Street Fighter II Coverage 1992-1993

     Starting with the release of Street Fighter II The World Warrior on SNES in late 1992, Gamepro magazine began a hype campaign, lauding the SNES' strengths in regard to the Genesis. The review gave Street Fighter II: The World Warrior a perfect score, which was not rare in Gamepro magazines.  Notable deficiencies in the Arcade conversion, such as the lower resolution or that the digital voice samples cut out when two samples were to play at once, went without mention.  The following 6 months of Gamepro issues were loaded with multi-page spreads of "tips and tricks" and "strategies."  This continual promotion of the SNES game through Christmas '92 into the new year was unprecedented in US game magazines at the time, and is probably exemplary of how popular the Street Fighter II franchise had become.

Street Fighter II The World Warrior SNES Review (Page 1)
Street Fighter II The World Warrior SNES Review (Page 2)

      March 1993 saw the first hint of the Street Fighter II franchise being released on other consoles.  Gamepro dedicated a 1-page article to announcing both a Mega CD and PC-Engine HuCard version of Street Fighter II Champion Edition.

Street Fighter II CE Import Preview

      This preview, besides mistyping the projected release date of the HuCard version of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, sneers at SNES fans for thinking the game would never arrive on "other" platforms. It also discusses both the Mega CD and PC-Engine receiving a new 6-button control pad to coincide with the game. With no pictures to look at, this preview provided little substance for owners of these platforms.

      By June, however, Gamepro had a two page spread of the Genesis version of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition.   This preview featured an 80% finished build of the game with huge black bars on the top of the screen for the energy bars to sit in. The implication at the time was that Genesis version had to cut the screen size down considerably in order to handle the game. Gamepro offered little analysis outside of an allusion to "gurgling" noises which might have been a snark against the Genesis sound chip, which would become Gamepro and EGM's mode of operation later the same year.

Street Fighter II CE Genesis Preview (Page 1)
Street Fighter II CE Genesis Preview (Page 2)

     Gamepro's July 1993 issue featured a three page article of not only the Genesis and PC-Engine versions of  Street Fighter II Champion Edition, but also of Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES. The PC-Engine shots were some of the first shots printed in the US, and demonstrated a marked improvement over the Genesis shots from the previous issue. The Genesis shot (singular) still showed the huge black bar at the top of the screen.  There was also no mention of any "Hyper Fighting" mode being added to the Genesis version.

SFII Multi Platform Preview Page 1 (SNES)
SFII Multi Platform Preview Page 2 (Genesis)
SFII Multi Platform Preview Page 3 (PC-Engine)




      Street Fighter II Turbo's review for the SNES comprised one of Gamepro's major August 1993 headlines. This review promoted that the SNES game contains both Champion Edition and Turbo. Notably absent from this issue is any mention of the upcoming Genesis title soon to be redubbed "Special Champion Edition".  Gamepro granted Street Fighter II Turbo, like it's predecessor on the SNES, a perfect rating in all categories following a 9 page review.  Several months would pass before any mention of a Genesis equivalent to Street Fighter II was made by this magazine.

Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 1)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 2)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 3)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 4)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 5)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 6)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 7)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 8)
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) Review (Page 9)

Not even remotely all of the screenshots:

     Gamepro did offer a two page article in September dedicated to Street Fighter II Champion Edition, but not for the Genesis. This issue published a review/preview of the finished PC-Engine HuCard that had been released in June in Japan.

Street Fighter II CE PC-Engine Review (Page 1)
Street Fighter II CE PC-Engine Review (Page 2)

      The review of Champion Edition for PC-Engine featured significant detail. Mentioning flicker that only an "eagle's eye" could catch, as well as the "surprisingly clear" voice samples coming out of the otherwise "distorted" PC-Engine sound chip are the highlights of this review. The screenshots, though, show that the game was running at the same resolution as the original SNES game of the year before, rather than having to be cropped like the earlier Genesis preview shots were.  Like Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter II for the SNES, the PC-Engine game received a perfect score of all 5.0s.

      Finally, in their October 1993 issue, Gamepro published another preview of the Genesis game, now redubbed "Special" Champion Edition.  The Genesis game was revealed to be Street Fighter II Turbo with a "Champion" mode like the previously reviewed SNES game. Gamepro also described Special Champion Edition as just "as good as the others for the SNES." The Genesis game, according to Gamepro, features "improved" graphics and "large, fully detailed sprites, great color shading, and better vivid visuals to the backgrounds. Notably lacking from the screenshots were the then legendary black bars on the top of the screen.

Street Fighter II SCE Preview

      The promise of a full review in the November issue was delivered upon, and then some. Gamepro treated the Genesis release of Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition a three page spread in order to demonstrate the additional combos and moves over the original SNES game of the year before. Yet Gamepro went out of their way to malign the audio, describing it as though a "string-and-cups kiddy phone" underwater would sound better than the Genesis game's audio. They also state: "Without a question, doubt, or hesitation, the Super NES version beats out the Genesis edition by virtue of better graphics and sounds."   This, when combined with an exaggerated comparison of the Genesis and SNES' hardware color limitations which makes the SNES appear to be four times more colorful in the average game, along with a description of the audio as being "garbled", left the Genesis version looking like a second rate substitute for the SNES "original".

Street Fighter II SCE Review (Page 1)
Street Fighter II SCE Review (Page 2)
Street Fighter II SCE Review (Page 3)

      The SNES release of SFII Turbo does not have four times the colors on screen as the Genesis version, it has a little over twice the colors which are primarily taken up in the backgrounds. The character sprites are identical between all three versions.

      Moreover, the Genesis game is doing something that Gamepro missed, and that sets it apart from almost all other Genesis games and the PC-Engine version.  Digital instruments and voice samples play at the same time. Out of an analog sound chip with only one digital channel, this should not be disregarded. Conversely, the PC-Engine version has very clear voice samples, but literally every sound effect and musical instrument is PSG synthesized instruments.  Had Capcom chosen to use FM or PSG instruments instead of digital audio samples for the sound effects and music in the Genesis the voice samples would likely have been much higher quality. This is only one disparity between the presentation that Gamepro made of these three games, and the presentation that the games make of themselves.

      These PC-Engine, SNES and Genesis games are so similar in audio and video that they can easily be mistaken for one another by consumers.  As such, this page is designed to demonstrate the similarities of each version. Each section is separated only by the screenshots from Gamepro magazine, and yet no version stands out in color or on screen detail.

     Something that was even more confusing back in '93 was the order in which these games were reviewed, and the amount of coverage each received. From August until November of 1993, all the US had according to Gamepro was the Super NES version of SFII Turbo. When the Genesis game was finally reviewed, after the ~$100 import of the PC-Engine version, it was maligned and clearly placed a distant second to the SNES game in the States. In other words, provided both Special Champion Edition and Turbo were not on the shelves at the same time, Gamepro's readers only had a choice between the excellent high quality screenshots of Turbo to look at, and low quality "80% build" shots of an up and coming Champion Edition for the Genesis. In time without the Internet, three months was a long time to wait to find out that a comparable game was available on both systems.

   Gamepro scoreboards simply imply that two versions of Street Fighter II from 1993 are perfect, and one is flawed.  Let the reader view the video comparison posted under 16-bit Arcade Comparisons to see if such a comparison holds up.

Also view the games fact sheets for screenshots and release information.  Below are the maximum color counts of the emulation screenshots shown on each game's page.
Game (System): Maximum Simultaneous Colors of Screenshots shown

Street Fighter II Champion Edition (PC-Engine): 87
Street Fighter II Special Championship Edition (Genesis): 53
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES): 135