Approximate Release Month: April 1993
Bad fighting games are quite common in the 16-bit era, but Street Combat happens to be memorable.
When I started playing Street Combat, I was buffeted by waves of major déjà vu. It plays really similarly to Doomsday Warrior, to the point that you should just read that post if you want an idea of how crummy Street Combat plays. It’s a really bad Street Fighter II: The World Warrior clone, blah blah blah. You probably already know the gist of anything I could write here on that topic.
Instead, I’d like to touch on some of the ways that this is a weird and interesting game.
Street Combat is an Americanized version of a Japanese fighting game called Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou Hen, which is based on a popular cartoon series. It was common for developers to localize games from Japan by toning down some of the more exotic qualities that it was believed American audiences wouldn’t jive to. Usually this meant eyes were made smaller and hair changed from neon colors to browner shades. It was very rare for a game to be reskinned from head to toe by a publisher, because that would be expensive and time-consuming.
That’s what Irem did here, though, for some reason. Most traces of anime has been wiped out to make way for some stereotypical ’90s nonsense. As far as I can tell, all that survived were a few backgrounds and the user interface. The replacement art for Street Combat looks terrible, like it was done in Microsoft Paint. Well animated, but hideous. There’s some really terrible ghosting going on, way worse than any SNES game I’ve seen so far. You can see the extraneous lines clearly in today’s video.
It wasn’t until I was preparing today’s post that I realized what might be going on. All of the screenshots I took of Street Combat were messed up, which I’ve never had happen before. Most SNES games run at a resolution of 256×224 or 256×240, but a few games – so far only RPM Racing – run in a “hires” mode of 512×448 with limited colors and other graphical capabilities.
Neither Street Combat or Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou Hen run at none of those resolutions. They run at 256×448, meaning the games are rendered by the SNES like this:
Both games are stretched vertically! It’s really strange that these games run in half of a higher resolution. There’s no way anyone would normally know anything was wrong with the games because your television smooshes the image being sent by the SNES to fit a 4:3 aspect ratio. The developer of the Super Nintendo emulator no$sns seems to believe this is a programming error. I don’t know if this is why there’s constant ghosting going on.
Between all of the odd technical issues and often hilarious localization (my favorite lines are in the gallery below!), Street Combat is going to be a game I will have a fondness for simply because it’s such a disaster. But please don’t play it. Have I mentioned it’s awful?
Next Time: I’m starting a new job this week, so expect less frequent updates for a little while. The next game will be Super Ninja Boy!