|[ Writer ] = BAD
|[ 03/29/03 ] = Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition
Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition was in development around the time that I had owned Street Fighter II, and played Street Fighter II Champion Edition at any arcade I could. Seeing screenshots and an article in Sega Visions magazine (remember?) at the time, I had thought that Capcom was just planning to re-release Street Fighter II Champion Edition, but they had something else in mind. Capcom had another SF game in store for fans alongside the release of the highly anticipated Street Fighter II Turbo. For the fans who weren't content enough having SFII and SFIICE to play, Capcom filled the void and gave hungry fans a pleasant surprise with Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition (Street Fighter II Champion Edition Plus in Japan).
Released sometime after Street Fighter II Champion Edition and right alongside Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition was unfortunately overshadowed by the much-anticipated release of Street Fighter II Turbo upon the masses. Rather than just a re-release of SFIICE or a version of SFIIT, Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition is essentially a fusion of SFIICE and SFIIT, with even a new mode of play. Probably one of the less-talked-about SF titles, SFIISCE is a great CPS1-based Genesis fighter that any fan of the SF series can appreciate. No Street Fighter fan should lack this title in their Capcom fighter collection. The game may be forgotten now, but this article will bring back the days when the popularity of Street Fighter was at its peak. I present to you, Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition.
The first, most noticeable changes to Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition are the gameplay changes that come with the inclusion of speed and Special Moves from Street Fighter II Turbo. While SFIISCE is aesthetically SFIICE, the game can be set to the same speed as SFIIT, and includes not only Special Moves from SFIIT, but damage ratios as well. Those who liked the gameplay of SFIICE but hated the speed of the game are in luck; SFIISCE's game speed can be set like that of SFIIT. I would have never thought of a faster SFIICE, but seeing as how Capcom likes to cover all the bases, we got a faster, meaner SFIICE with SFIISCE. The faster game speed definitely changes the flow of the game; the timing of the SFIICE moves in faster gameplay take a bit to get used to, and some combos actually seem harder to get. The fights run at the same blazing speed as that of SFIIT, and without the occasional slowdown during certain corner situations in SFIICE. Without the occasional slowdown with some corner hits as in SFIICE, some corner combos that required it don't come out as smooth in SFIISCE, and some don't even seem to work at all. With faster gameplay, SFIISCE is a different experience than that of the original SFIICE, and with some added moves to top it off.
The thing that really irritated me was that upon release SFIISCE was often labeled SFIICE, and most wrote the game off as a mere re-release carbon copy. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Sure, SFIISCE wasn't developed as SFIIT (which is included on the same cartridge), but it sure isn't just a SFIICE re-release. As stated a bit before, SFIISCE falls somewhere between SFIICE and SFIIT; this is especially apparent in the Special Moves for each of the fighters. With some characters having only their SFIICE Special Moves, and others with selected SFIIT Special Moves, SFIISCE has its own unique gameplay that is different from that of the un-tweaked SFIICE. In addition to the faster game speed, SFIISCE makes the player get used to what moves were left in from SFIICE, and what moves were borrowed from SFIIT.
Most of the characters in SFIISCE that got moves from SFIIT are the bosses. Vega, M.Bison, and Balrog have been changed the most from SFIICE to SFIISCE. Just as in SFIIT, M. Bison was weakened from SFIICE overall, with a tweaked Psycho Crusher that doesn't hit as many times when blocked. In SFIISCE, I can't tell if Sagat has the Tiger Shots of SFIIT, or SFIICE, but his Tiger Uppercut seems to have the priority of the SFIIT Tiger Uppercut. Balrog plays just like that of his SFIIT incarnation, with Turn Punch that can be charged to a "Final" level, allowing him to clear an opponent's lifebar in one hit. This is a Special Move that was not in SFIICE, thus changing the SFIICE engine SFIISCE is based off of. In addition, Balrog's Dashing Punch went over crouching opponents in SFIICE, but in SFIISCE it actually hits crouching opponents as in SFIIT.
Probably the most noticeably changed character from is Vega; in SFIICE he had a 2-Hit Rolling Claw that had no distance, but in SFIISCE he was given the longer, 5-Hit Rolling Claw from SFIIT. The damage from SFIIT seems to have been carried over also, as Vega's Re-Dizzy combo from SFIIT even works in SFIISCE! Vega plays just like that of Vega in SFIIT, except with the SFIICE method of execution for the Cartwheel; in SFIIT it was all 3 Punches, but in SFIISCE it is performed by hitting back twice just as in SFIICE. With the 5-Hit Rolling Claw of SFIIT and the SFIICE Cartwheel, Vega would seem like a god in SFIISCE, right? Well, kind of. The biggest problem with this is that with SFIISCE's faster game speed, Vega moves a lot faster than he did in SFIICE, thus, accidentally hitting back twice gets Vega into a bind during intense fights, usually leading to loss that he probably wouldn't have had in SFIIT. Setting aside the fact that Vega is a bitch to control sometimes because of the Cartwheel execution, the addition of the SFIIT Rolling Claw into the SFIICE engine makes him a demon.
Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, E. Honda, Blanka, Dhalsim, Zangief all seem to have retained their SFIICE Special Moves. However, since Guile's changes from SFIICE to SFIIT were very minor, I'd say that Guile plays like his SFIIT counterpart, with the same timing on his combos (even his Re-Dizzy). I have played SFIISCE extensively, and from my observation SFIISCE's damage ratio is close to that of SFIICE. Like some of the Special Moves and game speed, some damage ratios also seem to have been taken from SFIIT; to go with the Special Move tweaks I assume. The speed of SFIIT combined with select Special Moves of SFIICE make the gameplay of SFIISCE solid. The game retains the sentimental value of SFIICE while also having the ferocious gameplay elements of SFIIT.
As for glitches and other tricks, SFIISCE retains what is in SFIIT. Just as in SFIICE and SFIIT, the red Hadoken glitch also made its way into SFIISCE, showing up every now and then when you least expect it. Some classify them as glitches, while others call them combos, but for the sake of explanation I will say that all the Re-Dizzy combos from SFIIT work in SFIISCE. However, M. Bison's Re-Dizzy might work in SFIISCE; since I can't get it to work in even SFIICE, maybe someone has actually gotten it to work in SFIISCE. As of this writing, I have not ran across any other glitches or new re-dizzy combos, but there might be more that I do not know of.
In Capcom's newer 2-D fighters, Survival, Dramatic Battle, and other types of modes give the player various ways to play fighters. SFIISCE pioneered the idea of the alternate modes of play found in Capcom's other fighters; SFIISCE was the first Capcom fighting game to feature an alternate mode of play that deviated from the standard 1-on-1 best 2 out of 3 matches in the default gameplay. To start, the biggest addition is the inclusion of a new play mode, called Group Battle. Group Battle allows players to pick teams rather than the standard 1-on-1 match type. There are two ways to play the Group Battle; Match Play, and Elimination. In Match Play, the number of characters on each team can be set from 1 - 6, and each side gets the same number of characters on his/her team. For example, after choosing Match Play, on the set screen if the number of characters is set to 3, Player 1 and Player 2 both have to choose 3 fighters for their team. From here, each match is only one round, and the winners of each round do not continue on to the next fighter on the other side.
However, in Elimination Group Battle, the number of fighters for each side can be different, and the winner of a match go on to the next fighter of the opposing team. For example, in Elimination, players first choose their own number of fighters to have on a team, then whoever the victor of the first round is goes on to fight the next fighter (if there is one) in line from the other team. The number of characters for each team can be set from 1 - 6 like in Match Play, but in Elimination teams can be uneven; for example, if P1 chooses he/she can have only 2 fighters on a team, while P2 can choose to have up to 5 or 6 on his/her team. Also, in Elimination, the fights go on until all one team is defeated, whereas in Match Play if the team is set to 5 or more, the first side to get defeat four opponents wins. After choosing the Group Battle mode of play and teams, the player can also choose the attack level, toggle Special Moves, and even choose what stage to fight in.
The attack level option in the Group Battle mode makes for some interesting matches, and Capcom's testers seem to have did a good job with this particular option (given the fact that I didn't find any death combos). Those who want their matches to last longer can set the attack level down, while those who want to get in a few quick matches before work or school can turn the attack level up for shorter (rotten) fights. SFIISCE's Group Battle mode of play also includes an option that allows Special Moves to be turned on or off, giving players not only a sense of customization for their characters, but also endless battle possibilities. Do your opponents claim you win them only because you use one move? In SFIISCE you can show them that they just suck at the game by turning off that one move and still kicking their ass. Unless, of course, you really do win by using only one move (can't help you there).
Also, since there's nothing cooler than picking your good luck stage, and in SFIISCE's Group Battle you can choose the battleground that best suits you; my favorites are Ken and Ryu's. Some awesome stages right there. However, some will be disappointed to hear that unlike playing the game in the standard 1-on-1 mode, in Group Battle there are no Bonus stage chances. Also, as long as the Group Battle mode isn't exited, scores for P1 and P2 both carried on from match to match, resulting in some pretty big scores after an hour or two. And while there each character can only be chosen once in the Group Battle normally, with a code each character can be chosen twice (even to the same team), making for even more match-ups than before. While the SFIISCE's Group Battle mode of play has been shit on by some (supposedly its "worthless"), ultimately it allows players to play the game with their friends along slightly different lines of gameplay.
As far as design goes, SFIISCE is aesthetically the same as SFIICE, with the same stages, fonts, character colors, portraits, and endings. And for those who care, SFIISCE's demo fights are just as those in SFIICE, with characters sporting their default colors as they battle. However, Capcom put in some extras that set SFIISCE apart from SFIICE and SFIIT. Extras that Capcom put into SFIISCE include extra ending portraits (see screenshots), a new Chun Li quote, a brick Bonus stage (see screenshots), and player bio screens. In SFIISCE, after a hard run through the game, players are treated the some nice SFIISCE-exclusive portraits after the character ending and staff roll. One of the portraits is of a Ryu that looks like he's ready to deck someone, while the other is of a high-kicking Chun Li looking cuter than ever.
Thankfully, SFIISCE also features the cool special staff roll ending sequences from SFIICE; in one ending fighters battle it out as the credits roll, while in the other each fighter destroys a crate or drum. Present as well in these special endings are also the same resonant congratulatory tunes that were in SFIICE. In SFIISCE, if Chun Li defeats another Chun Li, she has a quote that wasn't in SFIICE. SFIISCE lets you not only destroy your opponents, but also a car, barrels, and a pile of bricks. Guess even the world's best fighters even gotta have a break every now and then, right? My favorite Bonus Stage is the car. Splitting barrels is one thing, breaking bricks is another, but nothing is like seeing a Street Fighter turn a car into a heap of scrap metal! And for the fanatics out there (such as myself), SFIISCE features bio screens that tell some interesting tidbits about everyone's favorite Street Fighters. A novelty? Sure, but a novelty with lots of what I would like to affectionately refer to as "fun facts."
Moving on, the intro cinema in SFIISCE is also changed from its SFIICE counterpart, featuring instead two white men fighting in place of a black man and a white man as it was in SFIICE. In SFIICE, it was a white man knocking out a black man, but in SFIISCE a white man knocks out another white man. It wasn't just a simple color change, however, as the guy getting knocked out has a completely different hairdo. It's good that Capcom changed the intro from its edgy SFIICE version. Still more, Capcom also changed the color palettes of the crowd cheering on the fight in the background. And, last but not least, Capcom also slightly changed intro fighter with the wearing the shirt; in SFIICE he was wearing a shirt with sleeves. In SFIISCE, his sleeves are rolled up and he looks a bit tougher than his equally violent SFIICE counterpart.
Is the game better than SFIICE or SFIIT? Well, it's hard to say because it all depends on balance preference. SFIISCE runs basically on the same balance as that of SFIICE, so the gameplay is loosely like playing SFIIT with SFIICE rules. By playing the game in the Group Battle mode of play, however, many options are at the players hands. Therefore, with the changes Capcom has already made to SFIICE's gameplay in SFIISCE, and with the ability to bend the rules of damage and other aspects of the game in the Group Battle mode of play, this game should please most who pick it up. SFIISCE, meant to be an upgrade of sorts to the popular SFIICE, is a unique SF experience. Not quite SFIICE, but not SFIIT, SFIISCE's strongest points lie in the game's plethora of somewhat customizable gameplay options. Great job, Capcom. Not having access to this game immediately upon its release, I waited for a long time to play it, and when I finally did, I was pleasantly surprised. If you are a Street Fighter fan and haven't yet played this entry, you owe it to yourself to either find someone who has it, or to go out and track it down to play one of Capcom's less-popular SF titles (as well a special version of SFIIT on the same cartridge). In deciding which SF title I should cover first, I had chosen Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition based not only on how many players out there don't know about this game, but surprisingly how many Street Fighter fans there are that don't know about the game. Hopefully this article will inform some of this game's existence, if not many. Maybe future coverage on other SF titles like Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Saikyo Dojo, or Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper would be a nice follow-up to this article.
From the information given, it can be seen that contrary to popular assumption Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition is neither Street Fighter II Champion Edition nor Street Fighter II Turbo (though a special version SFIIT is on the same cart). Some may classify this game otherwise, but I differ. Given the game's early stages in development as Street Fighter II Champion Edition to its later development into a hybrid of SFIICE and SFIIT, SFIISCE is an entry that stands all on its own. With its extras and tweaks, fans should have no problem adding another great SF title to their Capcom fighter library (if it isn't already there). Like some of the other unpopular Street Fighter titles (Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper comes to mind), SFIISCE has minor tweaks that make a big difference. SFIISCE is the entry for either completist fans who can't get enough Street Fighter goodness (like me), or for those who couldn't stand the speed or balance of SFIICE (everyone else). For those who have not played this game, play it. For those who have played it, play it again and look closely at how the game runs and you'll notice the points of this article.