The World Warriors – Part 2
To emphasize how much of a Street Fighter fan I am:
This past week I bought a Madcatz fighting stick for my PS3. It’s one of those ~$140 monstrosities that are made with high-quality parts and stuff. I got the Marvel vs. Capcom model, since that’s what Gamestop apparently carries. Pretty awesome, but I gotta get used to playing Street Figher with a stick again. It’s been ages since I’ve played it in the arcade, and before this I’ve never spent money on an arcade stick. I’ve acclimated to using the d-pad ever since Street Fighter hit the SNES back in the day that I’m all but having to re-learn how to do certain things. Still, I’m finding certain combos to be a hell of a lot easier to pull off, and Focus Canceling is a bit easier as well. I still suck at it, but at least now it’s a matter of “getting used to it” rather than “this damn PS3 pad makes it all but impossible *throws controller at cat*.”
Yeah, Street Fighter has been the cornerstone of my video gaming fandom since it came out. More than half of the console systems I bought were due to me wanting to play Street Fighter on them. I got a SNES so I could play Street Fighter 2. I got a PS1 so I could play Street Fighter Alpha. I got a Dreamcast so I could play the Vs series games and all of the other Capcom fighting games. I got a PS3 so I could play Street Fighter 4. If it wasn’t for Street Fighter and the ensuing fighting game fad of the early 90’s, I’m not sure if I’d have lasted as a video game fan. I’m not a bit RPG player (There are ones I like, but they tend to be the exceptions to the rule.). I don’ t like modern gaming trends (FPSers, GTA clones, RTS games, MMOs, etc.). I was never a big Mario or Sonic fan. I tend to enjoy fighting games , puzzle games, and quirky,offbeat games that no one else likes, and the last two have never really been big selling points for me to buy a system. As much as I know I’d enjoy a lot of the weird games that get released on the DS and PSP, I’ve yet to bite.
I think it’s safe to say that Street Fighter essentially made me remain a video game fan back when I likely would have drifted away from the fandom.
Anyway, on to the second half of the Top 10, or as I like to call it: Edmund Honda’s Harem Ending.
Yep. Sakura is the lone Shotokan on my list. She’s the only Ryu clone that I’ve ever enjoyed playing. Part it could be the fact that she doesn’t really play like the other Shotokans at times. She has the fireball and the dragon punch and the hurricane kick, but they’re all unorthodox. She’s even more divergent than Dan, since his only real “failing” as a Shotokan is his tiny projectile range that’s mean to mock SNK’s limiting of Ryo and Robert’s projectiles in the King of Fighters series as a bad attempt to make them seem less like their Street Fighter counterparts.
Sakura’s hurricane kick arcs, making it have less range but making it into an attack that’s a little trickier to defend against since it can hit high and low. Her fireball doesn’t have much range, but she can charge it and release it as she sees fit. Her dragon punch charges for a bit before launching into the upper cut portion of the attack, making for a larger range of attack that can catch some players off-guard if they forget its range. It makes her a trickier opponent than the other Shotokans, since their games are far more straight-forward and traditional. Ryu has better projectiles, Ken has a better dragon punch, Akuma fucking sucks, and so on.
I’m also starting to like the fact that Sakura is still wearing her school outfit despite Street Fighter 4 taking place a few years after her exploits in the Alpha series. By now she should be out of high school and off to college or training in the mountains or something like that. It’s like she’s Al Bundy from Married with Children, stuck in the past and gloating over her high school achievements. Al scored 100 touchdowns in one game (or whatever it was) and that was the only meaningful thing he’s done with his life. Sakura’s just like him. She kicked ass as a high school girl and now she can’t escape that image despite being too old for that shit.
Or Street Fighter could have lousy continuity, but that wouldn’t be as fun.
Remember that story I told about kicking that one dude’s ass in Marvel vs Capcom while only using Cammy? That’s why Cammy is in this spot.
3: E. Honda
Honda’s my main man in Street Fighter 4. Not sure why I started playing with him while playing online games, but for whatever reason I started using him and found that I did far better with him than any other character when I go up against other players.
Regardless, I’ve always liked Honda because he’s the original bruiser. Zangief has all of the holds and throws, but Honda was the one that did the most damage simply using his fists. He hits shit good. I like his minimalist approach to the game. He isn’t about combos and stuff like that, he’s about anticipating your opponent’s moves and smashing them with his massive girth. He plays into my fighting style well, since I’ve always been more about exploiting other’s mistakes rather than trying to get in there and wailing away with a combo or something like that.
I also love seeing a sumo fly.
If any character needs to be added to the next Street Fighter game (Street Fighter 5? Super Street Fighter 4 Turbo? Super Ultra Street Fighterest 4 Turbo EX+ Alpha Third Impact Puzzle Gem Romancer?), it’s Karin. She fills a much-needed niche in the cast.
All of the female characters in the game are either happy-go-lucky goody-goody types like Chun Li, Sakura, or Elena (Another character that needs to come back.) or stoic types like Makoto, Cammy, or Rose. Until Juri came along, the only character that wasn’t bubbly or cold was Karin. Karin is a bitch. She’s B-Ko from Project A-Ko in a red school uniform. She’s a hot-blooded type who is in it out of spite against Sakura and to prove that she’s all that and a bag of chips.
She’s essentially the female version of Ken, and that’s an archetype that’s badly needed in the game. Also, those curls are HAWT. She’s, like, a fighting game version of Juri from Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Juri is also HAWT.
But yeah, Karin falls into the same bitchy chick archetype that’s so near and dear to my heart. And it doesn’t hurt that I like her play style. She’s a bit like Fei Long, except she has a little more range in her attacks. She can do a similar three-hit special attack combo, but she can make high or low attacks in the midst of her attack. I also like that she’s another “normal” type like Makoto, who is just really good at comparatively normal fighting moves, rather than using energy blasts and stuff like that.
She covers quite a bit of awesome territory.
1: Chun Li
First loves and all that sentimental nonsense. That’s where Chun Li falls into this silly little dichotomy of Street Fighterness.
I remember the day that I first saw Street Fighter in a local arcade. It was in the very arcade where my Cammy incident occurred, except nearly 10 years beforehand. I was a middle schooler. I think I was in the 7th grade at the time. The parents and sister were off shopping or whatever and I wandered over to the arcade to drop a few bucks into whatever happened to look neat. Street Fighter was sitting there at the entrance to the arcade. A single machine. One dude was playing. He was using this dark-skinned dude who was wearing skulls around his neck and could stretch his arms halfway across the screen. At first I thought it was a Final Fight clone or something like that, but the chick he was fighting didn’t go down after a couple of hits. And that chick was the only person he was fighting. I figured she was a boss or something.
Then he died, but he didn’t drop down from the top of the screen, flashing to show he was invincible for a few seconds so he wouldn’t get wailed on right off the bat. The screen reset and they started their fight again. I had no idea what was going on, since I’d never seen such a game before. Then the dude died again. He’d lost two lives as far as I could tell, but the game was over.
“You only get two lives?” I thought. “What a ripoff!”
Despite that, once the guy left the machine I plopped in my 50 cents and tried the game out. First thing that struck me was that the very chick that the dude lost to was on the character select screen. Figuring she was powerful and shit, since that dude lost to her, I picked her as my character and gave the game a whirl. Once I actually started playing the game I realized what was up. It was all about one on one fights. It was like you were fighting a boss character every level, except you were just as strong as said boss character.
I quickly fell in love with the concept, and I quickly fell in love with my first character choice. It wasn’t because she was quick or because she was a hot chick with huge legs that went on forever. I fell in love because she was my first. She robbed me of my fighting game virginity and forever ruined me. For ages I wouldn’t play Street Fighter if I couldn’t be Chun Li. It just felt… wrong to play as another character. This was back in the day before Championship Edition, so only one player could be each character, and you were screwed if you liked anyone other than Ken and Ryu and the other dude was playing your favorite. In playing another character I felt like I was betraying someone I was close to (Also, I didn’t want to learn a new character on the fly.).
It took me a few months to get over that and learn how to play other peeps, but I still fondly remember that time when Chun Li was my own and only. It’s for those halcyon fighting days that Chun Li is tops on my list. And those thighs don’t hurt either.