Arcade / Gaming

Imitation was more than flattery for the Street Fighter franchise

If it looks like Street Fighter, walks like Street Fighter, and sounds like Street Fighter, it’s probably a bootleg.

For VG247, Dan Maher looked back at some of the Street Fighter bootlegs from the 90s and examined why they benefited rather than hampered the franchise:

One year — let’s call it 199X — I thought I had struck gold. This was the era of Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, where our dreams of playing as the four bosses (Punchy, Slashy, Eyepatch McScar and Magic Communist) were finally a reality. And here it was, nestled in the back corner of Wilson’s Crazy Casino*.

At least I thought it was.

From the moment I dropped my first 20p something was clearly amiss. The colours of the Street Fighter logo, switched up to a fetching green-to-blue gradation for Champion Edition, were instead a garish, seemingly corrupted mess.

It just got weirder from there. Within seconds of my first bout, my Ryu had dished out mid-air homing Hadoukens, turbo-charged hurricane kicks and dragon punches that covered the entire width of the arena. Meanwhile, my CPU opponent decided they’d had enough of being a fireball-spewing E. Honda and, mid-fight, transformed into Blanka instead. Actually, Dhalsim. No, Ken. Chun-Li, then. The indecisive AI eventually settled on a vicious Guile and I, still dumbfounded by what was unfolding, was promptly crushed by an endless torrent of Sonic Booms.

It all happened so quickly, too. It was less “time flies when you’re being pummelled,” more, “you got Benny Hill in my Street Fighter”. Just comically fast.

I still remember a fighting game that I played on holiday in Tunisia in 1999 that was very similar to Street Fighter. I can’t remember if it was a bootleg or heavy inspiration but it was fun and I wish I knew what it was called as I’d love to play it again. I arguably played more of that than any Street Fighter game.

Anyway, check out this video on Street Fighter II: Rainbow Edition.

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