My Top 5 Games of 1992: #5 Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (SNES)

Developed: Capcom
Published: Capcom
Genre: 2D Fighting
Platform: SNES (Reviewed), Arcade, Genesis, at least 15 other platforms

When it comes to genre defining games, few are as indisputable as Street Fighter II. Prior to its release, all the fighting game genre really had were clunky games like the first SF and Yie Ar Kung-Fu. Then SFII came along, gave every fighter a unique, well defined move set, and smoothed out the gameplay greatly. I can't really think of a better way to put that. Older fighting games just feel like their characters are locked to a grid or something.

Anyway, like many, many kids of the early 90s, Street Fighter II was the first fighting game I every played and was probably among the first few games I owned on the SNES. My friends and I sunk countless hours into it, trying to figure out every nuance and taking turns trying to beat the game on its hardest difficulty, only to be constantly thwarted by that cheating asshole, M. Bison. It goes without saying, but Street Fighter II had some of the most ridiculously fun multiplayer I've ever experienced. When you have a few friends all about the same skill level, the game is an absolute blast.

Before I start, let me make it clear exactly what version of the game I'm talking about here. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was the first version of the game released on the SNES. It was the only version that I owned and the one I played the most, by far. I'll talk a bit about its many re-releases too, but lets focus on just the original home release for now. I also realize that the arcade version came out in 1991, but I only played that a handful of times; much less than the home port.

My Game of the Year 2011: Dead Space 2 (360)

Developed: Visceral Games
Published: Electronic Arts
Genre: 3rd-person action-horror
Platform: 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC

If you've read my older articles, you'll probably know that I'm a pretty big fan of the first Dead Space. I always longed for a worthy follow-up to Resident Evil 4 and the folks at Visceral Games apparently shared the sentiment. Dead Space took what was great about RE4 and refined it so well that it made Resident Evil 5 feel a bit disappointing by comparison.

When a sequel was announced, I quickly pre-ordered it; the first time I did that since 2004 when I pre-ordered Metal Gear Solid 3. My expectations for Dead Space 2 were about as high as they could be, so did it live up to them? Yep. As I said in my Top 15 Games of 2011 article, my biggest complaint about this game is that the cutscenes aren't skipable. Other than that, it's near perfect.

Dead Space 2 continues the story of space engineer Isaac Clarke, who was thrown into an insane asylum located in a giant space station built into the remnants of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. He's awakened suddenly one day and finds himself in the middle of another outbreak of necromorphs, humans who have been mutated into undead killing machines by the enigmatic "marker." Also, he's stuck in a straitjacket.
Oh boy.


Game Music Appreciation: Battle Arena Toshinden - Eiji's Theme

In game music appreciation, I take a look at a song from a game that I probably wont be writing about in any other fashion. I always feature one or two of my favorite songs from each game in my top 5 articles, but not every game gets an article. To put it bluntly: this is where I put good songs from games that I either dislike or am apathetic about.

Battle Arena Toshinden was one of the first games I can remember playing on the PS1. I recall playing it at a friend's house once for like 10 minutes, then we never played it again. So I don't remember much about the game, and for the past decade and a half I haven't thought about the series very much if at all. Then Brett Elston, formerly of GamesRadar, now working at Capcom of America, started a great podcast about video game music called VGMpire.

One of the first episodes was about PS1 launch games and the surprisingly consistent quality of their music. The first game they talked about was Battle Arena Toshinden and I was freaking blown away by how amazing the music they played sounded. I don't believe he played the song that I'm talking about today, but after I sought the game's soundtrack out, Eiji's Theme quickly became one of my favorite songs on my iPhone.

I did a little research about who composed the first Toshinden to see if I could find anything else by them, but all I could find was one or two of the game's sequels. Regardless, Eiji's theme is one of the most rockin', energetic songs that I ever heard in a fighting game, and as they point out in the PS1 launch episode of VGMpire, the songs in Toshinden are all like 3 minutes long but considering how short fighting game matches often are, you may never hear the whole song while playing. Anyway, without any further rambling, here's Eiji's Theme, courtesy of YouTube user Okuplok90: