Thursday, 8 September 2005

Everybody was Street-Fighting Too...

(Because I'm busy at the office and am trying to cut down on blogging in the office, here's another 'sneak preview' of my next post, in which I'm posting the pictures first, and then writing the post later tonight.)

Quick, how many of you can tell me your favorite memories regarding THIS:



(Pictures taken from Coin-Op Museum)


(Update: 6:35pm)

I'm waiting for an interview at a coffee joint, and since there's free Wi-fi here, I thought I might as well update the blog while I'm waiting.

Anyway, I'm gonna talk about Street Fighter II here. Yes, THE Street Fighter II. The game that was one of THE game to play back in video arcades during the late 80's, and THE game that sparked a flood of other fighting games of the ilk.

I LOVE this game. In fact, I was near OBSESSED with the game. Didn't mean I was very good at it though, but heck, it was one of the few arcade games that I could play over and over again without getting boared.

One of the best parts of it was that it had 12 bloody character to use! TWELVE!

First up were the 'normal' warriors:
  • the cool Japanese warrior Ryu (HADOKEN!)
  • the Aggresive American blonde fighter Ken (SYORYUKEN!)
  • the cute Chinese chick Chun Li (BTW, S-Kay, the Helicopter kick move is DOWN + UP + KICK)
  • the wild green Brazilian half-man half-monster Blanka (Bzzt Bzzt Bzzzt!),
  • Guile the American soldier with a table for a haircut (SONIC BOOM! or rather, as the Ah Bengs would have it, ALIK-KOO!),
  • Japanese Sumo wrestler E. Honda (Lightning palm! OOK UIK!)
  • Giant Russian Wrestler Zangief (Damn his Hurricane move was a KILLER)
  • Indian Yoga Master Dhalsim (complete with extendable limbs and YOGA FIRE!)
Then there were the four 'bosses:
  • American boxer Balrog (M. Bison in the Japanese version, this was the lamest and easiest 'boss to fight. Know how to punch punch only wan)
  • Spanish pretty boy Vega (Balrog in the Japanese version, this guy was FAST)
  • Thai kickboxer Sagat (TIGER! TIGER UPPERCUT! Damn tough to fight, this guy was the BIG BOSS in the first, crappy version of Street Fighter)
  • And finally, the BIG BIG BOSS himself, M. Bison (Vega in the Japanese version, this guy was pretty tough to fight, but I found him easier than Sagat...)
I think it was the novelty of the game, and the fact that all twelve fighters had their own strengths and weaknesses that made it so popular. I certainly found the moves and the characters a lot more interesting than the fighting itself, so I usually WATCHED people play more than I played myself.

I watched/played this game so much that I could even hum each character's 'home ground' soundtrack music. And I used to imitate the moves, and physically 'fight' with friends using paper balls as Hadokens.

As for playing it itself, I loved it. When I DID play, I lked to use Chun Li and Vega most, because I prefer fast characters most. Plus they were the only characters that could jump of the walls, a useful skill if you find yourself pinned down by Ryu's continuous Hadokens or Sagat's Tiger Punch (be careful not to get caught by their Dragon Punch and Tiger Uppercut though).

I was never very good at using Ryu or Ken though. I could never pull off the Dragon Punch moves smoothly enough, and I'd end up getting grabbed by Zangief instead. I was pretty decent at Blanka and Guile though, since like Shanks says, they are the easiest to use.

As for Zangief, Dhalsim and E. Honda.... Too slow for my liking lar.

BTW, my dad was never very happy with me for playing video games though, so my forays into video arcades were pretty limited at the time. But when I did, I'd head STRAIGHT for the Street Fighter machines to watch the Ah Bengs play.

Man, those Ah Bengs in my town really could play that game. They'd put in 20 sen, then randomly select ANY character by just flicking the joystick without looking, and then proceed to beat the living hell out of all the characters in one sitting. Ten they'd continue with another character and so on.

Sometimes, I would be happily and quietly playing on my own and trying my best to get to the next level, but then an Ah Beng would just come by, STAND next to me with his legs 'kangkang' in front of the machine, put in a coin, and then beat me FLAT in record time, PERFECT.

GODDAMMIT. No WONDER I never turned out to be any good at it. All those beatings by the Ah Bengs really shot my confidence to bits.

Anyway, I didn't find the subsequent 'sequels' to Street Fighter II as fun as this one though. Characters like Cammy, T. Hawk, just didn't have the same endearing feeling to them as the original 12 characters.

For me, Street Fighter will ALWAYS be about Ryu, Ken, Blanka and Guile and gang. One item on my wishlist is an actual arcade machine of Street Fighter II. Damn I wish I could have that in my house.

Then maybe I can finally practise finishing the game with Dhalsim without a bloody Ah Beng coming in halfway through my fight with Sagat and kicking my ass PERFECT-ly.

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