Street Fighter: The Movie Was Also a Video Game

Street Fighter: The Movie

In the 90s, Capcom showed a relentless unwillingness to let their Street Fighter series rest for even a moment. Between 1991 and 1994, they released five different versions of Street Fighter II for coin-op arcade machines alone. But perhaps the absolute pinnacle of this fighting-game frenzy was the release of a Street Fighter: The Movie video game, which landed in arcades in 1995.

Yes, after the release of a movie that was already based on a video game, Capcom released a video-game tie-in for the movie (developed by Incredible Technologies). Hold up, it gets even weirder: There was a second version of the game created for home consoles — not a port, mind you, but a completely separate version based on the same movie.

It sounds completely absurd, and it was completely absurd. (As a side note, Activision actually did something similar with Battleship, which was a first-person shooter based off a movie that was itself based off a board game.)

However, there’s actually a semi-reasonable explanation for how this might have happened. I think. Now, I’m just spitballing here, but hear me out. At the time, Street Fighter had a major competitor in the Mortal Kombat series. Visually, Mortal Kombat was much grittier than Street Fighter, partially because it used photographs of real people when creating character sprites. I personally don’t think the effect aged well, but it seemed to be all the rage in the early-to-mid 90s. (The Batman Forever beat-’em-up is another game that used this technique.)

Street Fighter: The Movie

How does Capcom compete with that? By releasing a version of Street Fighter that uses the same visual effect, only with sprites based off the actors from the film, including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raúl Juliá, and Kylie Minogue (as well as Kylie Minogue’s stunt double, Emma Kearney). That’s some high-calibur star power.

Behind-the-scenes photos of the game still exist:

Of course, I’m not saying this was a good idea. But I can see how it might sound like a good idea to a producer in the mid-1990s. And I mean, it did, in fact, happen, so somebody greenlit it.

The thing is, I’ve heard mixed things about the game’s reception. The Reception section of the Wikipedia page seems fairly positive, while this article from 2019 claims the opposite. So far, I’ve only been able to dig up one review from 1995 (spotted in the November of ’95 issue of GamePro magazine), and it’s for the Sega Saturn version. The review is not flattering.

“Clean, digitized backgrounds straight from the movie,” says Scary Larry, the reviewer, “are upstaged by fighter sprites that move with syrupy slowness compared to other SF titles.” And later: “Acclaim should have left this one at the arcades.”

I also found an ad for the game in the same magazine. I’ve posted both the review and the ad below.

Street Fighter: The Movie
Street Fighter: The Movie
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