Property Review: Street Fighter (1994)

Damme it, this isn’t Street Fighter

“1994 was a good year for coke but a bad year for Street Fighter and Jean-Claude Van Damme.” This is the prevailing sentiment around Gaming Insurrection, considering GI’s editors were teenagers at the time and able to remember exactly how that situation played out.
Street Fighter was riding high at this point with the superb Super Turbo (the subject of this issue’s feature) having been released earlier in the year, a movie with big names attached coming down the pipeline, and its maker Capcom flush with cash. However, all of that would soon crash and burn, thanks to the movie.
Let’s start with the basics: What exactly is the Street Fighter movie about? If you know anything about the franchise’s storyline, you can at least recognize Guile, Chun-Li, and Bison. Guile and Cammy are hunting Bison, a dictator hell bent on world domination. Bison is into some of everything: Drugs, human trafficking, murder, extortion, and illegal arms sales. The intrepid officers are joined by news reporter Chun-Li, former Sumo wrestler E. Honda and boxer Balrog, who are out for revenge against Bison for his various misdeeds. The ragtag crew eventually meet and work with Ken and Ryu, who are con artists trying to scheme against Bison enforcer Sagat. The rest of the World Warriors – Dhalsim, Vega, Dee Jay and Zangief – work for Bison while Blanka is Guile’s friend who is transformed into the beastly roller because of Bison’s experimentation.
For the uninitiated, this seems like a lot and silly. Even for those of us who play the series faithfully, it is exactly that. None of this matches the series storyline, except for Bison, Guile, and Chun-Li. In the games it’s eventually revealed that: Cammy is a clone of Bison; Charlie is not Blanka; Dhalsim, Dee Jay and Zangief don’t work for Bison while Balrog does; and, Ken and Ryu are not con artists. Ryu also doesn’t have a last name. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of inconsistencies in this film, and we haven’t touched on the fact that Guile and Cammy don’t work together, and Guile and Ken don’t appear to know each other despite them being brothers-in-law in the games (editor’s note: Ken’s wife, Eliza, and Guile’s wife, Jane, are canonically sisters.). You could explain this away by saying this is an alternate timeline, but Street Fighter hasn’t ventured into that territory as some of its competitors have, such as Mortal Kombat. There is no bright spot with this unnecessarily muddied storyline because all it does is make the characters one-dimensional and slightly easy to understand.
The only bright spot in all this mess is the late Raúl Juliá. Juliá, the incomparable stage great, shows up and carries the film on his broad shoulders in his unfortunate last role before his death in 1994. Bison is appropriately over the top and goofy, but Juliá does it with such aplomb that you kind of root for the dictator despite his terrible acts. Juliá inspires that, though it doesn’t hurt that we were already fans of the terribly missed thespian through the Addams Family films. Van Damme, Ming Na Wen and Kylie Minogue are there, but are they really, though? Van Damme was cast as Guile and made the star of the show even though that role traditionally falls to Ryu. And per the usual that we’ve come to expect from Van Damme, though he has the moves and skill set to pull off the fighting aspects of the character, he doesn’t have the acting chops and he looks nothing like the character. This version of Guile is nothing like the game version and that’s perhaps one of the weakest aspects of the entire thing. He simply wasn’t believable even when you’ve already suspended disbelief this far. The consolation is that everyone else – including Wen and Minogue – resemble their characters in at least façade.
Combining the stunning lack of foresight in Van Damme’s casting and the ridiculous script that doesn’t resemble the games gets you this muddled mess of a send up. At least the ending scene – with the remaining actors recreating their characters’ win poses from Street Fighter II – ties it back to the franchise in a tangible way.
Believe us when we tell you that this was not, in fact, perfect.

Like the games: 1
Acting: 5
Story: 5
Total: 11/30 or 3.6

HOW WE GRADE
We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in cases of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of the maximum of 10 per category and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

Top 5 on The Strip: Bad SF cartoon edition

Akuma and M. Bison didn’t meet until the end of SF2
This requires some knowledge of Street Fighter lore. The only time that Akuma and M. Bison met was at the end of the World Warrior tournament in the second game. It’s canon that Akuma performed the Raging Demon on Bison and killed him. They didn’t meet in a cave and interact there. Ever.

Balrog isn’t a PC whiz
Balrog is canon to care only about getting paid while in the service of M. Bison. There is no way that he was doing any sort of IT monitoring or PC services for Bison. Also, there is no way that he could perform any sort of typing with boxing gloves on. It’s physically impossible.

Cammy and M. Bison weren’t lovers
OK, this is sort of confirmed to be kind of true because Bison had her brainwashed to believe that she was his lover previously. However, the ick factor that accompanies this also requires some knowledge of SF canon. Official word from Capcom is that Cammy is a clone body created for Bison. He’d be making out with himself.

M. Bison and Guile aren’t friends
There is never a time in SF lore that M. Bison and Guile were ever friends or helped each other. Never. M. Bison personally murdered Guile’s best friend, Charlie Nash, in Street Fighter Alpha 3, which takes place before Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Guile’s vendetta is solely based on this. This frame never happened.

Zangief never worked as a Bison minion
The only adaptations where Zangief worked for Bison was in the live-action movie and in Street Fighter II V, neither of which are considered canon. He usually is friendly with the other World Warriors, save Guile, who is one of his motivations to defeat. Given that the cartoon is based on the live-action movie, that’d be why, incorrectly, Zangief is shown to be a henchman.

Anime Lounge #24: Street Fighter II V

Series: Street Fighter II V

Episodes: 1-29

Premise: Ryu and Ken are teenage martial artists looking for strong challenges in the world of Street Fighter. Along the way, they meet up with other characters from the fighting game series such as Fei Long, Guile, Chun-Li, Vega and Zangief and work together with their allies to take down the world-dominating M. Bison.

Is it worth watching?: Yes. It’s a great adaptation of the fighting game series with a few changes. If you know anything about the series, this will help fill in some blanks for the story if you’re missing some connections. Also, it’s a great starter anime.

Breakout character: Guile. The long-standing street fighter makes his grand entrance in Episode 2, where he completely demolishes Ken and Ryu in separate fights. Guile is shown to be one of the strongest fighters in the series as he should be.

Where it’s going?: There isn’t a second season since this covered all of the Street Fighter II games up to Super Turbo.

Strip Talk #33: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 still irritating after 22 years

Y’all, I swear that I love Marvel. If I could spend the rest of my life researching Marvel, I would do it. If they offered a doctoral program, I would be the first to sign up and spend hard-earned money on the mere suggestion of obtaining a degree in Marvel science and lore.

With that said, my love for Capcom is not so great. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of different Capcom fighting game series. But there is a certain element to how Capcom does things that doesn’t sit right with me on several different levels. And Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a shining example of the disdain I feel for the home of Mega Man and Ryu.

The premise of the series is cool: Take a large roster of who’s who from Marvel and Capcom and mash them together in teams of 3-on-3 fighting. With at least 90 percent of the roster appearing in a previous Versus title, you’ve got name recognition from the previous games. You’d think this would make an excellent experience considering if you’re playing this, more than likely you’re already familiar with some of the characters. No, you’d be wrong, because somehow out of 56, maybe 10 are viable, decent characters. Considering long-established tiers, the S tier includes five surefire, tournament-winning characters and then characters used for the assists. Five though?

And imagine what the learning process was like when the game was first released. Chaos, pure and simple. I was around for that, and it was beyond frustrating. The general atmosphere of the fighting game community was trash, but then add the fact that some folks hated on others simply for their choice of characters and you have a toxic mix of arrogance and stupidity behind a fighting game based on superheroes, mutants and dudes who throw their burning fist energy at each other internationally.

Beyond the garbage tier list establishment and the toxic community surrounding Marvel as it were, let’s get into the game itself. The mechanics were kind of trash and could have stood to receive a patch or 10. Guard breaks, while useful, happened way too much in the meta of the play scene. Yes, it’s about matchups and knowing how to counter at the right time and execute. But one character dominating teams shouldn’t have been normal. For awhile there, before the top echelon of fighting game competitors like Justin Wong and Sanford Kelly proved you didn’t need Cable to be viable, you could get a random assortment of characters played in competition and maybe a Cable thrown in every so often. But, once everyone learned about five bars of meter with Cable on point meant punishing assists with Tiger Knee Air Hyper Viper Beam, well, you were in for teams featuring Cable 1,000 percent of the time. Casual play went out of the window quickly, which quite frankly, got old fast.

As much as I enjoyed the series in the early days and Marvel in general, I never could quite move past Marvel vs. Capcom 2. After some years of reflection, I realized it just wasn’t the game for me. I was among what I believe is the minority that wasn’t sad to see Capcom lose the Marvel license for 10 years, and I wasn’t particularly invested or interested in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, either. Come to think of it, it really was Marvel vs. Capcom 2 that doused the flame of my love for fighting games for a good 15 years. It’s 2022 and I’m just getting back into enjoying Street Fighter and other fighting game series after a long hiatus. I blame MvC2 for that. Despite loving Marvel, this is a direct product that I have learned to do without.

Lyndsey Beatty is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at lyndseyb[at]gaminginsurrection.com

Marvel character highlight #19: Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Name: Steve Rogerscaptainamerica-fixed

Affiliation: Formerly the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Avengers Unity Division, Illuminati, Invaders, U.S. Army, Secret Avengers, Captain America Corps, Secret Avengers, New Avengers

Special abilities: Enhanced speed, agility, reflexes, healing and stamina comparable to a man at the apex of physical perfection. These are the result of his receiving the Super Soldier Serum, designed to create the perfect soldier who is resistant to disease and injury.

Background: Steve Rogers was a frail and sickly man rejected from the Army during World War II. After he is finally accepted through multiple attempts, he is subjected to an experimental procedure called the Super Soldier Project. During this project, the frail Rogers is intravenously and orally fed a mixture called the Super Soldier Serum and bombarded by Vita Rays, designed to create the perfect soldier. The creator of the serum, Dr. Abraham Erskine, is murdered minutes after the successful procedure and the formula is lost to history thereafter.

Rogers is then sent on numerous missions to serve the Allied wartime interests of defeating Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers. During a mission circa 1945, Rogers and friend Bucky Barnes were attempting to stop a bomb-laden plane launched by Baron Zemo. The plane exploded in mid-air, apparently killing Barnes and throwing Rogers into the ocean. Rogers then entered suspended animation, freezing into a glacier until his discovery decades later by the Avengers as they were fighting against Namor.

Rogers, now thawed in the present day, joined the Avengers and led the team through many a crisis including stopping Baron Helmut Zero and a revived Red Skull, preventing Onslaught from taking over the world and destroying reality, bringing an end to the Civil War — which led to his death at the hands of Red Skull and hypnotically possessed lover Sharon Carter — and participating in stopping the X-Men’s Phoenix Force from destroying Earth.

Relationships: James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (Winter Soldier/Captain America), best friend/partner; Sharon Carter, lover; Peggy Carter, lover; Sam Wilson (Falcon/Captain America), partner

First Versus game appearance: Marvel Super Heroes

Appearances in other media: Captain America in: The Doom Tube of Dr. Megalomann (video game), Spider-Man and Captain America in Doctor Doom’s Revenge (video game), Captain America and the Avengers (video game), Marvel vs. Capcom (video game), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (video game), Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (video game), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (video game), Marvel vs. Street Fighter (video game), Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (video game), Avengers in Galactic Storm (video game), Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety (video game), Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (video game), Spider-Man (video game), Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro (video game), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (video game), Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (video game), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (video game), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad 2, Captain America: Super Soldier (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad: Comic Combat (video game), Marvel: Avengers Alliance (video game), Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty (video game), Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (video game), Marvel Heroes (video game), Lego Marvel Super Heroes (video game), Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics (video game), Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (video game), The Great Gold Steal (novel), Captain America: The First Avenger (film), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (film), Marvel Universe: LIVE! (theater), Ultimate Avengers (animation), Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther (animation), The Avengers (film), The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (film; not yet released)

Top 5 on The Strip: Marvel supers edition

Cable-Time Flip

Cable, “Time Flip”

Cable is game-breaking. Cable is top tier. Cable is one of the few characters that can counteract himself in the game’s tier rankings. So, when his least usable super is shouted, you’re probably going to be shocked enough to get hit by it. Time Flip is useless, but it looks cool. Also, it’s taken 13 years to figure out if he’s saying time slip or time flip. We’ve settled mostly on flip. And nothing is more cool than watching Cable shake his fist angrily when he misses with the move and wastes super meter. We hate Cable.

 Spiral-Hyper Metamorphose

Spiral, “Metamorphose”

Amazingly, this super isn’t used that much if you’re fighting a lot of Spiral players. And you will, because she’s a popular girl. And by popular, we mean just about anyone who has any knowledge about tiers in MvC2 will know that she’s worth using. The Dance isn’t used that widely because why use it when you can throw a wall of Dancing Swords? But we digress. The move still looks cool as hell as she morphs into all of the Marvel roster. Protip: The move always ends with her kicking you in the face as Cyclops.

 Blackheart-Heart of Darkness

Blackheart, “Heart of Darkness”

Once upon a time, there was a team nicknamed Team Giggles. The trio was composed of Blackheart, M. Bison and Dr. Doom. Blackheart, of the demented group, seems to do the most giggling and it’s mostly because of this super. For a dude who’s the spawn of the lead demon in Marvel’s Hell, he sure seems to have a lot to laugh about. And, no doubt, if you’re able to connect this after trapping someone with a previous Inferno and watching your little demon friends come out do massive damage, you’re probably going to giggle a bit, too.

 Iron Man-Proton Cannon

Iron Man, “Proton Cannon”

It was hard to choose between Iron Man’s version or War Machine’s version of the big beam super. We love the simplicity with Iron Man’s move, but we also love War Machine throwing out that random “It’s my Sunday best!” in Marvel vs. Capcom, too. It was too cool to attempt to figure out what War Machine was getting at the first time around. And that giant super beam of doom? Good luck blocking that thing if Iron Man decides to use it. At least he isn’t using the Iron Man infinite.

 Rogue-Goodnight Sugah

Rogue, “Good Night Sugah”

Rogue doesn’t have much to go on here, but the one super she has is cute. Sure, it’s pretty obvious that she’s going to do it. And you’re going to have try to get around the crazy concept of blocking that your opponent has. But, hey, once you launch that rush and you connect with your kiss of attribute thievery, you’re well on your way. And the fact that the theft of an attribute happens is pretty amazing. You have to love this particular brand of Southern charm.

Otaku Corner: Onimusha: Night of Genesis

Capcom manga continues Onimusha saga

Brandon-2012-cutoutWelcome back to Otaku Corner, where we bring you the finest anime and manga this side of the Northern Hemisphere. Previously, I reviewed the first installment of Capcom’s samurai adventure series Onimusha. It did not take long for a manga adaptation to not only tie-in the series, but also to present new characters in the recent Onimusha game, Dawn of Dreams. This adaptation is “Onimusha: Night of Genesis.”

Written and drawn by Mitsuru Ohsaki and published by Udon Comics, “Night of Genesis” follows two new Onimusha warriors who are destined to face the notorious genma forces, but for different reasons. At the beginning of the first chapter, Hideyasu Yuki and Jubei-Akane Yagyu face off with each other. As the manga goes on, these warriors discover that while they have different adversaries to battle, they awaken the awesome power inside them that would not only destroy their respective foes, but also would remove the even greater threat of the genma destroying Japan and the world.

Night of Genesis” is a radical take on the Onimusha series that remains loyal to the games’ storyline. While reading, I

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

found that although the character’s back stories and relevant elements of Japanese history are entwined, Oshaki-san took great care to keep these elements from overlapping. This is important since fans of certain games discover that when their favorite title and characters appear in graphic novels, very little or none of the game’s story remains as the main story. I also give credit to Udon Comics’ team of Gala Ferrire and Jim Zubkavich, whose English adaptation maintained understanding of the manga’s plot; and Mike Youngberg, whose translations were helpful, especially when sword-fighting techniques needed explanation. Overall, Onimusha fans and otaku looking for a good samurai manga won’t be disappointed.

Onimusha: Night of Genesis is the first official tie-in to a gaming series that really does not disappoint its fans. This goes to show that with great stories and comic art, transitions of video games to comic format can be a successful formula if all involved parties focus on quality not quantity. Udon did it, and you can, too, Capcom. I’m looking at you, Kenzo Tsujimoto.

Brandon Beatty is editor at large of Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

Otaku #07: Devil May Cry 3 Vol. 1

Devil May Cry 3 manga a great start for Dante

Brandon Beatty, contributing editor

In this issue’s Otaku Corner, I’m taking a look at manga based on popular video games. One of these manga is based on the third installment of Capcom’s best-selling game “Devil May Cry,” which allows DMC fans, for the first time, to experience the fast-paced action of the game series in graphic novel format in English thanks to the good people of Tokyo Pop Inc.

In the first volume of DMC3, everybody’s favorite demon slayer/bounty hunter Dante is unemployed and bored until his trusty manager Enzo sets him up with a missing person case with a reward of $4 million. All is not as it seems as Dante not only takes the job, but also faces a surprise attack by unknown demons that leads our hero on an adventure beyond his wildest imagination.

When I read the first edition of “DMC 3” from start to finish, I felt that I was on a nonstop thrill ride from the opening page to the last. Author Suguro Chayamachi did not take the

Devil May Cry 3 Vol. 1 / photo courtesy of Amazon

DMC3 saga lightly and perfectly mixed great art and story plot with the elements of a high-octane game. All of Dante’s swagger and cool gun/swordsmanship came intact as he flows through each page proving that he is worthy to be among the greatest video game characters of all time.

Tokyo Pop deserves a ton of the credit as translator Ray Yoshimoto and English adaptation writer Aaron Sparrow fluently brought DMC 3 to life without a hitch. Truly, Capcom did try a new method of bringing a popular franchise to fans without the usual hitches that most companies experience. Overall, I find DMC3 Volume 1 worth re-reading, guaranteeing absolute satisfaction.

Devil May Cry 3 Volume 1 is a perfect addition to any DMC’s fan collection. Dante retains the skills that make him the living nightmare for all demons and succeeds in his first travel though manga format thanks to creative collaboration between Capcom and Tokyo Pop.

This is a bold and trailblazing move for video game developers to make on their franchise knowing the risks. Keep reading Otaku Corner for more reviews of this series as we give gaming’s elite demon slayer five-star treatment in the world of Japanese comic art.

Brandon Beatty is contributing editor of Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email at brandonb@gaminginsurrection.com