Street Fighter II V – episodes 19 to 29

February 24, 2005 on 10:35 am | In Street Fighter | 1 Comment

Despite the realisation that the last fifteen-odd episodes of this series chronicle maybe two days, that episode 23 of 29 is no place for a recap and a constant fear of sliding into the void, Street Fighter II V manages somehow to barely pull it off.

There is perhaps too much focus on Vega here. The best moments in the latter part of the series are set in the real world, not in the fortress of doom off the coast of Barcelona. A particularly impressive episode is one that deals with two plotlines and three battles.
The fights in this series are interesting but not enough to sustain entire episodes. Creative editing is used to maximum effect, with punches flowing from one scene to the next.
One of the most entertaining battles is that between Cammy and Fei Long. It is difficult to understand why the narrator makes constant reference to Cammy’s green eye, but less so to see why almost every scene featuring her shows her lounging at a pool in a variety of swim suits.

The strength is that Guile comes back with his partner Nash – a character not in the games, and therefore totally expendable – to save Ken and Ryu. This is, of course, full circle, as it was Guile who inspired the two to take their street fighting world tour (which ended, quite disappointingly and without ceremony, here in Barcelona).

Guile fights against Zangief, and the presentation of the communist wrestler is interesting indeed. Perhaps because he’s big, or even because he comes from the U.S.S.R – despite the fact that the union had disbanded by the time Street Fighter II was published – Zangief is stupid, or the logical extension of such: innocent. Naturally, he works for Shadowlaw. Notice that, in the course of all the violence he commits, he never refers to killing. He has no concept of right and wrong, only of duty. Even as he tries to clothesline a man, he will refer to them as “my buddy”.
The idea of the “gentle giant” – as gentle as a man who will show someone the wall can be, anyway – is not new. One might expect Zangief to be tough, but he is not really. Zangief is just strong, and that is an important difference.

So, while quite a few interesting, even cool, things happen, there is an unsurprising problem: Vega. He is a giant megalomaniac. The power he wields is Psycho Power, of all things. However, he is slightly more efficient than your next leading world conqueror; he is more likely to explain his plans for world domination after brainwashing his captors rather than over a gourmet meal.
Come to that, his plot doesn’t even make sense. Shadowlaw is essentially a crackpot organization, and one never gets a feel for what it is they are after. Vega has no eyes and an insane smile; unlike the lust and pride motivating Balrog in their fight, or the cowardice behind all of Bison’s actions, all you get with Vega is a desire to see wrong done. Or something like that; his plans aren’t even convoluted, they just don’t make any sense.
In the context of what Street Fighter II V is trying to be, the character of Vega is out of place, here only because he is expected. When Vega is not inviting people around to fight each other so that he can claim control of the world’s strongest, he’s just an insane man in a suit – and it’s not even red, here.

What you have to love about all of these sorts of programs, it has to be admitted, is the technological equipment. There are machines around to measure Ryu’s ki, a power unknown to Shadowlaw before they saw him on the beach. The readings are right off the scale, which suggests that they have not studied hard enough to even begin looking at this unknown quantity – but at least they have got a start!
Better even than that is the fact that Vega’s scientist – and really, he has only one actual employee – can perfect a mind-control chip overnight. This time frame pushes the limits of believability to the very edge, so it is best not to think about any of the events inside the fortress of doom. They’re a wash.

Basically Street Fighter II V was a series with an entertaining first half, that ended up mired in its own sense of “truth” to the Street Fighter universe. The balance that it attempts to strike between original and adapted material stumbles when it comes down to a key player, Vega. The ending is fitting enough for a Street Fighter property – and really they all end this way when it comes to Ryu – but even lines like “It’s times like these I thank God that my old college room mate went on to become director of the CIA” can’t elevate Street Fighter II V to its past glories.

1 Comment

  1. your review is pretty well done, the head of the point is Cammy , the story u talk about her is aawesome, She is the best girl fighter in street fighter ii v

    Comment by Jimmy — June 8, 2007 #

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