Saturday, September 11, 2010

Street Fighter The Movie: The Game: A Reflection: Too Many Colons

Raul Julia in his final role.
For a lot of us, it took last year's silver screen stinker Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li to make us realize just how good we had it with the 1994 Van Damme vehicle, Street Fighter: The Movie. People like me, however, saw the quirky charm of lovable Adams Family frontman Raul Julia taking on the role of M. Bison - a character who really  puts the "dick" in dictator - and the theater-shattering, Godzilla-like battle between SF titans Zangief and E. Honda. No one is quite sure why military man Guile was the star of the show instead of Ryu, or for that matter, why the blond bomber who was born in the USA like Bruce Springsteen had a thick Austrian accent. Regardless, SF: The Movie was a silly popcorn flick packed with cheap laughs and high-flying kicks, and even though it distorted the Street Fighter mythos, it didn't shatter it into five million crappy pieces like The Legend of Chun-Li did.

Though Street Fighter: The Movie enjoys a bit of a cult following (as evidenced by it recently appearing on Blu-Ray), the PlayStation and Saturn versions of the game based on the film have slightly fewer fans. Okay, it's basically only me, and my fandom is one third nostalgia and one third love of all things Street Fighter; the rest is probably just stupidity.

In 1995, my childhood friend Tom (the same chap who would soon introduce me to the wonderful, brazenly vulgar world of Duke Nukem 3D) called me out of the blue to tell me that he had just come home from Blockbuster Video with a rented PlayStation and two games: ESPN Extreme Games and Street Fighter: The Movie. Along with a third friend, Ryan, we tore into those two games all night. After endless Street Fighter II upgrades, with its totally new graphics and sounds and even a new character, SF: The Movie was a breath of fresh air the likes of which I was desperate for that point.

Chun-Li rules, even in this movie.
I had to have a PlayStation of my own. For Christmas that year, mom dropped a ridiculous 300 bones on a generation one PSX that would, two years later, go bust. The first two games I got were, predictably, ESPN Extreme Games and Street Fighter: The Movie. Were it not for Tom and Street Fighter the Movie, I might not have gotten on the PlayStation train when I did; and I wouldn't have been introduced to staple series like Tekken, Ridge Racer, Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstakers and more.

I was going to tell you that in Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game the music doesn't really fit the action, the controls are horrendous and that the characters look and sound like stunt doubles of the ones seen in the film, but instead I'm going to suggest that you pick up Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game if you see it at a used a game shop. Regardless of the shortcomings of this title, it offered something that was unique and fresh at the time it was released. Of the first generation PlayStation titles, this one holds up much better than many of them, including the original Battle Arena Toshinden or even the aforementioned ESPN Extreme Games.

So do me a favor: Sit down, pick Guile, and kick Bison's ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is going to feel it! Now who wants to go home, and who wants to go with me?

You know you were cheering here; just admit it.

No comments:

Post a Comment