Ode to the ‘Com

Thunder cracks over a dark night sky. A storm is brewing.

Atop a windswept hill two powerful warriors battle for glory. Upon the brink of victory, a fierce enemy prepares for his final blow. Smug with the win, he pauses before leaping towards his victim. Sensing the attack, his opponent prepares to make his last stand. He waits, feeling the rage pounding through him before unleashing a devastating dragon punch to his attacker’s chest, blood pouring lavishly from the wound. He is victorious.

 Probably one of the most iconic moments from fighting game history: Ryu vs Sagat in the final stage of Street Fighter, immortalized in the awesome animated movie depicting the union of the world’s best Street Fighters to take down M. Bison. Capcom, creators of the series, seem to have a rather good knack of producing titles that leave a crater sized dent in your gaming experience, pushing the boundaries of what has been done, to shaping what is to come.

When Street Fighter II was released in 1991, the impact on the arcade community was undeniable. Pounds worth of hours were spent by gamers world wide, desperate to challenge Ryu and co., and when released on the Super Nintendo the following year, soon became one of the console’s highest selling games shipping over 6 million copies in its original form alone, thus becoming Capcom’s best selling solo game to date.

 However, the iconic characters of Street Fighter were not alone in their quest for genre glory. In 1996 the arrival of Resident Evil on the Sony Playstation soon became renowned for its atmospheric game play, puzzle solving and a boss fight that still proved a challenge when armed with a grenade launcher, magnum and a bunch of dodgy looking herbs. Much like its fighting predecessor, the series then spawned a multitude of sequels, motion and animated movies, and an enormous range of merchandise including books, t-shirts, figurines, clocks, lighters and possibly even duvet covers (the latter of which are probably the only element missing from my Umbrella Corp loving collection – but I accept donations).

 Personal biases aside, it’s hard to deny the impact that a company such as Capcom have had on the gaming community, especially in terms of its development between arcade and home gaming. Final Fight, 1942, Mega Man, Ghosts and Goblins, Strider, Alien vs Predator, Bionic Commando – the list can go on. One of the strengths of Capcom is to deliver over and above expectation, to raise the bar to the next level. While of course this doesn’t happen consistently, Capcom never seem to be scared of taking risks, which is one of the reasons that they will always be deemed one of the most successful games developers of the past 20 years.

 So what’s next? Well, Ryu vs. Chris, or as it will more popularly be known: Street Fighter IV vs. Resident Evil 5. It’s no secret that the recently available demo for Resident Evil 5 has left some long standing devotees of the franchise, myself included, rather perplexed at its lack of development from the previous title, while Street Fighter IV although graphically gorgeous remains an enigma until it hits stores. However all glimmers of doubt aside, I can’t help but feel like Capcom have somewhat of a safety net around me. With two of the strongest series’ under their belt how can they go wrong? Will they go wrong? As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Capcom – pass me a spoon!








4 responses to “Ode to the ‘Com”

  1. Alex avatar

    Great blog! 😀 I’m looking forward to seeing if the games live up to their expectations. Though I’m not too sure Resi 5 will… I hope I’m wrong!

  2. Michael avatar

    Yeah, I was quite surprised at the reaction from many over the demo (which I have not played) – perhaps optimistically, I feel that they haven’t revealed what may set it apart from the previous game. A puzzling move, maybe, or maybe not due to the popularity of that action-y change in the series and also to not play the ace card just yet, if you like. Hype via omission?

  3. Power Up avatar
    Power Up

    Surely what sets RE5 apart from previous instalments is the co-op and that was in the demo. I know I’ll be playing it through to the end when it comes out anyway, though I was hoping to go back and play through RE3, Code Veronica and RE4 Wii version first. Maybe I’ll get the chance if my 360 dies it’s 5th life and wakes up in a bath on The Resurrection (yes that was a Battlestar Galactica reference – I’m watching it right now, ha ha).

  4. Power Up avatar
    Power Up

    BTW, my 360 did characteristically mess up again and I played all the way through each of the aforementioned games (including unlocked minigames). RE5 is currently on my “To-Play” pile. I’m sort of leaving it to savour especially after my heavy 2nd Resi marathon.

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