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Commentary for the “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” novelization

by Denny R. Walter
(September 12th, 2012)

Introduction: The idea

“Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” is my favorite video game and for a long time, I wanted to have a conversion of the story into another medium, be it a movie, a comic or something like that. But unfortunately, there’s nothing that’s really true to the game.

Most conversions, like the crappy “Street Fighter” movie or “Street Fighter II – The Animated Movie”, use the characters, but are not about a fighting tournament.
The only two official works that deal with said tournament are the “Street Fighter II” manga by Masaomi Kanzaki and the “Street Fighter II Turbo” arc of the comics by UDON. I like the former one, which, in my opinion, is the best “Street Fighter” conversion, but I have some issues with the latter one. However, none of them is really faithful to the game. Both works take some liberties that not only add to, but also directly contradict the game’s storyline.

For example, one detail that none of them gets right is the fact that the Street Fighter tournament is held all throughout the world. In both, the manga and the comic, it takes place on an island.
In Masaomi Kanzaki’s manga, it’s at least something creative: The island is a huge metropolis where people live and work and where the fights take place in various locations with an audience and the possibility to bet on the winners. So, in this case, the whole street fighting atmosphere is at least preserved.
In the UDON comic on the other hand, the tournament takes place on M. Bison’s private island. Only the fighters themselves and Bison’s henchmen are there. All in all, it feels more like a rip-off of “Mortal Kombat” than like a conversion of the tournament in “Street Fighter II”.

The Masaomi Kanzaki manga, unlike the UDON comic, does catch the “spirit” of the game, but it still changed various details.
And that’s the reason why I wrote my novelization. I wanted to do a “Street Fighter II” story that’s completely consistent with the game’s plot.
For example, the battles in my story all take place in the locations from the game.

When I say that the story shall be consistent with the game, I don’t mean purely gameplay-related things.
For example, the multiple rounds per fight seem to be something that is only a gameplay device and not something that is actually supposed to exist in-universe. (Break a statue in Bison’s stage and in the next round, it’s there again.) And of course, my story is not about one fighter having to battle all the other 11 fighters in a row, like you have to do in the game.
So, yeah, gameplay issues that were never intended to be part of the “Street Fighter” universe are ignored by me as well. But everything else, the characters’ backstories, the locations, the dialogs in cut scenes, all that is preserved in my version.

Acknowledgments

I want to thank Thamanator for his big help on the project.

English is not my native language and so, I needed an American who proofreads the story.

Thamanator agreed to do it and he was a huge help for me. He read the story more than one time and made countless corrections.
Additionally, over the course of several weeks, he answered my e-mails that contained further questions, and he always did so in record time. For example, when I wrote a mail that was several pages long and sent it at night, I usually had the answer right in the next morning.
Without Thamanator, it would have cost me a good amount of money to hire a proofreader, and since it was not done after the first revision, I would have had to spend various hundreds of dollars, for finishing a story that’s less than 20 pages long.

Thanks a lot, Thamanator. You were a huge help for me and you did a really great job.

The basis for the story

The official “Street Fighter” canon is a huge convoluted storyline that has been extended, updated and retconned many times, just like most “Street Fighter” games got various updates. But I have always been a fan of the original “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior”. That’s why I wanted to write a story not based on the current canon, but based on the “Street Fighter” universe as it was perceived back in 1991 when there was only “Street Fighter I” and the original “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” for the arcade.
I consciously left out all the things that came later. For example, I didn’t include T. Hawk, Fei Long, Dee Jay and Cammy, the additional fighters from “Super Street Fighter II – The New Challengers”. Same goes for Akuma from “Super Street Fighter II Turbo” or anything that was invented in the “Street Fighter Alpha” games, like the Dark Hado or Bison’s ability to switch bodies.
So, while I did attempt to make a story that’s in harmony with the game, it’s not a story that’s in harmony with today’s canon. If you are a fan of “Super Street Fighter II Turbo” and all the prequels and sequels that derived from there, don’t expect my story to stick to the plot of those games. My novelization is an old-school work that’s written as if it was created in 1991. Or, alternately, that’s written as if “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” had never been updated and the story had ended there.

Another fact about my story: I took the “American canon” as the basis.
Back in the early 90s, games were not always translated correctly. Often, the American version took liberties from its Japanese counterpart.
An extreme example is the NES game “Contra” by Konami. The story of the Japanese version plays in the year 2633 near New Zealand. The story of the American version plays in the then present day, 1987, and it takes place in the Amazon jungle.
While “Street Fighter II” didn’t go that far, there are some differences between the versions. For example, the Japanese version never mentions Charlie dying in Cambodia in Guile’s ending.
Even though it would have been more faithful to base the story on the Japanese game, I decided against that. The Japanese version might be the original one, but the English translation is the one that became famous all throughout the world. So, my story includes the changes made by Capcom of America.

Unfortunately, the game itself doesn’t say very much about the backstories of the fighters. And the arcade flyers are a joke. That’s why I had to use the manual of the Super Nintendo version of the game as a source as well. As far as I see it, that manual was the first official American document where the fighters are described in detail.
While my story is still based on the arcade and not on the Super Nintendo version, the character profiles from the manual are taken as authoritative by me.
But that manual only listed the eight normal fighters, not the four Grand Masters. That’s why I had to add their descriptions from the “Street Fighter II Turbo – Hyper Fighting” manual.
In the end, my own story’s canon is based on the following five sources, listed in the order of priority:

  1. “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” (arcade, American)
  2. “Street Fighter” (arcade, American)
  3. “Final Fight” (arcade, American)
  4. “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” manual (Super Nintendo, American)
  5. “Street Fighter II Turbo – Hyper Fighting” manual (Super Nintendo, American):
    • Character profiles for Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M. Bison

“Final Fight” is included into the list because that game plays in the same universe as the “Street Fighter” games. Zangief’s profile in the manual even mentions Mike Haggar. But other than Haggar’s and Cody’s existence, the game’s canonicity doesn’t have any influence on my story since the plot from that game is not mentioned.

I said that the sources are listed in the order of priority because they sometimes tend to contradict each other. When that happens, the source higher on the list takes precedence.
For example, the “Street Fighter II Turbo” manual says that Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut and his Tiger Shot are based on Ryu’s Dragon Punch and Fireball respectively. While it’s true for the Tiger Uppercut, Sagat was already able to use the Tiger Shot in “Street Fighter I”, so that information from the manual is of course to be ignored.
Another example is the name of Bison’s organization: In the game itself, it is never mentioned. In the “Street Fighter II” manual, it’s called Shadoloo in Chun Li’s profile. In the “Street Fighter II Turbo” manual, it’s Shadowloo. (The “Super Street Fighter II” manual changes it once again into Shadowlaw while today’s official spelling is Shadaloo.) Since the older manual has a higher priority, I use the name Shadoloo.

In case you want to check the manuals for yourself, you can download them at vimm.net:

“Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” Super Nintendo manual (vimm.net/manual/?p=details&id=2142)
“Street Fighter II Turbo – Hyper Fighting” Super Nintendo manual (vimm.net/manual/?p=details&id=2143)

If you want to see the ending sequences of the game, you can go to www.vgmuseum.com:

Endings for “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” (arcade) (www.vgmuseum.com/end/arcade/a/streetryu.htm)

Warning

From now on, the commentary will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the story itself yet, you should do so before continuing with the commentary.

“Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” novelization

Otherwise, you might read the rest of the commentary now.

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