Player Two Start!: Favorite Street Fighter 5 Stages

Today Player Two Start looks at Street Fighter 5.


Five for Fighting

More accurately, we’ll be looking at some of the background arenas from the game. From Street Fighter‘s inception, the artwork and animations for the game have gotten progressively more intricate, detailed and beautiful, and SF5 is no exception. I like to just watch the game being played so I can scope out the stages and cool stuff going on in the background (yeah, I’m that person). Today I’ll be spotlighting my favorite arenas from SF5. As is often the case with posts like this, these are just my personal favorite arenas; you may have your own choices…


“And that’s…OK.”

And again, these aren’t in any particular order, so they won’t be numbered. That said, let’s press start.



Located inside Shadaloo Headquarters, this stage is is an enormous dome-shaped room with various high-tech computers on both ends. In the background, a massive set of Mount Rushmore-style statues can be seen, depicting the Four Kings of Shadaloo.


You wish.

These statues depict Balrog, M. Bison, Vega, and F.A.N.G (or Sagat depending on the mode), the Four Kings of Shadaloo; Bison is holding the world, positioned near the center of the area, in his hand. Closer to the foreground, there is an ongoing battle between Shadaloo forces and a group of Special Forces agents, with a ninja and spacesuit-clad Shadaloo agents chasing each other.


In F.A.N.G’s story mode fight with M. Bison, his statue is replaced with one of Sagat, since it takes place at a time when Sagat had not yet been replaced within Shadaloo.




When a character is knocked out in the right corner of the stage, the person will fall and hit the face on the hand of a M. Bison statue, which unleashes Psycho Power on the victim. When knocked on the left corner, the character hits a screen that displays data about the one that touched it. And let’s not overlook that massive drop waiting for someone to fall though it.


“Watch that first step, it’s a Lulu! Ha-ha-ha-hah-AAA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!! -Sorry, I just thought of something funny.”



Let it ride!

This stage, set in front of a casino owned by Shadaloo, is an awesome re-imagining of the Las Vegas stage from the Street Fighter II games. However, the changes made to the stage is the neon sign in the background that used to say “Golden Nugget: Nin-Nin Ball” was changed to “Golden Bullion: Shadaloo Ball”. Some of the other neon signs from the original version are absent.  Don Sauvage and Max can be seen in the background. I like how they kept the young ladies with the top hats.


“Say, can ya lend me some scratch so I can get back on the tables? C’mon! I know I’ve lost my empire and I’ve crapped out 20 times in a row tonight, but I’m due for a hot streak! C’mon! I’ll take anything! You like pants? I’ll give ya my pants!!”



The Kanzuki Estate is Karin’s family estate (duh!) which originally appeared in the Sakura Ganbaru! manga. The stage has two settings, its day setting is called Estate at Noon.


It’s 12 in the afternoon. Time to get up.

The manga depicts the Kanzuki family’s estate as so large, it doesn’t just have its own rivers, mountains, and savannas, it has its own climate as well. Even though it’s in the middle of Tokyo, visitors don’t arrive by car, they arrive by chartered plane and land at the private airstrip near the mansion. The estate also has its own train station (a green and red sign can be seen on the top of a building, where a train is moving). The Kanzukis’ enormous swimming pool has a yacht with a pool on the deck in it, like in Karin’s stage from Street Fighter Alpha 3.

The estate’s architecture is a mix of both Japanese and European (possibly French) architecture.


“Aye, the .01 percent. It’s great to be stupid rich!”

Speaking of…



Sun Fun!

Karin’s family is so smegging rich, that she has 2 personal stages. This stage depicts her family’s private beach.


Several bikini-clad women can be seen in the background; among them are the Judgment Girls from the Street Fighter III games, as well as Tiffany Lords and Hinata Wakaba from the Rival Schools series. I’m not a crossover fanatic, but I do think it’s kind of cool how Street Fighter, Rival Schools, Darkstalkers and Final Fight all take place in the same universe.


“Whoa, Mama! Muh Speedoes just got tighter!”

The usage of the Kanzuki Beach stage in Street Fighter V is prohibited in competitive play. This is due to the fact that the water within the stage obscures ground projectiles such as Birdie’s banana peels and pop cans from his Break Time V-Skill as well as Juri’s Fuharenkyaku fireball. It is currently one of the only three stages in the game to be tournament banned, the other stages being The Grid and Skies of Honor.


“Even though it’s summer, I just took you to school!”


“Hey, I recognize that gibbon sitting on the turtle there. Now that I know that guy’s tight with the Kanzukis, he can give me back those 50 Banana Fun Bucks he owes me! THAT WAS AN APE JOKE!”



Located in India, was first seen in Dhalsim’s reveal trailer. In the left corner of the stage, there is a poster of an Indian-made film titled The Eternal Ganga (アジョワンの涙 Ajowan no Namida?, “Tears of Ajowan”), starred by Kamal Ali and Tia Sharma. Several people watch the fight, including Dhalsim’s wife Sally and their son Datta in the center of the stage. I’m not sure how I feel about the beard on Dhalsim (it makes him look like Yoga Claus), but the presence of Sally makes me happy because it reminds me of Dhalsim’s stage from Street Fighter Alpha 2, another favorite fighting game stage of mine.


In it, Sally watches the fray (but only when Dhalsim is one of the combatants). When her husband scores a hit, she smiles and claps her hands…


…And when Dhalsim himself is struck or attacked, she turns her head away in dismay. You’ve gotta love the devotion.


“What?! I’ve got a sentimental side! Big whoop! Wanna fight about it??”



Hillside Plaza is is the home stage of new character Laura, the smoking hot older sister of Street Fighter 3‘s Sean, taking place in Rio de Janeiro.


“Rio? Uh-oh! I feel a rhumba comin’ on!”

Instead of the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue in the background, a different statue can be seen. This stage also reminds me of one of my favorite moments from the animated film Rio.



You know the one.



The Ring of Destiny is a DLC stage available in Street Fighter V for a limited time, representing the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour. It is available by itself for $10USD in addition to being included in the limited time Capcom Pro Tour package that comes bundled with three other alternate costumes and an exclusive color for $25USD.


“What did ah jes’ tell ye?”

One thing I like about this stage (aside from the golden Adonis statues at the center) is the wide range of diverse spectators cheering on the fighters. You’ve got an American cowboy, a British guard playing a sousaphone, a lady Rio dancer, a heavy metal guitarist, a floating Indian mystic and even a dancing bear! Just about everybody is represented in this crowd.


We, are the world.

Finally, a word about Laura.


Yes, I’m just looking for an excuse to show more images of her.

As we’ve established, I find her to be quite attractive for a game sprite.


Fellas, put on your drool cups!

So why haven’t I said “BOM-CHICKA-WOW-WOW” yet? Well, while I do like Laura and all, doing so would feel a tad off-putting, seeing as how she has the same name as my maternal grandmother.


The Retro Bin: SMES (Saturday Morning Entertainment System)

Kids love Saturday morning cartoons, and kids love video games, so wouldn’t it be great if someone made a Saturday morning cartoon based on a video game? Thankfully, someone did. Today the Retro Bin looks at SatAM video game-based cartoon shows. Shows such as The Super Mario Brothers Super Show! ..Or Captain N: The Game Master…. ..Neither of which I’ll be discussing here. These shows have already been covered quite tellingly by other online personalities, most notably Doug Walker (the Nostalgia Critic) and Chad Rocco (CR!), so there’s nothing I can say about these cartoons that hasn’t already been said. We also won’t be covering The Power Team or Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures since Twinsanity has already discussed those shows here and here. There was also a little thing called Club Mario….

(Yeah, this happened)

…But the less said about that, the better.

“What were they thinking?!?”

Now on to the shows we will be discussing. The very first American cartoon based on a video game was Pac-Man, which ran on ABC Saturday morning from 1982 to 1983.

OK, one thing I never got about this show: what was that guy Mezmaron’s deal? Who or what was he? Why was he the only humanoid in Pac-Land? Why did he want the Power Pellets anyway? And why did he need them take over (or whatever his motivation was)? The guy was a freaking GIANT compared to the Pac-Landers; he could’ve just stomped through the city Godzilla style to get what he wanted. Come to think of it, I could never truly get into this show because of how badly Hanna-Barbera messed up on the ghost characters… They made Clyde the boss, Inky the dufus and Blinky a coward. Have these people not played the game? Were they really that blind to Pac-Man lore? It was NEVER like that in the games. Anyone who’s played the games knows that BLINKY is the lead ghost, as he’s the fastest, Pinky tries to ambush Pac, Inky’s moves are random and Clyde is the slowest ghost, hence their names:

CHASER (Blinky), AMBUSHER (Pinky), FICKLE (Inky) and STUPID (Clyde).

There were never 5 ghosts and there was no purple ghost. Yes, Virginia, there was a Sue, but that was just the name of the orange ghost in Ms. Pac-Man. if HB wanted a female ghost, why didn’t they just make Pinky female like every other adaptation of Pac-Man did? And why were called the “Ghost Monsters” anyway? That’s redundant, like saying “Vampire Ghouls”.

Moving on, in response to Pac-Man on ABC, a year later CBS countered with Saturday Supercade, produced by Ruby-Spears, figuring if 1 video game cartoon was working for ABC, then surely a show with several video games would work for them. Surely. Saturday Supercade featured no less than 5 separate segments, so much so that 2 of them, Pitfall! and Q*Bert had to rotate in order to fit the 60-minute allotted time frame.

The first season roster went thusly: there was Donkey Kong, in which the titular gorilla had escaped from a zoo and was now roaming the countryside, relentlessly pursued by Mario and Pauline encountering highjinks along the way. (Clearly we the audience were supposed to be rooting for the gorilla, which is weird considering how in the original game Mario was the character you played as. This series seemed to be following the continuity of Donkey Kong Junior, which begins with Mario having captured DK. Given the video game icon Mario would go on to be, seeing him as the antagonist was kind of funny.) Running concurrently along that series was the aforementioned Donkey Kong Jr., in which Junior is also roaming the countryside looking for DK Sr., also encountering highjinks along the way.

So are the Days of Our Lives.

Then there was Frogger, which depicted the title character as an investigative reporter for the Swamp Gazette, and all of his assignments involved him crossing some street and getting hit by a car, leaving him squished flat with flies buzzing over his carcass.

“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So gross.”

Q*Bert featured the orange Noser as a teenager in a quasi-1950’s suburban setting, complete with malt shops, jukeboxes, his game enemies Coily, Ug, Wrong-Way and Viper as Aaron Von Zipper-esque greasers, a little brother named Q*Bit, a girlfriend named Q*Tee (get it?), a dimwit best buddy in a Fonzie jacket named Q*Ball and as an added bonus, one of the show’s background characters was a female Noser named Q*Val who despite the 50’s era setting, spoke stereotypical Valley Girl lingo (this was the 80’s after all)…and that was her entire character shtick! Q*Val proved so popular with fans that in the second season, she supplanted Q*Bit as the 4th main character, so were were treated to even more lines like:

“I am totally, like, cubing out to the max!”

“Wow. She sure mastered that one dimension.”

The final attraction was Pitfall!, based on the Activation game of the same name, which featured the game’s hero Pitfall Harry, his niece Rhonda, a cowardly panther mascot named Quickclaw and lots and lots of swinging on vines. Saturday Supercade‘s second season only had 4 segments, so no 2 needed to rotate.

For season 2, Pitfall!, Frogger and Donkey Kong Junior were each given the ol’ pink slip, so if there ever was a heartfelt reunion between DKs Senior and Junior, we never saw it. As for whatever became of Frogger and Pitfall Harry?

The new attractions were Kangaroo, again based on the game of the same name, starring the titular star (here named KO Katie), her joey, imaginatively named Joey, and their friends having mild adventures in a city zoo. The Monkey Biz Gang (Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Fred), enemies who kidnapped Joey in the game, were here given Bulk & Skull status: not actually evil, just selfish, scheming and stupid. The show deserves some credit for remembering Kangaroo; most of our contemporaries have forgotten that game ever existed. The other new segment was Space Ace, which basically followed the same plot as the game: a blond bohunk space ranger battles an evil blue skinned alien named Borf (excuse me!), whose main weapon of choice was the dreaded Infanto Ray, which turned its victims into babies. Ace gets hit by the ray prior to the first episode, but of course he’s too much of a manly man to be fully transformed, so instead of getting turned into an infant, he just occasionally switches back and forth between his normal form and that of a 19 pound weakling called ‘Dexter’, whom Ace’s partner, Officer Kimberly, tries to pass off as her little brother, so as not to alert their superior officer of Ace’s condition (though you’d have to be blind or terminally stupid to not guess that they were one and the same; Space Ace and Dexter were never seen together, they had the same hair color and outfits, sometimes dude would transform right in front of the guy and he never spotted it!). The most notable thing about the Space Ace cartoon was that Kimberly was voiced by Nancy Cartwright (aka the Woman who Would Be Bart Simpson) and how she went from looking like this…


To looking like this.


USA Network has also tossed their hat in the video game cartoon ring. There was Street Fighter: TAS.

Hey, here’s an idea: let’s make a cartoon based on Street Fighter, but instead of making it like the game that everyone loves, let’s base it on that craptacular live-action movie, you know, the one where Belgian action star Jean-Claude Van Damme was hilariously miscast of all-American hero Guile, M. Bison was made into Magneto, Chun-Li became Lois Lane, Blanka was Charlie, Dhalsim was a scientist with hair, E. Honda was a hacker, Balrog tried typing on a computer while wearing boxing gloves, Ryu and Ken, the main characters of the game, were remade into the Two Stooges, Zangief worked for Shadaloo even though he never had any association with them in the game, Sakura appeared in a single episode and sounded like a 30-year-old and had a completely different back story, Akuma had a British accent, nothing in it resembled the game in any way and it sucked? Let’s go with that!

“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So dumb.”

USA also gave us Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm.

Hey, another idea: let’s take Mortal Kombat, a game known for its’ graphic violence, murder and gore, a game which all but forced the ESRB ratings system into existence, and turn it into a watered-down kids’ cartoon without a drop of blood and no one ever dies? I love it! Give me 13 more!

Well, the show at least featured Clancy Brown as a snarky, sarcastic Raiden, so there was that.

Finally, take that Donkey Kong Country cartoon that aired on Fox Family…please.

“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So cheap.”

OK, this was only around 1999-2000, CGI was in its’ Stone Age, so I can overlook the creaky graphics, what I can’t excuse is how there were so many fun, and entertaining elements to the games this show was based on, and it utilized absolutely NONE of them. Where were the inventive levels? Where was Rambi, Squitter, Engaurde, Gnawty Beaver et al? What’s all this business about a Crystal Cocunut? What is Congo Bongo? The name of the place is Donkey Kong Island. Why is there a factory in the jungle? Who is this Bluster character? If they wanted a rival Kong for an adversary, why didn’t they use Manky Kong? Why’d they change so much? Did they think if the show resembled the game that no one would take it seriously? We’re talking about a game series about a clan of gorillas protecting their banana horde from sinister reptiles. What were they expecting? The Last Emperor?

Not all video game cartoons were perfect, but there was a certain charm to some of them. They weren’t the worst things video game related to hit TV.

Not by a looooooong shot.

2 Funny: Street Fighter Red Tape

Today’s April Fool’s Day–the day for pranks, jokes and general tomfoolery. (Though for us every day is kind of like that.) In the spirit of this occasion, we present a series if vignettes by comedian Pete Holmes as a bureaucrat giving the combatants from Capcom’s Street Fighter 2 franchise the blues. Here’s Street Fighter Red Tape. All 8 of them.

RYU (feat. Mark-Paul Gosselaar)

VEGA (feat. Thomas Middleditch)

BLANKA (feat. Matt McCarthy)

M. BISON (feat. Patrick Huesinger)

GUILE (feat. Joel McHale)

DHALSIM (feat. Kumail Nanjani)

CHUN-LI (feat. Lilan Bowden)

KEN (feat. Thomas Middleditch–again)

And finally, for no good reason, a completely gratuitous shot of Cammy’s cheeks.

Happy April Something Something Whatever!

Player Two Start!: Norimaro – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Today, we’re going to spend some time talking about….this guy.


For those who don’t know, it’s Norimaro from Capcom’s Marvel Super Heroes Vs Street Fighter. Norimaro is an original character created and owned by Japanese comedian Noritake Kinashi (one half of the comedy duo known as “The Tunnels”) who represents neither Marvel nor Capcom. He appears as a regular character only in the Japanese arcade and console versions of the game, but was removed in all the overseas versions. He portrays a nerdy, cowardly schoolboy-type guy armed with a camera, who throws common school items like mini-Gouki (mini-Akuma) dolls and plushies as projectiles, and would attempt to ask for his opponent’s autograph mid-battle (can be seen when the player presses the START button during a match). Occasionally if this is done while facing the computer controlled Dan, his taunt will be done where he signs an autograph and throws it at Norimaro. He uses the comical “Hyper Strong Miracle Treasure” Hyper Combo, which has him throwing a massive amount of school supplies and other objects, and the equally-comical “Ultra Variety Private Memories” Hyper Combo, where he rushes his opponent and inflicts a multi-hit combo while wearing costumes. He is playable on the US version via hacking or if a cheat code is done with an emulator, and even has English dialogue in the Apocalypse and ending scenes, as well as win quotes, which indicates that he was intended for the overseas versions as well in the development stages of the game. Likewise, while he has been removed from most of the game’s overseas promotional materials, some overseas gameart still contains him, such as the game cover art above.

Here’s a taste of Norimaro in action:

Norimaro’s special movies include:

  • Tourist’s Treasure: Norimaro panics and turns around, which swings his bag and causes a doll or a school item to fly out, which acts as a projectile. The many items tend to vary, from a protractor to an Akuma figurine.
  • Personal Victory Jump: Norimaro leaps into the air diagonally body first, yelling “Shouryuuken” in what he probably thinks is a deep, serious voice. Works as an anti-air, has some recovery time, but sadly is the weakest anti-air in the game.
  • Fierce Hand Current: Norimaro cries while flailing his arms about while moving forward a distance, then falls over. Is a good move and sends the opponent flying if connects and does multiple hits, but has a lot of recovery time.
  • Banana Slip: Norimaro slips with a banana peel, launching the opponent in the air. This is Norimaro’s hard kick and technically isn’t a special move, but it has a special feature: if the banana hits the opponent, he will slip as well, and the peel can hit OTG.

Hyper Combos:

  • Hyper Strong Miracle Treasure (Level 1): Norimaro panics and throws thousands of school supplies and toys out of his bag.
  • Ultimate Grand Champion Jump (Level 1): Norimaro charges and then does a body-first diagonal high jump that hits multiple times.
  • Ultra Variety Private Memories (Level 1): Auto-combo/ranbu super. Norimaro dashes forward, and if this hits, he rapidly switches between a variety of silly poses which recount his memories, such as taking a bath, hiding behind his father, drawing on the floor, flipping an egg, dressing up as Rockman, playing with a teddy bear, being bit in the leg by a dog, playing in a cardboard car, and singing karaoke.

Unbenkownst to us Yanks, there were some additional Norimaro animations which didn’t make it to the final cut, such as the one below, in which Mr. N spots something interesting and jumps to the ground. This animation would have been used for victories against the game’s female characters, Chun-Li and Sakura; instead of his usual win animation of heading over to the fallen form of his opponent and snapping a photo of himself, Norimaro would take this opportunity to sneak a peek under his defeated opponent’s skirt. You dirty dog, you!

“Ooh, what do we have here??”

There is also what appears to be a unused Hyper Combo depicting our guy fantasizing about a particular Capcom character, triggering an explosive nosebleed. Several variants of this animation exist, specifically for Chun-Li, Sakura, Cammy, Morrigan and Felicia, as well as Anita (a little girl) and Zangief (a man). Clearly, this silly otaku’s fandom isn’t limited to just the ladies!



One final point of confusion (for us Americans, anyway) is Norimaro’s game ending. Bizarrely, beating the game shows Norimaro’s ending images with Dan’s ending dialogue and Captain America’s nametag. Norimaro’s ending is basically him conquering the world, dying, and becoming a tedious subject for history books. Living proof that nerds rule.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sailor-moon-usagi-tsukino.gif

“Oh, I’ve got to get me one of those!”


“Norimaro = HAWT!”

These remarks come as a surprise to no one, since it’s well known that Mr. N rocks the sexy!