Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

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Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
SF2 JPN flyer.jpg
Japanese arcade brochure featuring the original eight main characters.
Clockwise from top left: E. Honda, Zangief, Ken, Blanka, Dhalsim, Ryu, and Guile. At the center: Chun-Li.
Director(s)Hiroshi Matsumoto
Producer(s)Yoshiki Okamoto
Designer(s)Akira Nishitani
Akira Yasuda
Programmer(s)Shinichi Ueyama
Seiji Okada
Yoshihiro Matsui
Motohide Eshiro
Artist(s)Eri Nakamura
Satoru Yamashita
Composer(s)Yoko Shimomura
Isao Abe
SeriesStreet Fighter
Mode(s)Up to 2 players simultaneously
Arcade systemCP System (CPS-1)
CPU68000 @ 10 MHz,
Z80 @ 3.579 MHz
SoundYM2151 @ 3.579 MHz,
MSM6295 @ 7.576 MHz
horizontal orientation,
384×224 resolution,
60 Hz refresh rate,
4096 colors on screen,
65,536 color palette[3]

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior,[a] also known simply as Street Fighter II, is a competitive fighting game developed by Capcom and originally released for arcade systems in 1991. It is the second installment in the Street Fighter series and the sequel to Street Fighter, released in 1987. It is Capcom's fourteenth title to use the CP System arcade system board. Street Fighter II improved many of the concepts introduced in the first game, including the use of special command-based moves and a six-button configuration, while offering players a wider selection of playable characters, each with their own fighting style, and introducing the combo system.

Street Fighter II became the best-selling title since the golden age of arcade gaming. By 1994, the game had been played by over 25 million people in the United States alone at home and in arcades. Due to its success, a series of updated versions offering additional features and characters were released. All versions of Street Fighter II have sold more than 200,000 arcade cabinets and over 15 million software units worldwide, and they are estimated to have grossed over $10 billion in total revenue, making it one of the top three highest-grossing video games of all time as of 2017 and the best-selling fighting game up until 2019. The SNES version of Street Fighter II sold over 6.3 million cartridges, making it Capcom's best-selling single software title for the next two decades and their best-selling game on a single platform. Street Fighter II is regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time, and in particular the most important and influential fighting game ever made. Its launch is seen as a revolutionary moment within its genre, credited with popularizing the fighting genre during the 1990s and inspiring other producers to create their own fighting series. It also sparked a renaissance for the arcade video game industry, and had an impact on competitive video gaming and wider popular culture such as films and music.


Guile defeats Ken after using his Flash Kick (arcade version shown)

Street Fighter II follows several of the conventions and rules already established by its original 1987 predecessor. The player engages opponents in one-on-one close quarter combat in a series of best-two-out-of-three matches. The objective of each round is to deplete the opponent's vitality before the timer runs out. If both opponents knock each other out at the same time or the timer runs out with both fighters having an equal amount of vitality left, a "double KO" or "draw game" is declared and additional rounds will be played until sudden death. In the first Street Fighter II, a match could last up to ten rounds if there was no clear winner; this was reduced to four rounds in Champion Edition and onward. If there is no clear winner by the end of the final round, either the computer-controlled opponent will win by default in a single-player match or both fighters will lose in a 2-player match.

After every third match in the single-player mode, the player will participate in a bonus stage for additional points. The bonus games include (in order) a car-breaking event similar to another bonus round featured in Final Fight; a barrel breaking bonus game where the barrels are dropped off from a conveyor belt on the top portion of the screen; and a drum-breaking bonus game where drums are flammable and piled over each other.

Between the matches, a Pacific-centered world map is seen, showing the participant's home stages. When the upcoming match and its location have been chosen, an airplane moves across the map.

Playing Street Fighter II on an arcade machine

Like in the original, the game's controls use a configuration of an eight-directional joystick and six attack buttons. The player uses the joystick to jump, crouch and move the character towards or away from the opponent, as well as to guard the character from an opponent's attacks. There are three punch buttons and three kick buttons of differing strength and speed (Light, Medium, and Heavy). The player can perform a variety of basic moves in any position, including grabbing/throwing attacks, which were not featured in the original Street Fighter. Like in the original, the player can perform special moves by inputting a combination of directional and button-based commands.

Street Fighter II differs from its predecessor due to the selection of multiple playable characters, each with distinct fighting styles and special moves. Combos were also possible. According to IGN, "the concept of combinations, linked attacks that can't be blocked when they're timed correctly, came about more or less by accident. Street Fighter II's designers didn't quite mean for it to happen, but players of the original game eventually found out that certain moves naturally flowed into other ones."[4] This "combo" system was later adopted as a standard feature of fighting games and was expanded upon in subsequent Street Fighter installments.[4]


The original Street Fighter II features a roster of eight playable characters that could be selected by the player. The roster initially included Ryu and Ken—the main characters from the original Street Fighter game—plus six new characters of different nationalities. In the single-player tournament, the player faces off against the other seven main fighters, before proceeding to the final opponents, which are four non-selectable CPU-controlled boss opponents, known as the "Shadaloo Bosses", which included Sagat from the original game.

Playable characters:

  • Japan Ryu, a Japanese karateka seeking to hone his skills. He is the winner of the previous tournament. He is not convinced that he is the greatest fighter in the world and comes to this tournament in search of fresh competition.
  • United States Ken, Ryu's best friend, greatest rival and former training partner, from the United States. Ryu's personal challenge rekindled Ken's fighting spirit and persuaded him to enter the World Warrior tournament, as well as feeling lackadaisical in his fighting potential due to spending too much time with his fiancée.
  • Japan E. Honda, a sumo wrestler from Japan. He aims to improve the negative reputation of sumo wrestling by proving competitors to be legitimate athletes.
  • United States Guile, a former United States Air Force special forces operative from the United States, seeking to defeat M. Bison, who killed his best friend Charlie.
  • China Chun-Li, a Chinese martial artist who works as an Interpol officer, seeking to avenge her deceased father.
  • Brazil Blanka, a beast-like mutant from Brazil who was raised in the jungle. He enters the tournament to uncover more origins about his forgotten past.
  • Soviet Union Zangief, a professional wrestler and sambo fighter from the Soviet Union. He aims to prove "Soviet Strength" is the strongest form of strength, particularly by defeating American opponents with his bare hands.
  • India Dhalsim, a fire-breathing yoga master from India. Even though he is a pacifist, he uses the money earned from fighting in order to lift people out of poverty.

CPU-exclusive characters, in the order that the player fights them:

  • United States Balrog, an American boxer, with a similar appearance to Mike Tyson. Called M. Bison in Japan. Once one of the world's greatest heavyweight boxers, he began working for Shadaloo for easy money.
  • Spain Vega, a Spanish bullfighter who wields a claw and uses a unique style of ninjutsu. Called Balrog in Japan. He is vain and wishes to eliminate "ugly" people from the world.
  • Thailand Sagat, a Muay Thai kickboxer and former World Warrior champion from the original Street Fighter, who was scarred by Ryu with his shoryuken(dragon punch) in the end of the previous tournament.
  • Unknown M. Bison, the leader of the criminal organization Shadaloo, who uses a mysterious power known as "Psycho Power", and the final opponent of the game. Called Vega in Japan.

A mistranslation which made it into the American arcade release of the game, in Ryu's words to a defeated opponent "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance" (which actually was supposed to be "If you cannot overcome my Dragon Punch you cannot win") led some to incorrectly believe a character named Sheng Long existed in the game. The incorrect translation created a widespread hoax which was published in an April Fool's Day issue of EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly') magazine.

It was revealed by Capcom that the two characters from the intro are named Scott and Max.[5][6][7][8]

Regional differences[edit]

With the exception of Sagat, the Shadaloo Bosses have different names in the Japanese version. The African-American boxer known as Balrog in the international versions was designed as a pastiche of real-life boxer Mike Tyson and was originally named M. Bison (short for "Mike Bison"), while Vega and M. Bison were originally named Balrog and Vega, respectively. When Street Fighter II was localized for the overseas market, the names of the bosses were rotated, fearing that the boxer's similarities to Tyson could have led to a likeness infringement lawsuit.[9] This name change was carried over to future games in the series. To avoid confusion in Tournament Play, many players refer to each character by a defining characteristic. The names are "Claw" to refer to the character from Spain, "Boxer" to refer to the African-American boxer, and "Dictator" to refer to the final boss of the game.

The characters in the Japanese version also have more than one win quote[10] and if the player loses a match against the CPU in the Japanese version, a random playing tip will be shown at the bottom of the continue screen. While the ending text for the characters was originally translated literally, a few changes were made due to creative differences from Capcom's U.S. marketing staff. For example, the name of Guile's fallen friend (who later debuted as a playable fighter in Street Fighter Alpha) was changed from Nash to Charlie, since a staff member from Capcom USA felt that Nash was not a natural sounding English name.[11]


Although the original Street Fighter had not been very popular, Capcom began to make fighting games a priority after Final Fight was commercially successful in the United States.[12] Yoshiki Okamoto recounted, "The basic idea at Capcom was to revive Street Fighter, a good game concept, to make it a better-playing arcade game."[13] About 35 to 40 people worked on Street Fighter II, with Noritaka Funamizu as a producer, and Akira Nishitani and Akira Yasuda in charge of the game and character design, respectively.[11][12] Funamizu notes that the developers did not particularly prioritize Street Fighter II's balance; he primarily ascribes the game's success to its appealing animation patterns.[12] The quality of animation benefited from the developers' use of the CPS-1 hardware, the advantages of which included the ability for different characters to occupy different amounts of memory; for example, Ryu could take up 8Mbit and Zangief 12Mbit.[12] The game's development took two years.[12]

The game's combo system came about by accident:

While I was making a bug check during the car bonus stage... I noticed something strange, curious. I taped the sequence and we saw that during the punch timing, it was possible to add a second hit and so on. I thought this was something impossible to make useful inside a game, as the timing balance was so hard to catch. So we decided to leave the feature as a hidden one. The most interesting thing is that this became the base for future titles. Later we were able to make the timing more comfortable and the combo into a real feature. In [Street Fighter II] we thought if you got the perfect timing you could place several hits, up to four I think. Then we managed to place eight! A bug? Maybe.

— Noritaka Funamizu[12]

The vast majority of the in-game music was composed by Yoko Shimomura. This was ultimately the only game in the series on which Shimomura worked, as she subsequently left the company for Square two years later. Isao Abe, a Capcom newcomer, handled a few additional tracks ("Versus Screen", "Sagat's Theme", and "Here Comes A New Challenger") for Street Fighter II and subsequently became the main composer on the subsequent versions. The sound programming and sound effects were overseen by Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, who had been the composer on the original Street Fighter. The arcade version of Street Fighter II was exhibited at the UK Amusement Trades Exhibition International in 1991.[14]


Release date Platform Media Developer Publisher Notes
  • JP: June 10, 1992
  • NA: July 15, 1992[2]
  • EU: December 17, 1992
SNES ROM cartridge Capcom
Re-released on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console.
1992 Amiga[16] 4 floppy disks Creative Materials U.S. Gold Released in Europe.
Atari ST[17] 4 floppy disks
Commodore 64[18] Cassette or floppy disk
Amstrad CPC Cassette or floppy disk (not released)
ZX Spectrum[19] Cassette or floppy disk Tiertex Design Studios
PC (DOS)[20] 3 floppy disks Creative Materials Released in North America and Europe.
1994 CPS Changer[21] ROM cartridge Capcom Capcom Released exclusively in Japan.
1995 Game Boy ROM cartridge Sun L Capcom
1997 Master System[22] ROM cartridge Tec Toy Tec Toy
1998 Sega Saturn CD-ROM Capcom Capcom Included in Capcom Generation 5. Released exclusively in Japan.
PlayStation CD-ROM Capcom Capcom Included in Street Fighter Collection 2.
2004 Mobile[23] Online distribution Capcom Capcom
2006 PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM Digital Eclipse Capcom Included in Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1. Based on the PS version.
PlayStation Portable UMD Capcom Capcom Included in Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded. Based on the PS version.
2018 PlayStation 4 BD-ROM Digital Eclipse Capcom Included in Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection.
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch Flash based ROM cartridges
Windows Online distribution

Super NES[edit]

Street Fighter II was released for the Super Famicom on June 10, 1992 in Japan, which was followed by a North American release for the SNES in August of the same year and a European release in December. It was the first game released on a 16-Megabit cartridge for the SNES. Many aspects from the arcade versions were either changed or simplified in order to fit into the smaller memory capacity. This version featured a secret code which allowed both players to control the same character in a match, which was not possible in the original arcade version. The second player uses the same alternate color palette introduced in Street Fighter II: Champion Edition. The four Shadaloo Bosses are still non-playable, but they use their Champion Edition color palette if the code is entered.

Other changes are as follows:

  • The attract sequence which featured two generic fighters fighting was removed (it was missing in Street Fighter II Turbo, but it was restored for the Genesis version Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition albeit with the appearance of one of the fighters altered and blood removed).
  • Some of the voice samples played when characters perform certain techniques or special moves were removed.
  • The pitch of a character's voice when they perform a special move differs depending on the strength level. The higher the strength level, the higher the pitch.
  • The bonus stage in which the player must destroy stacks of flammable oil drums was replaced by a stage in which the player must destroy a pile of bricks (this same bonus stage also featured in subsequent SNES versions, as well as in both Genesis installments although the bricks were red instead of gray). The barrel breaking bonus stage was also removed (it was restored for the two subsequent SNES versions, as well as both Genesis installments) and as a result, the bonus stages are now played after every four matches (rather than every three).
  • The tunes of the soundtrack were not only arranged, the music that plays when a character is losing a match is arranged differently from the arcade version, since the same music is played but with the tempo raised (later SNES and Genesis installments also featured similar changes). Tatsuya Nishimura, who had recently joined Capcom from TOSE, arranged the soundtrack for the SNES version, with assistance from Shimomura, Abe, and Sakaguchi.
  • Some attacks were removed, such as Chun-Li's close standing medium punch.
  • The walking animation of the characters when retreating from an opponent is the same when advancing, only played in reverse (the subsequent SNES and Genesis versions also featured this change).
  • The voiced countdown during the continue screen, as well as the reading of each country's name, were removed. Moreover, the font used during the continue screen is different as well (a noticeably larger number font).
  • Two of the elephants were removed from Dhalsim's stage, leaving a total of four.
  • The two guitar players and other background characters were removed from Vega's stage.
  • The palm tree in the foreground of Sagat's stage was removed (it was removed in the arcade version of Champion Edition).
  • The blood splatter behind the "VS." text before each match was removed. The effect was added back in later console ports, and its color was changed to purple in Super Street Fighter II.
  • The victory quotes for certain characters (such as Balrog and M. Bison) were altered.
  • The visuals and script in some of the endings are a bit different from the arcade version.
  • The upper and lower portions of the screen are covered by black bars, shortening the vertical length of the screen (the PC Engine and Genesis ports also added black bars). This was done to compensate for the reduced size of the character sprites and make the change less noticeable to players.
  • A "VS" mode was added for two players to play a series of matches (wins/losses/draws), having the option each time to change their character, stage, and handicap between matches.

The American SNES cartridge was re-released in November 2017 as a limited edition item to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Street Fighter series.[24]

Home computers[edit]

U.S. Gold released versions of Street Fighter II for various home computer platforms in Europe, namely the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, PC (DOS), and ZX Spectrum. These versions of the game were all developed by Creative Materials, except for the ZX Spectrum version which was developed by Tiertex Design Studios. These versions were not released in any other region, except for the PC version, which also saw a release in North America (where it was published by Hi-Tech Expressions).[20] These versions suffered from numerous inaccuracies, such as missing graphical assets and music tracks, miscolored palettes, and lack of six-button controls (due to these platforms having only one or two-button joysticks as standard at the time). As a result, these versions are filled with unusual peculiarities such as Ryu and Ken's Hadouken (Fireball) sprite being a recolored Yoga Fire and the title theme being used as background music for matches, while move properties are completely different. In the DOS version, in particular, Dhalsim ends up being the strongest fighter in the game due to his basic attacks having high priority over other characters. The DOS version also saw a bootleg version and was actually considered by many, while mediocre, to be still quite superior to the official DOS version.[25][26] Despite being officially advertised by US Gold along with the C64 and ZX Spectrum conversions and anticipated on magazines, the Amstrad CPC development by Creative Materials was scrapped and the port finally never surfaced.[27]

Game Boy[edit]

The Game Boy version of Street Fighter II was released on August 11, 1995 in Japan, and in September 1995 internationally. It is missing three of the original characters (Dhalsim, E. Honda, and Vega). The graphics, character portraits, and stages are based on Super Street Fighter II, although some moves (such as Blanka's Amazon River Run) from Super Street Fighter II Turbo are included as well. Since the Game Boy only features two buttons, the strength of a player's punches and kicks are determined by how long the player holds either button (an input method similar to the one used in Fighting Street, the TurboGrafx CD version of the original Street Fighter). Same character matches are allowed, but because of the game's lack of color, distinguishing between two characters is not possible even on a Super Game Boy.

The game retains character endings for all 9 playable characters. This is only available by completing the Normal mode or Survival mode on level 4 or level 5 difficulty. Completing the Survival mode on level 5 unlocks a brief video of the sprites and animations of all of the available characters. The Game Boy version remains the only version of Street Fighter 2 that is not a direct port but specifically made for a handheld system.

Additionally, the Game Boy version is notable for not being re-released in any compilation collections later on.


The original Street Fighter II was included along with Champion Edition and Hyper Fighting in the compilation Capcom Generation 5 for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, which was released in North America and Europe as Street Fighter Collection 2. All three games were also included in Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, as well as Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded for the PlayStation Portable.

Updated versions[edit]

Street Fighter II was followed by a series of updated versions, each refining the play mechanics, graphics, character roster, and other aspects of the game. The first was Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, released for the arcades in March 1992, which allowed players to control the four Shadaloo Bosses and same character matches. Following the release of Champion Edition, a wave of bootleg ROM chip upgrades for its arcade cabinets added new gameplay, prompting Capcom's official response with Street Fighter II' Turbo: Hyper Fighting during December the same year, increasing the playing speed and giving some of the characters new special moves. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers was released in September 1993, which marked the change to the more advanced CP System II, allowing for updated graphics and audio, while introducing four new characters. Super Street Fighter II Turbo was released in February 1994 and was the last of the Street Fighter II releases for the arcades (until Hyper Street Fighter II), which introduced powered-up special moves called Super Combos and added a new hidden character.

All six Street Fighter II games have been ported to various platforms, both in individual releases and in compilations. There have also been home versions such as Hyper Street Fighter II (which was retroactively ported to the arcade) and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers was released for Nintendo Switch and adds two characters who previously debuted outside Street Fighter II updates and are actually the separate alternate forms of the two main Street Fighter II characters themselves.


Critical reception[edit]

Review scores
AmigaArcadeC64Game BoyPCSNESWiiWii UZX
AllGame5/5 stars[29]2.5/5 stars[32]4/5 stars[33]2.5/5 stars[31]4.5/5 stars[30]3.5/5 stars[34]4/5 stars[35]
Nintendo Power4.075/5[28]
Sinclair User84%[45]89%[46]
Your Sinclair62%[47]
Bad Influence!96%[48]
CU Amiga90%[49]
Electronic Games94%[50]
Mean Machines98%[51]
Mega Zone84%[53]95%[52]
ST Format
Super Play94%[28]
Aggregate score
Gamest Grand Prize (1991 & 1992), EGM (1992),
Golden Joystick Awards (1992), Game Informer (1992)
Game of the Year
GamePro (1992)16-bit Game of the Year
Electronic Gaming Awards (1992)Video Game of the Year (Nominee)
Electronic Gaming Monthly (1992 & 1993)Best Game of the Year (Super Nintendo)
Gamest Grand Prize (1991 & 1992)Best Action Game, Best Album
Gamest Grand Prize (1991)Best VGM, Best Direction, Best Characters,
Best Graphics (Runner-Up)
Electronic Gaming Monthly (1992)Best Video Game Ending,
Hottest Video Game Babe (Chun-Li)
Game Informer (1992)Best Playability in a Video Game
MegaTech (1993)Hyper Game
Guinness World Records Gamer's EditionFirst Fighting Game to Use Combos, Most Cloned Fighting Game,
Biggest-Selling Coin-Operated Fighting Game
BuzzFeed, Edge, EGM, Empire, Famitsu, FHM, G4, GameFAQs,
Game Informer, GameSpot, GamingBolt, Guinness, IGN,
Next Generation, NowGamer, Retro Gamer, Stuff, Time, Yahoo!
Best Games of All Time

In the February 1992 issue of Gamest magazine in Japan, it was revealed that due to low stock the games were selling for seven times the cost (¥15,000 in Japan, equivalent to about $119.19 and £65 at the time, or $217 and £118 in 2020). In Japan, Game Machine listed it on their April 1, 1991 issue as being the second most-successful table arcade unit of the year, outperforming titles such as Detana!! TwinBee and King of the Monsters.[55] The original arcade version of Street Fighter II was awarded Best Game of 1991 in their Fifth Annual Grand Prize, which also won in the genre of Best Action Game (the award for fighting games was not established yet). Street Fighter II also placed No. 1 in Best VGM, Best Direction, and Best Album, and was second place in Best Graphics (below the 3D Namco System 21 game Starblade). All the characters, with the exception of M. Bison (the character known internationally as Balrog), were featured on the list of Best Characters of 1991, with Chun-Li at No. 1, Ryu at No. 3, Guile at No. 4, Dhalsim at No. 5, Zangief at No. 6, Edmond Honda at No. 8, Ken and Blanka sharing the No. 9 spot, Vega (M. Bison outside Japan) at No. 13, Balrog (Vega outside Japan) at No. 16, and Sagat at No. 22.[56]

In the following year, Street Fighter II Dash was awarded Best Game of 1992 in the Sixth Annual Grand Prize, as published in the February 1993 issue of Gamest, winning once again in the category of Best Action Game. Dash placed No. 3 in Best VGM, No. 6 in Best Graphics, No. 5 in Best Direction. The Street Fighter II Image Album was the No. 1 Best Album in the same issue, with the Drama CD version of Street Fighter II tied for No. 7 with the soundtrack for Star Blade. The List of Best Characters was not dominated by Street Fighter II characters this time, with the only character at the Top Ten being Chun-Li at No. 3.[57]

In the February 1994 issue of Gamest, both Street Fighter II Dash Turbo (Hyper Fighting) and Super Street Fighter II were nominated for Best Game of 1993, but neither won (the first place was given to Samurai Spirits). Super ranked third place, with Turbo at No. 6. In the category of Best Fighting Games, Super ranked third place again, while Turbo placed fifth. Super won third place in the categories of Best Graphics and Best VGM. Cammy, who was introduced in Super, placed fifth place in the list of Best Characters of 1993, with Dee Jay and T. Hawk at 36 and 37.[58] In the January 30, 1995 issue of Gamest, Super Street Fighter II X (known as Super Turbo internationally) placed fourth place in the award for Best Game of 1994 and Best Fighting Game, but did not rank in any of the other awards.[59]

The Super Famicom (SNES) version was critically acclaimed. Famitsu's panel of four reviewers gave it scores of 9, 9, 9, and 8, adding up to 35 out of 40. This made it one of their five highest-rated games of 1992, along with Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Shin Megami Tensei, World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and Mario Paint. They later gave the Turbo update a score of 36 out of 40. This made Street Fighter II′ Turbo their highest-rated game of 1993, and the twelfth game to have received a Famitsu score of 36/40 or above.[39]


The arcade game was well-received by English-language critics upon release. The June 1991 issue of Computer and Video Games (CVG) gave it ratings of 94% for graphics, 93% for sound, 95% for playability, and 92% for lastability, with a 93% score overall. The reviewer Julian Rignall criticized the original Street Fighter for being a "run-of-the-mill beat 'em up with little in the way of thrills and spills," but praised this sequel for being "absolutely packed with new ideas and special moves." He noted the "six buttons combining with 8 joystick directions to provide more moves than I've ever seen in a beat 'em up" and praised the "massive, beautifully drawn and animated sprites, tons of speech and the most exciting, action-packed head-to-head conflict yet seen in an arcade game," concluding that it is "one of the best fighting games yet seen in the arcades" and "a brilliant coin-op."[60] The June 1991 issue of Sinclair User gave the arcade game an "addict factor" of 84%. The reviewer John Cook criticized the controls, stating, "You might find the control system a bit daunting at first," noting "a joystick plus six (count 'em!) fire buttons," but said "it's not that bad really" and praised the gameplay as well as "excellent" animation and sound effects, concluding "this is bound to appeal to you if you like the beat 'em up style of game."[45]

The SNES version of Street Fighter II was very well-received. In Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), its panel of four reviewers gave it scores of 10, 9, 10, and 9, adding up to 38 out of 40,[2] and their "Game of the Month" award. Sushi X (Ken Williams), who gave it a 10, stated that it is "The best! Street Fighter II is the only game I have ever seen that really deserves a 10!" Martin Alessi, who gave it a 9, described it as "the best cart available anywhere! Incredible game play!" Ed Semrad, who gave it a 10, said "The moves are perfect, the graphics outstanding and the audio exceptional. Get one of the new 6 button sticks and you'll swear you're playing the arcade version."[61] GamePro printed two reviews of the game in its August 1992 issue, both giving it a full score of 5 out of 5; Doctor Dave described it as "Capcom's best arcade conversion yet" while Slasher Quan stated that almost "everything's perfect in the Super NES version" and that it is "a nearly flawless conversion of the arcade original that's made even more enjoyable by new options and the convenience of home fighting." Super Play gave it a 94% score, stating that with "the inclusion of Champion Edition's Character vs. Character select and the extra options, I would even go so far to say that this is actually better than the coin-op."[41] Electronic Games gave it scores of 95% for graphics, 92% for sound, and 93% for playability, with a 94% overall, concluding that it is the best fighting game to date.[50] Nintendo Power gave it 4.075 out of 5,[28] stating that the "hottest arcade game around has been faithfully reproduced for this Super NES conversion" and that it "is just like having the arcade game at home!"[41]

Computer Gaming World in April 1994 said that "Street Fighter II now enters the PC ring rather late and with a touch of weak wrist". The magazine reported that "the atmosphere and the impact of hefty welts and bone-crushing action is just not here. The usual lament of many PC gamers about arcade conversions is once again true: too little and too late".[62]

Entertainment Weekly wrote that "Sure, it's violent (people can be set on fire), but Street Fighter II offers a depth of play (each character has more than 20 different moves) unmatched by any other video-game slugfest."[63]

Street Fighter II was named by Electronic Gaming Monthly as the Game of the Year for 1992.[2] EGM awarded Street Fighter II′ Turbo with Best Super NES Game the next year.[64] Street Fighter II also won the Golden Joystick Award for Game of the Year in 1992.[65] Game Informer gave it the "Best Game of the Year" and "Best Playability in a Video Game" awards.[66] It was also one of the three games nominated by Electronic Games magazine's Electronic Gaming Awards for the Video Game of the Year category, along with NHLPA Hockey '93 and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.[67]

The Mega Drive version of Street Fighter II received 10 out of 10 for both graphics and addiction from Mega, who described it as "a candidate for best game ever and without a doubt the best beat-'em-up of all time" and gave it an overall 92% score.[68] MegaTech scored it 95%, and commented: "the greatest coin-op hits the Megadrive in perfect form".[69] Edge gave the PC Engine version of Champion Edition a score of 8 out of 10.[70] The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly, while remarking that the control is difficult and the game speed "lethargically slow" on the Game Boy version, agreed it to be an excellent conversion by Game Boy standards. However, they commented on the fact that Street Fighter II was a very old game by this time.[38] The Axe Grinder of GamePro agreed, praising the graphics and Game Boy survival mode, but criticizing the slow controls and concluding that "The real problem here is that the game's just plain old."[71] GameSpot gave the PlayStation 3 version of HD Remix a score of 8.5 out of 10.[72]

Street Fighter II has been listed among the best games of all time. Game Informer ranked it as the 22nd-best game ever made in 2001. The staff praised it for popularizing the one-on-one fighting game genre and noted that its Super NES ports were "near-perfect."[73] They later ranked it the 25th-best game ever made in 2009.[74] Other publications that listed it among the best games of all time include BuzzFeed,[75] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[76][77][78] IGN,[79][80][81] Edge,[82] Empire,[83][84] Famitsu,[85] FHM,[86] G4,[87] GameFAQs,[88][89][90][91] GameSpot,[92] GamingBolt,[93] Guinness World Records,[94] Next Generation,[95][96] NowGamer,[97] Retro Gamer,[98] Stuff,[99][100] Time,[101] and Yahoo![102] Guinness World Records awarded Street Fighter II three world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records are "First Fighting Game to Use Combos", "Most Cloned Fighting Game", and "Biggest-Selling Coin-Operated Fighting Game."

Commercial reception[edit]

All versions of Street Fighter II are estimated to have grossed a total of $10.61 billion in revenue, mostly from the arcade market. As of 2017, this makes it one of the top three highest-grossing video games of all time, after Space Invaders (1978) and Pac-Man (1980).[103]

Arcade versions

The company sold more than 60,000 video game arcade cabinets of the original version of Street Fighter II.[104] It was followed by Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition, of which 140,000 cabinets were sold in Japan alone, where it cost ¥160,000 ($1300) for each cabinet, amounting to ¥22.4 billion ($182 million) revenue generated from cabinet sales of Champion Edition in Japan,[12][105] which is equivalent to $342 million in 2020.[106]

The sales for the arcade versions of Street Fighter II in the Western world were similarly successful.[105] In 1992, Street Fighter II captured 60% of the UK coin-op market, with individual machines taking up to £1000 per week, for an estimated total of £260 million per year[107] (equivalent to £542 million or $722.67 million in 2014). In North America, it was at the top of RePlay's May 1992 coin-op-earnings charts, on both the upright cabinets chart and the coin-op software chart[108] (for ROM cartridges and/or upgrade conversion kits). On the July 1992 charts, Champion Edition was number one on the upright cabinets chart (above Midway's Mortal Kombat) while the original Street Fighter II was number two on the coin-op software chart (below SNK's World Heroes).[109] On RePlay's April 1993 charts, Champion Edition was number four on the upright cabinets chart and Street Fighter II′ Turbo was number one on the coin-op software chart,[110] while in May 1993, Champion Edition remained number four on the uprights cabinet chart and Turbo dropped to number two on the coin-op software chart (overtaken by SNK's 3 Count Bout).[111]

The October 1992 issue of Electronic Games noted, "Not since the early 1980s has an arcade game received so much attention and all-out fanatical popularity."[50] According to the March 1995 issue of GameFan magazine, the game had earned "billions of dollars in profit".[112] By 1995, gross revenues of Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition arcade machines had exceeded $2.312 billion (9.25 billion quarters),[113] equivalent to over $4.34 billion in 2020.[114]

Title Cabinet sales Coin revenue (US$) RePlay chart position (North America)
No inflation With inflation Upright cabinet Coin-op software
The World Warrior 60,000+ (as of 2001)[104] $687 million+ (as of 1995)[113] $1.29 billion+ #1[108] #1[108]
Champion Edition 140,000+ in Japan (as of 1992)[105] $1.625 billion+ (as of 1995)[113] $2.96 billion+ #1[109]
Turbo Unknown Unknown #1[110]
Total 200,000+ $2.312 billion+ $4.34 billion+ #1 #1
Home versions

The numerous home versions of Street Fighter II are listed among Capcom's Platinum-class games (games which the company has sold more than one million units worldwide). The SNES version of the original Street Fighter II was the company's best-selling single consumer game software, with more than 6.3 million units sold,[115] and it remains their best-selling game software on a single platform through to the present day.[116][117] 1 million of those sales came in June 1992 within the first two weeks of its release in Japan,[118] where it retailed for ¥10,290[119] (equivalent to $104 in 2020). Another 750,000 units were sold in the United States between July 15 and September 30, 1992,[2] with a retail price of $74.99[120] (equivalent to $137 in 2020); according to Electronic Gaming Monthly, "Never has a game taken the country" by "storm as this one has." By the end of 1992, it had sold 4 million cartridges worldwide.[2] In 1993, sales of Street Fighter II exceeded $1.5 billion in gross revenues[121] (equivalent to over $2.82 billion in 2020).

The SNES versions of Street Fighter II′ Turbo and Super Street Fighter II saw 4.1 million and 2 million units sold, respectively, followed by the Mega Drive/Genesis version of Street Fighter II′: Special Champion Edition with 1.65 million sales. In total, more than 14 million copies were sold for the SNES and Mega Drive/Genesis consoles.[116] The SNES version of Street Fighter II was Capcom's best-selling single game until 2013, when it was surpassed by Resident Evil 5.[122] The game had been played by at least 25 million Americans in homes and arcades.[123] In 2008, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix broke both the first-day and first-week sales records for a download-only game.[124] Street Fighter II has sold 15.5 million units across all versions and platforms, making it the best-selling fighting game up until it was surpassed by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in 2019.[125]

Title Platform(s) Worldwide sales Japan sales
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior Super NES 6,300,000[115] 2,900,000[126]
Street Fighter II': Special Champion Edition Mega Drive 1,650,000[115] Unknown
Street Fighter II Turbo Super NES 4,100,000[115] 2,100,000[126]
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers Super NES 2,000,000[115] 1,300,000[126]
Street Fighter II Game Boy 17,038+ 17,038[127]
Super Street Fighter II Turbo: Revival Game Boy Advance 45,335+ 45,335[127]
Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition PlayStation 2 53,000+ 53,000[127]
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix PS3 / Xbox 360 250,000+[124] Unknown
Ultra Street Fighter II Nintendo Switch 500,000[128] 100,000[129]
Total sales 15,500,000[125] 6,515,373+



The Street Fighter II games were followed by several sub-series of Street Fighter games and spinoffs which include Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter EX, Street Fighter III, Pocket Fighter, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Capcom's Vs. series (which combined Capcom's characters with properties from other companies such as Marvel, SNK, and Tatsunoko). Capcom released Street Fighter IV for the arcades in July 2008, followed by the release for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles in February 2009 and for Microsoft Windows in July 2009. Most recently, Street Fighter V was released for the PlayStation 4 and PC in 2016.

Other media and merchandise[edit]


Street Fighter II is regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time,[131][132][133] and the most important fighting game in particular.[133][134][135] The release of Street Fighter II in 1991 is often considered a revolutionary moment in the fighting game genre. It featured the most accurate joystick and button scanning routine in the genre thus far, allowed players to reliably execute multi-button special moves (which had previously required an element of luck), and its graphics took advantage of Capcom's CPS arcade chipset, with highly detailed characters and stages. Whereas previous games allowed players to combat a variety of computer-controlled fighters, Street Fighter II allowed players to play against each other. The popularity of Street Fighter II surprised the gaming industry, as arcade owners bought more machines to keep up with demand.[136] Street Fighter II was also responsible for introducing the combo mechanic, which came about when skilled players learned that they could combine several attacks that left no time for the opponent to recover if they timed them correctly.[12][132][137] Its success inspired a wave of other fighting games, which were initially often labeled as "clones",[131][138] including popular franchises such as Mortal Kombat[139] and Killer Instinct.

Street Fighter II was responsible for revitalizing the arcade video game industry in the early 1990s,[131][132] to a level of popularity not seen since the days of Pac-Man in the early 1980s;[132][135] It was the best-selling arcade video game by far since the golden age of arcade video games,[132][135] setting off a renaissance for the arcade game industry in the early 1990s.[140] Its impact on home video games was equally important, with its release being a major event that boosted sales of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and became a long-lasting system-seller for the platform.[131] Since then, numerous best-selling home video games have been arcade ports.[141]

The game was responsible for popularizing the concept of direct, tournament-level competition between two players.[131] Previously, video games most often relied on high scores to determine the best player, but this changed with Street Fighter II, where players instead challenged each other directly, "face-to-face", to determine the best player,[131] paving the way for the competitive multiplayer and deathmatch modes found in modern action games.[133] John Romero, for example, cited the competitive multiplayer of Street Fighter II as an influence on the deathmatch mode of seminal first-person shooter Doom.[142]

Another impact it had on the gaming industry was the concept of revisions, with Capcom continuously upgrading and expanding the arcade game instead of releasing a sequel, paving the way for the patches and downloadable content found in modern video games.[131]

Popular culture[edit]

Street Fighter II has been influential in hip hop culture, as the video game most frequently sampled and referenced in hip hop music. It has been referenced in the lyrics of songs by rappers such as Nicki Minaj, Lupe Fiasco, Dizzee Rascal, Lil B, Sean Price, and Madlib, for example. The connection between Street Fighter and hip hop dates back to Hi-C's "Swing'n" (1993) and DJ Qbert's "Track 10" (1994) which sampled Street Fighter II, and the Street Fighter film soundtrack (1994) which was the first major film soundtrack to consist almost entirely of hip hop music. According to DJ Qbert, "I think hip-hop is a cool thing, I think Street Fighter is a cool thing". According to Vice magazine, "Street Fighter's mixture of competition, bravado, and individualism easily translate into the trials and travails of a rapper."[143]

Street Fighter II has been similarly influential in UK rap culture, frequently referenced and sampled in grime music. According to grime DJ Logan Sama, "Street Fighter is just a huge cultural thing that everyone experienced growing up, the characters are hugely recognisable as well as the moves", and it "had such a huge impact that it has just stayed in everyone’s consciousness." According to Jake Hawkes of Soapbox, "grime was built around lyrical clashes" and "the 1v1 setup of these clashes was easily equated with Street Fighter's 1 on 1 battles." Grime MCs such as Dizzee Rascal were sampling Street Fighter II as early as 2002, and Street Fighter II has been sampled "by almost every grime MC at one time or another". Street Fighter II became established in grime culture to the point of becoming an integral part of BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth's Fire in the Booth freestyle segments, using samples such as "Hadouken", "Shoryuken" and the "Perfect" announcer sound.[144] The "Perfect" announcer sample has been used to tag verses by North American rappers, such as Kanye West and Drake in The Life of Pablo (2016).[145][146]

WhoSampled lists about 80 songs that have sampled Street Fighter II, including songs by artists such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, Psy, Dizzee Rascal, Lupe Fiasco, Bryson Tiller, and A Guy Called Gerald, among many others.[147] Hadouken! was also the name of a British grindie band.[144] The diss track "Mia Khalifa" by iLOVEFRiDAY uses sound effects from Street Fighter II, including the Capcom logo jingle and the "Fight!" announcer clip.[148]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ ストリートファイターⅡ -The World Warrior- (Sutorīto Faitā Tsū Za Warudo Uōria) in Japan


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Further reading[edit]

  • Studio Bent Stuff (2000). All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Games 1987–2000. A.A. Game History Series (Vol. 1) (in Japanese). Dempa Publications, Inc. ISBN 4-88554-676-1.

External links[edit]