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Retro Fire

Written: 7.11.14
Acquired: 3.4.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $4.80

Pub: CapcomJuly 1994
Dev: Capcom32 MEGS

20 years ago it was the summer of 1994. My best friend and I had just finished the 5th grade, the best year of my childhood, and I was ready for one epic summer. One of the most prominent games that season: Super Street Fighter II. For years the Street Fighter II games dominated the market, and became a way of life for us. By the summer of '94, the Street Fighter magic was starting to wane, but even then, it remained one of the biggest games of my youth
This 32-meg monster headlined one epic summer 20 years ago

                                                                  STREET FIGHTER FOREVER

First let's take a trip back in time. The year was '91. An arcade game by the name of Street Fighter II burst onto the scene and it captivated us all. With its 8 character choices, variety of special moves, breathtaking visuals and endless strategies, it was the perfect storm. I was 8 at the time but I remember it vividly. Everywhere you went, it was Street Fighter mania. Whether you were at your local mom and pop rental shop, a trading card store or Pizza Hut, one of these bad boys was sure to be there. We plopped countless quarters into it, devoted untold hours into perfecting our craft, and it became as Americana as hot apple pie and baseball games. One of my fondest memories was beating my bro's cocky friend when he challenged me to a fight. I used Dhalsim and I ended up perfecting him 2 rounds in a row. I will never forget my brother and his friends laughing at him. He never heard the end of it. There was an innocence back then that a small part of me longs for. Street Fighter II launched the fighting game genre to new heights, and a slew of clones soon followed thereafter, including sequels up the wazoo. It was a special time that is hard to explain to folks who didn't live through it. It was a great time to be a young kid, seeing all these fighting games pop up, seemingly by the week, all vying for your attention and affection. The thing that amazes me after all these years is that Street Fighter II still rules the roost. Always did, and always will

What also amazes me is we play Street Fighter, in one form or another, even to this day as adults now. And still, it's as fun as it ever was. I really do break these games out and play them on a frequent basis, and they still put a smile on my kisser. It's one of those series that I'll never grow tire of. I'll be playing them 50 years from now, God willing. My bro and I still play the occasional round or two together. I guess it brings us back to our childhoods... when life was simpler. When all we did was finish our homework, take out the trash, watch cartoons, T.G.I.F, WWF, Power Rangers, read Goosebumps, ran in the streets with our neighborhood friends and oh yeah, play a crapload of video games. And of all those years, 1994 will always be the one I hold in the highest regard :)

                                                                         SUMMER OF SNES

1994 was a golden year for me in a multitude of ways. Particularly, that summer. I'd just wrapped up the 5th grade, which was the best school year of my life due to 3 factors: my best friend was in the same class, we had the best teacher ever, and we had the two cutest girls in all of the school in our class. As awesome as 5th grade was, Nelson and I could not wait for the final school bell to ring. It would officially signal our freedom: 2½ months to stay up late, sleep in, hang out and play video games. The summer of '94 was a fine time to be a Super Nintendo owner as two of the most anticipated home games coming soon: Super Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II. While the latter didn't quite make it in time for the summer, oh we had plenty else to sink our teeth into. To this day I can recollect the palpable buzz and excitement surrounding the MUCH hyped release of Super Street Fighter II. Whether you were an EGM or GameFan reader (I liked both), everywhere you looked everyone was talking about those two titles. Silently, we also kinda knew deep down that this was 16-bit's last great hurrah. Things were set to change in 1995. The scene was bound to shift. You could feel it coming. But 1994 was OUR YEAR. And man, what a way to go out  ^_^

Wherever you looked, these two stole the show at every turn

                                       The previews and hype machine for this home port was amazing

For months the hype train rolled. And then, it came out

                                       1994 was one hell of a special summer, thanks to games like this


Readers of Memories of Renting might recall that back in the day, my older brother shipped me at will. Too shy or embarrassed to go out and rent on his own accord, he sent me to task each and every week. It wasn't so bad, though. In fact, I secretly enjoyed it. It gave my dad and me some quality father-son time, as there were many Saturdays where my bro's choice title was rented out at the first 2 or 3 stores. In such cases my dad would then haul ass all over town taking me to 5, 6 different rental stores, just to suss out my bro's flavor of the week. Just a dad and his son out on the road together on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. They were like quasi-adventures to me. Or missions. Every Saturday, rain or shine. As an aside, the bastard gets married in 3 months and I'm making the Best Man speech. Oh, the embarrassing childhood stories I could regale. Here's to ya, Kev ;)

And after years of doing anything constantly, you get to be a bit of a pro at it. A master, even. Kev told me once, and I never forgot this: "Steve, you sure do know how to rent the hell out of games." It became a badge of honor. Although there were so many times where I saw games that I wanted to rent, I almost always came home with the title my brother requested. I had a 98% kill rate, and I know it sounds silly, but it was something I took pride in. And then, my greatest challenge: Super Street Fighter II. It just came out, summer of '94, and my dad took me to The Wherehouse. I raced to the SNES section madly thumbing through the thick glass display cases. There were a few other guys huddled around, and I knew they were after the same holy grail. In that moment, instinct took over and I sprinted to the counter. A pimple-faced male employee, who looked like he was 3 weeks fresh out of his senior prom, glanced down at me. Panting, I asked him if he had a copy of Super Street Fighter II safely tucked away somewhere. I figured it was so rare that maybe they keep it behind the counter in order to avoid the inevitable bloodshed that would occur in the aisle if not. His expression immediately changed. Flashing me a clandestine smile, as if I had just shared the secret password he'd been waiting desperately all day to hear, he reached down behind the counter in dramatic fashion. "Kid, it's your lucky day. This here is the last one we have." And right there, in that moment, my childhood was made

I was absolutely blown away. Time froze. Few moments are so epic that they are literally, pardon the pun, game changers. It was my greatest haul ever. I caught the biggest fish. I found Bigfoot. I was going home with the prom queen [Alright, now we're crossing the line of reality -Ed.]. It was the longest 5 minute drive home I had ever experienced. When my bro opened the door, you could tell that he was expecting the worst. Even if I knew "how to rent the hell outta games," renting Super Street Fighter II successfully on LAUNCH was right next to building a rocketship in your garage. Knowing that, I had to mess with him a little bit, so I told him some BS story about how I was too late, etc. He nodded compliantly. "Well, you took your best shot," he chirped. "YOU BET YOUR ASS I DID!" I eagerly revealed the prized trophy I had kept hidden behind my back. My brother's jaw dropped and hit the floor. An instant classic snapshot memory

Firing the game up, my bro and I sat back and watched in sheer amazement at the arcade intro playing right in the comforts of our living room!  A barely visible Ryu is revealed by dramatic flashes of lightning. Bobbing and pulsating, he unleashes his infamous fireball. My brother and I simply stared at each other, dumbfounded. Lookin' back, it's just a silly little intro. But back then... IT WAS MAGIC. The kind of stuff that LEGENDS are made of

Super Nintendo's first 32-MEG MONSTER...

                                       And it was, well, Street Fighter Alpha 2's a story for another time


Four new fighters joined the fray: Fei Long, T. Hawk, Cammy, DJ

                                       Funny how we all felt Capcom was milking things back in 1994...


There's also some new spiffy special moves for the returning cast

                                       Ryu got his. So did Ken  [OHHH I SEE WAT U DID UP DERE -Ed.]

Ken's new multi-hit Flaming Dragon Punch is a thing of beauty. It can only be done using the Fierce punch button. Jab and Strong produces the regular no-frills version. Some may complain these are only small changes, but I liked seeing them develop their own nuances

                                                                    NEW SHADES OF KICKASS

                                       Being able to select from eight (!) colors was mind-blowing to me

Some of the new colors are quite snazzy. Experimenting was fun

                                       Blanka hands down holds the crown for coolest color alterations


A wandering warrior, Ryu is devoted only to one cause: the fight

Solitude. Serenity. Ryu's dojo is just the right place for him to perfect his craft. The opponents who enter this place never leave the same as when they came

                                       The scrolling crescent moon is back. We sure missed ya in Turbo

After years of rigorous training, Ryu has learned how to unleash a fiery version of his famed Hadoken. His trusty ol' Hurricane Kick and Dragon Punch make a return as well

Old training partner of Ryu, their heated rivalry fuels Ken's drive

Ken's choice of fighting establishment shows the difference between him and his eternal rival, Ryu. Whereas Ryu is private, Ken enjoys showing off to an appreciative audience as much as he does the fights themselves. Kind of a sick bastard, that Kenny

                                       And his adoring fans are more than happy to be part of the show

All of his old tricks are back, but now he has a great equalizer to the best of what anyone else can offer: a Flaming Dragon Punch!  It fits his flamboyant flashy fighting style to a tee

Bison killed her father. Hell hath no fury like a daughter scorned

Chun Li's stage got a nice color makeover here. Now the quaint marketplace is drenched in burgundy-ish hues signaling the coming of evening. A single mom washes her dishes in the background as a worn out man begins to close shop. A lonely vendor is choking his chicken [... -Ed.] while Tung Fu Rue's twin brother is out on an early evening pedal. All in a day's work!

                                       Guess you can call him Pee Wee HUNG. M I RITE?  [Dude... -Ed.]

Chun Li puts her mighty leg strength to good use. Her Kikoken is now encased inside a bubble, meaning it burns out after traveling a certain length. So much for equality, eh?

Half man and half beast, Blanka's one of Capcom's best creations

Even though Blanka has stepped out of the jungle and revealed himself to the public for a few years now, people still oooh and ahhh whenever they see him up close. Clear photos of the creature still yield a pretty penny in the black market and that boy in the middle there has no shame either

                                       Hey, it is '94. eBay is only one bloody year away. Smart kid I say!

Adding to the variety of his rolling attacks, the Beast Leap (when timed properly) allows him to leap past a fireball and land right on his opponent's grill. If all else fails, ZAP 'EM

Hungry to show the world Sumo wrestlers are as capable as any

If there's one thing Honda enjoys more than eating and a hard-fought duel, it's soaking in a nice hot bath. Here, he gets the best of all worlds. After showing his opponent the power of sumo wrestling, E. Honda lays back to soak it all in

                                       <3 the mural man spazzin' out. Totally brings back my childhood

Honda possesses great agility for such a big guy. His Hundred Hand Slap makes Ric Flair jealous, and his Sumo Smash can take an inch off your height. Beware his fatal head butt

It's no stretch (sorry!) to say Dhalsim was a trailblazer of his time.
Indeed, he paved the way for all stretchy copycats to follow  ^_^

Elephants, the treasure of Indian culture, are proudly put on display here. Four of them line the cobbled floor while a mural of an elephant god hangs front and center. This is where Dhalsim goes to meditate and then destroy his foes

                                       Elephants now make a racket during the fight, not just at the end

After all these years, Dhalsim is still the original barbecue king. Using his elite meditative powers, his Yoga Teleport allows him to disappear and reappear in a most strategic spot!
His greatest power, though, might be his extendable limbs. They are wickedly punishing!

How does he stay in fighting form?  By wrestling bears. 'Nuff said

The Russian crowd only loves one thing more than drinking, and that's doin' it WHILE Zangief wipes the floor with some idjit foolish enough to fight the big guy

                                       You could say the crowd's in good spirits!  [One guy sure is -Ed.]

Still drinking like a mad man after all these years. You go, playa!

Use the Spinning Clothesline against fireball-happy opponents. The Spinning Piledriver became de rigueur for all big wrestler types to emulate in future fighting games to come

Proving that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks, Zangief has developed yet another devastating throw: the Siberian Suplex!  It's a bone-crunching double hitter!

Finally, he can now lunge after ya, grab ya and break you in half. Expert Zangief players who parlay the Siberian Bear Crusher at the end of their combos are nearly unstoppable!

Consumed by seeking vengeance for the death of his pal, Charlie

The grim death of his best friend and former comrade, Charlie, has left Guile with a heavy heart... and anger. Before each fight at the air force base, he dedicates it to the memory of his fallen friend. Guile REFUSES to rest until Bison is buried in a gory unceremonial ditch!

                                       Guile's stage music still rings in my ears after all these years  ^_^

Not much new has been added. But when he's got two of the SICKEST moves in fighting game history, it's easy to overlook. The Sonic Boom and Flash Kick never ever gets old

Barred from the boxing world, he now enjoys doin' the dirty work

Battling under the bright Vegas lights, the crowd roars with each hook and jab thrown. You can rest assured they've got bills on Balrog. Wrong horse!

                                       The lavish Las Vegas night life makes for a hell of a background!

While some think he's a boxing HAS BEEN, his rushing assorted punches, which still hit fast and hard, says otherwise. His new Shoulder Butt is effective at knocking out jumpers

Vain and egotistical, Vega blends Ninjitsu with A+ matador skills

A bloodthirsty lot clamors for their champion, Vega, to slice his foe into tiny little pieces. But should Vega be on the receiving end, they quickly change allegiances. They've paid good money, and they demand blood. A steel cage protects them from the fighters getting any funny ideas. Vega has learned how to use the cage to his favor over the years. It's a win-win for all

                                       As kids, we thought the shadow in the tent was a secret character

The quick bastard pounces off of walls with the spring of a Mexican jumping bean. From here he has all manner of attacks. His claw slices skin, and he can also back flip to safety

Fueled by anger and humiliation, Sagat vows to finally beat Ryu

Of all the stages to get a makeover, Sagat's is by far the best. You can see the breathtaking, blazing sunset in the background, making the Street Fighter II and Turbo versions look a bit lame by comparison. It is symbolic of Sagat's mentality... even the sun takes a break, but until he beats Ryu, Sagat will NOT

                                       The new colors here really make the Thailand terror's stage shine

Everyone's favorite 7 foot 4 inch tall Thailand bruiser is back, along with all his ol' tricks. Mix up his Tiger Fireballs, and blast them out of the sky with the Tiger Uppercut or Knee

Bison, an unstoppable psycho, wishes to be RULER of the world

Bison flings his cape right before the match begins. A small crowd is gathered to anxiously witness if the maniacal tyrant can finally be halted once and for all

                                       <3 the big golden statues; tossing Bison through it never gets old

His Scissors Kick can connect twice as well as his confusing Head Stomp. In addition, his new Flying Psycho Fist is tricky. And of course, it's hard to beat his killer Psycho Crusher

Trained by the Special Forces, this jeune fille kicks serious ass

Set under the beautiful Northern Lights, Cammy enjoys nothing more than disposing of her adversary and then kicking back to enjoy the majestic view

                                       Remember the music for this stage?  FREAKIN' EPIC. Good times

Cammy's Cannon Drill is a quick striking blow, while her Front Kick discourages her foes from taking to the not-so-friendly skies. Also, watch out for her two-hit Spinning Knuckle

Master of kickboxing, Dee Jay fights to the beat of his own drum

Everyone's swaying and grooving to the beat of live music from the jazz band playing under the gazebo. Another day in paradise, unless you happen to be the one fighting Dee Jay

                                       WHAT DOES MY JAMAICAN SAY?!  "A-ROO-GAH!  MAX OUT!"

Dee Jay can send forth a lethal wave of energy, as well as knock opponents silly into next Tuesday with the Hyper Fist. And his Double Dread Kick is a perfect combo capper, MON!

When it comes to martial arts, there's no one better than this guy

Inspired by the Tiger Balm Garden of Hong Kong fame, this exotic palace is where the best battle and the boys are separated from the men. Fei Long is a nod to Bruce Lee and he has gone on to become a fan favorite of the series

                                       More marvelous music, and is it just me or is that Angilas' roar?!

The Rekka Ken can hit multiple times, and even be used as a re-dizzy combo. After years of intensive training, Fei Long's Rising Dragon Kick emits a blast of fire from his steel leg

A Native American badass, T. Hawk has vowed to finish off Bison

With much fanfare and curious onlookers, Mr. T. Hawk pleases the crowd with his surprising agility and crazy earth shattering throws. There was a small flea market going on, until everyone turned their eyes to the real main attraction

                                       What's worse than T. Hawk crushin' you?  Having 80 folks watch!

Like a hawk swooping in for its prey, T. Hawk dives with the greatest of ease. He can also rise like a phoenix. His prized Storm Hammer will first disorient ya, then snap you in half


The classic bonus stages of Street Fighter lore return. I love playing 'em 2 player style

Sure woulda been nice. But it wasn't meant to be due to memory

                                                                            BONUS MODES

                                       Where beating the clock is as valuable as beating your opponent

Group Battle mode lets you pick Match Play or Elimination. Nice

                                       Tournament allows up to 8 human players to determine the BEST


Awww... Cammy's too adorable with her pigtails

                                          A fun sight gag: looks like the sun exploded, killing both men!

As kids we believed the rumor that you could knock his mask off

                                       CRY IF I WANT TO!  YOU WOULD TOO IF IT HAPPENED TO YOU


I've always had an affinity for the 'oddballs' as long as I can recall

                                       But like many others I was also a big Ryu guy. Orange Ryu, baby

No worries, Dee Jay. You still have 7 other pajamas to pick from!

                                       Man, his tournament loss to Ryu really affected his manhood eh?

Conquering the world's gonna have to wait until he can beat Ryu

                                        SEGA GENESIS VERSUS SUPER NINTENDO: ROUND 3... FIGHT!

I played both versions and prefer the SNES one; that is not to say the Genesis port isn't good because it is. Weighing in at a hefty 40 MEGS, it's the biggest American 16-bit title ever. I remember as kids thinking how can a 16-bit game be 40 F'N MEGS?  Fun times

                                       We owned both systems; the 16-bit wars gave us some great titles


20 years ago in the sizzlin' summer of '94, this game brought with it a good deal of controversy. While most publications swooned over the conversion, a little ship by the name of EGM was not nearly as impressed. This was shocking, as for years EGM advocated for anything Street Fighter. I mean, for a good period there between 1991 to 1993 they might as well have called themselves Street Fighter Monthly, what with their massive coverage and 16 Street Fighter-related covers. It surprised us all when they doled out less-than-stellar ratings of 6, 7, 7 and 8. This became the talk of town, but more on that later. Other magazines
did sing a different tune. GameFan scored it 90, 94 and 96% while Super Play issued it the biggest mark in their history: 96%. The EGM controversy still fascinates me today. Let's head back 20 years to the scorching summer of 1994
No one envisioned that EGM would ever go "anti-Street Fighter"

                                       After years of slobbering, EGM shocked us with this new attitude

I had mixed emotions; I loved the game BUT understood the hate

                                       It was the topic of the times, man, back then. EGM sure had balls

EGM had long been the proud flag bearer for all things Street Fighter. So when EGM turned their back on the franchise in their analysis of SNES Super Street Fighter II, the entire gaming world was shocked. Perhaps most shocking of all was their vehement support for Street Fighter, particularly the upcoming latest SNES port, mere months before their most controversial review of all time. Hell, just one month prior they ran a very enthusiastic blow out article on the SNES port. We were all sure that they would rate the game with 9's and 10's the following month... but then, EGM dropped the "enough is enough, and we're not gonna take it anymore" bombshell. Made for some crazy ass times, I tells ya!

It was the most SHOCKING and UNEXPECTED event that summer.
It gave me the same jolt and awe as when Hulk Hogan went
Indeed, none of us ever saw EGM 'turning heel' on Street Fighter!

Capcom must have felt like EGM had uppercut them first in the nuts, followed by the face

EGM's response following their less-than-glowing review of SSFII

                                       October '94. EGM once again takes a stand to defend their values

Fair or not?  We had a blast debating this in '94

                                       Of course, leave it up to good ol' GameFan for the monster score

Super Play agreed. I usually agree with EGM but this time, I can't

                                              WHAT YOU... YES, YOU... SAID. ER, VOTED, ANYHOW

Years and years ago, way back in February 2007 to be precise, I ran a survey asking ~YOU~ to choose your favorite SNES Street Fighter game. You voiced your opinion loudly. Now, nearly 7 and a half years later, the final results are in. C'mon, you didn't think I would lose those figures, right? Don't answer that. It was the very first poll I put out on this site... because for years it was a question I've been wanting to ask, and I guessed the results right. Which SNES Street Fighter conversion is the consensus favorite? While obviously not conclusive... this is one sample of what I think you'd find to be the norm on the greater whole. 10% of you lot prefer the very first one, nostalgia-induced reasons I'm sure, while 39% voted for Super Street Fighter II. It was no shock that Street Fighter II Turbo won the poll with a stirring 51%. I love them all but the middle one, like Goldilocks, got it just right
                                       Really though, you can't go wrong with any SNES Street Fighter!


Super Street Fighter II is one hell of a game. 4 new fighters brings the cast to a whoppin' 16, there are 3 dandy home bonus modes to tinker with and the new colors are quite awesome (check out Sagat's stage with the gorgeous blazin' sunset makeover). The combos are incredibly easy to pull off and the fights are as fun as ever. There's really, then, only one thing holding it back: those voices!  It's not the worst in the world by any stretch, but it IS a clear drop in quality from the previous two games. I'm happy Ken and Ryu now have different voices, but what happened to a poor cat like Guile?  The sound effects are also wimpy. At the end of the day though, it's easy to forgive this flaw since it plays so darn well. Thankfully, at least, music is still great. But, all in all, the game is not as perfect as Street Fighter II Turbo
It's close, but Turbo is the PINNACLE of Street Fighter perfection!

Still, this remains one of my favorites for the SNES. On a system with literally hundreds of quality games to pick from, Super Street Fighter II is firmly near the top. All of your old favorite freaks are back, plus now there are 4 new warriors to master. While I am not the biggest fan of the newbies, they do add credible value. The speed option is a nice home bonus; the fastest is not Turbo fast, but is more than acceptable. It's crazy to think 20 years ago I ran home with this game from The Wherehouse, and my bro and I shitted our pants watching the intro from our living room. Ah, such good innocent times. And I remember vividly the controversy that surrounded this game. How Capcom was leeching, milking and generally being little bitches for releasing so many "sub sequels" with incremental improvement. And y'know, I get all of that. But the bottom line for me back then was, and today remains the golden standard to how I rate all the games I play: is it good and is it fun? For Super Street Fighter II, one of the best arcade-to-home translations on the Super Nintendo, the answer is a resounding YES. Rather than discrediting it for what it wasn't, I appreciated it for what it was. And that is a damn fine fighting game that holds up incredibly well, even 20 years on

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9.5
Longevity: 10

Overall: 9.5

Double Gold Award

Thanks for all the HADOKENS, Flash Kicks and Dragon Punches.
You shall forever be one of a kind. Thank you for the memories!

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