Review by DGreenwood
Reviewed: 06/06/01 | Updated: 06/06/01
This game will dominate you
Now, I know what the average gamer will say when they first play this game: ''This isn't Street Fighter! Why is Ken a cyborg? Why is this a platformer? What the heck am I doing? WHY DID I JUST DIE!'' Your experience might be something along those lines as well. But remind yourself that this is speaking from the perspective of today's gamer. Street Fighter 2010 is a relic of the past, and to understand why I like it, you must put yourselves in the shoes of an 8 year old when this game first came out. The first Street Fighter had already come out, and nobody cared. It was a bomb. So if you were Capcom, you would probably try to tweak the formula into whatever you thought might sell. Another common difference was that back then we weren't spoon-fed gameplay. We had to EARN the right to beat even the first level! And we didn't mind. After all, that was when games like the NES Batman and Blaster Master were around to totally crush us everytime we tried to play. Yes, replay value in those days came from the pain and humiliation of getting totally creamed, getting back up and trying again until you A) Beat the game, or more likely B) Got sick of it and moved on. Nowadays, if you can't beat a game the first time through, it's considered too difficult, and you are forced to walk your way through games time after time with no challenge to stand in your way so that you can unlock extra modes and options. Both philosophies have their merits. But this game is firmly trenched in the ways of old.
On to the categories!
For an NES game, these graphics are really good. Everything has a sort of sci-fi/organic feel that was rather popular at the time. Everything remains pretty clear visually, and there isn't much to complain about here.
People think I'm insane when I say that the old systems had better music than the old ones. This game is one of the few that I always point out as examples (Others being Gunsmoke, Virtual Boy's Red Alarm, and the Genesis' Thunder Force III). The opening tune that plays over the story scroll is one of my all time favorite video game BGM's, and most of the in-game music lives up to it. Years after I first played this game, the music still runs through my head all the time. Excellent. The sound effects are your standard explosions and thunks of pain, and they work fine.
NES platformers were never known for their story, but this one will suffice. It's 25 years after the Street Fighter tournament, and Ken and his best friend Troy (wonder if it was Ryu originally?) are now scientists who have created a special drug. Taken in small doses, it can give people the strength they need to keep on living. In larger doses, it turns those who take it into mindless superpowered deathbringers. Sadly, Ken returns to his lab one day to find the drug missing, and Troy lying dead on the floor. Ken equips himself with cybernetic armor, and sets off across the universe to track down the villain who killed his friend. Meanwhile, he must contend with all of the alien beings who have taken the drug and are now trying to kill him.
The main problem with Street Fighter 2010 is the absurd difficulty. I have never seen a learning curve this steep. Heck, even after you figure out how to control the darned thing (which takes quite some time) you still stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting anywhere without cheating. This game takes the persistence of an NES era video game junkie. The basic gameplay is as follows. Ken teleports into a level and is given a ''target'' He must travel through the level, which may be a standard arena, or a platforming level with an arena at the end of it, defeating this target, or in some cases many of these targets. Defeating these targets will give him energy crystals, and once he gets enough crystals, a portal will open up. Jumping into the portal will advance Ken to the next level. No, this isn't Street Fighter, but keep in mind that at this time the game had no fans to complain. As I said before the game is practically impossible, mostly due to the freakish control scheme. By jumping and firing shots in various directions, Ken can pull off many moves, of varying strength and usefulness. But you have to learn to utilize every single move to survive, and there is no time to practice any of them before you are thrust into battle. Most people will toss the controller onto the ground after about a minute and leave. But if you are persistent enough, and you learn how to use the controls, this can be a pretty fun game. In fact, if you manage to get reasonably good, you can really make yourself look cool in front of your friends. You can destroy rocks to find power ups which will make your shots go farther, and indeed you will need these as your basic weapon has very short range. There are also two special items: One will allow you to cut the enemy with your backflip, and the other will make a glowing energy ball float behind you and cause damage to enemies. These are extremely useful, but unfortunately far too difficult to come by. It's rather annoying how weak you are most of the time, since every time you die, you go back to a total weakling, and getting hit can actually weaken your weapon power. Basically, this is a game with some great ideas, and some really fun gameplay, but you need to be really persistent, and incredibly good, to enjoy it.
Most people will really hate this game. But for those of you who remember the NES days of old might enjoy this trip down memory lane, back to a day when games were made to destroy the wills of those who played them. Street Fighter fans will want to see this as a curiosity. And for those select few who actually bought this game when it came out, well I'm sure that you all remember it, either for being incredibly cool, maddeningly difficult, or both. Thanks to the wonders of emulation, you can use save states and actually manage to get somewhere in this game. (I never was able to legitimately beat it). This game is a monster. I love it, but then again, I am not normal.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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