Posted on September 24, 2012
My Top 100: #82 – Street Fighter II Turbo
Growing up, it seemed like there was always two of something, and a person always had to be on one side of the fence. In baseball, there were the American and National Leagues. In New Brunswick politics, there was the blue party and there was the red party. In video games, you had Sega vs. Nintendo, and in the mid 90’s, it was all about Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter II.
SFII came first, so I got to know Guile, Ryu, Blanka, and E. Honda pretty well before I ever heard mention of Scorpion or Sub-Zero. When I’d rent the Super NES version, I didn’t really have a favourite fighter, and I tried to use a variety of them as I climbed up the game’s competitive ladder. Once you beat the cast of regulars, four more tough competitors were up next.
If you buy a fighting game these days, and the “boss” characters are playable from the get-go, you don’t really think twice about it. It’s almost expected! Street Fighter II had four bosses – Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M. Bison – all with unique attributes that made them challenging in their own right, and you couldn’t play AS any of them. Not even with cheats! How badass must they be, if Capcom doesn’t even think we’d be able to handle them?
*TOTALLY RAD, MAN. Also, I thought Ryu’s name was either pronounced “Ruy-you” or “Ree-you”, not “Roo”?*
Fast-forward about a year, and Mortal Kombat‘s about to hit shelves. Of course, Capcom didn’t want their massive money-maker to take a hit in sales, so they released both Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition for Sega Genesis and Street Fighter II Turbo for Super NES. Essentially the same game, they were the first in the long line of Super-Mega-Hyper-Turbo-Special-EX-Champion-HD titles that SFII would become infamous for.
These re-releases came with a few additions, like bonus challenges and alternate costumes… There was only one thing I cared about, though; finally, I could play as any of the four bosses and RULE THE WORLD!! I thought it was somewhat taboo to play as the bad guys, and that’s what felt so awesome about playing this game. After all, it’s not like you can choose to be Bowser or Dr. Wily at any given time!
In any case, I never owned Turbo, and I also never got to own Mortal Kombat until much later. Still, while at our local Co-Op (grocery store) shortly before Christmas in ’93, my mom and I ran into my friend Josh’s dad. In his shopping cart were a bunch of gifts, and both of those games were in there! I was jealous as all get out, but I was tasked with keeping it a secret. I’d do my best!
Not long afterwards, a friend of ours had his birthday party. There were only about ten days to go before Christmas, so naturally, I asked Josh what he had asked for. He said he’d done some snooping, and though he didn’t quite get a good look at the game box, he thought it was Darius Twin. I said “oh cool!”, but inwardly laughed at him. If only he knew!
Well, he did get Darius Twin that Christmas, as well as Contra III: The Alien Wars. With MK and SFII Turbo on top of them, we wasted so much time playing them into the wee hours of the morning, it’s just ridiculous.