If you like smacking people in the gob, or kicking people unexpectedly behind the ear from a standing start, then this must be the game for you. Not, as I fully expected, a yawnsome repeat of every other martial arts romp in the book, but a refreshing twist on the tired old beat ’em up scenario.
The original arcade game was a bit of an innovation, having as it did some massive pads on the front of it, instead of the usual joystick and buttons. You actually punched the pads, which in turn made the character on the screen punch his opponent – the first arcade game to exercise the rest of your body, as well as the usual brain and thumb, methinks. And now the joys of Street Fighter can be yours, as Go! bring the epic Capcom machine to your Speccy, Minus the pads unfortunately, so you’re going to get flabby playing this version, but everything else is in there.
In case you’ve not seen Street Fighter; it follows the usual beat’em up format, two guys standing on screen who, at a given signal, start to beat each other insensible. With each direct hit, a little hit meter at the top of the screen goes down a notch. If you can beat the opponents meter down faster than he beats down yours, then you win. But if he beats yours down (which is what usually happens), then he wins, and you get an enlarged picture of your opponent plus a sneery message. A nice touch here is the fact that hits are coloured black for the baddie and white for you, so in a flurry of punches and kicks you can tell who hit who, and there are a lot of flurries… in my case ploughing into the guy with fists flying is a sort of strategy, as I can never remember which joystick move makes which kick/duck/punch/block combination.
The interesting thing about the look of this game is the sheer SIZE of the sprites you’re controlling. They’re at least 6-7 characters tall, but this is in keeping with the original game, where the sprites almost filled the screen. The usual joystick/button combinations are linked logically to a range of similar moves on screen, and even if I can’t recall them, they’re fairly easy to pick up as you go along. If in doubt just thrash the stick in his general direction and blip the button as fast as you can. The usual rules of looking at the instructions as a last resort apply. One point about movement is that, unlike almost every other martial arts game that has ever been designed, you don’t have to keep turning to face your opponent. You know how it is, you throw a punch at your foe, and he sidesteps it, jumps right over your head and before you can turn and hit him, he’s punched your kidney to pate. None of this can happen to you in Street Fighter. Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, you face up to your opponent automagically.
As martial arts beat’em ups go, this is not at all bad, with the graphics a notch above the ordinary and the action nice and fast. Not a great deal of sound in the game, but I guess I’d rather have a good fast game than a couple of strained sound effects. If you’re a fan of the Capcom machine then you won’t be disappointed. The game has been converted by Tiertex, the team behind 720 degrees so you can expect the quality of the conversion to be spiffing