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DoctorSpuds Reviews Things - Street Fighter II (DOS) (U.S. Gold, Hi Tech Ex


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Street Fighter II: The Baddest Brawl Of Them All… Well they were right about one thing..

There was a time a long, long, time ago when the battle for gaming superiority wasn’t quite as one-sided as it is today, the battle between consoles and home computers. Now I’ll admit that I know very little about computers from this era, all of my knowledge stems from the early Commodore and Atari 8-bit machines, not the burly 386, 486, and Pentuim machines of the late 80’s through the 90’s. Around the time the NES gained mainstream popularity ports of popular games were made for PC’s of the time, Contra and Megaman come to mind. These ports were generally considered to be far inferior to their console counterparts, sometimes due to the hardware just not being compatible or because the development was outsourced to smaller developers with fewer scruples. So, it’s 1993 and guess what’s big? Yep, you guessed right, fighting games. Games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were stealing kid’s quarters the world over and home versions simply had to be made. Street Fighter II had an absolute blanket release the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, SNES, and ZX Spectrum got releases to name a sparse few. And while the console versions ranged from good to stellar the home computer versions were generally considered to be pretty bad, and unfortunately we’ve been set up for failure right from the offset since the DOS version, the one we’re looking at today was programmed by U.S. Gold and distributed by Hi Tech Expressions, both of these companies have very splotchy reputations for the quality of their releases. Let’s start where we always do, the graphics.

Not good, ooh this is not good. These graphics simply can’t stand up to the competition, the SNES, Genesis, and even TurboGrafx 16 versions simply blitz this. The animation is choppy and slow, the backgrounds are completely static, and the speed at which the game moves is easily half of its console counterparts. At a glance the game seems okay, the characters are well drawn and are accurate to the arcade version but then you start to look closer… The interlude screens and world map are downright silly looking, Chun Li’s eye is half the width of her entire head and she appears to be doing her best impression of the Thinker, and oh my god what happened to Blanca. Sometimes the backgrounds are a bit too vague, there appears to be a naked man in the background of Vega’s stage, look next to the woman in gold. All around this is shaping up to be a big ‘ol disappointment, will the sounds make things better? Or will they only exacerbate things?

Oh dear, oh no… You get to choose… Sounds, or music, or complete silence? Each is equally bad, and here’s why. If you choose to simply hear the fighting sounds all your ears will be graced with is the sounds of squeals and farts from the fighters, but you’ll mostly be hearing silence and it doesn’t help that the sounds are abnormally quiet. If you choose the music option you’ll hear the same twangy metallic ‘Genesis’ sounding song throughout the entire game. It’s possible that my version is bugged because there is a music tester in the options menu that has five other songs that I never heard while playing the game. The game does require a sound card to play these wonderful… uh… sounds, since I’m using DOSBox I’m automatically given a Soundblaster-16 so it’s possible that it may sound better or worse on other hardware. But let’s get to where the flaws of this game truly lie… the gameplay.

I mentioned in the graphics that everything runs slowly, and I ain’t kidding. The movement of your fighter is incredibly slow and jerky almost like it’s running at half speed, but you know what I’m rather grateful for the slowness. You are given two action buttons, punch, and kick, and you are supposed to do all of the moves that you can do in the arcade game, which had six buttons. There is a reason the Genesis has a six button controller, and Street Fighter II is that reason, the DOS version gives you TWO BUTTONS!! If you were really unlucky you could have been saddled with a one button controller, and yes the game has a control option for single button controllers. Even when playing on a keyboard you are stuck with two buttons, and it is absolutely dreadful. I played this game all the way through, yeah I beat it, barely, and I had the AI as low as it could go with the timer off, and I still had trouble beating the game. No it’s not a difficulty thing the AI is dumb as bricks no matter what AI setting you choose it’s all about frustration, the game simply refuses to do what you want it to… I usually play as Chun Li whenever I play Street Fighter since she’s fast and has one of the easiest special moves, simply mash the kick button a whole bunch of times, guess how many times I activated the easiest special move in the game? Once during a bonus stage, I never got it to work when fighting an opponent and it doesn’t help that both action buttons make her kick so I don’t know which is the ‘kick’ button.

This game is a ball of anger and frustration and you will hate every minute of it. You can find copies on Ebay for around 20 dollars, I paid 15 for my own copy, but you really shouldn’t even consider buying it. Just find a download for it on an abandonware website or something and run it on DOSBox if you want to feel the frustration. As an added bonus I will not tell you how to control the game you will have to guess the buttons for yourself, the manual won’t help you since it doesn’t list the controls either, so good luck with that.

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