In a world so consumed by the likes of Dota 2 and other well-known eSports kingpins, it's sort of hard to shed light on the underdogs of the competitive scene. And in this case, we're talking about fighting games, or, more specifically — Street Fighter. Of course, it seems slightly ludicrous to even pin the Capcom phenomenon in a box anywhere other than the apex of competitive gaming — but it's true. Street Fighter, despite the popularity and influences it has cast on the gaming world over the years, really isn't all that big compared to other gaming icons.
Ever since 1987, Capcom has continued to devote their ambition to evolving Street Fighter and its surrounding world. From toying with the physics to enrolling new characters for the portfolio — each addition to the series has ultimately raised the stakes and made an impact in one way or another. Heck, even in 2021, Capcom still pours blood, sweat and tears into the legacy of the game by producing remakes, anniversary editions and even a few annual circuits for players to flock to for some pretty generous prizes. It's all there — and it's unlikely to fade anytime soon, either. And so, regardless of its underdog status — Street Fighter is definitely here to stay.
Street Fighter: In a Nutshell
Frankly — Street Fighter really isn't all that hard to master. Well, I say that — when really it's the button layout that you'll be able to swiftly navigate with ease, whereas the actual techniques and attack patterns will require years of extensive training. Of course, it seems rather odd when picturing all the actions one could possibly take with only a few buttons to mash. But since the golden age of arcade gaming sizzled out, Street Fighter has gone on to find roots on home consoles — which means actions have gradually increased over the years.
Fast-forward to the present day, and you'll be amazed at just how many attacks, combos and special moves each unique character can make in a match. And believe me when I say — there are a lot of additional things to wrap your head around. But let's just say that there's a lot more to Street Fighter than mashing a single button and praying for victory. Rewind a few decades and that might've been the case for any casual player, but put two professionals in the ring today — and you'll quickly notice the mind-boggling variety of controls.
Game Modes Explained
Street Fighter, despite its perpetual catalogue of special moves and powerful combos, really isn't all that difficult to understand. And from a spectators point of view — nothing could be simpler to follow. In fact, observing a few rounds of Street Fighter doesn't require a great deal of focus in order to participate. That being said, from a users perspective, dominating the arena can be a slightly more daunting task.
Street Fighter is a 1v1 tournament-based fighting game, with each player filling the role of one of the many characters on the roster and battling it out over four rounds of fast-paced combat. With each hero possessing a unique arsenal of moves and combos, both players must test their knowledge by stringing well-placed attacks together to gain the upper hand. And then, of course, there's actually blocking moves, as well as knowing how to counter each attempt perfectly. Put all of that in a series of 99-second bouts and you're looking at a pretty exhilarating sport.
Tournaments & Prize Pools
Street Fighter might have taken a leap back from the spotlight in order to cast a wider one on other competitive titles — but that doesn't mean Capcom refuses to breathe life into their beloved franchise at all. And as far as tournaments go, Capcom Pro Tour is still very much the floating lifeline that the publisher resorts to to help bolster the hype and sway the online community. Okay, so the prize pools don't tend to reach mouth-watering heights compared to other celebrated hits, but they do often climb to some pretty impressive feats.
Capcom Pro Tour initiates 30 regional premiers over 19 territories around the world, each holding a $5,000 take for the winning team. Once the winning teams ascend the ranks and secure a spot in The Capcom Cup, the prize pool is ultimately ramped up to $200,000 or more, depending on Capcom's budget. Following on from that, the best players will battle it out for the top prize, as well as a spot among the greatest Street Fighter contestants in the world.
Stacking Against the Odds
It's pretty easy to lose sight of what's what and who's who in the Street Fighter domain — especially with the number of professional players on the circuit. Luckily, we've got Liquipedia to help shed a little extra light on the game and its core details. Plus, with Capcom Pro Tour sharing the leaderboard and current statistics for each heavy hitter, research can be a lot less daunting than having to submerge in a boatload of online streams and chat forums to get your fix.
Admittedly, the toughest hurdle to jump when wrapping your head around Street Fighter is the combat itself. With an ocean of command lists and attack patterns to study — learning the ins and outs of each playable character can be slightly monotonous. That being said, with so many experts on the scene with special knowledge banks devoted to certain characters, you can practically learn the roster over a discussion or two. Of course, that is if you wish to understand the game front and back. Otherwise, your best bet at getting your foot in the door is by rifling through the current standings and watching past tournaments on YouTube, Twitch or Twitter.
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Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.