"Capcom Can't Count"
What Is It?
The joke that the game developer Capcom couldn't count higher than a given number originated back in the days of Street Fighter II. Although Capcom proved they understood how a number line functioned with the yearly, numbered releases of the Mega Man series, with the Street Fighter series, Capcom also proved that the number two was the most important number, and they weren't really interested in going higher. The joke itself started in various publications as "Capcom can't count higher than two."
The series started, unassumingly enough, with the original Street Fighter, in which series protagonist, Ryu, has to battle through a fighting tournament. Although only a moderate success, the game was well received and eventually had the mother of all sequels, Street Fighter II. It was with Street Fighter II that Capcom proved themselves to be numerically challenged. Due to it being an arcade game first-and-foremost, various updates and iterations were released for the game. Many of these were eventually ported to home consoles, leaving many a collection with multiple versions of Street Fighter II sitting side-by-side.
This was only exacerbated by the fact that the next games in the franchise were not the expected third official entry, but Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter Alpha 2 -- prequels to the main series -- and Street Fighter EX -- a 3D spin-off. Plus there was the game released for the awful Jan Claude Van Damn movie, Street Fighter: The Movie (which played like a weird combination of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat), and a barely-related spin-off, Street Fighter 2010. As the joke went, "Capcom can't count to three. We've had ten entries in the Street Fighter series, and have yet to see Street Fighter III."
Of course, eventually a Street Fighter III did come out. True to form, though, it was followed up not by Street Fighter IV, but by two further refinements to the main game, 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike. Eventual releases also included Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter EX2 and Street Fighter EX3, the Puzzle Fighter series, and the Marvel vs. Capcom series. All of this before an eventual Street Fighter IV was released, thus proving the joke just as prescient: Capcom couldn't count to four.
Those looking forward to Street Fighter V have had less of a wait, although Capcom did give us plenty to hold us over until that release. There were four editions of Street Fighter IV, an two HD updates for Street Fighter II, and two more editions of the Marvel vs. Capcom series. But then, who knows when Capcom might have any interest in learning to count to six.
The Street Fighter Games:
- Street Fighter: Only one edition was technically released (1987), although when it was ported to home consoles it was called Fighting Street.
- Street Fighter 2010: A largely unrelated game set in the "future" of the Street Fighter series (2010, naturally). Other than the name (and the U.S. localization that changed the main character from "Kevin" to "Ken" to imply it's the same Ken from the main series), the game bears no resemblance to the usual Street Fighter games.
- Street Fighter II: Released in 1991 to great success. It had many, many editions, including Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and eventually Hyper Street Fighter II (which was a port from a home console edition).
- And speaking on home consoles, Street Fighter II featured several editions there as well, including the original port to the SNES as well as Street Fighter II Turbo and Super Street Fighter II for the system, a Game Boy iteration, the aforementioned Hyper Street Fighter II for the PlayStation II, and the downloadable Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, bearing one of the awesomely longest names in franchise history. The Nintendo Switch has even seen it's own version of this game (now part of a 25+ year sub-series), Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, although we somehow doubt this will will be the "final" version of the game to ever be released.
- Street Fighter Alpha: Released in Japan as Street Fighter Zero The series is actually three games that all act as interquels between Street Fighter and Street Fighter II. The titles are:
- Street Fighter Alpha: The "original" Alpha doesn't seem to have had any upgraded arcade releases (at least, none that bear new titles), making it a first for the series. It did have ports for home consoles, including the Game Boy Color.
- Street Fighter Alpha 2: Sort of a sequel, sort of a remake, because nothing in this series should be easy to follow. In Japan, Street Fighter Zero 2 had an upgrade with Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha. The game was eventually ported to home consoles as Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold (the SNES also got a lackluster port).
- Street Fighter Alpha 3: Pretty well the be-all, end-all of the series, and contains just about every character ever seen in Street Fighter up til its release. Had an upgrade in arcades (in Japan) as Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper. Home consoles also received ports, including Street Fighter Alpha 3: Saikyo Dojo for the Dreamcast, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper for the Game Boy Advance, and Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX/Street Fighter Zero 3 Double Upper for the PlayStation Portable.
- And, just to confuse it even more, eventually all three games were released in a compilation as Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, with all the various arcade options plus bonus modes like an official Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper and a super secret Hyper Street Fighter Alpha (because every name should be applied everywhere else in this series, apparently).
- Street Fighter: The Movie: Based on the truly wretched live-action movie. Truly wretched. Although it only had one version in arcades, it did feature a home console version that played entirely different from the arcade version. Thanks Capcom.
- X-Men vs. Street Fighter: The launch of the famed Versus series, X-Men vs. Street Fighter was actually the third game in the Capcom-produced marvel beat-em-up series (although the previous games used engines and conventions from the Street Fighter and Darkstalker games). All told, the full series includes:
- X-Men: Children of the Atom: a fighting game featuring only X-Men characters. The arcade engine was similar to Super Street Fighter II with some tweaks thrown in. It was, of course, ported to home consoles.
- Marvel Super Heroes: A kind of expanded sequel to X-Men: Children of the Atom (including featuring four characters from that game). The game introduced a new "Infinity Gem" mechanic which would appear again much later in the series. It was originally ported to the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation and then later included, with Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes in the compilation Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins.
- X-Men vs. Street Fighter: The first crossover title in the series, this game featured mechanics (once again) like the Street Fighter series (because it had Street Fighter characters in it) but then introduced two-on-two fighter (via a tag-team feature). It's worth noting that the Street Fighter character sprites in the game came from Street Fighter Alpha 2 making this a kind of quasi-sequel to that game as well. Like with its predecessor, the Saturn and PlayStation both received ports of this title.
- Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter: A direct sequel to the previous title with expanded rosters on both sides of the aisle. it was, naturally, ported to both the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation.
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes: Nowe start getting into the big crossovers, one where all the various universes can just collide (like having Mega Man, Arthur, and the Darkstalkers all join in to the fray). The game was released on home consoles for the Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation. It was later bundled, along with Marvel Super Heroes, in Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes: A direct sequel to the carnage of the previous game, this time featuring three-on-three instead of two-on-two tag team. What's most shocking is not that the game was ported to home consoles at the time of release, nor that it was eventually re-released to modern consoles with an HD coat of paint. No, what's interesting most of all is that, despite all it's releases, it never got an updated name. No "Turbo" slapped at the end or "Ultra HD" a the beginning.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds: A new edition in the series, this time featuring 3D rendered graphics instead of hte traditional sprites for the series. It was later updates (as Capcom is want to do) as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Infinite: An upcoming game in the series that will, presumably, be utterly ridiculous and totally fun to play.
- Unrelated to the Marvel franchise, but still considered part of the Versus fighting series (either developed or published by Capcom), additional entries include Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000, Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, Mouse Generation (a computer mouse-based fighting game), Street Fighter X Tekken, and Tekken X Street Fighter (the last of which is an upcoming game in development by Namco Bandai).
- Street Fighter EX: A 3D fighting game series (although, really, it was 3D graphics on a relative 2D plane) co-produced between Capcom and Akira. The game featured characters from the Street Fighter series, as well as original characters owned (and later reused) by Akira. The following titles make up the Street Fighter EX series:
- Street Fighter EX: Originally released in arcades in 1996. Was followed by Street Fighter EX Plus in arcades in 1997, and then Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha on the PSX.
- Street Fighter EX2: A semi-sequel to the first Street Fighter EX, was followed in arcades a year later by Street Fighter EX2 Plus.
- Street Fighter EX3: A console-only sequel and one of the few Street Fighter games to only have one release (with no upgrades).
- Street Fighter III: New Generation: The first true sequel to Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III features an almost entirely new cast of characters for the series (except for Ryu and Ken, because it wouldn't be a Street Fighter game without Ryu or Ken). The original Arcade release was followed by two semi-sequels, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
- A Dreamcast compilation of the first two games was released in 1999 under the title Street Fighter III: Double Impact (Street Fighter III: W Impact in Japan).
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo: A puzzle game that uses super-deformed versions of Street Fighter and Darkstalkers characters. In the game, players line up two-colored gems, and then explode these gems with the use of "Crash Gems". Of course, this being part of the Street Fighter series, an eventual remake was released, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
- More amusingly, the super-deformed versions of the characters eventually made it into their own fighting game, Pocket Fighter (or Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, as it was known in the U.S.). The game featured characters from Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III, Darkstalkers, and Red Earth.
- Capcom Fighting Jam: A mixed fighting game featuring characters from Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha, and Street Fighter III as well as Darkstalkers, Red Earth, and one original character (who, just to bring things to that confusing level Capcom loves, eventually showed up, through in-continuity time travel, in Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX for the Playstation Portable).
- Street Fighter IV: Actually an interquel between Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III (because obviously nothing in this series should be easy to follow), Street Fighter IV was the long awaited next game in the franchise (nine years since the previous "numbered" entry in the series), released to arcades and home consoles in 2008. Featuring a returning mix of characters from Street Fighter II, as well as a few new characters, Street Fighter IV was met with such success that the inevitable extra editions were all but expected:
- Super Street Fighter IV: adding in more Street Fighter II characters, plus characters from Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha, and Final Fight
- Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition: adding in four more characters from Street Fighter III and Street Fighter Alpha.
- Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition: Lacking characters from the Arcade Edition, but adding in 3D effects via the Nintendo 3DS system.
- Ultra Street Fighter IV: Added in five more characters, additional stages, and new features (including a mode to allow the characters to use their play styles from their various previous appearances). An additional DLC pack was released for this addition as well, adding in Omega versions of the playable characters.
- It's worth mentioning, also, that while not developed by Capcom, Ryu did make an appearance in the fourth generation Super Smash Bros. as a playable character. He featured a mixed play style that allowed him to be used as either a standard fighter with that games controls, or with the classic Street Fighter controls (which featured more powerful moves).
- Street Fighter V: The latest in the series, featuring characters from across the whole span of games. Capcom has sworn they they aren't going to do upgrades and newer editions, instead simply adding in characters via updates (usually for money, because we live in a world of micro-transactions). The game did get a DLC update, though: A Shadow Falls. We shall wait and see if they can truly hold off on adding a Turbo or Super to the title before inevitably releasing a sixth iteration of the series.