I first saw Street Fighter at Davis Lanes in Layton. The year was 1988, and I was visiting my dad for the weekend. As he and my stepmom bowled, me and my brother were over watching the arcade games. One was Street Fighter. The other was Super Dodge Ball. My dad finally relented, and gave us each a quarter. I played Street Fighter, totally unaware of the impact the later games would have on my life.
The first Street Fighter was the first of it’s kind. A new concept. The arcades were full of brawlers. Ninja Gaiden, Double Dragon, Shinobi, Golden Axe, and Shadow Dancer were all popular games, but this was a one-on-one fighter, where the best of two rounds won. Street Fighter lacked the things that made it’s sequels so great. Only Ryu and Ken were playable, and on a two-player game, it was Ryu vs Ken all the time. The other fighters were unplayable. Nevertheless, the game sold. It was ported to the TurboGrafx-CD system under the new name, Fighting Street. The name change is unclear to me, but I’m betting Nintendo had something to do with it. It was a nice start, but the best was yet to come.
Enter Street Fighter II, the game that launched the series. Eight fighters, four bosses, lots of ways to humiliate your opponents. Street Fighter II was THE game. To keep the game fresh while working on a suitable sequel, Capcom added upgrades to the already stellar game, with Street Fighter II Champion Edition, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and a Hyper Street Fighter II Turbo on the PS 2. Around this time, the Street Fighter movie, which starred Jean Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia in his final role came out, so Capcom released Street Fighter: The Movie, a game based on a movie which was based on a game.
Capcom wasn’t ready to deliver Street Fighter III yet, so they gave us Street Fighter Alpha.
Street Fighter Alpha, the series, consisted of three games. Each had Street Fighter originals, crossover characters from Final Fight, and never before seen characters. Not only that, but each fighter had a destiny that would be realized when they reached the end. These games were made with the same engine that X-Men: Children of the Atom and Marvel Super Heroes were made on, and would soon give us the ultimate crossover games.
Street Fighter III finally hit, with a marquee that read, simply, “THREE.” Street Fighter III: The Next Generation gave us a completely new cast of characters, save for Ryu and Ken. Capcom also upgraded this game, with Second Impact and Third Strike, which brought back Chun Li. The games, stellar as they were, felt like the formula was forgotten. Meanwhile, Capcom and SNK produced their Vs series, so it seemed like Street Fighter IV would never come. We were wrong.
Street Fighter IV came out for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with an upgrade in the works. As it stands, Street Fighter will never die.