Forgotten Fighters of the 90’s is a 5-piece retrospective on the lost titles from the “Golden Era” of fighting games, a time when everyone and their mother was trying to cash in on the Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat hysteria. With the recent release of Super Street Fighter IV/Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Mortal Kombat (2011), are remakes of these hidden gems far behind? Only time will tell.
When I decided to embark on this quest to profile some of the most prominent “tier 2” fighting games from the 90’s, I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to start, but not where I was going to end. There were hundreds of possibilities for me to chose from, and I racked my brain about it quite a bit. After much deliberation it became clear that there was only one option to cap off this series. My final selection for Forgotten Fighters of the 90’s is both a forgotten title and a tremendous time capsule for what would be the end of the era that I’ve been covering. It’s a game so upside down and inside out that unless you’ve actually played it, it’s hard to believe that it actually exists. I am, of course, talking about Street Fighter: The Movie (The Game).
I started this series with an anecdote about my experience seeing Street Fighter: The Movie in theaters when it was released in 1994. As was the case with most of my friends, I loved fighting games and action movies, and the film provided just the experience we were looking for. Despite the questionable racial/ethic stereotypes and hilariously outdated cold war backdrop, Street Fighter: The Movie grossed nearly 100 million dollars worldwide, which says a great deal about how different the movie business was back then. Riding high on the success of the film, Capcom teamed up with Incredible Technologies of “Golden Tee” arcade ‘fame,’ to release a video game adaptation of the film. If you ever wondered what a game based on a movie based on a game looked like in 1995, here you go:
That noise you just heard was the sound of the universe turning inside out on itself. It’s hard to find a starting point to describe just how much of a head-scratcher this game was. Consider the fact that at the time this game came out, Street Fighter 2 was likely the most renowned fighting game series of all time, and was beginning its renaissance as a series in the form of Street Fighter: Alpha. Also at that time, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 had made its way from arcades to home consoles, marking the high point in the series in terms of character selection and gameplay. Under those circumstances, it’s hard to imagine that the idea of Street Fighter: The Movie (The Game) would even be brought up let alone developed, released, and adapted for home consoles. Taking all of these things into account, the finished product is even more stunning.
Street Fighter: The Movie (The Game) combined photographic sprites of the film’s portrayals of the characters with the fighting engine from the earliest incarnations of the Street Fighter series. The cast of characters featured most of the fighters from Super Street Fighter II as well as a handful of bit players from the film. Akuma was also featured as a playable character for the first time in the series, despite the fact that he did not appear in the movie. Why? Why not?!
Although Street Fighter: The Movie (The Game) was about as forgettable as fighting games come, it will go down in infamy as the bastard child produced by the massive interbreeding of the fighter scene in the 90’s. Even if I never fully understand the brain melting logic behind the game, I can appreciate that it exists. If anything, it’s living proof that at the time, CAPCOM could literally cram its head up its own ass and still manage to breathe. That my friends, is an impressive feat.