Street Fighter EX Needs Some Lovin’
I heap a heavy amount of nostalgia upon Street Fighter EX. Feels kind of weird to be nostalgic over something that I was into when I was, like, twenty years old, but whatever.
Street Fighter EX is my favorite Street Fighter game outside of the original Street Fighter 2.
FLASHBACK – 199X.
I’m two years removed from high school and I’m finding my love of video games waning. I bought a N64 for myself for Christmas two years before and I regretted it. I only owned one game: the Star Wars game that was released with the system’s launch. I wasn’t a Mario fan, and I didn’t care much for many of the other games released on the system, so I felt a little off-put by Nintendo. Before then I was a hardcore Nintendo fan. I played the hell out of my NES, SNES, and Game Boy. I never thought about buying a Turbo Graphix or a Genesis (Did have a longing for a Neo Geo, but that doesn’t really count.). Despite how ridiculous it sounds, I kinda felt betrayed by Nintendo when they didn’t release any games I wanted on their new system.
Then a few friends of mine got Playstations. I checked them out, played a few games, and kinda liked it. Nothing stuck out to me as awe-inspiring, but it was a hell of a lot better than the stuff being released for the N64, so after saving my some cash I bought myself a PS1 for my birthday that year. The first game I bought was Street Fighter EX.
I can thank the game for rekindling my love for video games.
In retrospect the game isn’t all that. The gameplay has a “floaty” feel that a lot of old school 3D fighting games had at the time, making the timing feel odd. The gameplay didn’t really feel all that different from Street Fighter 2 despite that floatiness, in that what few changes it made amounted to a tiered super bar that let you chain super moves together. It wasn’t anything revolutionary as far as gameplay goes.
The Challenge Mode was the thing that caught my attention. It was a way to keep me engrossed in a fighting game without having an opponent around to beat up on. The mode led you through an series of moves and combos that became increasingly difficult. The first few were, like, “throw a fireball” or “jump in and fierce punch then do a ducking roundhouse kick.” Simple stuff any gamer can pull off first go. Then the combos got a bit more elaborate. Several hits in a row that had to be timed just right or chaining super combos. Later challenges would get pretty rough, many of which involved juggling opponents and timing the hits just right so you’d launch them again and again and again. Some of them got pretty crazy, but they made for some crazy fun late night gaming sessions.
The thing that sticks with me the most about Street Fighter EX is the soundtrack. Save for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I think EX’s soundtrack may be my favorite game soundtrack of all time.
Guile’s theme is my favorite of the bunch. It’s nothing like his original Street Fighter theme, which makes sense since EX was made by a non-Capcom company and they didn’t have access to the music (I assume.). Instead, they gave Guile a slow-boiling jazz number that goes from soft, contemplative stuff to a full out funky jam. I love this song.
Even Sakura gets an awesome theme in the game. It has that “slice of life/running to school with a piece of toast in your mouth” vibe to it you’d expect from her, except it doesn’t suck in the least. Street Fighter EX made a moe song badass. That’s how awesome of a soundtrack it has.
Throwing out Hokuto’s theme as well. Kinda weird that the EX series is the only one that got a character like Hokuto. She plays a lot like Geese Howard from Fatal Fury/King of Fighters in that she’s all about counter attacking. Save for Dudley’s counter move, no Street Fighter character ever had a style based around countering. Guess they figured it wouldn’t work out or whatever. That makes Hokuto that much more unique (And she barely missed being on that top ten Street Fighter list I made awhile back.).
Had to throw Ms. Thunder Thighs in here. Wouldn’t be a Street Fighter post without her.
Yeah. It may not be as technical as Street Fighter 3 or as polished as Street Fighter 4, but my love for EX exceeds both of those awesome games.