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Street Fighter Week: The Sounds of Street Fighter

"Hadouken!"
"Shoryuken!"
"Sonic Boom!"

Anyone who's played a game, walked past an arcade or read a comic book in the past 10 years should recognize those words immediately. They're some of Street Fighter's most well-known attacks and for years were at the heart of the game's cultural takeover. Kids mimed the attacks, gamers shouted them out loud and tournament players dreamed about perfecting combos with these moves as the killer final blow. But did anyone ever stop and think about how they've changed since the groundbreaking Street Fighter II?

Presented here is an audio breakdown of not just these key moves, but also the sounds effects for the home conversions. We're focusing on the SNES versions because, based on the sales numbers, we're willing to bet most people poured tons of time into SNES more than any other port. More people are bound to be familiar with the home version more than, perhaps, the arcade.

This is part of a week-long series of Street Fighter retrospectives - click here for more.

Street Fighter II (1992, SNES)
The first SNES port came with missing animation, smaller characters and, of interest to this article, sped-up voices. If you listen carefully, Ryu, Guile and Dhalsim (along with the other fighters) yell high-pitched, quicker versions of their trademark phrases. Throwing slower projectiles with jab changed the voice somewhat, but most of us were too busy hurling fierce fireballs to notice. Sound effects are deep - most of the connecting blows sound like you're hitting a brick wall, not a person.

Street Fighter II' Turbo: Hyper Fighting (1993, SNES)
One year later and we get Turbo, which included the four bosses and a host of other changes. Voices now sounded closer to their arcade counterparts, usually with lower-pitched shouts instead of the squeals heard in SFII. Sound effects are about the same.

Super Street Fighter II (1994, SNES)
Another year, another Street Fighter. And where sound is concerned, this is a disaster. Voices changed completely (poor Guile), the speech samples sounded awful and the gut-wrenching sound effects changed to pleasant slapping noises. Ick.

Street Fighter Alpha (1996, PSOne)
Pairing quality speech samples with head-caving effects was finally realized with CD-ROM tech, so there's not a lot of contrasting to do. It was an immeasurable improvement over the SNES SSFII, but its sequel, SSFII Turbo, appeared on disc too, so even it has better ports to consider. Just stay away from the SNES Alpha 2...

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (2000, Dreamcast)
Totally new voices and beautiful attack animations made SFIII look and feel like a brand new experience. Too bad its tech-heavy fighting failed to grasp the same level of fame the comparatively simple SFII did years earlier.

Capcom Fighting Evolution (2004, PS2)
Another drastic sprite change and total voice overhaul. Some of the voices, Guile's in particular, aren't fitting, but are still clear. More of the same Alpha-esque smacky sound effects, less like a brawl and more like an anime sampler CD.

SVC Chaos (2004, Xbox)
A huge sprite change and possibly some of the same shouts as CFE. Guile still sounds different though, with yet another take on "Sonic Boom."

On the next page, we'll take a look at a video highlighting the effects, instead of the voices.

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