Insert Disk collects Street Fighter The Movie for the Sega Saturn.
Welcome to Part 1 of 11 of this Sega Saturn Capcom Fighting games mini series.
We will be taking a look at all of the major Capcom fighting game releases from Street Fighter, Marvel, Street Fighter Vs and Darkstalker series. These retro gaming classics form a large part of the Sega Saturn’s lasting appeal and of particular interest to collectors of Japanese Sega Saturn collectors.
Part 1 sees the launch of Street fighter on the Sega Saturn with Street Fighter The Movie.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. You join at the start of the Sega Saturn Capcom Fighter Mini series. Now, no matter your age, your platform of choice I think we can all agree that Capcom have produced some outstanding fighting games over the years. The problem is that the Capcom 2D fighter universe is not just a single series, it’s a whole history of overlapping cross-overs, cameos, remakes, non-sensical editions, same games by a different name and regional exclusives. I had looked at making an end-to-end Street Fighter mini series covering all games to date but when I saw just how many games, editions and formats there are I just can’t image there’s enough space on the YouTube servers to handle it all. Instead I’d like to take you on a more manageable journey of the 2D Capcom Fighting games officially released for the Sega Saturn.
So here are the rules for the series…
I’ll be looking at all sequential, non-spin-off titles released on the system. That means no Puzzle Fighter or The anime movie game. The series won’t cover other Capcom 32-bit series such as the Street Fighter Ex series. To keep things simple I’ll also largely be keeping to the Japanese editions of the games. North America and Europe also received most of the same games on this list although often under different names. Most notably The Street Fighter Zero Series became Street Fighter Alpha outside of Japan. This means we’re also going to have some great fun when it comes to the naming conventions of characters, particularly in the Street Fighter series. Those of you that collect Japanese Street Fighter games will already know this but for my Western audience here are some quick explanations.
In Japan M. Bison is known as Vega.
Vega is known as Balrog.
and Balrog is known as M.Bison.
In Japan Akuma is known as Gouki.
Evil Ryu occasionally translates to something closer to Dark Ryu depending on the source material.
In short, the Street Fighter reviews in this series are almost certainly going to generate comments of why the names are all over the place. Welcome to Capcom.
In this episode I’d just like to take the time to explain the chronology of the Sega Saturn library. I’ll be featuring the Street Fighter Series. The Street Fighter Cross-Over series. The Marvel Series as well as the Darkstalkers series, known as the Vampire series in Japan. If you are a modern gamer looking back at Capcom’s back catalogue it can be difficult to understand how each series evolved and how interlinked they are. As such like to share the context of the timeline and if it’s worth your while collecting these games today. Whilst the 16-bit era was the true origin of many of these series I personally found that it was the 32-bit era that really shaped how the series would look in the years to come.
So, first up on the time line, Street Fighter The Movie.
So, this game has the unenviable task of ushering Street Fighter on to the Sega Saturn platform. Not only is the presentation unconventional but it has the distinction of being based on a movie of the same name… based on the game… And here is that movie. The 1994 Jean Claude Van Damme / Raul Julia romp that left us all slightly baffles as to why Ryu and Ken were con artists, Blanka looks like the Elephant Man’s green cousin and why Julia never won the Oscar for the most insane acting as a move villain ever.
I have the DVD her but more on this in another episode. Those 3.8 stars on IMDB can wait. It was 1995, the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn fans looked forward to a new Street Fighter game for the next gen. What we received didn’t go down well. The movie source material had taken a few liberties with the Street Fighter universe and was panned by the critics. For what it’s worth I find the movie a bit of a rather satisfying disaster. Its fun for all the wrong reasons. How would it translate to the 32-bit platform though as a game? In short, not well.
Street Fighter 2, Turbos editions and Championship editions had all dominated the arcade and found their way in to our home collections. The decision to change the presentation style was perhaps the first issue. Compared to the more cartoon like classic Street Fighter the game suffers 2 fold. Firstly the digitised sprites look very jagged in places, they also seem to have very few frames of animation. It just makes the game feel very cheap. The sprites appear washed out and even the background animations have a very limited frame rate. We had already seen game rivals such as Mortal Kombat get this right on the 16-bit consoles so why the execution was so below par here remains a mystery.
Secondly comes the issue of the sprites themselves. We’re so used to seeing the characters in a certain way any change is likely to be met with suspicion. Just look at Blanka for example, compared to his classic appearance there’s few that will prefer the movie incarnation. The game adaptation did allow Capcom to experiment with a story mode. Playing as Guile you follow the cut screens and decide on a route to take on your way to defeat Bison. It’s a good idea in principle but having established that it’s not really a plot that drives Street Fighter it’s not a huge bonus for the game. There is of course the classic street fight mode that plays very much as you would expect a Street Fighter game. Select your character and then come up against the games rather well fleshed out roster of fighters. This is where things get noticeably bad. This game very much seems like the black sheep of the Street Fighter series. For some reason it just doesn’t feel like a street fighter game. It’s a bit unbalanced, the hit boxes not quite where you think they ought to be and overall this turns in to a button masher rather than any reliance on fighting strategy.
To be fair to the game, it isn’t terrible. You can certainly find worse fighting games out there. The issue is that this isn’t just any fighting game this is Capcom’s premier fighting series and rightly or wrongly it will always be measured by the other games that preceded it. So far Capcom hadn’t ushered in the 32-bit era of fighting game with any finesse but that was about to change. Capcom’s next release would see them team up with the Marvel license to re-establish themselves as the arcade fighter kings.
Join me in the next episode where we take a fond look back at X-Men: Children of the Atom.