It’s easy to look at our personal gaming history through rose colored glasses, remembering only the gaming greats, the titles that held you captive for hours and hours on end while you basked in the warm glow of a CRT TV or monitor. Like most historical views, we tend to suppress, forget or smooth over those heart-aching gaming disappointments that were never quite as crushing as when we were young. Obviously, I’m going to drag my biggest retro gaming disappointment out into the light for all to see, are you ready? Can you deal? Good.
For me, there was nothing quite so gutting as firing up Street Fighter 2 on the Amiga 2000HD. Now it would take a person who was simultaneously blind and dead to not notice that the Street Fighter series is a smoking piece of Capcom goodness, and I’d been witness to this phenomenon thanks to Street Fighter 2 on the SNES. The SNES version is about as close to perfection as any game has been, ever. It is – to use the parlance of a Street Fighter competitor – a flawless victory in the gaming world. Gorgeous, vibrant graphics, well drawn sprites, a smooth arcade feel to the entire title and faithful sound effects all made SF2 on the SNES a perfect bite-sized version of the arcade great.
That’s what made the Amiga port such a fuck off slap in the face.
Now obviously the two versions were never going to be identical. The SNES was released years after
the equivalent Amiga, could display 256 colors without breaking a sweat compared to the Amiga’s 32 (without trickery) and a few other things besides. But none of these things should have made it mandatory to produce the squealing, flailing mutant that was the Amiga SF2 port.
The backdrops were lfieless, the parallax scrolling floors were gone, the background animations were cut back to minimum frames and that’s just the start. Rather than fluidly jumping around the screen, fighters jerked from position to position and move to move, seemingly missing most of the in-between frames that give the title its smooth game play feeling. The sound – an area Amiga games normally excelled in – was bland and tinny.
I could go on, but let’s see if we can get a punchy summary going; it’s shit. I was mortified. I had such grand plans of no longer paying 2 bucks for 30 minutes of SNES SF2 at the local video store, instead whiling away hours and hours at home on my very own Amiga Street Fighter 2. Instead, I had experienced the first in a series of terrible truths that would leave me convinced beat-em-up games are diametrically opposed to the computer platform.
A school of thought I still largely subscribe to today.