of five arcade editions of Street Fighter II in a span of just three years, in addition to all the console ports. By the time Super Street Fighter II Turbo was released, gaming magazines were already making memes about Capcom's apparent inability to count past the number two.
    • Ultra Street Fighter II for the Switch is an update of a 2008 remaster of a 1994 game which was released nine years after said remaster.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: From Champion Edition onward, two players can 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 or hername 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 World Warrior palettes are now used as the alternate palette (except for Bison, who keeps his original as a default, but still gets a new alternate palette).
    • In Super Street Fighter II, 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 at the same time by linking four cabinets together.
    • Super Turbo gave each of the 16 main fighters a new default palette. Along with the alternate "classic" versions of the characters, whom each used the original default palette plus an exclusive alternate, brought the total to 10 palettes per character (except for Akuma, who only has two).
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • In The World Warrior, the computer doesn't need to "charge" their moves like the player does. For example, the computer loves to have Guile walk up to an opponent and deliver a Flash Kick after ducking for only a split-second.
    • The overseas versions of Super Turbo are notorious for having cheap A.I.
  • Dance Party Ending: Zangief's ending is this. After Zangief beats Bison, Mikhail Gorbachev suddenly descends out of a helicopter, and after praising Zangief, the scene suddenly changes to Gorbachev and Zangief, along with several KGB agents, doing That Russian Squat Dance.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Some of the endings in the original arcade versions were translated rather liberally and the characters' backstories were also embellished for the instruction manuals of the SNES and Genesis versions:
    • Guile mentions that Charlie was killed by Bison during a mission they were both involved with in Cambodia. However, Cambodia is not mentioned in the Japanese version or in the first two Alpha games, and Guile wasn't even present when Charlie was killed.
    • In the Super games, Bison insidiously claims that he and Cammy used to be lovers. This would have rather incestuous implications after Alpha 3 revealed that Cammy was borne from DNA taken from Bison himself. In the Japanese version, Bison merely alleges that Cammy worked for him.
  • Dub Name Change
    • Capcom changed Bison's, Vega's, and Balrog's names around in the overseas versions. This was done out of fear that they'd be sued by Mike Tyson due to Balrog/Bison being a psychotic Tyson pastiche. (It's mentioned in his backstory that he was kicked out of the pro boxing circuit for his barbarism.) Ironically, when the real Mike Tyson found out about this in July 2019, he was flattered that there was a character who looked like him. To simplify discussions between regions, in fan terms they are simply titled “Boxer”, “Claw”, and “Dictator” based on their physical attributes.
    • Although his name never actually appears in II, Akuma is named “Gouki” in Japan.
  • Easter Egg:
    • According to Akira Nishitani, the orange Hadoken "glitch" was in fact an intentional Easter egg put in by the programmers. Nishitani admitted that he never imagined it would spawn a new special move for Ryu.
    • Being able to use Shin Akuma in Ultra. To do so, players have to select specific characters, highlight certain colors, cancel and repeat the process before pressing both L and R buttons on the random select icon to play as him. (This won't work if playing online.) The characters are in order: Ryu with color 1, Ken with color 9, Sagat with color 8 and Bison with color 7. Those numbers aren't random, either: 1987 was the year the original Street Fighter was released in arcades.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In the console versions, clearing the single player mode on one of the three easiest settings will not play the character's ending. Instead, there is a screen encouraging the player to try a harder difficulty.
  • Enemy Roll Call: Most versions have credits at the end of Arcade Mode that show the names of two characters at a time.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Chun-Li's stage has a man in the background literally "choking the chicken", while Guile's stage has a female member of his groundcrew who appears to be giving a handjob to one of her male comrades. This was removed in the SNES version, though it would be brought back in the SNES version of Super Street Fighter II.
    • There's a guy cheering in Las Vegas who, after a knockout occurs, sobs into his arm. Must be hard always betting on the loser.
  • Gainaxing: Cammy's boobs are pretty bouncy in the arcade versions.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The YYC bootleg hack of Champion Edition had a bug with Dhalsim's Yoga Drill where he would charge towards the edge of the stage indefinitely, even when the time limit reads zero, requiring a reboot.
    • Super Turbo Revival on the Game Boy Advance has a pretty terrible one wherein, if the player manages to reach Akuma in Arcade Mode, the game will lock up on a glitchy picture of him and upon resetting, all of their Time Attack and Survival records will be glitched beyond repair. On a lesser scale, Balrog, Vega and Bison's win quotes are mixed up so that Balrog (Boxer) has Bison's quote, Vega (Claw) has Balrog's and Bison (Dictator) has Vega's, likely a result of the nature surrounding their name switch. A ROM patch released in 2014 fixed this, as well as the Wii U Virtual Console release.
  • Iconic Outfit: Chun-Li's Qipao is so iconic that when she was given a new, more practical outfit in Alpha, all subsequent games in the series provided the option for the player to use her old outfit. (As a standard Palette Swap in Alpha 2, an Embedded Precursor version of her Champion Edition moveset in Alpha 2 Gold, or as her X-ism outfit in Alpha 3.)
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Right here.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • 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 World Warrior, the second loop of Sagat's theme has a different ending.
  • Lucky Translation: Guile's Sonic Boom has been misheard as "Sabit-ku!" in Malaysia. Coincidentally, "sabit-ku" literally means "my sickle" or loosely, "my crescent" in Malay. Guess how the Sonic Boom is represented onscreen?
  • Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness: Hyper Street Fighter II allows you to select classic versions of certain characters from the earlier renditions of the game like The World Warrior and Champion Edition.
  • Mirror Match: A code in the SNES version of The World Warrior enabled this when the original arcade version didn't.note  From Champion Edition and onward, all future games allowed players to match characters up with themselves.
  • Nerf:
    • The game's infamous re-releases were the Ur-Example. Long before patches were possible, they provided an opportunity to re-balance characters. Notable examples include Guile being notoriously overpowered in vanilla Street Fighter II, and Sagat being nerfed in Super Street Fighter II/Turbo. And the latter is still considered top-tier, to the point of being "soft-banned" from competitive play in Japan. (Not technically banned, but players have collectively agreed not to play as him.) Not hard to see why Capcom needed to tweak him.
    • An odd example applies to a mechanic from Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition which was brought over to Ultra Street Fighter II, which is the Lite mechanic. With charge characters and specials, you either have to properly charge a move before triggering it, or wait for the game to automatically charges it for you. For instance, this prevents the Guile from executing a Sonic Boom while walking forward and then following it with an instant Flash Kick.
  • Not Worth Killing: Guile chooses to do this to Bison rather than kill him in his ending. This has become a bit of Characterization Marches On as Bison is such a monumental world-ending threat that sparing him like this is hardly practical.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In The World Warrior, battles can last as many as ten rounds with enough double knockouts or draws. The round limit was decreased to four in Champion Edition.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: According to the Japanese website, Ultra Street Fighter II includes a simplified gameplay mode with one-hit knockouts.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: Street Fighter II features a minigame copied from Final Fight, where fighters have to destroy a sedan within the time limit.
  • Perma-Stubble: Ryu gets one from Champion Edition and onward.
  • Personality Blood Types: The character biographies list blood types.
  • Promoted to Playable: One of the selling points of Champion Edition is the ability to play as the four endgame opponents.
  • 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 player.
  • Secret Character: The "O./Old"note  versions of characters in Super Street Fighter II Turbo function as this, with a character-specific code needing to be entered to play as them. Akuma also could be played with a specific code, but his code is very difficult to enter.
  • Ship Level: Ken's stage takes place at a crowded port somewhere on the east coast.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Chun-Li among the original twelve World Warriors and Cammy among the New Challengers.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: When a player is close to losing the round, the music changes to an up-tempo remix until it fades out at K.O. In the vanilla SFII, this happened every round; in Super and subsequent games, this is only done from the second round onward.
  • Sudden Death: The Final Round if neither fighter wins after three rounds (nine in The World Warrior). The player who wins the Final Round doesn't get a point bonus. In solo play, the computer player wins the battle should the Final Round end in a draw or a double knockout. If this happens in two-player mode, both players get a game over.
  • Take It to the Bridge: Ryu's and Cammy's stages both take place on a bridge suspended next to a castle. One is in Japan, the other in the U.K.
  • Versus Character Splash: The fight openers.
  • Video Game Sliding: While other characters in the original SFII have sliding attacks — most notably, M. Bison — Dhalsim's crouching Roundhouse is notable for being the only attack that can slide under fireballs and projectile attacks.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Guile advising his fallen enemies to "GO HOME AND BE A FAMILY MAN!", regardless of whether his opponent is a woman.

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