Because teenagerdom is a mess, but some people handle it better than others.
Amanda And Becky Talk About Street Fighter: Part 2, Street Fighter Alpha
by Amanda LaPergola | 2:47 pm, September 14th, 2012
This month, the Street Fighter series turns twenty-five making a lot of us feel extremely old. To celebrate this mile-stone, Becky Chambers, our resident video game expert, and Amanda LaPergola, our resident Street Fightologist (a title Amanda has given to herself), have sat down for a series of chats about the nature, function, and cultural impact of the series.
Last week, Becky and Amanda discussed the original Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, the questionable backstory of Cammy White, the decline of arcade culture and the merits of the 1994 live action movie (of which there are some). This week, Becky and Amanda discuss Street Fighter Alphas 1, 2, and 3: the prequels to the events of Street Fighter II. Let’s join them now in an undisclosed chatroom as they talk about combos, bromance, and the practicality of blue nipple hearts…
Becky: Hello hello!
Amanda: Do you want to make the “Round 2: FIGHT!” joke or should I?
Becky: Oh, go right ahead.
Amanda: Okay. Round 2: FIGHT! …I love doing that.
Becky: Worth it.
Amanda: So, what games were you able to find in the Alpha series?
Becky: ALL OF THEM. I got through one and two, but only had time for a little bit of three.
Amanda: Nice work. You get all the gold stars. What were your impressions?
Becky: Combos. Combos everywhere. I’ve become a combo junkie.
Amanda: Combos are fighting game crack. You start off simple: a nice three-hitter. Maybe with a few a friends at a party… Before you know it, you need, like, 35-hit super-ultra chain combos in order to feel anything.
Becky: Hugs not combos, kids.
Amanda: “Where did you learn to hit things so many times in succession?” “YOU, DAD! I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!”
Becky: I really liked the combat in Alpha 1 and 2: the combos, the balance, the words “Great!” and “Wonderful!” floating up alongside… And training mode. Huzzah for training mode.
Amanda: The Alpha series is just a nicer series in general. It just feels like a happier, more accessible series of games.
Becky: Yeah, there was a certain spark to it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It felt less like I was fighting the game itself. In Street Fighter II, since you’re just thrown into the deep end, there’s this constant feeling of, “Oh, YEAH, game? Well, I’LL SHOW YOU!” This time around, it felt more like the game wanted me to win. Which is not to say that I didn’t get my ass handed to me plenty.
Amanda: Oh yeah. The Alpha series is by no means simpler.
Becky: Yeah, it is not easy, but accessible, yes. That’s the perfect word for it.
Amanda: It ups the ante and the energy with flashy super moves and bigger combos. And by Alpha 3, you can block IN THE AIR. Oh wait. You can actually air-block in Alpha 1. My mistake. Still pretty awesome, though.
Becky: I missed that entirely. I am super good at these games, as you can tell. And by super good, I mean constantly yelling “Wait, what did I just do?!”
Amanda: I know that feeling. That “that was AWESOME! How did I do that?” feeling. Or that “I meant to throw a fireball, why the @#$% am I dragon punching???” feeling.
Becky: Between Alpha 1 and Alpha 2, I liked Alpha 2 better, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why.
Amanda: Well, technically, Alpha 2 is an improvement on Alpha 1.
Becky: Yeah, but I can’t point to any one thing that jumped out at me as being better. Maybe it was just that Sakura and I made a pretty good team.
Amanda: For those of you who don’t know Sakura, she’s Ryu reincarnated into the form of a Japanese schoolgirl.
Becky: Well, she thinks she is. She kind of takes adoring “fangirl” to a whole new level.
Amanda: I almost expected Sakura’s storyline to take a Single White Female turn. Where she just doesn’t admire Ryu, she wants to become him. But it’s actually much sweeter than that.
Amanda: Okay, Sakura in a nutshell: she sees Ryu fight in a tournament and gets a kind of crush on him. So she trains herself to fight like Ryu. AFTER SEEING HIM FIGHT ONCE. She is like a martial artist savant. She’s Rain Man, if Rain Man were a Japanese schoolgirl.
Becky: Ryu was a jerk to her after the final fight. I think she can do better than him. She’s followed him around the world (which is vaguely creepy, but it’s Street Fighter, so we’ll allow it), she beats him in a fair fight, and then after she BEGS him to train her, he’s like “Meh, schoolgirls are dumb, I have go brood and be mysterious and stuff.”
Amanda: I think Ryu was trying to be the responsible adult, considering age of consent laws and the fact that he has a murderous intent trapped in his soul. But yeah, he could have been nicer about it.
Becky: Wait. Ryu has murderous intent?
Amanda: Oh yeah. Ready for a heaping spoonful of Street Fighter Canon?
Becky: I have popcorn.
Amanda: In Street Fighter I, Ryu enters the first World Warrior Tournament. He advances all the way to the final round and fights Sagat. Sagat hands him his ass, and that awakens in Ryu what is known as “Satsui No Hadou”, or “Murderous Intent”
Becky: Oh dear.
Amanda: It’s basically a dark force that drives a fighter to defeat his opponents even if that means to death. So, it’s bad.
Becky: Very bad.
Amanda: So very bad.
Becky: So he’s trying to keep it under control?
Amanda: Yes. He gave Sagat that awesome chest scar with a dragon punch and defeated him. After the fight, Ryu wondered what the hell came over him, and he goes back to his dojo to ask his master, only to discover that his beloved sensei has been MURRRRDERRRED.
Becky: Dun dun DUN!
Amanda: It turns out that Ryu’s master, Gouken, was killed in a fight by his own brother, Akuma, who has succumbed to “Satsui No Hadou”. This is what happens when Street Fighter tries to add in plot.
Becky: Honestly, it makes more sense than most of the other characters.
Amanda: Speaking of not-sense-making, let’s talk about Rose.
Becky: Okay, I have a list of notes on the game, and there’s one line that just reads “Rose…what…”
Amanda: In terms of gameplay or design? Or is it just her crazypants storyline?
Becky: Crazypants storyline. I played her through Alpha 1. Combat-wise, she’s fine. Nothing to write home about. I beat dudes up and had magical lightning scarf stuff, so it was all good.
Amanda: Rose is a psychic from Italy. She fights using what I like to call “Scarf Fu”.
Becky: It’s an ancient Italian art.
Amanda: I’m half-Italian. I fight with my scarf only sometimes.
Becky: Only for good, right?
Amanda: Of course.
Becky: Oh, sidetracking for a moment, but that reminds me.
There’s something vitally important I forgot to mention last week when we were discussing the movie.
Amanda: Well, we cannot miss something vitally important. That’s too vital.
Becky: I neglected to give a nod to my favorite screen portrayal of Chun-Li. Have you, by chance, seen the movie City Hunter?
Amanda: ONLY THE BEST MOVIE EVER!
Amanda: With all due respect to Ming Na, and Kristen Kreuk, the best live action Chun-Li was definitely Jackie Chan.
Becky: He’s absolutely sublime. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Jackie Chan as Chun-Li.
Amanda: It’s poetry. Sheer cinematic poetry. But, we digress…
Amanda: Rose is actually not…how do I say this…Rose is actually the good half of M. Bison’s soul that he severed from himself in order to embrace Psycho Power.
Amanda: There is no way I can give that a good set-up.
Becky: Actually, that does explain why her Soul Power can defeat his Psycho Power…I can’t believe that makes sense to me. We’re talking about Psycho Power, here. There’s only so much sense that can make.
Amanda: You’re right. If I try to make sense out of Psycho Power, I might give myself an aneurism.
Becky: I found Rose to be a pretty whelming character. Not over or under, just solidly whelming. Unlike Rainbow Mika, who filled me with Murderous Intent.
Amanda: Oh dear God. Rainbow f***ing Mika.
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