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Street Fighter II Defined

M. BisonHave you ever considered the total bizarreness of the backstory behind Capcom's Street Fighter II?  It's generally common knowledge that dictator M. Bison has organized a World Warrior tournament to draw out his enemies and eliminate them as part of a bid for world domination mixed with revenge, but think about the premise from an outsider's perspective.  Really take it all in.  Over at MetaFilter, user EatTheWeak has summed up the story as part of a discussion on this week's earlier article about Street Fighter: The Movie.  His take is strangely accurate.

The game didn't really have a story, just the clues you cobbled together from the backgrounds and the endings. For me, what it added up to when I was a kid was superhuman martial artists competing in the World Warrior fighting tournament, global in reach but largely based in Thailand. Bison, a crimelord and dictator with psychic powers, had made himself king there and named himself champion of the World Warrior as well, even though everyone saw the last one end with that kid from Japan throwing a dragon punch that flayed open the reigning champion's chest.

Shadolaw's operation in Thailand must have been tight beyond belief because INTERPOL, the Soviets and the United States Airforce all decide that placing an agent in the World Warrior tournament is worth doing. How hard is it to get at Bison if competing in gladiatorial combat just to draw him out is a credible strategy? This tournament is insane: there's a mutant with electric skin on the card, there's a guy that breathes fire and that kid from Japan is all grown up now. At minimum, it is assumed every competitor is able to punch a car to death.

Someone's gonna get hurt, and badly. Vendettas will be settled against the backdrop of Bison's crumbling psychic crime dictatorship of Thailand. Depending how the brackets work out, Mike Tyson might fight Bruce Lee before it's all over.

And you know what?  He's right.  That's the best explanation of what's going on in Street Fighter II that I've ever seen.  No wonder Hollywood had trouble adapting the game into a big blockbuster movie; how can anyone hope to improve upon that?