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  • [I ♥ The PC Engine] Fighting Street

    Posted on July 21st, 2009 keving 12 comments

    Fighting StreetFighting Street

    Maker: Hudson
    Release Date: 12/4/88
    5980 yen
    CD-ROM² (17.68MB + 23 audio tracks)
    Genre: Action
    PC Engine FAN Score: 24.41 / 30.00
    Kōgien: “A port of Street Fighter, the arcade game that gave birth to the fighting action game genre and later led to the wildly popular Street Fighter II. The two characters of Ryu and Ken, as well as special moves like the Hadoken and Shoryuken, were already in place in this game.”

    The first real video game to be distributed on CD-ROM, predating The Manhole (a Mac kids’ title that got a PCE port in 1991) by at least a month or two, is a pretty faithful port of 1987’s Street Fighter from Capcom. The purpose of the name change is a mystery that still eludes me, but may have something to do with the non-compete clauses that Capcom and other Nintendo third-parties worked under at the time.

    Development duties for both this and fellow launch title No.Ri.Ko were handled by Alfa System, a prolific subcontractor that mainly worked on Hudson titles around this time. Since Alfa couldn’t afford CD-ROM² dev/authoring systems (which ran into the tens of millions of yen in 1988), their staff actually traveled to Hudson headquarters in Sapporo to produce this and No.Ri.Ko in time for the system’s launch. Other than a lack of parallax scrolling and clouds moving in the background, the PCE port features nearly the exact same graphics and animation as the arcade original.

    Fighting Street Fighting Street

    I would like to say that Fighting Street is a revolution, something that changed the path of video games that followed it the way that fellow launch titles like Super Mario 64 and Halo did. I’d be lying, though. That’s because, like the CD-ROM format itself in 1988, Street Fighter was a great idea that needed a bit more time to evolve. All the basics of the fighting-game genre are here — one-on-one combat, special moves unleashed by specific button sequences, that sort of thing — but the whole thing needs polish and game balancing that didn’t come until Street Fighter II a few years later.

    The results are frustrating most of the time, when they aren’t humorous. Ryu’s special moves — the Hadouken, Shoryuken and hurricane kick — are incredibly hard to pull off with a control pad (a bit easier on a keyboard or if you use a secret code). Hit home with one, though, and it’s devastating, taking off nearly half your enemy’s life. In the PCE port, Ryu’s blocking powers are extraordinary enough that you can punch your adversary (all of them) once, hold back to block, wait 90 seconds, and win the round once time expires. Plus, there are the voices. A laugh riot, they are. Everyone sounds like this. I could listen to that sample repeatedly for an hour straight and still not get sick of it.

    To sum it up, Alfa did a great job porting an arcade game that, in many ways, played like a rough “concept” version of Street Fighter II instead of a full game. But Fighting Street is truly revolutionary in one way: it brought CD-quality scores to video games. The music here, all remixed versions of Street Fighter’s chip-generated soundtrack, would define the PCE’s CD sound for years to come — it’s loud, synth-heavy, pop-infused, and remarkably catchy. The tunes for Joe and Eagle’s stages are the most memorable in my mind, but a lot of Asian folks on the net seem to go for Retsu and Geki, the two Japanese competitors, a bit more.

    To save you the toil (and the loading-time waits) of going through Fighting Street yourself, here’s someone doing it in just under ten minutes for you. I wish I was in the audience for those two brick-bashing demos. They all look so happy.