Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
A Japanese brochure for the arcade version of Street Fighter II, featuring the original eight main characters.
Clockwise from top left: E. Honda, Zangief, Ken, Blanka, Dhalsim, Ryu, and Guile. At the center: Chun-Li.
Yoshiki Okamoto
Akira Nishitani
Akira Yasuda
Shinichi Ueyama
Seiji Okada
Yoshihiro Matsui
Motohide Eshiro
Eri Nakamura
Satoru Yamashita
Yoko Shimomura
Isao Abe
Street Fighter
Arcade, Super NES, PC Engine, Sega Master System, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, DOS, Game Boy, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PlayStation Portable, iOS, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Java ME, Wii Virtual Console, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam
February 1991
Up to 2 players simultaneously
Arcade system
CP System (CPS-1)
68000 @ 10 MHz,
Z80 @ 3.579 MHz
YM2151 @ 3.579 MHz,
MSM6295 @ 7.576 MHz
horizontal orientation,
384×224 resolution,
60 Hz refresh rate,
4096 colors on screen,
65,536 color palette
Street Fighter II is a competitive fighting game developed by Capcom and released for arcades in 1991. The sequel to the 1987 game Street Fighter, Street Fighter II adds multiple playable characters, each with their own fighting style, and features such as command-based special moves, a six-button configuration, a combo system, and competitive two-player multiplayer. It was the fourteenth Capcom game to use the CP System arcade system board.

In 1992, Street Fighter II was ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) console, for which it became a longstanding system-seller. Its success led to a series of updated versions (see below). By 1994, Street Fighter II had been played by at least 25 million people in the United States, at home and in arcades. The console ports sold more than 14 million copies worldwide, including 6.3 million copies on SNES, making it Capcom's bestselling game for the next two decades and their bestselling game on a single platform. Adjusted for inflation, all versions of Street Fighter II are estimated to have exceeded $10 billion in gross revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing video games.

The success of Street Fighter II is credited with popularizing the fighting game genre and sparking a renaissance for the arcade game industry. It appears on several lists of the greatest video games of all time.


Street Fighter II follows several of the conventions and rules already established by its original 1987 predecessor. The player engages opponents in one-on-one close quarter combat in a series of best-two-out-of-three matches. The objective of each round is to deplete the opponent's vitality before the timer runs out. If both opponents knock each other out at the same time or the timer runs out with both fighters having an equal amount of vitality left, then a "double KO" or "draw game" is declared and additional rounds will be played until sudden death. In the first Street Fighter II, a match could last up to ten rounds if there was no clear winner; this was reduced to four rounds in Champion Edition and onward. If there is no clear winner by the end of the final round, then either the computer-controlled opponent will win by default in a single-player match or both fighters will lose in a 2-player match.

After every third match in the single player mode, the player will participate in a bonus stage for additional points. The bonus games include (in order) a car-breaking event similar to another bonus round featured in Final Fight; a barrel breaking bonus game where the barrels are dropped off from a conveyor belt on the top portion of the screen; and a drum-breaking bonus game where drums are flammable and piled over each other.

Between the matches, a Pacific-centered world map is seen, showing the participant's home stages. When the upcoming match and its location have been chosen, an airplane moves across the map.

Like in the original, the game's controls use a configuration of an eight-directional joystick and six attack buttons. The player uses the joystick to jump, crouch and move the character towards or away from the opponent, as well as to guard the character from an opponent's attacks. There are three punch buttons and three kick buttons of differing strength and speed (Light, Medium, and Heavy). The player can perform a variety of basic moves in any position, including grabbing/throwing attacks, which were not featured in the original Street Fighter. Like in the original, the player can perform special moves by inputting a combination of directional and button-based commands.

Street Fighter II differs from its predecessor due to the selection of multiple playable characters, each with distinct fighting styles and special moves. Combos were also possible. According to IGN, "the concept of combinations, linked attacks that can't be blocked when they're timed correctly, came about more or less by accident. Street Fighter II's designers didn't quite mean for it to happen, but players of the original game eventually found out that certain moves naturally flowed into other ones." This "combo" system was later adopted as a standard feature of fighting games and was expanded upon in subsequent Street Fighter installments.


The original Street Fighter II features a roster of eight playable characters that could be selected by the player. The roster initially included Ryu and Ken —the main characters from the original Street Fighter game— plus six new characters of different nationalities. In the single-player tournament, the player faces off against the other seven main fighters, before proceeding to the final opponents, which are four non-selectable CPU-controlled boss opponents, known as the "Grand Masters", which included Sagat from the original game.

Playable characters:

CPU-exclusive characters, in the order that the player fights them:

A mistranslation in Ryu's words to a defeated opponent "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance" (which actually translates to "If you cannot overcome my Dragon Punch you cannot win") led some to incorrectly believe a character named Sheng Long existed in the game.

Regional differences

With the exception of Sagat, the Grand Masters have different names in the Japanese version. The African-American boxer known as Balrog in the international versions was designed as a pastiche of real-life boxer Mike Tyson and was originally named M. Bison (short for "Mike Bison"), while Vega and M. Bison were originally named Balrog and Vega, respectively. When Street Fighter II was localized for the overseas market, the names of the bosses were rotated, fearing that the boxer's similarities to Tyson could have led to a likeness infringement lawsuit. This name change would be carried over to future games in the series. To avoid confusion in Tournament Play, many players refer to each character by a defining characteristic. The names are "Claw" to refer to the character from Spain, "Boxer" to refer to the African-American boxer, and "Dictator" to refer to the final boss of the game.

The characters in the Japanese version also have more than one win quote and if the player loses a match against the CPU in the Japanese version, a random playing tip will be shown at the bottom of the continue screen. While the ending text for the characters was originally translated literally, a few changes were made due to creative differences from Capcom's U.S. marketing staff. For example, the name of Guile's fallen friend (who would later debut as a playable fighter in Street Fighter Alpha) was changed from Nash to Charlie, since a staff member from Capcom USA felt that Nash was not a natural sounding English name.


Although the original Street Fighter had not been very popular, Capcom began to make fighting games a priority after Final Fight was commercially successful in the United States. Yoshiki Okamoto recounted, "The basic idea at Capcom was to revive Street Fighter, a good game concept, to make it a better-playing arcade game." About 35 to 40 people worked on Street Fighter II, with Noritaka Funamizu as a producer, and Akira Nishitani and Akira Yasuda in charge of the game and character design, respectively. Funamizu notes that the developers did not particularly prioritize Street Fighter II's balance; he primarily ascribes the game's success to its appealing animation patterns. The quality of animation benefited from the developers' use of the CPS-1 hardware, the advantages of which included the ability for different characters to occupy different amounts of memory; for example, Ryu could take up 8Mbit and Zangief 12Mbit. The game's development took two years.

The game's combo system came about by accident:

"While I was making a bug check during the car bonus stage… I noticed something strange, curious. I taped the sequence and we saw that during the punch timing, it was possible to add a second hit and so on. I thought this was something impossible to make useful inside a game, as the timing balance was so hard to catch. So we decided to leave the feature as a hidden one. The most interesting thing is that this became the base for future titles. Later we were able to make the timing more comfortable and the combo into a real feature. In SFII we thought if you got the perfect timing you could place several hits, up to four I think. Then we managed to place eight! A bug? Maybe."
— Noritaka Funamizu,

The vast majority of the in-game music was composed by Yoko Shimomura. This was ultimately the only game in the series on which Shimomura worked, as she subsequently left the company for Square two years later. Isao Abe, a Capcom newcomer, handled a few additional tracks ("Versus Screen", "Sagat's Theme", and "Here Comes A New Challenger") for this game and subsequently became the main composer on the remaining Street Fighter II games. The sound programming and sound effects were overseen by Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, who had been the composer on the original Street Fighter.


Release date
JP: June 10, 1992
NA: July 15, 1992
EU: December 17, 1992
ROM cartridge
JP: Capcom
NA: Capcom
EU: Bandai
Re-released on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console.
4 floppy disks
Creative Materials
U.S. Gold
Released exclusively in Europe.
Atari ST
4 floppy disks
Commodore 64
Cassette or floppy disk
Amstrad CPC
Cassette or floppy disk (not released)
ZX Spectrum
Cassette or floppy disk
Tiertex Deisgn Studios
3 floppy disks
Creative Materials
EU: U.S. Gold
NA: Hi Tech Expressions
Released in North America and Europe.
CPS Changer
ROM Cartridge
Released exclusively in Japan.
Game Boy
ROM Cartridge
Sun L

Master System
ROM cartridge
Tec Toy
Tec Toy

Sega Saturn
Included in Capcom Generation 5. Released exclusively in Japan.
Included n Street Fighter Collection 2.
Online distributuin

PlayStation 2
Digital Eclipse
Included in Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1. Based on the PS version.
PlayStation Portable
Included in Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded. Based on the PS version.
PlayStation 4
Digital Eclipse
Included in Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
ROM cartridge
Online distribution

Super NES

Street Fighter II was released for the Super Famicom on June 10, 1992 in Japan, which was followed by a North American release for the SNES in August of the same year and a European release in December. It was the first game released on a 16-Megabit cartridge for the SNES. Many aspects from the arcade versions were either changed or simplified in order to fit into the smaller memory capacity. This version also featured a secret code which would allow both players to control the same character in a match, which was not possible in the original arcade version. The second player uses the same alternate color palette introduced in Street Fighter II: Champion Edition. The four Grand Masters are still non-playable, but they use their Champion Edition color palette if the code is entered.

Other changes are as follows:

The American SNES cartridge was re-released in November 2017 as a limited edition item to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Street Fighter series.

Home computers

U.S. Gold released versions of Street Fighter II for various home computer platforms in Europe, namely the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, PC (DOS), and ZX Spectrum. These versions of the game were all developed by Creative Materials, except for the ZX Spectrum version which was developed by Tiertex Design Studios. These versions were not released in any other region, except for the PC version, which also saw a release in North America (where it was published by Hi-Tech Expressions). These versions suffered from numerous inaccuracies, such as missing graphical assets and music tracks, miscolored palettes, and lack of six-button controls (due to these platforms having only one or two-button joysticks as standard at the time). As a result, these versions are filled with unusual peculiarities such as Ryu and Ken's Hadouken (Fireball) sprite being a recolored Yoga Fire and the title theme being used as background music for matches, while move properties are completely different. In the DOS version, in particular, Dhalsim ends up being the strongest fighter in the game due to his basic attacks having high priority over other characters. The DOS version also saw a bootleg version and was actually considered by many, while mediocre, to be still quite superior to the official DOS version. Despite being officially advertised by US Gold along with the C64 and ZX Spectrum conversions and anticipated on magazines, the Amstrad CPC development by Creative Materials was scrapped and the port finally never surfaced.

Game Boy

The Game Boy version of Street Fighter II was released on August 11, 1995 in Japan, and in September 1995 internationally. It is missing three of the original characters (Dhalsim, E. Honda, and Vega), although the remaining nine are playable. The graphics, character portraits, and stages are based on Super Street Fighter II, although some moves (such as Blanka's Amazon River Run) from Super Street Fighter II′ Turbo are included as well. Since the Game Boy only features two buttons, the strength of a player's punches and kicks are determined by how long the player holds either button (an input method similar to the one used in Fighting Street, the TurboGrafx CD version of the original Street Fighter). Same character matches are allowed, but because of the game's lack of color, distinguishing between two characters is not possible even on a Super Game Boy.

The game also retains character endings for all 9 playable characters. This is only available by completing the Normal mode or Survival mode on level 4 or level 5 difficulty. Completing the Survival mode on level 5 also unlocks a brief video of the sprites and animations of all of the available characters. The Game Boy version remains the only version of Street Fighter 2 that is not a direct port but specifically made for a handheld system.

Additionally, the Game Boy version is notable for not being re-released in any compilation collections posthumously.


The original Street Fighter II was included along with Champion Edition and Hyper Fighting in the compilation Capcom Generation 5 for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, which was released in North America and Europe as Street Fighter Collection 2. All three games were also included in Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, as well as Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded for the PlayStation Portable.

Updated versions

Street Fighter II was followed by a series of updated versions, each refining the play mechanics, graphics, character roster, and other aspects of the game. The first was Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, released for the arcades in March 1992, which allowed players to control the four Grand Masters and same character matches. Following the release of Champion Edition, a wave of bootleg ROM chip upgrades for its arcade cabinets added new gameplay, prompting Capcom's official response with Street Fighter II′ Turbo: Hyper Fighting during December the same year, increasing the playing speed and giving some of the characters new special moves. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers was released in September 1993, which marked the change to the more advanced CP System II, allowing for updated graphics and audio, while introducing four new characters. Super Street Fighter II Turbo was released in February 1994 and was the last of the Street Fighter II releases for the arcades (until Hyper Street Fighter II), which introduced powered-up special moves called Super Combos and added a new hidden character.

All six Street Fighter II games have ported to various platforms, both in individual releases and in compilations. There have also been exclusive home versions such as Hyper Street Fighter II (which was retroactively ported to the arcade) and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers was released exclusively for Nintendo Switch and adds two final characters who previously debuted outside Street Fighter II updates and actually the separate alternate forms of the two main Street Fighter II characters themselves.


Critical reception


In the February 1992 issue of Gamest magazine in Japan, it was revealed that due to low stock the games were selling for seven times the cost (¥15,000 in Japan, equivalent to about $119.19 and £65 at the time, or $213 and £116 in 2019). The original arcade version of Street Fighter II was awarded Best Game of 1991 in their Fifth Annual Grand Prize, which also won in the genre of Best Action Game (the award for fighting games was not established yet). Street Fighter II also placed No. 1 in Best VGM, Best Direction, and Best Album, and was second place in Best Graphics (below the 3D Namco System 21 game Starblade). All the characters, with the exception of M. Bison (the character known internationally as Balrog), were featured on the list of Best Characters of 1991, with Chun-Li at No. 1, Ryu at No. 3, Guile at No. 4, Dhalsim at No. 5, Zangief at No. 6, Edmond Honda at No. 8, Ken and Blanka sharing the No. 9 spot, Vega (M. Bison outside Japan) at No. 13, Balrog (Vega outside Japan) at No. 16, and Sagat at No. 22.

In the following year, Street Fighter II Dash was also awarded Best Game of 1992 in the Sixth Annual Grand Prize, as published in the February 1993 issue of Gamest, winning once again in the category of Best Action Game. Dash placed No. 3 in Best VGM, No. 6 in Best Graphics, No. 5 in Best Direction. The Street Fighter II Image Album was the No. 1 Best Album in the same issue, with the Drama CD version of Street Fighter II tied for No. 7 with the soundtrack for Star Blade. The List of Best Characters was not dominated by Street Fighter II characters this time, with the only character at the Top Ten being Chun-Li at No. 3.

In the February 1994 issue of Gamest, both Street Fighter II Dash Turbo (Hyper Fighting) and Super Street Fighter II were nominated for Best Game of 1993, but neither won (the first place was given to Samurai Spirits). Super ranked third place, with Turbo at No. 6. In the category of Best Fighting Games, Super ranked third place again, while Turbo placed fifth. Super also won third place in the categories of Best Graphics and Best VGM. Cammy, who was introduced in Super, placed fifth place in the list of Best Characters of 1993, with Dee Jay and T. Hawk at 36 and 37. In the January 30, 1995 issue of Gamest, Super Street Fighter II X (known as Super Turbo internationally) placed fourth place in the award for Best Game of 1994 and Best Fighting Game, but did not rank in any of the other awards.

The Super Famicom (SNES) version was also critically acclaimed. Famitsu's panel of four reviewers gave it scores of 9, 9, 9, and 8, adding up to 35 out of 40. This made it one of their five highest-rated games of 1992, along with Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Shin Megami Tensei, World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and Mario Paint. They later gave the Turbo update a score of 36 out of 40. This made Street Fighter II′ Turbo their highest-rated game of 1993, and the twelfth game to have received a Famitsu score of 36/40 or above.


The arcade game was well received by English-language critics upon release. The June 1991 issue of Computer and Video Games (CVG) gave it ratings of 94% for graphics, 93% for sound, 95% for playability, and 92% for lastability, with a 93% score overall. The reviewer Julian Rignall criticized the original Street Fighter for being a "run-of-the-mill beat 'em up with little in the way of thrills and spills," but praised this sequel for being "absolutely packed with new ideas and special moves." He noted the "six buttons combining with 8 joystick directions to provide more moves than I've ever seen in a beat 'em up" and praised the "massive, beautifully drawn and animated sprites, tons of speech and the most exciting, action-packed head-to-head conflict yet seen in an arcade game," concluding that it is "one of the best fighting games yet seen in the arcades" and "a brilliant coin-op." The June 1991 issue of Sinclair User gave the arcade game an "addict factor" of 84%. The reviewer John Cook criticized the controls, stating, "You might find the control system a bit daunting at first," noting "a joystick plus six (count 'em!) fire buttons," but said "it's not that bad really" and praised the gameplay as well as "excellent" animation and sound effects, concluding "this is bound to appeal to you if you like the beat 'em up style of game."

The SNES version of Street Fighter II was also very well received. It has an average aggregate score of 93% from Defunct Games based on ten reviews from the early 1990s. In Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), its panel of four reviewers gave it scores of 10, 9, 10, and 9, adding up to 38 out of 40, and their "Game of the Month" award. Sushi X (Ken Williams), who gave it a 10, stated that it is "The Best! Street Fighter II is the only game I have ever seen that really deserves a 10!" Martin Alessi, who gave it a 9, described it as "the best cart available anywhere! Incredible game play!" Ed Semrad, who gave it a 10, said "The moves are perfect, the graphics outstanding and the audio exceptional. Get one of the new 6 button sticks and you'll swear you're playing the arcade version." GamePro printed two reviews of the game in its August 1992 issue, both giving it a full score of 5 out of 5; Doctor Dave described it as "Capcom's best arcade conversion yet" while Slasher Quan stated that almost "everything's perfect in the Super NES version" and that it is "a nearly flawless conversion of the arcade original that's made even more enjoyable by new options and the convenience of home fighting." Super Play gave it a 94% score, stating that with "the inclusion of Champion Edition's Character vs. Character select and the extra options, I would even go so far to say that this is actually better than the coin-op." Electronic Games gave it scores of 95% for graphics, 92% for sound, and 93% for playability, with a 94% overall, concluding that it is the best fighting game to date. Nintendo Power gave it 4.075 out of 5, stating that the "hottest arcade game around has been faithfully reproduced for this Super NES conversion" and that it "is just like having the arcade game at home!"

Computer Gaming World in April 1994 said that "Street Fighter II now enters the PC ring rather late and with a touch of weak wrist". The magazine reported that "the atmosphere and the impact of hefty welts and bone-crushing action is just not here. The usual lament of many PC gamers about arcade conversions is once again true: too little and too late".

Entertainment Weekly wrote that "Sure, it's violent (people can be set on fire), but Street Fighter II offers a depth of play (each character has more than 20 different moves) unmatched by any other video-game slugfest."

Street Fighter II was named by Electronic Gaming Monthly as the Game of the Year for 1992. EGM awarded Street Fighter II′ Turbo with Best Super NES Game the next year. Street Fighter II also won the Golden Joystick Award for Game of the Year in 1992. Game Informer gave it the "Best Game of the Year" and "Best Playability in a Video Game" awards. It was also one of the three games nominated by Electronic Games magazine's Electronic Gaming Awards for the Video Game of the Year category, along with NHLPA Hockey '93 and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

The Mega Drive version of Street Fighter II received 10 out of 10 for both graphics and addiction from Mega, who described it as "a candidate for best game ever and without a doubt the best beat-'em-up of all time" and gave it an overall 92% score. MegaTech scored it 95%, and commented: "the greatest coin-op hits the Megadrive in perfect form". Edge gave the PC Engine version of Champion Edition a score of 8 out of 10. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly, while remarking that the control is difficult and the game speed "lethargically slow" on the Game Boy version, agreed it to be an excellent conversion by Game Boy standards. However, they commented on the fact that Street Fighter II was a very old game by this time. The Axe Grinder of GamePro agreed, praising the graphics and Game Boy exclusive Survival mode, but criticizing the slow controls and concluding that "The real problem here is that the game's just plain old." GameSpot gave the PlayStation 3 version of HD Remix a score of 8.5 out of 10.

Street Fighter II has been listed among the best games of all time. Game Informer ranked it as the 22nd-best game ever made in 2001. The staff praised it for popularizing the one-on-one fighting game genre and noted that its Super NES ports were "near-perfect." They later ranked it the 25th-best game ever made in 2009. Other publications that listed it among the best games of all time include BuzzFeed, Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN, Edge, Empire, Famitsu, FHM, G4, GameFAQs, GameSpot, GamingBolt, Guinness World Records, Next Generation, NowGamer, Retro Gamer, Stuff, Time, and Yahoo! Guinness World Records awarded Street Fighter II three world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records are "First Fighting Game to Use Combos", "Most Cloned Fighting Game", and "Biggest-Selling Coin-Operated Fighting Game."

Commercial reception

Adjusted for inflation in 2016, all versions of Street Fighter II are estimated to have grossed a total of $10.61 billion in revenue, mostly from the arcade market. This makes it one of the top three highest-grossing video games of all time, after Space Invaders (1978) and Pac-Man (1980).

Arcade versions

The company sold more than 60,000 video game arcade cabinets of the original version of Street Fighter II. It was followed by Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition, of which 140,000 cabinets were sold in Japan alone, where it cost ¥160,000 ($1300) for each cabinet, amounting to ¥22.4 billion ($182 million) revenue generated from cabinet sales of Champion Edition in Japan, which is equivalent to $335 million in 2019.

The sales for the arcade versions of Street Fighter II in the Western world were similarly successful. In 1992, Street Fighter II captured 60% of the UK coin-op market, with individual machines taking up to £1000 per week, for an estimated total of £260 million per year (equivalent to £528 million or $676.92 million in 2014). In North America, it was at the top of RePlay's May 1992 coin-op-earnings charts, on both the upright cabinets chart and the coin-op software chart (for ROM cartridges and/or upgrade conversion kits). On the July 1992 charts, Champion Edition was number one on the upright cabinets chart (above Midway's Mortal Kombat) while the original Street Fighter II was number two on the coin-op software chart (below SNK's World Heroes). On RePlay's April 1993 charts, Champion Edition was number four on the upright cabinets chart and Street Fighter II′ Turbo was number one on the coin-op software chart, while in May 1993, Champion Edition remained number four on the uprights cabinet chart and Turbo dropped to number two on the coin-op software chart (overtaken by SNK's 3 Count Bout).

The October 1992 issue of Electronic Games noted, "Not since the early 1980s has an arcade game received so much attention and all-out fanatical popularity." According to the March 1995 issue of GameFan magazine, the game had earned "billions of dollars in profit". By 1995, gross revenues of Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition arcade machines had exceeded $2.312 billion (9.25 billion quarters), equivalent to over $4.25 billion in 2019.