Awful Box Art: Street Fighter series

So, how does a franchise responsible for stuff like this:

Repeatedly get saddled with horrendous box art like this:

With Street Fighter IV a mere seven days away, we feel it’s time to force an unwanted but oh-so-important trip down memory lane, finally confronting what has to be some of the worst box art for one of the best series around. Thankfully, there’s a great deal of redemption as the years wear on, with each new year of sequels bringing better and better covers. But before we can appreciate how far they’ve come, we must confront the dreadful works of years past.

Fighting Street
TurboGrafx-CD | 1988

It’s a well-known piece of nerd trivia that the original Street Fighter was released as Fighting Street on an obscure console adored by precisely six people. Fun fact: it’s not fun at all.

Noteworthy awfulness #1: This is supposed to be Ryu, and that hurts our feelings.

Noteworthy awfulness #2: WTF is the deal with this R? Why is it larger than every letter near it? This isn’t Fighting StReeT

Noteworthy awfulness #3: Did they alter Mount Rushmore just to have Abe’s eyes glaring down at the back of Ryu’s head? Those eyes seem to follow you wherever you go…

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
SNES | 1992

This cover means so much to so many. Yet even at the height of Street Fighter insanity it was plain to see how piss-poor the cover art really was. We’d all waited for months, wondering what could possibly encapsulate the SF experience so well they’d put it on the box to the very first home conversion. This… this is not what we had in mind for what is still Capcom’s best selling game.

Noteworthy awfulness #1: Blanka looks entirely too happy about crashing into Chun Li’s crotch. Those teeth, those eyes, they suggest a sinister motive that mere words cannot capture.

Noteworthy awfulness #2: The main character, the poster boy of the biggest franchise of the day, is lying flat on his back about to burst into tears. Sadly, it’ll be years before Ryu gets a proper cover.

Noteworthy awfulness #3: The artist takes the “street fight” aspect a bit too literally, placing the scrap in an alley cluttered with trash cans and wooden crates. Guess what backdrop never appears in the game?

Street Fighter II Turbo
SNES | 1993

One year later, a chance for redemption. Will they depict Ryu and Ken in an epic struggle? Perhaps Guile delivering some sonic-boom comeuppance to Bison? Nope! You get a glistening E. Honda and a pouty Sagat duking it out in a bath house.

Noteworthy awfulness #1: Is this the face a warrior makes when he’s slapped in the chest? Frowning because mean ol’ Honda hit your scar a little too hard, Saggy? Take it outside, baby.

Noteworthy awfulness #2: If the yawn-worthy duo of Honda and Sagat wasn’t lame enough for you, how about a barely there cameo from a mid-teleport Dhalsim? Maybe Honda’s slap was meant for Dhalsim, and that’s why Sagat’s so frumpy.

Next page – Sega and Sony join the Street Fighter fray

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.