Same players, play again!
by Tibe (2011)
We are only one year later, almost day for day after the release of the fantastic Street Fighter II, which hit the arcades in March 1992. Capcom build a new version of his fighting game, renamed "Champion Edition", aka 'Street Fighter II' (pronounce prime)... And with this production, the editor realizes the dream of all the previous episode fans, in fact that the four Bosses of the game became playable! And I can tell you that back then, in the arcades, it was a true privilege! It was the first time a game satisfied the concern of millions of players, after a popular 'first' episode. With an improved roster packing twelve characters, the company maintains its leading position on the market of versus fighting games. Formidable competitors were born since 1991, such as Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting or World Heroes, but Capcom 's Street Fighter II' Champion Edition remained the king on his throne at that time, as we shall see in the following lines.
Oh of course, everyone knows that quite few changes were made in this new version. Players have understood that Capcom had vowed to fully exploit the commercial potential of the Street Fighter series, and all of us were able to verify this fact... and rediscover at the same all time a bunch of onomatopoeia everyone has forgot, such as 'bonus', 'alpha', 'turbo', 'super', etc. The biggest new feature in Champion Edition remains the thing all the players were waiting for, I mean the the roster. In addition to the Bosses that can now be picked, you can fight your double in incredible 'mirror' matches! Capcom also took care to correct some details and bugs in the gameplay, but also add more variety and some other stuff. Destructible elements of the scenery have been redesigned to not cause slowdowns (for example, the crates of Ken's stage or Ryu's panels) and the colors have been modified for some backgrounds, in order to provide a different weather or have the fight happening at another time of the day. We are now fighting at sunset in Guile's place, at night in Ryu's or in the afternoon in the street in China where Chun-Li officiates.
Some other nice changes were made for the gameplay. Animation is a little bit faster than before: it's pretty noticeable, in particular for the frames during which the characters take the hit (it goes a little faster) and fighters also move more smoothly. But the very, very good news is that the blows remove less life than in Street Fighter II, providing fights that last longer and are more interesting. And this is not luxury, because rounds were sometimes pretty short in the previous episode. New combos are included, as the hitboxes became a little more accurate too. Versus mode gains in interest and technicality, while the difficulty for single player mode was slightly raised, providing a beefier challenge. New colors for backgrounds, but also for our fighters, who are all entitled to new outfits. Let's not forget the four new characters up to discover for the players, and at the time this were a real event for the fans, very interesting and offering a nice new technical aspect.
Concerning the new playable characters, here they are. Sagat is a giant Ryu/Ken , a bit slower but having more reach with his punches, an impressive range of technical kicks (low/middle/high kick) and no less than four special moves. M. Bison (Vega in Jap) is unattractive but powerful with his special 'torch' move, Vega (Balrog in Jap) is super fast and extremely efficient, while Balrog (M. Bison in Jap) is incredibly powerful with his punches, but vulnerable to many attacks of many opponents. Note also that some vignettes of characters have been successfully redesigned (Honda, Ryu, Chun Li, etc). The balance between characters is still fairly rudimentary, but the gameplay pleasure is there, and when SF2CE comes in 1992, Capcom is still far ahead of its competitors - SNK and Midway just starting to ramp up with Fatal Fury 2 and Mortal Kombat. Street Fighter II Champion Edition was a monster in the arcades in its era, and remains a model of old-school gameplay with its high - but well balanced- challenge , its impressive roster and premium realization.
|No real evolution is noticeable, except some design improvements and color changes.|
|Animation speed is a little higher and moves are smoother. Involontary slowdowns are fixed.|
|No changes since SFII.|
|Jumping from eight to twelve selectable fighters, it's a blow! With the improved difficulty, a new challenge awaits the experts.|
|Hit were way too punitive in SF2: this is fixed, life bars last longer too, now real technique is paying with more challenging fights. Everything else that was good is still there!|
|No deep changes since last year, but there are bosses that can now be played and some defects that were fixed... A great vintage!|
SAME ON THE NEO?
Strictly contemporary games of this 'Champion Edition' are SNK's Fatal Fury 2 and Art of Fighting, and ADK's World Heroes. As said for SFII, you can look to those three sagas to find analog sensations, but you'd better look particularly to Fatal Fury Special, which is a bit better.