Street Fighter Alpha 2

I really suck at fighting games. My strategy consists almost exclusively of jumping into range and then punching. It never works. As soon as I get within range, I get special-moved into infinity. Let me rephrase my original statement: I really suck at Street Fighter games. And so I hate them to a certain degree. But it’s only to the degree that I’m sure these games hate me.

Street Fighter games are analogous to the story of Goldilocks. In that story, the heroine, Goldilocks, puts in a lot of effort for very little return. Yes, she may get to eat the pudding and sit in the chair, but in the end she gets attacked by three angry, and seemingly anthropomorphic bears. My question has always been, if the bears are sophisticated enough to decorate a house, make porridge, and display some fairly western family values, why do they immediately go ape-shit when they see Goldilocks; they try to eat her! Seems like an overreaction, but I guess she did break your chair, little bear. The message seems to be that you can take the bear out of the woods but you’ll just make him angry. But if Goldilocks had memorized her combos…

Goldilocks can SUCK IT!

See, Street Fighter games require an enormous amount of effort for relatively minimal return. I could learn my character’s “strategy,” but I’d actually rather not. I’m just not that masochistic. Or maybe I just don’t care about the reward.

My point here is, and always has been, that Street Fighter Alpha 2 is fun in the same way murder is fun. It’s difficult, risky, and requires a huge investment. Also, like murder, it’s not fun the first time. You have to refine your technique and learn to love your tools. Once you do that, you’ll find yourself enjoying the situation. Because it forces you to persevere in the face of minimal return, it is also addictive. So the question is, would you rather murder someone or play Street Fighter? I’d play Street Fighter. What about you?

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Dragon – The Bruce Lee Story

Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story
Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story

Kiyaaa! Bruce Lee’s kung fu is the story of legends, but a game, based on a movie, based on a legend… That’s a stretch, even for the awesomeness of Bruce Lee.  The game has a rough story mode, which consists basically of a few pixelated frames of the highlights of the movie, followed by a fight.  The game is basically a poorly written 2 (optionally 3) player fighter.  If it weren’t contemporary to Super Street Fighter II, it would almost be forgivable, but by 1994, the fighter genre had evolved far past the button mashing and awkward movement of this game.

Come! Let us dance!
Come! Let us dance!

To be fair, it’s not horrible.  The music is probably the best part.  The made an effort to put good tracks to the fights.  The punch and kick sound effects are the usual brutal, rough sounds, but they fit alright.  In the end, what makes the game unenjoyable is really that there is little to now way to refine your skill, and study and practice combos, and interesting special moves and techniques.  The game is just too banal.  The only point of mild interest is the support for a 3rd player.  You could have a bit of a 3 player fighter extravaganza going on for a bit, and the mayhem could be somewhat interesting.  Maybe.  It is something that was not often seen in that era and helped justify the expensive SNES multi-tap purchase. The game deserves credit for that much.

Lots of button mashing, not too many interesting moves.  Meh.  Could have been better. Could have been worse.
Lots of button mashing, not too many interesting moves. Meh. Could have been better. Could have been worse.

The idea of walking through a movie in a game was still reasonably new in 1994, so it’s a reasonable attempt.  Certainly, we must be careful to not overpraise the Street Fighter franchise, seeing what they did with Street Fighter The Movie The Game.  I shudder to think of it.

Verdict: Dragon – The Bruce Lee Story is a fairly pedestrian fighting game that doesn’t offer enough variety or staying power to keep you coming back for more.  It doesn’t completely rape the movie franchise, and a decent effort was made for things like music, but on the whole, it’s just not enough to gain any real note in the history books.

Dragon View

DID YOU KNOW that Dragon View for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System utilises MODE 7 GRAPHICS?! Do you even know what Mode 7 means?! Neither do I, but I’ve heard it’s in Mario Kart and it’s probably the menace behind this ugly-ass overworld as well.

U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi!  Yo' ugly!
You ain’t got no alibi!

It just goes to show that after 15+ years, game developers still haven’t figured out that overworlds suck and get in the way of, you know, PLAYING THE ACTUAL GAME. The Mode 7 sections of Dragon View are probably only there so that Kemco could advertise it on the box art, and really only serve as a vehicle for getting from level to level (it’s only appropriate then, that when I collided with a shrub next to a doorway, I had to reverse out, steer, and drive back in as if parking a bus).  As I drove my magic bus through fields of green, watching poorly redrawn sprites blink in and out of the frame, seeing enemies flutter towards me like spotted silver clouds, I thought to myself, perhaps this is the ‘dragon view’. Perhaps this is how a dragon views his world; here and gone in the blink of an eye; his enemies reduced to tiny, silver clouds.

If there's one positive thing about my overworld experience, it's that I found a 3D Tri-force on the ground, which will please Zelda fans to no end (OMG 3D Zelda before Zelda 64!!!).
If there’s one positive thing about my overworld experience, it’s that I found a 3D Triforce on the ground, which will please Zelda fans to no end.

When I hit a silver cloud, I got a taste of the real game. And that is, side-scrolling slash ’em up (slmup) action. It was kind of like bullfighting once I’d worked out the patterns.  Slash them front on, move out of their path, let them charge like a moron, then get behind them now that they’re facing the wrong way and stab them in the back like the yellow-bellied coward I am. These encounters are good for level-grinding, which I needed to do to stop dying in the actual game. Thing is, I could avoid them altogether by simply driving around the silver clouds.

When I wasn’t getting lost or killed in the overworld, I was speaking with villagers in a strange narrated format (“a blessing upon your house, sire”, he said, “and upon your children, and your children’s children”) and doing fetch-quests for them.  Then I’d get a priest to record my valiant deeds [save game] and trudge my way through the overworld again to find whatever damned thing I was supposed to find, and bring it back.  One such example was having to go to Tylon’s storeroom (which is a cave filled with demons and A GIANT SCORPION) across the other side of the overworld to get him some more dynamite, so that he could make some more bombs for me, so that I could blow up some fallen rocks, so that a lady could get home via Galys Pass.  Now, if you hear your grandparents jabber on about how they had to walk 50 miles to school everyday barefoot in the winter snow, you can tell them to shut their damn faces.  Here’s why:

This is "on the way home" for your typical Dragon View shopkeeper.
This is “on the way home” for your typical Dragon View shopkeeper.

Notice the falling rocks, the craggy cliff face and the skeleton wedged under a rock! Hot-damn this game is hardcore.  More hardcore than your grandma, bitches.