Name: Street Fighter II
Format: Game Boy
Region Reviewed: J-NTSC
Year of Release: 1995
I have to admit, when I first stumbled across Street Fighter 2 on the Game Boy, I wasn't aware that it ever got released. I was dubious at first as having played a few of the Mortal Kombat games for the same system realized this port might turn out to be a bit of a let down like they were. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of turning a Game Boy on to play a Mortal Kombat game right now knows exactly what i’m talking about I was still intrigued and really wanted to see a hadouken performed on my Game Boy, so it was bought.
As you load up the game the first screen you get is the original Capcom logo with the exact same sound, followed by the title screen with the same tune. This is worth the money already, I can tell!! Now I'm all geared up after listening to the full track and transformed into street fighter mood, I have 3 modes and an options to choose from. The modes are Normal (Story Mode), Versus (Link play) and Survival so already this is great because you would expect almost everything to be cut to fit it onto a handheld console also making sure the 2 player option survived the transfer to the smaller screen is another plus because most of the best stuff for Street Fighter is experienced with two players.
On the character select screen you can choose any one of 9 Street Fighters. Which means as you guessed it you SF2 buff you, that some have been dropped for the handheld port. Sadly Vega, Dhalsim and E.Honda didn't survive the cut and this means I can't use E.Honda's turbo hand slap to chase people around the screen. But can maybe understand why E.Honda got cut, because the big guy would have been difficult to squeeze into the tiny, little game boy cart. I also imagine that Vega was cut because of his fast movement and that zipping around the screen that fast would have been nearly impossible for the little old black & white screen to handle, after all the Gameboy did suffer from quite horrid screen blur’s when things scrolled. The version which I'm playing is the Japanese edition and Balrog is called M.Bison and M.Bison is called Balrog, which is just pure wrong and confusing, it really annoys me! (Sarcasm, natch. -Ed.) Any how...
Now it's fight time and all I can say is WOW, the detail on the level backgrounds are fantastic and look very much like the 16 bit ports do, accompanied by each characters individual music per stage playing in the background whilst you bout. The on screen fighters can be made out and look very much how they should with fine detail and animations. The game plays smoothly and after a fight or two you get used to the slightly slower pace than the higher powered port versions. You only use the A & B buttons along with the D pad on this, to get your different punches/kicks you just have to hold down the A or B button for a slightly longer time.
Making sure that you had a good variety of moves using only 2 face buttons is pulled off extremely well here, sure the getting to know exactly how long to hold a button down for what strength of kick etc can take a while to master however once you do get it all sorted it makes for a quite complex little fighting game and a marvel of seriously well executed programming. You can still pull off your favourite moves such as Sonic Boom, Hadouken and Tiger Uppercut to name just a few, with real ease and you still get the same satisfaction when performing them, sadly though minus the spoken word of each when performed. I just shout each move out myself when I perform them, this can lead to weird looks on the train for sure. But I’m having fun, so the rest of the world can go away thank you very much.
General sound effects are good and in the options is a sound test, so you can listen to all of the tunes and noises as much as you want!! Story mode is fairly short but is quite difficult if you notch up the difficulty settings in the options and you'll find that you put them down again like I did. It Still has the same taunt screen after a fight and the continue screen with the count down. When you take a step back and really look at what is on offer here you have to admit that Capcom have done a sterling job, minus 3 fighters and the speech this is as good as anyone could have ever hoped for, it’s certainly a massive step up from all the LCD one off games that appeared during the Street Fighter boom and a perfectly decent all round game.
In case you are wondering why 2 of the screen shots here are coloured it's because this is one of those games that could be used with the amazing SNES Game Boy Adaptor to add a few colours and nice borders, another great addition to an already attractive package. I would consider this in it's own right a mini-classic carved from another classic, a fine example how a beat em up should look on a old school handheld. It's clear Capcom worked their butts off on this and made a worthy, very playable fighting game. Capcom, I take my CAP off to you (Get it?).
Verdict:- A technical marvel for sure is on display here however Capcom also managed to create a really great handheld port of one of their most beloved franchises.
There are a few niggles such as missing characters and sound effects but honestly right now i'm clutching at straws here because overall this is real quality, go out and play this now.
Second Opinion:- Transbot can not compute how they fit so much awesome onto such a small cartridge, why does Transbot only have 2 levels on his card!? Capcom must be in posession of magic!!!
This is an outstanding port of a game that most would think simply couldn't be done. Mortal Kombat and Killer instinct showed how hard it was to make the Game Boy a sensible choice for the 2d fighting genre but this shows it could be done, full marks Capcom.
Transbot Scores:- 7 out of 10