It took a lot of effort to get this article completed, mostly due to pain and sleep issues. At least it was fun remembering so many gaming sessions, some serious, some silly, but all enjoyable.
Street Fighter is an amazing role-playing game, a flawed gem. Despite the problem of some awful game mechanics, as well as the lack of obvious depth to the setting, I found the game to be a good framework to build from. Just like other RPGs, the expansion books were helpful in expanding the setting, and adding new mechanics, but the common issue of power creep is quite evident with the Player’s Guide. In fact some of the new Special Maneuvers were clearly not playtested much, or the single playtest missed the point, Cartwheel Kick in particular seems to joyfully abandon all pretence of balance.
It would be cherry-picking of me to ignore the few role-players that I spoke with that had immediately dismissed the idea of playing the Street Fighter RPG. Nearly all of those I recall were not people I normally gamed with, so it is hard to say what to type of gamers they were, or their preferences. Over the years I have pondered whether there is anything special that could be taken/learned from those chats, to be fair to them I assume that many of them were fun-loving gamers who have tried all sorts of games. Maybe they didn’t play SF2 much, maybe they preferred to stick to one RPG system, and quite likely they were not interested in martial arts; I suspect it is the normal combination of different factors that just happen to put them off.
My take away from the Street Fighter RPG is that it was a good experiment. In the world of maybes this game could have become a big hit, maybe if they had not been rushed, maybe decent playtesting would have fixed problems, maybe making the game a bigger priority for company resources. I’d recommend the game, but just using the core rulebook at first. One day I should sort out my own big list of house rules to publish, although that’s a low priority.
In summary, like with any RPG, it helps if the people you are playing the games want to play, stay engrossed, and don’t get bogged down in rule debates. This of course is the ultimate truth about RPGs, but also a bit of a cop-out 😉
Way of the Exploding Fist 3 part series