Just Because You Can Port A Game Doesn't Mean You Should
April 17, 2012
Video game developers have done some wonderful things when it comes to porting a popular title to less powerful hardware. The Super NES version of Street Fighter II, for instance, is a remarkable take on the arcade original that manages to retain the core soul of the game despite the minor changes that were made for the sake of the home console's technical limitations. Not all games are so lucky though. Street Fighter II also wound up on the considerably less capable ZX Spectrum for some reason. It's just one of a collection of games spotlighted by 1UP.com as the craziest attempts at porting popular titles.
The ZX Spectrum, the UK's favorite 8-bit microcomputer, somehow managed to stay alive for more than 10 years, regularly getting new published games into the early '90s. That includes one of the early '90s biggest hits, Street Fighter II. Compared to the prequel for DOS, SFII on Spectrum actually tries to look as close to the arcade game as usual despite being displayed in upwards of two colors and moving like a zoetrope animation. Surely no one bought and played this earnestly. Right? Even the Game Boy port was smoother.
Money was obviously a prime motivator in these projects, of course. Street Fighter II was huge when it was fresh and new, so if people would buy a ZX Specturm version of the game, why not sell it to them regardless of the actual quality? Other titles on the list include Super Mario Bros. for the PC-8801, Double Dragon for the Atari 2600, Resident Evil 2 for the Game.com, and a Sega Genesis version of Duke Nukem 3D. I'm surprised that the original handheld versions of Mortal Kombat from 1993 didn't make the cut. I suppose that Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 has taken enough of a beating over the years. There's also the Game Boy take on Earthworm Jim and the mess that was the Super NES version of the Aerosmith arcade game Revolution X to consider. The list of curious decisions goes on and on.