Street Fighter II, as we know, got ported to a lot of machines – even ones which perhaps weren't up to the task of actually playing the game properly, like the Game Boy.
With its monochrome display, feeble processor and two (count 'em) buttons, it was far from the ideal platform to host Capcom's cutting-edge one-on-one fighter – but that didn't stop the Japanese company from comissioning a port, because the Game Boy market was huge.
That port has come in for a lot of negative press over the decades, and it's easy to see why – it runs at less than 10 frames per second and suffers from horrendous input latency, making even the most basic of moves difficult. In fact, it's long been assumed that the Game Boy version is so bad that you can't even perform combo attacks in it – something that Street Fighter combo fiend Desk decided to put to the test:
I watched a bunch of footage of this game while researching this video and was 100% convinced that the game didn't actually have combos. There were also no combo videos to be found anywhere.
However, as you can see from the footage above, Desk was able to pull off combos in the Game Boy version – and pretty decent ones, too.
This wasn't an easy process, as Desk explains:
It's possible that, under the hood, the game updates quicker but after running lots of the footage in slow motion, the character sprites never update at more than 7 frames per second. This makes things incredibly difficult. Combined with the input latency, sometimes you literally finish the inputs for a combo just as the first attack is connecting. So there is no visual feedback to help your timing.
Even when playing the game myself it took a little while to prove that the game system allowed for true combos. It's possible that some of these combos have never actually been done before now (In a 26 year old game!).
You cannot cancel any attacks, so no 2-in-1 combos (everything has to be linked). Also, all of the footage was captured with DIY, 2 Player autoblock. So, player 2 was holding down-back throughout the combos with one hand.
Still, we now know that the Game Boy version of Street Fighter II – which has to rank as one of the worst ports – does at least allow you to pull off combos. So there's that, at least.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Mon 6th December, 2021.
I personally find Street Fighter combos really difficult to pull off even in the good games. Something about the d-pad/joystick shifting just hasn’t clicked for me
But you can play it with two Players on the Super Nintendo.
The Sega Master System, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum were the actual worse ports of Street Fighter II, not the Game Boy. The Game Boy version of Street Fighter II was the best fighting game on the Game Boy. It looked good and it played good, for a Game Boy game. Compared to the arcade version, it’s a bad port obviously. But far from the worse port. My only real criticism was that it was too hard except on the easiest difficulty setting.
Given the technical limitations of the Gameboy™ it's actually impressive it looks as good as it does. Shame about the frame rate and lag, though
@Bass_X0 The Tiger handheld LCD version was actually the worst one of the bunch. There are only six fighters and each one only had one special move. Compare to the board game version it's a masterpiece but compare to the Game Boy version, it's miles behind in limitation.
@Specter_of-the_OLED I’d consider the Tiger LCD ports of anything to be their own thing as they were basically Game n Watch games.
@Bass_X0 Killer Instinct was a bit better IMO though, a very good port for black and white 8 bit
Back in the days i Love my gameboy Version
The Game Boy had 4 buttons, not including the d-pad.
I always remember when it was released on the SNES and nearly every reviewer claimed it was arcade perfect! Must’ve been mass hysteria at the time as although it captured the look and feel of the arcade game there was so much missing and different….the intro, speech, animation frames, bonus levels, moves, character portraits, background details, endings etc etc.
Still an absolutely amazing SNES game though.
@Bass_X0 @F_Destroyer I'd agree that Killer Instinct was better than SFII on Game Boy, but I'd say that the Takara SNK conversions - like Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown and King of Fighters - were the best fighting games on Game Boy overall.
@Franklin To be honest originally Street Fighter was a 2-button game anyways, you will only get medium or fierce attack depending on how hard you hit the punch or kick button, this is how the Game Boy port was handle as well. The consoles and arcade versions just give you easy way to access them. Light press gives you jab, pressure press gives you medium, and heavy press gives you fierce. In the old days it's really difficult to get medium as most either hit too light or hit too hard (not to mention it damage the control over time) so Capcom incorporated the 6 button layout for easy access to the medium attacks and the rest is history (or until Marvel vs. Capcom 2 going forward where they took away the medium attacks altogether).
@BionicDodo Didn't have the chance to play them back in the day unfortunately. Might wanna try sometimes...
@BionicDodo Don't forget "Battle arena Toshinden" (A personal favourite of mine, ironically the GB-version aged better than the PSX-games), also one of those conversions (A reskin of one of the games you mentioned, actually), Gameboy games turned out the best if they worked with the hardware design, rather than despite it.
Look at the SFII screenshot, big detailed sprites and a detailed background, looks... decent-ish here, but on an actual Gameboy? Good luck discerning anything in the motion blur...
@MysticX Yeah, that was another Takara one using the same engine, wasn't it? Definitely aged better than the PS1 version! They all play surprisingly well, although I think Real Bout Special was my favourite.
It's weird to think how junky Game Boy Street Fighter II is, when SNK/Takara pulled off multiple fluid, fast fighting games.
It's always amused me that the Game Boy version was Super Game Boy enhanced, like you'd actually choose to play that version on your SNES instead of the actual SNES versions 😂😂 For a handheld version, it was actually pretty impressive for the time though.
@BionicDodo They played to the strengths of the gameboy (Such as they were), with simpler, cartoony sprites rather than trying to cram big 16-bit sprites (Adjusted to 4 colours) onto the gameboy screen, gameboyessentials.com has a write-up about games that fell into that pitfall (Donkey kong land is also notorious for that)
IDK . . . I had both Mortal Kombat and SF2 for GameBoy and thought both were great games.
@Damo I'm sorry but this thumbnail is not promising me footage of the Tiger LCD handheld version. I want to see combos on that!
@Bass_X0 No, the Toshinden and SNK super deformed fighters were the best playing and looking on the Gameboy until I got my Neo Geo Pocket/Color.
@TromaDogg Funny thing is that a Game Boy plus the GB game together probably cost the same as what the SNES cart alone cost new.
(especially after Nintendo dropped the GB console price from $90 to $50 halfway through it's lifespan, though they removed Tetris as well as I recall the free link cable and headphones originally bundled with the console)
@KingMike Yeah, it would have been cool if you didn't already have a Game Boy and then wanted a version of SF2 you could play on the go, and this was the only way to do that at the time. I wouldn't have just bought the game specifically to play on the Super Game Boy though, I'd have rather have just put the money towards the far superior 16 bit version (or spent the money on a different Super Game Boy enhanced game like Donkey Kong which is always well worth a play, or even something like Zelda: Link's Awakening which was almost as enjoyable to play on a proper TV screen as Zelda: A Link To The Past was)
@KingMike OMG can you imagine lol
I remember how expensive the SNES version cost back then on release day due to expected demand ($60-64 is what I paid and that was a super big deal since games capped off at about $50). The hype was real. But I would not say it was the price of a Game Boy plus this version of the game unless you did NOT shop around and decided to buy all your SNES games at Electronics Boutique. They were always marked up.
Also - I agree with the comments in this article where the game was actually fun to play acknowledging it was a descaled version. And dropped heavily on prices years later once it hit gold status.
I’d argue the TI-83 version was worse, particularly if you were trying to play against another person. Graphing calculators were not built for multiplayer. Still better than doing math, though!
@NintendoDad if I remember correctly I have mortal Kombat 2 on the game boy, I think that's the version I had as a kid as well and I had fun with it I was even able to pull off fatalities and stuff.
@Bass_X0 While I do think the "Street Fighter II"-port is quite decent, the crown for best fighting-game on the system has probably to go to "The King of Fighters - Heat of Battle", in my opinion. It runs super fast, plays great and the amount fighters, moves and special attacks put into that game is nothing short of impressive. The Takara-fighters for Game Boy were pretty good in general.
To me, this seems like a perfectly serviceable port, given the hardware limitations of the GameBoy, and I'm sure any kids in 1992 who had a GameBoy but didn't have a SNES and wanted to play Street Fighter 2, couldn't care less about input lag or frames per second. I certainly didn't know what they were back then!
@Bass_X0 That, and the Amiga & DOS versions. End of story.
I remember that I wanted this game as a kid. I loved Street Fighter but had moved to buying GB games over SNES ones because they were cheaper and also played on the Super Game Boy. I ended up buying MK2 instead and looking back it was probably a much better choice. MK2 on GB was at least playable.
@Bass_X0 But they aren't a Game and Watch, they don't have an internal clock like the actual G&W but I do agree what you say about them not being an actual entry as they are not made by Capcom so doesn't count as an actual Street Fighter II game. But then the Sega Master System version was also not made by Capcom so does that one count?
At least you got more than one button unlike the home computer versions, tried playing SF2 on Atari ST the other day, it has pretty much equal framerate to the GB version. Couldn't do anything except spam thunder-shock as Blanka.
Sometimes companies can't resist porting games to hardware that can't handle them because they think they will sell well. Capcom is also guilty of this with X-Men vs Street Fighter which frankly should have just ditched the assist feature to give the characters more frames of animation. Takara (?) had the right idea with World Heroes 2 Jet.
Tap here to load 34 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...