Yet another title in the GTW realm which has been infact released.
Street Fighter 2 is well known for being an average and very easy game on the C64. We all remember it getting a fairly high mark at the time of the success of the game over various consoles, and all wondering what the hell we had ended up with when the C64 conversion came out.
Strangely, it was in a earlier issue of Commodore Format, where a rather different game seemed to be shaping up to the version which we did eventually see.
In the game’s preview, we were greeted with screenshots which looked very different to the horrible digitized ones we got in the final release. For a start, the jet fighter was zoomed in and had finer detail, which also seemed to imply that the game would scroll a bit too.
The background images were much crisper, even if the sprites were still as muddy as they are in the final game. Were these mocked up to gather interest?
Certainly the style put for the C64 was much different to that of the Arcade/Snes version. Probably very ambitious too, and maybe a little too ambitious perhaps?
In the end, we ended up with digitized backgrounds straight from the Amiga version, and a rather poor game too.
But what happened with this earlier version? What was it like, and would or could it have worked?
As you can see from the shots we have gained thanks to Mort’s scans, the jet fighter level was much more detailed and even scrolled a lot to cover the size of the jet. We’ve constructed what the jet would have looked like in whole form, and you can see the size of the level when to scale next to the main characters we’ve left in.
What happened then? Additionally, although the game got a lot of stick – James Macdonald did very well with the limitations of the C64 and with US Gold’s tight deadlines.
James Macdonald got in touch with GTW64 in 2013 and confirmed about what happened. Firstly we learn of a stupidly tight deadline and sets of decisions which meant that this was a game that was wanting to be rushed out to get the last drop of money out of the C64 – no fault of the developer.
Secondly – with the graphics, originally the graphics were contracted to be designed by an external graphic artist and done from scratch. These are the graphics we can see in the early preview screenshots. The sprites were extracted from the PC version initially just as temporary sprites until custom versions were received from the artist.
About three quarters of the way through development, there was a management change and it was decided to ditch the graphics guy and employ someone else to do the work. The new artist was instructed to completely re-do the graphics. However, the new work was pretty bad according to James, and had delayed so long that the game got to the duplicators before it was finished.
Whilst waiting at the duplicators, James was sent through a completely new set of graphics which were just quick ports from the PC version (very low res versions) which were added to the game there and then. The game was then mastered a few hours later and mass produced to become the mess it did.
This means that had the original artist have been kept – it is quite possible that James would have produced a solid conversion, and one which looked the business too. But it seems that with all the projects that James worked on, he was subject to silly deadlines and just did what he could in the time available. But he enjoyed it at least!
So what of this alternate version? Well, James offers hope that he may still have something of it – so we now wait and see what James may be able to find in the future. It will be a mere glimpse of what could have been.
Contributions: Mort, James Macdonald
James Macdonald speaks about work on Street Fighter 2:
“First off thanks for even taking the time to keep all this stuff alive, my games may not have been the best out there but those days were by far some of the best of my life. Everything from conventions to sleeping on floor of duplicators waiting for the run of SFII to be begin spitting out of the machines….
As far as SF II is concerned I got the project by word of mouth from someone who worked at company that had rights to Hell for Leather (see below on that). There was a lot of political stuff going on with the rights to this and the conversion was sub-contracted to a sub-contractor to another sub-contractor and somehow ended up with me.
I had no influence on the game graphics at all. Originally they contracted a graphic artist to re-do them for 8-bit, which are the ones you show tagged as original screen shots. In these the backgrounds where much crisper and cleaner.
The sprites were extracted from PC version and were always meant to be temp until I got custom versions. About three quarters of the way through development there was a management change and they (I don’t know who) decided that he didn’t like the graphics and had employed another artist to completely re-do them.
This other guys sent stuff that was pretty bad and had delayed so long that the game was actually at the duplicators (I had driven down from Glasgow to do on the spot changes if required) when they sent through a completely new set of graphics which were scrapes of the PC version (essentially very low res versions) and had to add them there and then. Couple hours later it was being mass produced and packaged.”