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Street Fighter: Why I love it

Michael Gapper explains his love of Capcom's fighting series...

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There were no weekend warriors and no armies beneath the Buffy posters. Without that avid community, it never brought that same magic home.

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By the end of the decade Tekken and Soul Calibur had finished off 2D fighting, and GoldenEye had changed the face of multiplayer console gaming. Halo picked up where GoldenEye left off and it took a full ten years for Street Fighter to recover.

SFIV was the return of the king - more remake than sequel, handling like a super-slick SFII. Street Fighter IV simply demanded to be played, whether by old blokes or by brand new players who hadn't even been born when Street Fighter II changed the gaming world 18 years previously.

It understood that the future of fighting games doesn't lie with a few thousand hardcore players, but with the millions of gamers of all levels of ability, playing after school and after a hard day at work, across PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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There are some games which seem to define a generation and set the agenda for almost every developer for years to come. Ridge Racer's launch alongside the PlayStation ensured the PS1 would be flooded with racers from Destruction Derby to Gran Turismo.

Halo's release on Xbox's launch day made first-person shooters the dominant console genre in the western gaming world from 2002 to today. But back in 1991, it was Street Fighter II which set the fisticuff standard. In 1995 we raced; in 2002 we shot one another to death; but in 1991, we fought fist-on-face, one-on-one, best-out-of-three.

Consoles come and consoles go, but there will always be a Street Fighter. Between the Spice Girls, the Millennium Bug, and Stone Cold Steve Austin getting hit by a limo-driving Rikishi Fatu, the end of the 90s was so bleak it was just one Tina Turner song and a Thunderdome away from being the endtimes.

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But Street Fighter Alpha 3 signed off the decade with the same unrelenting barrage of awesome with which Street Fighter II had welcomed it in. It was the last great 2D fighter from the final years of the original PlayStation's life - two giants who conquered the 90s, going down fighting side by side.

It took ten long years but, in the current generation, Street Fighter is ours again - a game for everyone, on every platform.

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