Street Fighter: The Movie... (The Game?)

Street Fighter The Movie Poster

Ah, yes, the Street Fighter movie. No good phenomenon is safe from Hollywood's prying eyes, and Street Fighter was no exception. Street Fighter II was released in arcades in 1991, on consoles in 1992, and it quickly became a smash. Supremely polished with well-balanced 1v1 play, SFII jump-started the fighting game craze of the 90s, packing arcades as well as basements around the world. Capcom ultimately released 5 or so additional iterations of the game before moving on to Street Fighter Alpha and a continuation of the numbered series (along with a puzzle game, a simplified for-kids title and an outsourced 3d line).

Along with Street Fighter mania arrives the inevitable movie deal. Starring the Muscle from Brussels himself, the movie was pitched and billed as a good vs. evil tale. At this time, the Street Fighter storyline was not fully set it stone out and the screenwriters' eyes gleamed to this, taking heavy liberties with the plot arc and character backstories. It essentially took each the characters from Super Street Fighter II (minus Fei Long, who was somehow twisted into Captain Sawada). Each were then designated as either good or evil (allowing for swaps along the way) and they seemingly wrapped a story around that.

The Movie


Guile: U.S. Patriot, AN commander of an international crime fighting team sent to stop
M. Bison: Renegade terrorist seeking $20 billion as ransom for a couple dozen AN workers

Good guys

Chun-Li: Asian reporter secretly looking for revenge against Bison for assumedly killing her father
Edmond Honda: Sumo wrestler from Hawaii, Chun-Li's bodyguard
Balrog: U.S. Boxer, Chun-Li's bodyguard
Cammy: AN soldier, assistant to Guile
Ryu & Ken: Conmen for hire, get into mischief, do the right thing
Zangief: Russian muscle, comic relief, works for Bison until Deejay tells him Bison is the bad guy
T Hawk: He's indigenous. You know because he talked about tribal jewelery once.
Carlos "Charlie" Blanka: The writers managed to combine two characters into one here, turning Guile's old army friend Charlie into a monster experiment called Blanka.
Dhalsim: Indian scientist, captured by Bison to do supersoldier experiments, eventually fed Blanka subliminal happy videos to keep his humanity. No yoga whatsoever :(
Captain Sawada: Some AN dude

Bad guys

Sagat: Arms smuggler/dealer, only desires are money and power
Deejay: Fighter for hire, only desire is money. Can't decide whether he wants to be a Jamaican or black stereotype
Vega: Syndicate's fighting champion

So by the end, almost everyone is a good guy at heart, Guile defeats Bison (spoiler alert), the hostages are freed and people are happy. A perfect setup for a group picture.

Street Fighter Movie Cast

All in all, the movie isn't the worst thing in the world, but certainly not worth watching under regular circumstances. Nearly every inch of it is covered in early 90s movie cheese, with hideous sets and costumes (Kylie Minogue at her worst, no doubt) and such dialogue as "Colonel, have you lost your mind?" "No, you've lost your balls." But the genuine pyro is heartwarming and the music was a surprise strong point, at least the track on the Blu-Ray mix I watched. Raul Julia also attempts to punch in a good acting display in his final film, despite how out of place it appears amongst an otherwise juvenile cast of JCVD and others.

The Game

Street Fighter The Movie The Game Cover

Anyway, let's get to the game. The arcade game was nothing more than a Mortal Kombat clone with SF characters. Like, a really, really, really obvious ripoff. MK hit it big recently, and someone at Capcom had the idea to slow the MK train by directly copying everything but the blood and fatalities, the only things people played it for. For clarification, I played and will furthermore speak of the console game, not the arcade version. The console game (on PSX and Saturn) is essentially a port of ST (SSF2T) with digitized sprites, backgrounds and sounds to match the movie. The main gameplay difference are the addition of shadow moves, which are... super-super moves, performed by pressing 2p/2k as part of the combination.

So I bust out my trusty Saturn with arcade stick and get to work. It begins unsurprisingly with an fmv of movie footage (unfortunately sans awesome music). Nothing remotely interesting, just more proof to continually remind you that you're playing a movie game rather than a game game. Now you get to choose from either movie, arcade, versus, or trial mode.

Movie modes takes you through the game as Guile, following a similar route to the movie's plot. It starts by fighting Bison in a match you aren't supposed to win. I really have no idea why you fight Bison right away, but you do. It wasn't explained in the game nor happened in the movie. Anyway, you lose and continue on, beating information out of people in an attempt to reach Bison's hideout. Along the way you make a few path decisions which affect who you fight, until you eventually reach Bison. Beat Bison twice (he gets resuccitated by his suit, as in the film) and you win. Of course, this mode has a few caveats. A hostage timer is counting down the whole time. Traveling takes time and fighting takes time. So if you lose too much, you aren't able to encounter Bison and the AN pays the $20 billion ransom. He comes back in a couple years with an army of supersoldiers and takes over the world. Sucks. The difficulty is hard set in movie mode (unaffected by the slider), and at a fairly high level, so it wouldn't be very forgiving for newbies. SF has always been knows for cheap AI and this is no exception. Fortunately, anyone can get around this by abusing and countering the cheapness, such as spamming jump kicks in the corner to defeat Bison. Once victorious, you are serenaded by more fmvs, including a music video made for the soundtrack.

Street Fighter Game Cast

Arcade mode takes you through the lineup with a character of your choosing to fight Bison, no big surprises here. Versus mode is 2-player, Trial is a ranking mode of sorts. You fight the computer at a high difficulty, get scored for each fight, and it gives you an aggregate score once you lose. I thought this was at least an interesting concept although without much of a goal.

And... that's really about it. Nothing to unlock, nothing to do except play 1v1 multiplayer, and this is probably the last game most people would want to bust out competitively, so it unsurprisingly failed. The movie, however, was a mild success, although both the movie and game felt like inevitabilities instead of genuine attempts of a good product. But so is the way of the world. Now it's time to finish Dragon Age and get my mind off this bastard child of the franchise. You should play DA too, it's great and the first rpg I've played through in maybe five years. Or we could watch the Wizard of Oz and marvel at the old-school production while pondering the truth of the rumors behind the producers' health injustices towards the cast. Either way, farewell for now.

Wizard Of Oz 1939