Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (World 910522) Review by: Azul FriaThe game that set the standard for the fighting game scene by accident.
Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior puts together 8 of the world's toughest fighters into a special tournament to see who is worthy to take on the 4 elite rulers of Shadoloo all for different reasons. Ryu from Japan wants to face strong opponents. Edmond Honda (E.Honda) from Japan wants to prove his students that he can hold his own in a fight. Blanka representing Brazil is a lost boy who mutated into a monster. Guile from USA is looking to avenge the death of his comrade, Charlie, at the hands of M. Bison/Vega. Ken from USA is also looking for strong challenges. Chun Li from China wants to avenge the death of her father at the hands of M. Bison/Vega and she is a student of Gen from Street Figher 1. Zangief representing USSR at the time of the release wants to prove that Russia's wrestling is number one. Dhalsim from India is fighting on behalf of the starving children of his country.
There are four bosses in this game. One of them is Sagat from Thailand who was the final boss from the first Street Fighter and received his chest scar courtesy of Ryu's Dragon Punch. You fight him third during the boss battles. The other three are named depending on which region you are playing the game because Capcom wanted to avoid a potential lawsuit outside of Japan due to the striking resemblance and similar naming of one them to Mike Tyson. The first boss is the afformentioned Balrog/M. Bison from USA is a boxer who got kicked out of the profession for breaking the rules. He is the reason for the name change. He is no relation to Mike from Street Fighter 1. Vega/Balrog from Spain is a masked fighter that attacks with his extended claw. The final boss is M. Bison/Vega who is an evil dictator who seeks world domination. The US branch of Capcom also thought Vega sounded like a weak name for a dictator.
GRAPHICS - A+
I mentioned this in a previous review on Street Fighter 1 where Ryu and Ken were palette swaps of each other. This time around they are head swaps. There are a lot of beautiful stages in the background. Dhalsim has elephants and orange carpentry all around the place. E. Honda's stage takes place in a bathhouse full of dripping water. Zangief's stage is inside the steel mill with his co-workers cheering him on. Ken is front of a cruise ship on a port. One thing I want to point out is that a change had to be made slightly in this stage because... initially, one of the passengers has his hand positioned in a way that makes him look like he was "milking the cow." It was changed to where he is keeping his hands away from himself. This got changed in a later version of SF2 but Balrog/M. Bison's character portrait looks just exactly like Mike Tyson. You just cannot unsee him. The special attacks also look cool. If you look closely, Ryu and Ken's Hadouken looks like a copy of their hands encased inside of a blue aura (red if a glitch occurs). The hurricane kick actually looks like they are spinning around this time instead of a choppy two frame animation. Another cool effect is when the opponent gets hit by Dhalsim's Yoga Fire and Yoga Flame where the opponent is burned all over in orange cinders. M. Bison's Psycho Crusher has the same effect except they are encased in blue cinders. Blanka's Electricity Attack gives off a shocking effect where you will see the opponent's flashing skeleton.
CONTROLS - A+
Compared to the first game, the controls are a whole lot better to work with. The attacks and special moves come out immediately whenever a button is pressed as opposed to coming out after the button was released. Every fighter has their own set of motion controls for special moves but there is more variety of how to do so including charging (holding the joystick down or away from the opponent) then moving it into the opposite direction towards the opponent or upwards before attacking. Other characters such as Zangief require strict timing to pull off their special moves because the Spinning Piledriver is not only the most damaging move in the game but it is also the most difficult move to do. If you do not do it right, you will end up jumping into the air. It's easier to start the motion while airborne but you must be on the ground by the time the motion is finished.
GAMEPLAY - A+
Now you may be wondering why I said that this game set the standard for fighting games by accident. It is all about the combos, baby. If not for them, the game would have probably flopped hard like the first game. When the game was first designed, the combos (a string of uninterrupted attacks in a row) were not supposed to be in the game. How the system was supposed to work is that, if an attack hits then the next hit would not register. That is similar to how the first game was like except that was more about the opponent getting pushed back when hit. We almost got a sexist game as well. With Chun Li being a woman, she was originally going to have a shorter lifebar than the men. In the end, she was given an equal amount of life as the rest. The game got more popular when it got ported to the Super Nintendo and had a code to play mirror matches (pitting characters against themselves) which was introduced in Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition. Too bad the code, didn't enable you to play as the four bosses like in Championship Edition but you did have access to secondary colors and the bosses would also end up using their colors from that game.
REPLAYABILITY - A+
There are 8 unique endings in the game which is one for each of the playable characters. The biggest challenge is trying to beat the game in 1 quarter or without losing a round. Doing so will show off the game's credits. The rewards are much better on the SNES because you can get higher rewards based on higher difficulty. If you play at lower difficulty then you will get just what you deserve, a general message encouraging you to beat the game at a higher level because you are not a warrior yet, just a beginner.
OVERALL - A+
Street Fighter 2 paved the way for more fighting games like Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, Darkstalkers, and Mortal Kombat. It is still influential today as the best Street Fighter set of the series. Street Fighter 3, 4, and 5 never got much a cult as this one did so that's why it is also my favorite set of games. I can't wait till Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers for the upcoming Nintendo Switch.