Diary of a Game
Street Fighter Zzap Review
• GO!, £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk, joystick only
Illegal street fights have become an international 'sport', and fighters from across the world are more than ready to take on any challenger. Ryu, a pugilist of Oriental origin, has set himself the task of taking on the best fighters from five countries to become the world champion street fighter.
Each contest is set against a horizontally scrolling background which contains the typically cosmopolitan landmarks that determine the opposing psychopath's country of origin. Both Ryu's own and his opponent's energy levels are displayed as horizontal bars, which are reduced in stature with every blow received.
Being well versed in the art of beating people to a pulp, Ryu has an array of offensive punches and kicks at his disposal as well as dodging manoeuvres, all of which are accessed using joystick or joystick and fire button combinations. Each bout is timed and the loser is the first to have all the stuffing (or the energy) knocked out of him. If neither fighter is horizontal at the end of the time limit, the one with more energy is judged the winner. Even if Ryu loses one bout, he still has the chance of victory, as the winner of the match has to be victorious in two rounds.
At the end of each level, the player gets a chance to earn extra points in a bonus level, which requires Ryu to smash through a pile of bricks. An energy bar oscillates rapidly between a maximum and minimum power level, and a press of the fire will smash a certain number of bricks depending on where the bar was stopped.
Two players can compete against each other in a preliminary battle, one taking the role of Ryu and the other becoming a martial artist going by the unlikely name of Ken. The winner of this bout is the one who then goes on to the street warriors, as in the single player option.
After the great playability of GO!'s Bionic Commando, I was quite looking forward to one of the kings of arcade beat 'em-ups, Street Fighter. However, though by no means a complete disaster, this release is the return of the bad arcade conversion. I gained only partial control of my badly drawn, badly animated on-screen counterpart, so progress through the enemies was slow to say the least. I think if joystick control and response time were tuned up, graphics could be ignored and Street Fighter could become a very enjoyable game. If you're a big fan of the arcade version, you might like to consider buying this, but don't expect value for money. For the best unarmed combat game, play IK+, and if it's large fighters you want, then look at Bangkok Knights. There is a US conversion of Street Fighter which will probably be released, but until then at least, sit tight.
I've never actually played the arcade version of Street Fighter, and I can only really compare the Commodore conversion with the original on the basis of their graphics. Obviously they could never come close to the arcade's graphics, but GO! could have done a much better job. Blocky, ill-defined sprites and few frames of animation hardly do justice to one of the nation's favourite coin-ops of last year. A hit is shown as a black character square — not exactly state of the art! Joystick control interferes with gameplay considerably; response is slow and waggling is needed to make any attacking move, let alone the one you wanted. I consider Street Fighter to be a great conversion licence wasted. Go(!) elsewhere for beat 'em-up thrills.
If you have any idea what should go in this box, please let me know! :)