I’m in one of my moods again. Having just downloaded Fightcade, I’m preparing to go on another several week binge play of my favorite fighting games, woefully aware that most anyone I meet will likely grind me into a fine paste. Even my favorite of all time, SFIII: Third Strike, I’m still pretty rusty at, but there’s still a quiet satisfaction in earning the occasional win with Q or Necro, secure in the knowledge that they’ll never be in another Street Fighter game ever again.
In preparation for my online wars, I was originally going to boot up some old MAME standbys, but somewhere in this journey, I took a detour to a weird part of town.
Tech Toy is a company that most have never heard of, but they were Sega’s primary distributor in Brazil, often making dubious knock offs and ports of games that really had no right being on an 8 bit system. Funnily enough, they’re the only company in the world still selling Sega hardware in an official capacity and are responsible for the only non-pirate 8-bit version of Street Fighter II.
As you would imagine, it’s not great… or good, or even passable really, but goddamn if it doesn’t try, presenting a game that can best be described as the result of someone giving the programmers a second-hand account of what Street Fighter II looks and sounds like. It’s very obviously missing characters, backgrounds, and huge chunks of animation, outputting a soundtrack that may actually be coming from a TI-83 calculator. In my attempts to become the greatest World Warrior, I soon realized that the game didn’t have “moves” so much as “mild suggestions”, settling on a straight normal punch as my primary offensive weapon. Since the AI is roughly equal in intelligence to that of your average Youtube commenter, this strategy was surprisingly effective. In fact, I beat the game hitting that one button over and over, my opponents unable to stop running headfirst into Balrog’s mighty fist.
The idea of game “demakes” have always fascinated me, but to see something like this as an actual licensed product will never not be mindblowing. Several other attempts were made at other ports, even bringing over a version of Mortal Kombat III that was of a similar quality. Far shakes to them, I couldn’t imagine how either game could be much better given the limitations, and as proven by some Acclaim ports, it could always be much worse.
Come to think of it, that was always the primary function of Acclaim – to make us feel better by comparison.