Label: US Gold
Memory: 128K Only
Price: £12.99 Tape
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes
Here it is! What more can I say. Around Christmas time there was a big controversy in the newspapers and on TV about the effect games were having on youngsters. The argument centred around the two big console manufacturers and their respective famous branded characters - Sega's Sonic and Nintendo's Mario. But Streetfighter 2 sold as many SNES's this Crimbo as Mario, despite costing over sixty smackeroolies.
As soon is it became apparent that it wasn't only children's minds that were at risk but their parent's wallets too (some newspaper editor probably had to join the real world and cough up for his son) the whole hoo ha reached epic proportions and of course Sega and Nintendo ended up laughing all the way to the bank.
In all of this not one mention was made of the Spectrum (are any of us really surprised?) and the fact that US Gold are still able to release a version of the game for one-fifth of the price of the Nintendo product. But then again the Spectrum is crap isn't it?
No... Take one look at Street Fighter 2 and you will appreciate just how good the Speccy can be with a decent product and imaginative programming. For a start all the characters are there, and these aren't sad representations either, they actually look like the real thing and they're animated like the real thing too. They have roughly the same amount of moves as either the arcade or the S-NES too though the control procedure with only one fire button is a tad restrictive.
At the outset Tony Bickley, SF2's project manager, told us that he didn't think the Vs battle option would be available on the Speccy because of loading and memory restrictions. However, he must have had his boys up all night, every night, because it IS available in the released version. The game basically works like this:
First you load the title screen and options menu. Here you get three choices; the options menu allows you to turn on or off SFX, sound, backgrounds (which should make the game a little faster but doesn't really make a lot of difference) etc., change the controls or set the difficulty level between 0 and 9. The Championship option allows you to enter the competition and fight the computer in its chosen order of ranking, while the Vs game allows you and a friend to choose a fighter each and proceed to beat the stuffing out of each other. Lovely!
If I say Street Fighter 2 isn't particularly colourful some smart arse is going to write in and tell me that I'm talking rubbish and there is actually a wide variety of colours to choose from. This is correct. You can have blue sprites on a white background. or red on white, or yellow on blue or... ad infinitum. Basically though you won't have any more than two colours or shades thereof on a fight screen at once. This is a blessing though when you consider the complexity of the sprites and the potential for colour clash.
The sound is acceptable but where the game really comes into its own is in playability. To be honest I thought playing Speccy Street Fighter 2 would be like watching slugs practice karate but, oh lordy, it's just not so OK, it's not Ben Johnson but it's certainly fast enough to have a decent game. Even some of the guys from Mean Machines and Nintendo Magazine System were impressed when I invited them up the Towers into my games suite (complete with mini bar) to view 'the game'.
It takes time to get used to all the moves, and don't trust the instruction manual, you'll have to find out how to do some yourself - it helps if you're a contortionist. The only real gripe I have about Street Fighter 2 is that it isn't available on disk and the tape loading procedure is a long but necessary evil. Top marks to USG though for the best looking Speccy title in years, and no mistake.
I'd have loved to give Street Fighter 2 an SU Gold award. Graphically it deserves it, playability-wise it almost deserves it. However the main let down is the unfeasibly labourious loading procedure which means that it takes centuries to fight a few rounds. Great effort though, and considering that it's likely to be the last big licence coin op conversion ever on the Speccy it's worthwhile getting - if only to hold onto fond dinosaur memories of what the Speccy is capable of if pushed.
Well I never! I was as dubious as a canary being offered seed by a cat when Big Al' asked me to take a look at Street Fighter 2, and to be honest, by the time it loaded I had lost hope altogether. However, once I started playing I quickly found myself enjoying this version immensely. Just make sure you have plenty of other things to do while it's loading!
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