Street Fighter II: The World Warrior Review

It isn't the best version of Street Fighter II, but World Warrior is still easily the best fighting game available so far on the Wii--Virtual Console or otherwise.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is the game that started it all, the fighting game that begat 2D fighting games as we know them and the launching pad for one of the greatest franchises in gaming history. Now it's available for the Wii's Virtual Console--the 1992 Super Nintendo Entertainment System port of it, that is, not the arcade original. Still, as arcade ports went in those days, the SNES port of SF II was excellent all around. The visuals were scaled back a bit, and the audio wasn't quite the same as in the arcade version, but the fantastic fighting translated remarkably well to the old SNES controller, and it still holds up well today as a downloadable Wii game.

Too bad you can't do a jumping uppercut with the Wii Remote to pull off a dragon punch.
Too bad you can't do a jumping uppercut with the Wii Remote to pull off a dragon punch.

World Warrior marked the debut of the core eight fighters that are synonymous nowadays with the words "Street Fighter." You pick your chosen fighter and take on the remaining brawlers in a series of fights until you've bested them all, and then you move on to the four frightening boss fighters. If you don't know how Street Fighter II plays, then you don't know anything about 2D fighters, since the majority of other 2D fighters have borrowed at least something from this game. For all intents and purposes, this is an exact port of the SNES version. For the reasons mentioned previously, it's not as great a game as the arcade original, but the controls are surprisingly tight, and the gameplay still pops, even all these years later. You will need a classic controller to play the game, and the good news is that the controls on the D pad feel great. You could also use a GameCube controller to play the game, but that's not ideal. The button layout on the GameCube controller isn't conducive to an enjoyable experience with this game's control scheme, and the teensy D pad makes it difficult to pull off certain moves.

The one drawback about World Warrior's release on the Virtual Console is that it's actually the least enjoyable version of Street Fighter II ever released on the SNES. Capcom later released ports of Street Fighter II Turbo and Super Street Fighter II on the system, and those ports trumped the original World Warrior release soundly (more characters, better game speed, improved gameplay balance, and more). A cynic could surmise that Capcom put World Warrior out first on the Virtual Console so that it can continue to milk Street Fighter fans with later releases of the other, improved versions. Still, it's not certain what the future holds for Street Fighter games on the Virtual Console, and strictly judged on its own merits, World Warrior is still a true classic of the fighting game genre and is one of the best multiplayer games you'll find on the Virtual Console. At 800 Wii points ($8), it's not a bad deal in the slightest. But with all that said, here's to hoping that Turbo and Super find their way to the Virtual Console sometime in the near future.

The Good

  • Classic fighting gameplay that holds up nicely
  • It doesn't look as good as the arcade original, but the graphics are still quite nice
  • When played with the classic controller, the controls feel spot-on

The Bad

  • This isn't the best version of Street Fighter II Capcom could have released for the Virtual Console
  • Some audio funkiness inherent to the original SNES game
  • Playing it with a GameCube controller is a masochistic endeavor

About the Author