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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