Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (VC) Review

The most influential fighting game in history is back, and even 15 years later its perfect gameplay, unforgettable cast and beautiful simplicity will likely make it the best fighting game to come along on the Wii for some time. Originally an arcade release, guzzling the quarters of countless gamers, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was soon ported to the SNES, where kids could beat each other up endlessly in the comfort of their own home. This game has spawned possibly the greatest number of copycats and spin-offs in gaming history. It’s just that good.

Street Fighter II is the "story" of an international fighting tournament, featuring combatants from eight different countries. Each of the game’s 12 (eight playable) characters has a distinct fighting style and unique physical attributes, save for Ken and Ryu, who are virtually identical. These differences in speed, strength, reach, jumping ability and special techniques makes for an incredibly varied gameplay experience, and the opportunity to master multiple methods of assault. Additionally, each character spouts off some sort of degrading remark after a victory, and the game offers special endings for each warrior.

The game consists of fighting one opponent after another on the road to the championship, with a few bonus stages thrown in to mix things up a bit. The bonus stages are simple "destroy-this-before-time-runs-out" sessions, but are fun for a brief change of pace. I stress brief, because players will be eager to get back into the action by the time they’ve gotten a feel for it. It’s a simple control scheme, with three levels of punches and kicks, each incrementally more powerful (and less rapid) than the last. Special techniques like the hadoken (fireball) can be unleashed by executing a d-pad/control stick motion and subsequent button-press. Others are performed by simply pounding a single button repeatedly. Each character is capable of three or so of these moves, and the interaction between foes is a very well-balanced affair.

Some of the most memorable gaming experiences of many gamers can be traced back to the VS. mode of Street Fighter II. The premise is simple: each player chooses a character and then engages in a best of three showdown. With a group of friends, this portion of the game can turn into hours of fierce competition. Excitement, humiliation, and plenty of trash-talking are commonplace here. As a little kid, I remember tormenting my cousin with a barrage of the weakest attacks, questioning why he was unable to fend off my gentle battery, or flash-kicking him to eternity, all while repeating the phrase, "Hi, I’m Guile: the army man." Good times.

With the Virtual Console comes a great improvement to the already excellent gameplay of this classic title. That, of course, is the control stick. Playing the game with the Wii Classic controller or the Gamecube pad makes for even more fluid execution of special moves — and of your opponents. It is much more intuitive to make a quarter-circle motion with the stick than the d-pad, leading to an intensified combat environment, especially in VS mode.

The only real disappointment with Street Fighter II on Virtual Console is that it isn’t Street Fighter II: Turbo, which featured faster melee action and four extra playable characters while removing the VS. mode character selection restrictions. Also, it would be very nice if the game featured online play, so no player would be missing out on competitive play at any given time. If Virtual Console is your thing, if you’re a fan of the fighting genre, or if you simply missed out on the original release…heck, if you play video games, you owe it to yourself to download this integral piece of gaming history. You will not be disappointed.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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