Evolution of Street Fighter: Core Games

17 min

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Evolution of Street Fighter: Core Games
Glorious history of the Street Fighter series

It seems like Street Fighter games are here since the dawn of time (ok, since the dawn of the game industry). Even our ancestors went to their ancient arcades to improve their fighting skills and beat those impudent competitors. Or that wasn’t so long ago?

The Street Fighter franchise has defined the high standards of the fighting games genre at the end of the 1980s. Since then, we have the possibility to enjoy many other great games (such as Tekken, for example), but SF always has its unique atmosphere and always delivers players that specific visual style and the overall feeling of this particular virtual fighting.

Guys, DashFight invites you to a short journey to the past - not too far, we don’t need to pack our suitcases. Let’s remember all the (awesome) games of the Street Fighter series and follow their evolution from old arcades to super modern gaming technologies.

A similar journey for Nintendo fighters is also possible - with the article Ultimate Story of the Super Smash Bros. Series.

How many Street Fighter games are there?

The answer depends on how you count. There are only five core games, but each of them has quite a few special editions - improved and expanded versions. There are standalone series Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter EX. And there are a lot of spin-offs and crossovers.

In this article, we concentrate on the history of core games:

  • Street Fighter - 1987, arcades
  • Street Fighter II: The World Warrior - 1991, arcades
  • Street Fighter III: New Generation - 1997, arcades (and 1999-2000 for Sega Dreamcast)
  • Street Fighter IV - 2008-2009, arcades, PS3, Xbox 360, Windows computers
  • Street Fighter V - 2016, PS4, PC
  • Street Fighter VI - 2022, PS4&5, Xbox X|S, PC

Street Fighter

The legend entered the gaming multiverse with a success but without an extraordinary sensation. That was a very good fighting game with some very clever ideas, which sprouted later in Street Fighter many modern players know and love. Still, the original game lacks depth and its replay value is not very high - after discovering all the secrets and experiencing all the features, players can freely move to other arcade machines. 

Perhaps, this kind of criticism is possible because the following Street Fighter games have much better gameplay. As for a game from 1987, Street Fighter 1 is quite a solid product - and a nice entertainment for fighting gamers.

The game introduced Ryu to the world. He is a young Japanese martial artist, who competes at an international tournament. In the single-player mode, Ryu meets 10 other fighters:

  • Retsu from Japan
  • Geki from Japan
  • Joe from the USA
  • Mike from the USA
  • Lee from China
  • Gen from China
  • Birdie from England
  • Eagle from England
  • Adon from Thailand
  • Sagat from Thailand - the main antagonist

In the two-player mode, the second one controls Ken from the USA, a friend and rival of Ryu. If Ken wins, he can become the main hero of the following adventure.

So, the original Street Fighter game has 12 characters overall - 2 playable and 10 opponents.

One very interesting feature of this game is secret special attacks: Hadouken (Fire Ball), Shoryuken (Dragon Punch), and Tatsumaki Senpu Kyaku (Hurricane Kick). Unlike the following installments, the first one gives no instructions on how to use them, so players should discover special attacks while exploring the possibility of fighters.

The controlling of the first Street Fighter has become universal for all the other games: six buttons for Light / Medium / Heavy Punches and Kicks. The joystick can move in eight directions and these movements can be combined with attacks.

Street Fighter 1 Gameplay:

Street Fighter 1

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

The continuation was much better than the beginning. Capcom took the original formula and added a lot of new components to it. The best among them are many new characters with individual fighting styles and the introduction of combo attacks.

For the first time, players could choose their fighter - thus matches in Street Fighter II became much more interesting. 

Combos are sequences of attacks that cannot be blocked if you press the buttons in the right moments. They were invented accidentally but became so popular among players that later they were integrated into  many other fighting games.

The main character of Street Fighter 2 is Ryu. Again, the guy joins an international martial arts tournament and faces a series of opponents. Ken is here too, as well as Sagat. The rest 9 fighters are new to the series - and they remain here for the following installments:

The second Street Fighter game was very successful, so the company released quite a few versions of it. That’s why you can often see them all combined under the name Street Fighter II series.

Many of these versions are ports to other devices - for making the fighting experience available for an even wider audience of players. 

  • Street Fighter II - Special Champion Edition 
  • Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  • Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo
  • Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition
  • Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

Each fresh update introduces some new features and additional fighters. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers was released in 2017 for Nintendo Switch and contains 20 characters.

The financial success of Street Fighter 2 is super impressive! All the versions brought the company around $10 billion.

Street Fighter II Gameplay:

Street Fighter II

Street Fighter III: New Generation

After the release of the second game, Capcom created SF Alpha that returns a bit in the timeline - its events happen in between Street Fighter 1 and 2. Then, the developers decided to continue the core series.

Street Fighter III: New Generation has some interesting additions to the playing mechanics. For example, fighters can dash, retreat, make high jumps, activate quick standing from the ground, and damage crouching opponents with leap attacks.

The third game is the first one with the parrying ability - an effective way to avoid dangerous attacks. Also, the players can use Super Art, various special moves.

In this installment, you meet Ryu and Ken again but all the other characters are new. They are:

  • Alex from the USA
  • Dudley from the UK
  • Elena from Kenya
  • Ibuki from Japan
  • Necro from Russia
  • Oro from Japan
  • Sean from Brazil
  • Yun and Yang from Hong Kong
  • Gill - the main antagonist

Street Fighter III was released in the period when the whole gaming world became obsessed with 3D graphics. Still, the company decided to keep their fighting series 2D - reportedly because of the lack of proper technologies.

Street Fighter III: New Generation has nice visuals and feels like a classic SF game, but some players were disappointed by its too traditional attitude. This is a good but not innovative game. Some critics mention poor single-player experience.

Capcom released two versions of this game:

  • Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact - Giant Attack
  • Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - Fight for the Future

Street Fighter 3 was released for home consoles only once - Street Fighter III: Double Impact for the Sega Dreamcast. It contains the original version and 2nd Impact.

Street Fighter III Gameplay:

Street Fighter III

Street Fighter IV

Capcom took 11 (!) years to release the next game after Street Fighter III - this is the biggest gap for the series. And the developers used this time effectively! They returned to the roots and built upon them something fresh and still quite traditional.

One of the most obvious improvements in Street Fighter IV is its gorgeous graphics. It is still 2D fighting but with 3D character models. The stages are very beautiful - colorful and filled with an authentic atmosphere.

The playing process feels a lot like SF2, and considering the great success of that installment, this is an achievement of the development team. 

Street Fighter 4 introduced a few interesting mechanics. For example, Focus Attacks that allow cancellation of an opponent attack and launch a counterattack. Or Ultra Combo, a very powerful series of various hits that deal significant damage. 

For the first time, players can discover backstories of the fighters through special animated videos. The idea is great, but its implementation could be much better - some players think that the cutscenes say nothing and that in-engine footage would be prettier than the anime style.

So, the arcade version of Street Fighter IV has 19 characters. Playable among them are 17:

  • all 12 fighters from Street Fighter II
  • Abel from France
  • Crimson Viper from the USA
  • Rufus from the USA
  • El Fuerte from Mexico
  • Akuma - a secret playable character and opponent from Super Street Fighter II Turbo

 In addition, there are 2 computer-controlled guys:

  • Seth - the main antagonist
  • Gouken - a secret opponent

The console version of SFIV has a bigger roster - 6 more to the mentioned:

  • Cammy from the UK (Super Street Fighter II)
  • Dan from Hong Kong (Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams)
  • Fei Long from Hong Kong (Super Street Fighter II)
  • Gen from China (Street Fighter)
  • Rose from Italy (Street Fighter Alpha)
  • Sakura from Japan (Street Fighter Alpha 2)

Improved versions of Street Fighter IV are:

  • Super Street Fighter IV
  • Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition 
  • Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition 
  • Ultra Street Fighter IV 

The final (for now) iteration has 44 characters.

Critics, professionals, and casual players praised the quality of Street Fighter IV. Overall sales of the home versions reached $9+ M.

Street Fighter IV Review

Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter V

The initial release in 2016 was disastrous. The core gameplay and some new features were all right, but the company hurried to deliver Street Fighter V before the Capcom Pro Tour, so they cut lots of content and published an unfinished product.

Still, that was a very good game for hardcore competitive players. Only newcomers to the series and casual gamers felt forgotten and abandoned. Street Fighter V had sparse single-player content, a limited number of characters, and even issues with the servers.

In the gameplay, SFV got one new feature - V-Gauge. When fighters take damage, use V-Skills, or perform Crash Counter, they fill the special energy bar and then can use quite powerful attacks V-Reversals or V-Triggers.

Also, the game has EX Special moves from Street Fighter III. Focus Attacks did not return from Street Fighter IV. A small but helpful new feature is the displayed Stun Meter.

Here are all 16 fighters of the basic SFV (4 of them a new)

  • F.A.N.G - presumably from China
  • Laura from Brazil
  • Necalli - presumably of ancient Aztec heritage
  • Rashid from the Middle East
  • Ken from the USA (Street Fighter)
  • Ryu from Japan (Street Fighter)
  • Birdie from the UK (Street Fighter)
  • Cammy from the UK (Super Street Fighter II)
  • Chun-Li from China (Street Fighter II)
  • Dhalsim from India (Street Fighter II)
  • Karin from Japan (Street Fighter Alpha 3)
  • M. Bison (antagonist of Street Fighter II)
  • Nash from the USA (Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams)
  • R. Mika from Japan (Street Fighter Alpha 3)
  • Vega from Spain (Street Fighter II)
  • Zangief from the Soviet Union (Street Fighter II)

Street Fighter V Review

Street Fighter V

To correct their mistakes, the developers released additional content through game updates. Players got the story mode A Shadow Falls and short stories that explained the background of each character - with the proper art style this time.

A significantly improved version of the game, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, was released in 2018. It has new game modes: Arcade, where you can play visually improved copies of all the core SF arcade games, and Extra Battle Mode with special challenges. 

For now, SFV: Arcade Edition is the basic version. It comes with the 16 original characters and also has 12 fighters from Season 1 and 2 - among them, one absolutely new, one from another franchise, and three become playable for the first time:

  • Menat from Egypt
  • Abigail from Canada (character from Final Fight)
  • Ed (Street Fighter IV)
  • Kolin presumably from Russia (Street Fighter III: New Generation)
  • Zeku from Japan (Street Fighter Alpha 2)
  • Akuma (Super Street Fighter II Turbo)
  • Alex from the USA (Street Fighter III)
  • Balrog from the USA (Street Fighter II)
  • Guile from the USA (Street Fighter II)
  • Ibuki from Japan (Street Fighter III)
  • Juri from South Korea (Street Fighter IV)
  • Urien from the Mediterranean region (Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact)

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition Review

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition

In February 2020, Capcom released an even better version of the game - Street Fighter V: Champion Edition. It brings some changes to the gameplay and lots of additional content, including 12 fighters from the Season 3 and 4 - among them, three new and one from another franchise:

  • Falke
  • G
  • Kage
  • Lucia from the USA (Final Fight 3)
  • Blanka from Brazil (Street Fighter II)
  • Cody from the USA (Final Fight 3, Street Fighter Alpha 3)
  • E. Honda from Japan (Street Fighter II)
  • Gill from the Mediterranean region (Street Fighter III)
  • Poison from the USA (Final Fight, Street Fighter Alpha 2)
  • Sagat from Thailand (Street Fighter)
  • Sakura from Japan (Street Fighter Alpha 2)
  • Seth (Street Fighter IV)

Even the catastrophe of the initial release did not prevent Street Fighter 5 from becoming a commercially successful game. As for May 2020, Capcom sold around 4.5Ь copies.

Street Fighter V is quite accessible to beginners, and still, we recommend getting some basic info from our Street Fighter V - an Ultimate Guide for Beginners.

Street Fighter VI

Released in June 2022, Street Fighter 6 release was a resounding success for Capcom, with the wider Fighting Games community rallying behind the title. It quickly broke through the one million copies sold in its first week. Its new universal Drive system provided players with a new dynamic mechanic and resource to keep track of, and the World Tour single-player mode. In this expansive open-world mode, players fight their way to the top, customizing their character's looks and moves, as well as meeting important Street Fighter characters along the way in the unfolding story.

SF6 also includes an extensive base roster at release, which included 18 characters, six of them brand new to the franchise.

  • Blanka Street Fighter II
  • Cammy Street Fighter II
  • Chun-Li - Street Fighter II
  • Dee JayStreet Fighter II
  • Dhalsim Street Fighter II
  • E.Honda - Street Fighter II
  • Guile - Street Fighter II
  • Jamie - New!
  • JP - New!
  • Juri - Street Fighter IV
  • Ken - Street Fighter
  • Kimberly - New!
  • Lily - New!
  • Luke - Street Fighter V
  • Manon - New!
  • Marisa - New!
  • Ryu - Street Fighter
  • Zangief - Street Fighter II

Capcom has also announced the release of the Year 1 Character Pass, included in the Deluxe and Ultimate editions of the game, which brings four characters into the roster:

  • Rashid - Street Fighter V
  • A.K.I. - New!
  • Ed - Street Fighter IV
  • Akuma - Street Fighter II

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