The Top 7... Fighting game backgrounds

1) Chun Li's "China": Street Fighter II

Chun Li's street scene is the quintessential fighting stage. Firstly, it features a bike-load of Chinese clichés, just so there's no danger of anybody mistaking this for a Japanese street scene or a Dutch street scene (now that would be awesome). Secondly, it's got more detail than any 16-bit background had any right to contain, with non-repeating scenery and animated characters. Thirdly, it had awesome music that set the tone perfectly in the early stages of the fight, but turned into pulse-quickening 'danger' music, simply by playing faster near the end.

Above: Chun Li's China epitomises everything a fighting stage should be. Look at it - it's a work of art


Biggest mid-fight distraction:

It contained a man apparently choking a chicken. That poor beast has been flapping around, upside-down for the best part of 20 years. You'd think he'd have put it out of its misery by now, wouldn't you? All that happened to the chicken choker in HD was that his grip on the poor beast's neck got that little bit tighter...

Above: The HD Remix version left us in no doubt - that's one strangled chicken right there. It's pretty clucked

Speaking of which, I would have said the same for "Ms Washy Clothes", who dunks the same piece of linen under the same running tap every time you fight there, but I guess the linen really is clean now - she wasn't in the HD SSF2 remake.

Above: Gone! Maybe in that time, the girl has grown up, had a baby and dyed her hair. Could happen, y'know


Other noteworthy stages in SF2:

Street Fighter II is well known for its background animations, from the Flamenco dancers and their bared thighs from Vega's Spanish stage to the man frantically rubbing his trousers in Guile's US Airbase scene. And the less said about the fat guy in the hat trying to pick a fight with you in Vegas after you win, the better.

Above: Vegas' dancing girls and the airbase's masturba... sorry, 'animated' onlooker are unforgettable too

Finally, while a lot of these backgrounds are either current-gen versions of old games or have their own HD improvements, you cannot argue with the quality of the Street Fighter IV update for Chun Li's Chinese street scene. It's magnificent. Blending old and new, it shows that Capcom are still right at the top of their game. And long may that continue. Look out for the review of MvC3 very soon on GamesRadar.

Above: This is how you update a classic stage for modern consoles. In one word: superlative

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  • Ariaka - February 11, 2011 3:30 a.m.

    For one: Tengu is awesome. For two: Soul Calibur is awesome. For three?: I actually had a copy of LHX on my old 286 and I giggled incessantly when I saw it here XD I'm also under 25
  • AuthorityFigure - February 10, 2011 1:07 a.m.

    Stop showing the girls with their legs apart. It's not interesting anymore.
  • GreyGhost - February 9, 2011 6:42 a.m.

    The "Drive In" stage in SFIV/SSFIV is not Las Vegas ... You folks need to look at the map in the pre fight sequence ... It's in the North Eastern US ...
  • philipshaw - February 8, 2011 3 p.m.

    Great list and you got all my favs in here
  • CaptainSalmon - February 8, 2011 2:07 p.m.

    Four pages on fighting game backgrounds... and still interesting. Mind. Blown.
  • jmcgrotty - February 8, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    While I have no problem with the list, selectable stages in games are 100% unacceptable. They should always be random. Give me a break.
  • Crimmy - February 8, 2011 6:50 a.m.

    Screw that damn clown. I was always amazed at the clock tower in MvC 2. Also, Las Vegas in SF IV (or super, doesn't matter) was pretty awesome. I like all the bouncing cars and neon lights everywhere.
  • KrazyGamer - February 8, 2011 5:43 a.m.

    I was really hoping you would mention Tekken 4's Airport stage, I loved that stage. I think I liked it more cuz of the song that came with it, It blended in well. Thats just my prespective.
  • lovinmyps3 - February 8, 2011 5:40 a.m.

    I was hoping that would be number one. Love the updated version in IV, especially the fat dude with the camera. He makes me laugh every time! I really love the African eclipse stage in Super SFIV though. That eclipse is literally the reason I got annihilated the first time I played that stage!
  • d0x - February 8, 2011 12:39 a.m.

    I was so hopelessly addicted to the Virtua Fighter series. Sega were true pioneers back then and its arcade games were jaw dropping. The first time I saw Daytona USA I almost shit my pants and there was about 70 people waiting in line to play it was amazing. Now arcades are dead. I bought the Saturn just so I could play Virtua Fighter 2 and Daytona USA. I loved all the arcade to saturn ports back then. They were never as pretty but always just as much fun. Fighters Megamix is still my favorite fighting game of all time and I still play it. It looks like vomit on my HDTV but so what!? Sega I <3 you! Get Yu Suzuki back into the mix and create some damn magic and for the love of god make a sequel to Phantasy Star Online without changing the entire game. PSU was terrible!
  • Ravenbom - February 8, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    Pretty sure it's just DoA, not DOA.
  • NathanXplosion - February 7, 2011 11:55 p.m.

    I would have picked 125 Street Station over the Gun Hill Garage stage in Def Jam: Fight for NY. Throwing some onto the tracks and watching them get hit by the train never got old. Whis EA would have made more Def Jame games like Fight for NY.
  • ThePigHostage - February 7, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    Great list, but was it really necessary to bash on MK 2?
  • shawksta - February 7, 2011 10:31 p.m.

    Great list, that clown in MVC2 still scared me at night. I love Chun li's China stage it has so many things happening in the original and in SF4. I gotta agree with the others aswell, a smash bros. Stage deserves to be in this, and you CANT say there wasnt anyone that standed out, I think the problem was that there was TOO MANY that stood out to have only 1 chosen. New Pork Town was Huge, Port Town races you through the track and you fight, Poke floats lets you fight in many giant Pokemon Floats,Wario ware has to be one of the most creative out of all the gimmick stages and of course the Kraid Stage with him slamming the stage around, there was allot, you guys probably couldnt choose because most were unique. Oh well, its just your opinions after all.
  • Ampatent - February 7, 2011 10:29 p.m.

    This Top 7 deserves a part 2 of not 3 & 4. So many stages left out... I don't know how anyone could ignore the Solar Eclipse stage from SSFIV.
  • NinjaJamez - February 7, 2011 10:26 p.m.

    I love the stage on street fighter alpha 2 that is inspired by the ryu vs sagat fight from the anime movie. this one if i didnt made my point
  • elmaropwnz - February 7, 2011 9:11 p.m.

    What's with the hate on mortal kombat II?
  • 8bitBaby - February 7, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    gawd that clownface is creeeepy. D: also. LENS FLARE!
  • Ilyere - February 7, 2011 8:58 p.m.

    I was hoping for an SSBB stage, but oh well! I'm looking forward to the MvC3 review by the way!
  • Darkhawk - February 7, 2011 8:55 p.m.

    AND MvC2 was on a CD on the PS2 version! Remember those blue discs?

Showing 1-20 of 56 comments

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